Oscars: This Is Who We Predict Will Win the Best Costume Design Award

Peter Mountain

Drumroll, please.

The 2015 Academy Awards are only few days away, and while most people are gabbing about the best picture, best actor and actress races, and so forth, we're madly focused on the best costume design category.

The nominees include Milena Canonero for her comic colorful '30s costumes in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mark Bridges for his '70s fashion flashbacks in Inherent Vice, and Colleen Atwood for the musical fairy-tale stylings of Into the Woods

Rounding out the list are Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive for the magical mock-medieval costumes in Angelina Jolie's Maleficent and Jacqueline Durran’s early 1900s menswear show of preposterously penguin tailcoats, top hats and cravats created for Mr. Turner, a biopic of eccentric British landscape painter J.M.W. Turner.

All of these talented designers are deserving of the coveted gold statuette. But the costume competition has always been a bit of a numbers game (who already won what and when and with whom) with a dash of awards season politics to spice things up.

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Right now, this is how we think the costume race may play out. 

Long shots include Bridges, who previously won an Academy Award in 2012 for his silent-film-era costumes in The Artist, and Durran, who grabbed the gold for Anna Karenina in 2013 after past nods for Atonement and Pride and Prejudice. But the period-perfect costumes in Vice and Turner may not be enough to float voters' boats. 

Meanwhile Maleficent marks Sheppard’s third Academy Award nomination; her two previous noms were for The Pianist and Schindler’s List. But some of the most breathtaking costumes in Disney’s fantasy film were created by edgy new fashion faces: Rob Goodwin, Manuel Albarran and milliner Justin Smith, in collaboration with Jolie herself. 

This in mind, it’s likely to come down to the two reigning Academy Award costume queens — Atwood, 67, and Canonero, 69 — who each have three Oscars on their mantels already.

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Canonero's career began in 1971 when she collaborated with Stanley Kubrick on Clockwork Orange in 1971. She’s been nominated nine times, most recently for Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (2006), as well as for cinema classics Chariots of Fire and Barry Lyndon. Atwood has been nominated 11 times, most recently for Alice in Wonderland (2011), Memoirs of a Geisha and Chicago.

There are distinct similarities between the two films. Both are set on a grand, madcap and fanciful scale. Both films' costumes are colorful and imaginative. Both have comical moments and feature A-list stars: Into the Woods has Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep; Grand Budapest Hotel stars Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton.

And both designers have previous working relationships with their directors. Canonero worked with Wes Anderson on two other comedies, The Darjeeling Limited and The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Neither was nominated for a costume Oscar. Whereas Atwood previously worked with Rob Marshall on her two past Oscar-winning films, Memoirs of a Geisha and Chicago.

We rest our case. All things considered, we’re predicting Atwood for the gold this year.