As someone who tracks the awards season for at least part of a living, it goes without saying that I've said some geeky things in my time. And few have been geekier than my involuntary exclamation, while discussing the Oscar prospects for "The Artist" with a colleague last week, along the lines of: "I just hope to God it gets a Best Costume Design nomination!" My colleague looked understandably flummoxed: even allowing for my keener-than-average interest in the technical categories, it seems a peculiarly specific wish. The 1920s threads in "The Artist" are top-notch, of course, as is every craft aspect of the handsome monochrome period piece. Why this category?
The answer lies not in the clothes as much as the man behind them. Costume designer Mark Bridges is one of the very best in his field, a singular artist whose imagination is equally fired by contemporary and period settings, whose visual wit and personality shine through even in projects that aren't obvious sartorial showcases. Over two decades in Hollywood, his designs have graced everything from austere Paul Thomas Anderson dramas to fluffy teen comedies to a Cirque du Soleil special, and he has precisely zero Oscar nominations to show for it.