Crystal Ball: These Costume Designers Will Probably Get Oscar Noms

Jessica Chou
Atwood with her work.

After analyzing last week's BAFTA nominations, this is who we predict will hear their names read on Thursday morning.

The 2015 BAFTA noms, announced last week, heralded three previous winners — Colleen Atwood (Into the Woods), Jacqueline Durran (Mr. Turner) and Milena Canonero (The Grand Budapest Hotel) — but also included two fresh faces: Sammy Sheldon Differ (The Imitation Game) and Steven Noble (The Theory of Everything).

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Atwood — as always — is the one to beat. She’s been nominated 10 times and already has three Oscars on her mantel for Alice in Wonderland, Memoirs of a Geisha and Chicago — the latter two adaptations of Broadway musicals. The dark Disney fairy-tale musical is a spectacular feat on many levels, but especially the costumes worn by Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp and Emily Blunt.

Her history with the Costume Designers Guild is also long-standing, having been nominated 10 times and winning six awards — for Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Memoirs of a Geisha, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Chicago and Sleepy Hollow — as well as a career achievement award in 2005.

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Atwood also happens to have another film — Tim Burton’s Big Eyes — in competition this awards season. But our money is on her receiving a nomination for Into the Woods. Atwood recently told The Hollywood Reporter: “This [film] is my love letter to the textiles, crafts, artists and embroiderers that I am so lucky to work with.”

Like Atwood, costume designer Milena Canonero has three Oscars to her name. And she’s been nominated eight times to Atwood’s 10.

Both of these talented women are proven winners, still at the top of their game, and are tremendously popular among Oscar voters.

One significant difference is that Canonero hasn’t won an Oscar since 2007, for Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. However that could work to her advantage. After all, her other lauded films include the classics Barry Lyndon, Chariots of Fire and Out of Africa. As far as CDG accolades, she’s been nominated twice, having won for The Life Aquatic and been honored with a career achievement award in 2001.

Not that the The Imitation Game’s young costume designer, Sammy Sheldon Differ, should be discounted; she's just picked up her second BAFTA film nomination, her first coming in 2005 for The Merchant of Venice, starring Joseph Fiennes and Al Pacino. And she’s certainly got a lot of Hollywood support. The CDG nominated her for V For Vendetta in 2007 and X-Men: First Class in 2011. Her other well-known films include Kinky Boots, Kick-Ass and she’s designing for the hotly anticipated Ant-Man.

But The Imitation Game, the true story of an oddball mathematics genius who helped break the Germans' Enigma code, speeding the end of World War II — has become her game-changer. She had just five weeks to prep for this socially relevant film, a five-person crew and a very small budget.

British designer Jacqueline Durran has previously received five BAFTA nominations, winning for Vera Drake in 2005 and Joe Wright's Anna Karenina in 2013. She has one Oscar to her name — for Anna Karenina — and also was nominated for her work on Wright’s Pride & Prejudice and Atonement. Both films notably starred film fashion fatale Keira Knightley. But expect no waif-like fashion figures in Turner. The purposefully pompous Victorian era costumes give weight to Mike Leigh’s biopic, focusing on the final years of the controversial landscape artist J.M.W. Turner, played by Timothy Spall. Durran shows us a buttoned-up but bawdy look in to the era and the portly Turner’s life, art, passions, mistresses and occasional brothel visits.

Steven Noble, who designed the costumes for The Theory of Everything, which chronicles the early life and first marriage of physicist Stephen Hawking, is a very new face on the BAFTA list. The nom is major recognition for the 47-year-old Brit, who worked his way up through the ranks much like former video/fashion stylist Trish Summerville.

Noble’s early films include the controversial heroin chic film Trainspotting (1996). More recently, he dressed Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield in the unsettling 2010 sci-fi film Never Let Me Go and designed for Scarlett Johansson in the alien thriller Under the Skin.

Noble is currently working on A Monster Calls with Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson. This new face may or may not be ready for an Oscar nomination, but the BAFTA nom has definitely put him squarely on the Hollywood map.

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