This year the Costume Design category offers a variety of styles that previous years have lacked. The category contains two new nominees, two winners and one six-time nominee. From the five designers nominated, however, there is one clear front-runner.
William Chang Suk Ping: "The Grandmaster" - Suk Ping's nomination for the Wong Kar-Wai film was thebiggest surprise of the competition as many expected "Saving Mr. Banks" to get nominated for its costumes. However, the Hong Kong film garnered the nomination. The Academy tends to nominate Asian films in this category—such as "Memoirs of a Geisha," "The Curse of the Golden Flower" and "Crouching Hidden Dragon"—for their traditional wardrobe. The film was not nominated for any precursor awards. As a result, this film has no chance of winning the award.
Catherine Martin: "The Great Gastby" - Martin received her third Costume Design nomination and sixth overall nomination at the Oscars. For her work on the Baz Luhrmann movie, Martin has already received awards at the Costume Designers Guild, BAFTA and Critics Choice awards. Having won these awards and the fact that the costumes play to the Academy's preference for eye candy helps the movie in this category. While the movie is only nominated for two awards, that will not hurt its chances of winning this award.
Patricia Norris: "12 Years a Slave" - Norris is an Oscar veteran who has been nominated a total of six times. She was previously shortlisted for "2010," "Sunset," "Victor/Victoria," "The Elephant Man," and "Days of Heaven." The Steve McQueen picture has been nominated for every major precursor in this category and even won at the Las Vegas Film Critics. However, given the Oscars' track record and their preference for glamorous work, this film has no chance in the race.
Michael O'Connor: "The Invisible Woman" - In a normal year, O'Connor would have taken home his second Oscar. The designer was previously nominated for "Jane Eyre" and "The Duchess" for which he won. "The Invisible Woman" went unseen throughout precursors and missed virtually every award ceremony save for the BAFTAs. However, the costumes are exactly what the Academy usually nominates. If the film had been nominated for more precursors and if the costumes were not as monochromatic in terms of color, the film would have a better position in this year's race.
Michael Wilkinson: "American Hustle" - Wilkinson's nomination for the David O. Russell film is his first nomination for an Academy Award. For his work in the film, Wilkinsom has received nomination at the Costume Designers Guild, BAFTA and Critics Choice but has lost consistently. Wilkinson's costumes are some of the most lavish in a film this year and they stand out beautifully. These are all indicators of what the Academy would normally choose in this category but one of the competitors has received more awards and buzz.
Previously, Jacqueline Durran ("Anna Karenina"), Mark Bridges ("The Artist"), Colleen Atwood ("Alice in Wondrland"), and Sandy Powell ("The Young Victoria") have all won the category.
Predictions: Catherine Martin will take home her third Oscar for "The Great Gatsby."