As you know, with the Academy, usually best = more. This is specially true of the "design" categories. The recently retitled Production Design and Costume Design categories tend to award the movies that present the flashiest sets and costumes. Sometimes, more is best and we get wonderful winners like Marie Antoinette. Sometimes, we get something as horrible as Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
Before diving into this category, I have to say that this year's set of nominees is a very worthy one. You may say what you want about Snow White and the Huntsman, but Colleen Atwood did some pretty amazing work with the costumes of that movie. Similarly, the period pieces of Lincoln and Les Misérables are very worthy nominees too. The other two nominees, are the ones that can be the only plausible responses to what film has the most costumes.
The late Eiko Ishioka's work in Mirror Mirror is playful, grand, fanstastic and as cartoony and over-the-top as they get and it's nice to see a talent like hers be recognized with a posthumous nomination for a movie that has not been exactly fondly received by audiences and critics. Actually, the goofy fairy tale adaptation by Tarsem Sighn received such a mixed and unenthusiastic response that it would be a true shocker if it managed to win on Oscar night, no matter how many extravagant costumes it features.
Which brings us to Anna Karenina, a movie that also didn't get as enthusiastic a response from critics and audiences as I think it deserved. I've said it in the past and I'll say it again, Joe Wright's movie is a masterpiece of design and the costumes are no exception. It just won the BAFTA award for Costume Design a couple of days ago and it seems to be on its way to an Oscar win, which is very well deserved. I will be very happy if the Academy gives the statue to Anna's designer Jacqueline Durran, who has been denied in the past for both her amazing work in Pride and Prejudice and, shockingly, for the famous green dress from Atonement.
Will Win: Anna Karenina
Should Win: Anna Karenina