Costume Designers - Powell & Atwood

From The Hollywood Reporter
Because ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are pulling out all the stops to promote the 82nd Annual Academy Awards, they might consider billing the best costume design category as a smackdown for the "Project Runway" set.

In what other race this year can you find two nominees who have been nominated eight times apiece, who have gone head-to-head on five previous occasions and who have won two Oscars each in their earlier face-offs?

This year, they're back again.

Sandy Powell, who took home Oscars for 1998's "Shakespeare in Love" and 2004's "The Aviator," is nominated for Apparition's "The Young Victoria," in which her costumes chart the transition the young queen made from embattled princess to fledgling monarch.

Joining her once more in the nominees' circle is Colleen Atwood, nominated for outfitting some of the most iconic actresses in the world in the Weinstein Co.'s "Nine." Atwood won Oscars for 2002's "Chicago" and 2005's "Memoirs of a Geisha."

Turns out, though, theirs is a friendly rivalry.

"We laugh about it; we're always up against each other, and we have enormous respect for each other," Powell says. In fact, on one of the rare occasions when Atwood was nominated (for 2007's "Sweeney Todd") and Powell wasn't, Atwood dashed off a note to Powell, telling her how much she missed her on the red carpet.

Seconds Attwood, "Sandy, her husband Alfie and my family have gotten to know each other with our common nominations. The night is huge, and it is always fun to see familiar faces."

One reason the two have earned so much Oscar attention, Powell theorizes, "is we're lucky. We both work with the same directors regularly."

Although Powell's nomination this year came from collaborating with Jean-Marc Vallee for the first time, she has worked most closely in recent years with Martin Scorsese. She designed the costumes for his just-opened "Shutter Island" and is about to begin work on his next project, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret."

"Nine" marks the third time Atwood has worked with Rob Marshall, and she also frequently joins forces with Tim Burton -- the upcoming "Alice in Wonderland" is their latest film together.

Come Oscar Night, the two designers will be part of a group that also includes four-time nominee Janet Patterson for "Bright Star" and first-time nominees Catherine Leterrier for "Coco Before Chanel" and Monique Prudhomme for "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus."

Powell and Atwood's name recognition aside, it's a relatively equal playing field because none of the films in the category is riding the coattails of a perspective best picture winner.

To recap, here are the 5 nominees for Costume Design for this year's Oscars:

  • Bright Star” Janet Patterson
  • Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme
  • Nine” Colleen Atwood
  • The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell
I hope the award goes to either Janet Patterson (>>I thought the fashion in Bright Star definitely helped tell their story)
or to Sandy Powell (>>regal costumes for Queen Victoria were awesome).

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