Sunday, February 23, 2014

12 Years a Slave costumes wins Costume Designers Guild trophy. Will 12 Years a Slave win the Oscar?

I was planning on taking a look at the Oscar-nominated 12 Years a Slave costume designs today anyway since the big day is next Sunday, but I was assuming the work didn't actually have a chance against Catherine Martin's work in Gatsby - check out the gorgeous Gatsby designs -  which has been getting all the love. After last night's Costume Designer Guild awards,  I'm not so sure. And between you and me, I'm rooting for 12 Years a Slave's Patricia Norris. 

What happened? The CDG handed out its own trophies last night, awarding winners in three film categories, Contemporary, Fantasy and Period.  While Blue Jasmine took the CDG for Best Contemporary Film, and Trish Summerville's designs for The Hunger Games  took the prize in Fantasy - neither of which is nominated for an Oscar - it was Patricia Norris for 12 Years a Slave who won the Best Period Film prize, and not Gatsby which incidentally took the BAFTA last month in both the Costume and Production design categories.

I'm hoping this is Norris time. The 82 year old designer has been nominated for an Academy Award five times before and never won. Norris earned her first nomination in 1978 for Terrence Malick's  Days of Heaven - Death on the Nile won. Norris was nominated again for David Lynch’s The Elephant Man, Amadeus, Victor/Victoria and a Bruce Willis/James Garner film titled Sunset that I've never heard of. Talk about always the bridesmaid, never the bride! While the 70's and 80's were clearly her glory days - she did Scarface, Frances, over 100 episodes of The Waltons  and won an Emmy for her work on Twin Peaks (she also worked with Lynch as a production designer on Lost Highway, Wild at Heart and Blue Velvet) - Norris has stayed active, working as both Costume Designer AND Production Designer in the more recent Killing Them Softly and The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford.  While she's won Lifetime Achievement Awards from both the Costume Designers Guild and the Art Directors Guild I think it would be amazing for this woman to cap a her illustrious career with the coveted prize. 

Will the Academy voters give Norris their vote for the historically perfect costumes in 12 Years a Slave? In addition to Gatsby, and American Hustle, the film is up against The Grandmaster and The Invisible Woman. Stiff competition but Academy voters are known to have a sentimental streak; I wouldn't be surprised to see the vote go Norris' way, her body of work quite possibly putting her over the top. 



No complaints from me; I'm up for a little reverse ageism. The bulk of the nominees are in the middle of their careers, they have time. 


Days of Heaven
The Elephant Man
Victor/Victoria
Sunset
Twin Peaks
The Waltons
Scarface
Frances
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Killing Them Softly


 Sources: Vanity Fair, NY Times, Deadline, Costume Design Guild

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