Oscars 2020: Best Costume Design Predictions

As always, period rules the day in costume design, from Taika Waitiki's's "Jojo Rabbit" to Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." Updated 1/29/20
Jojo Rabbit
"Jojo Rabbit"
Fox Searchlight

Period costumes this season run the gamut from Hollywood counterculture, to mob fashion, to DC’s legendary comic book villain, to the reinvention of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved characters, to chic fashion statements in war-torn Nazi Germany.

For Taika Waitiki’s anti-hate, black comedy, “Jojo Rabbit,” told from the POV of the eponymous, 10-year-old Nazi fanatic (Roman Griffin Davis), Costume Designers Guild winner Mayes Rubeo infused wardrobes with vibrant colors, especially for Jojo’s chic single mom (Scarlett Johansson).  Drawing on Italian styles, she gave her stylish patterns, jaunty hats, and, most conspicuously, distinctive shoes with playful butterfly accents.

For Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Arianne Phillips created contrasting iconic looks (circa 1969) for Leonardo DiCaprio’s has-been actor, Brad Pitt’s rugged stunt man, and Margot Robbie’s angelic Sharon Tate.  It’s turtlenecks and leather for DiCaprio, Hawaiian shirt and denim for Pitt, and yellow hot pants and go-go boots for Robbie, among other vintage looks.

Margot Robbie stars in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”Sony / Andrew Cooper

In Todd Phillips’ $1 billion blockbuster, “Joker,” two-time Oscar-winning costume designer Mark Bridges imaginatively transformed Joaquin Phoenix’s childlike Arthur Fleck into Gotham City’s incel hero with an inside-out approach. While Fleck’s wardrobe is ordinary, his Joker outfit becomes an explosion of rust, green, and gold.

“Joker”Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros.

Three-time Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell did less flamboyant work with co-designer Christopher Peterson on Martin Scorsese’s mobster epic, “The Irishman.” They made different looking threads for Robert De Niro’s mob hitman, Frank Sheeran, Al Pacino’s Teamsters leader, Jimmy Hoffa, and Joe Pesci’s crime boss, Russell Bufalino. But, unlike “Goodfellas,” these mobsters aren’t trying to be conspicuous. But, although Hoffa sported a working class vibe, he still demanded respect.

In Greta Gerwig’s non-linear reinterpretation of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women,” Oscar-winning costume designer Jacqueline Durran decided to distinguish the bohemian Jo March (Saorsie Ronan) from her sisters (Emma Watson’s Meg, Eliza Scanlen’s Beth, and Florence Pugh’s Amy) as both children and adults. Jo also makes a striking, androgynous figure. Jo switched to wearing male clothing, which suited her more comfortable, masculine nature. Gerwig and Durran even came up the radical idea of having Jo and her best friend, Laurie (Timothée Chalamet), share clothes. Much of the inspiration came from Winslow Homer paintings (particularly the hat from “High Tide”).

The final five contenders are listed in alphabetical order. No film will be considered a frontrunner until we have seen it.

“Jojo Rabbit”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“The Irishman”
“Little Women”

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