(The Oscar Guide will be your chaperone through the Academy's 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 26, with the Best Picture finale on Saturday, February 25.)
If there’s one technical branch in the Academy that can be trusted above all others to prioritize the craft ahead of the film, it’s the costume designers: where others often merely check off consensus frontrunners, they routinely single out outstandingly costumed films with little to no buzz in any other race, whether it’s as highbrow as “I Am Love” or as downright dodgy as “Troy.”
They’ve certainly lived up to that reputation this year. Not only are three of the five nominees listed in this category alone, but two of them were widely panned by critics: nominating them seems a subtle assertion of independence on the voters’ part, particularly when they had the safer option of nominating less distinctive period garb from Best Picture nominees like “Midnight in Paris” and Costume Designers’ Guild nominee “The Help.” As is stands, only four of the Guild’s choices made the cut, as the Academy came to the rescue of arguably the baitiest threads of the bunch.
The nominees are...