The Academy has no problem giving Best Picture to fancy period pieces, and as a result, this category is pretty strong.
25.) The Last Emperor (WON)
24.) Dances With Wolves (nominated)
23.) Schindler’s List (nominated)
22.) Gladiator (WON)
21.) Chicago (WON)
19.) All About Eve (nominated)
18.) West Side Story (WON)
17.) The Sound Of Music (nominated)
16.) Gigi (WON)
15.) Hamlet (WON)
14.) The Godfather, Part 2 (nominated)
13.) Around The World In 80 Days
12.) Lawrence Of Arabia
11.) Ben-Hur (WON)
Now for the runners up.
10.) An American In Paris (WON)
Nothing too fancy, but the costumes perfectly fit the tone of the story they’re trying to tell.
9.) Oliver (nominated)
Colorful and crazy, but not too unrealistic. Good contrast between the rich and the poor.
8.) Gandhi (WON)
More on quantity than quality for this film, but the Indian attire is well concieved.
7.) Out Of Africa (nominated)
Streep looks lovelier than usual in some gorgeous Danish dresses.
6.) The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (WON)
I feel legitimately bad for leaving this off. The fantasy costumes and the battle armor are wonderfully realized.
Okay, now for the nominees. Four of these films won the Oscar, and the one that didn’t came out before the Costume Design oscar existed.
Successfully recreating a bygone era is nothing new, but it’s rarely one as effectively as it is here. It’s one of the few films where the men are just and fancy as the women. Special props go to the masquerade ball scene and any of the theatrical scenes.
“GONE WITH THE WIND”
If the Best Costume Design Oscar existed back in 1939, this would be a surefire winner. Everybody always says that Vivian Leigh is Scarlett O’Hara, but I think that Leigh is only half of the performance – the other half is the costumes. Just by looking at the costumes you can easily tell who this woman is and what she’s like.
“MY FAIR LADY”
The ladies all look swell, the men are so dashing. Every costume in this film is a work of art, particularly anything Audrey Hepburn wears. The design, the color, the sequins. It’s absolutely amazing to behold. The whole film is basically a costume designer’s wet dream.
“SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE”
Shakespearean costumes are always impressive, and that is especially true in this 1998 Best Picture winner. From the costumes used in the play, to the ladies in the court, the clothing in this film was wonderfully realized. And if you’re still not convinced, look at Judi Dench’s Queen Elizabeth.
The contrast between the different classes is very well realized. Rose has some great dresses, and the other women in the story all have very good costumes. But there’s also the practical element of how to make the costumes work in tons of water.
3.) The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
2.) A Beautiful Mind
2.) Forrest Gump
2.) Gone With The Wind
1.) All Quiet On The Western Front
1.) The Godfather
1.) Going My Way
1.) Lawrence Of Arabia
1.) Midnight Cowboy
1.) My Fair Lady
1.) Out Of Africa
1.) Shakespeare In Love
Next category: Best Production Design.