Oscar Preview: Costume Design

A category-by-category look at the Oscar crafts shoot

The same general rules that apply to art direction also apply here: Films with period settings tend to prevail, and if they have an epic quality, all the better. Which means that "Australia" (Catherine Martin), "Changeling" (Deborah Hopper) and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Jacqueline West) should also be strong contenders in this category, along with Paramount Vantage's "The Duchess" (Michael O'Connor), exploring the milieu of 18th century British aristocrats, and Miramax's "Brideshead Revisited" (Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh), which examines the mores of upper-class Brits two centuries later, in the years prior to Word War II.

The most interesting race is probably between Ann Roth and herself. The four-time Oscar nominee (and one-time winner for 1996's "The English Patient") has three films in contention. Two of them are subtle period pieces: "Doubt," set in a Catholic parish in New York in 1964, and the adaptation of Bernhard Schlink's acclaimed German novel "The Reader" (Weinstein Co.), which covers four decades, from the late 1950s to the 1980s. The other is the footloose ABBA musical "Mamma Mia!" (Universal), in which Meryl Streep (also in "Doubt") and former 007 Pierce Brosnan glam it up in flamboyant Lycra jumpsuits.

Another Oscar vet to watch is two-time winner and six-time nominee Albert Wolsky, who outfits frustrated 1950s suburbanites in "Revolutionary Road."

Dark horses include Miramax's "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" (Natalie Ward), Paramount Vantage's "Defiance" (Jenny Beavan), "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" (Sammy Sheldon), "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (Bernie Pollack/Mary Zophres), "Milk" (Danny Glicker), Sony's "The Other Boleyn Girl" (Sandy Powell) and New Line's "Sex and the City" (Patricia Field/Molly Rogers/Danny Santiago).

Next: Editing