Best Costume Design – 1978

Official Nominations: Death On The Nile. Caravans. Days Of Heaven. The Swarm. The Wiz.

Agatha Christie works are usually good for a nomination here, alongside other period pieces. It deserves a nomination for sure, but there’s nothing to stand out. Caravans is a mostly listless film which has never received much critical or fan praise, so it seems odd that it received any nomination beyond being another nod for the lady who worked on Cleopatra. The Swarm is equally odd given the fact that it is a mostly ridiculed film and that it doesn’t seem to have any Design flair beyond any other movie of the week. Days Of Heaven at least looks the part, even if the costumes themselves don’t stand out in any shape or form, while The Wiz succeeds where the others mostly fail, making the costumes an extension of the character as well as being memorable on their own.

My Winner: The Wiz

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My Nominations: The Wiz. Superman. Halloween. Dawn Of The Dead. Days Of Heaven. The Deer Hunter. Death On The Nile. Grease.

The official winner and my winner survive to my list of nominations, joining some obvious and less obvious options. Superman features one of the all time iconic costumes and while that costume wasn’t designed from scratch for the movie, this version of it is probably still the most famous and preferred. Throw in the work to compare Clark’s childhood country life with the design of the big city, alongside those used in the Krypton scenes, and it’s obvious a lot of thought and care went into the design. If Superman features a famous whole costume, then Halloween features a single iconic item – the Michael Myers mask. It’s more than a mask, becoming a symbol of fear in the film and its sequels. Dawn Of The Dead takes special, zany, consideration to the costume design of its zombies with an array of ridiculous and individual costumes.

The Deer Hunter could have earned a nomination here mainly on the basis of being nominated elsewhere, but its clever contrast of home versus ‘over there’, and before versus after is another weapon in its arsenal. Finally, Grease is a film I would have guessed received more nominations than it actually did, with this category being a fairly obvious choice. Both Travolta and Olivia Newton John parade around in costumes which have been parodied over the years, and the backing collection of characters and dancers are each attired in colourful extensions of various 1950s caricatures.

My Winner: Grease

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Best Art Direction – 1978

Official Nominations: Heaven Can Wait. The Brink’s Job. California Suite. Interiors. The Wiz.

Heaven Can Wait was a shoe-in for the win this year, more to do with the calibre of the cast and director than the actual Art Direction. Visibly it’s good, but it takes too much of a leave out of A Matter Of Life And Death’s book without really adding anything new. The Brink’s Job is one of the forgotten William Friedkin movies – a comedy heist type caper raised by its performances and assured direction. Taking place in many familiar places around Boston likely nailed its nomination. Interiors in name alone seems like it should be nominated here, but it mimics Bergman without truly capturing the stark and often paranoid look his films were known for. California Suite gets as meta a nomination as you could think of, taking place in LA in and around The Academy Awards themselves with many locales known to the voters. Finally, The Wiz takes one of the most famous films of all time and some of its most iconic fantasy lands and twists them into a bizarre version of 70s NYC. At least in taking elements that audiences are familiar with, it tries to do something different and largely succeeds.

My Winner: The Wiz

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My Nominations: The Wiz. Heaven Can Wait. Midnight Express. Superman. Days Of Heaven. A Wedding.

Only my winner and the official winner make it onto my personal list of nominations, joining a vicious satire, a vicious prison movie, and Clark Kent. Midnight Express paints an excessively bleak picture of prison life with all life and colour ripped from the screens, while Robert Altman’s lesser known A Wedding spares no expense in showcasing and pulling apart a day in the life of a bunch of rich people. Out of all the films this year it seems most odd that Days Of Heaven was missed here, an obvious nomination to most. My vote goes to Superman – from exploding dams to busy media offices, to the fortress of solitude to the planet of Krypton, Superman travels from one edge of the galaxy to the other and never misses a beat in portraying the adventures in a more or less human and realistic way.

My Winner: Superman

Let us know your winner in the comments!