Best Costume Design – 1983

Official Nominations: Fanny & Alexander. Cross Creek. Heart Like A Wheel. The Return Of Martin Guerre. Zelig.

You can always rely on the Best Costume Design category to throw up a batch of films most people won’t remember seeing. The average film-going audience of today. Even back in 1983, these weren’t the most popular films. Lets avoid any Population fallacies and judge the movies on their own merits. Fanny & Alexander picked up the win – the Academy giving Bergman movies the soft wins when they can. Marik Vos had been nominated alongside Bergman before, and finally picked up a deserved win. However, it’s a 1982 film, and for my intents and purposes shouldn’t be here.

In the same vein, The Return Of Martin Guerre can be discounted as a 1982 film. Most people will know it as the film Sommersby was the remake of. Decent performances, decent music, and plenty of detailed costumes apparently accurate to what 16th Century French peeps wore.

Cross Creek is a decent, if dull Biography. It was (in 1983) a sort of period piece, and those always get nominated here. Fine. Heart Like A Wheel is similar, but takes place in a more modern period and focuses on Drag Racing, while Zelig follows suit – a Woody Allen effort told in an interesting style. None of the films are the sort of thing I would nominate here, but I have to pick a winner.

My Winner: Zelig

Zelig (1983) - Photo Gallery - IMDb

My Nominations: Flashdance. The Hunger. Krull. Project A. Return Of The Jedi. Scarface. Something Wicked This Way Comes.

None of the official picks make it over to my list. Admittedly, I could cut mine down to five by removing Krull – a film whose budget limitations and datedness gets in the way of its imagination, and Something Wicked This Way Comes which always felt like a TV movie even with its cool costumes for Mr Dark and The Dust Witch.

Flashdance then – a musical, a rags to riches tale of sorts – all fodder for The Academy and the sort of thing you would normally expect to get a nomination or two here. Dancing, and tight leotards, and danger zones were all the rage in the 80s so this seems like a worthy pick here. The Hunger is more offbeat, an exercise in style and one which has a keen eye for fashion and beauty and obsession. Project A is a Hong Kong movie so stood no chance of picking up any nominations – even less so because it’s a Martial Arts movie. But it’s also a period piece which looks swell.

If any of my picks could be classed as snubs here, Scarface would maybe be the one you would pick, its notable excesses exemplified at various points through the use of its often hilariously over the top costuming. My winner, unsurprisingly, is Return Of The Jedi. The sheer effort in crafting costumes, often highly individualised yet fitting for the race involved, for some many people and creatures, is once again ridiculous and makes any other option in this category null and void.

My Winner: Return Of The Jedi

Let us know your winner in the comments!

One thought on “Best Costume Design – 1983

  1. John Charet February 7, 2023 / 11:10 pm

    Hard choice, but i would pick Fanny and Alexander 🙂

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