Oscars 2021: From 'Mank' to 'Mulan,' here's a look at this year's best costume design nominees

ByAdrienne Alpert OTRC logo
Thursday, April 22, 2021
Oscars 2021: An inside look at the best costume design nominees
From "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" to "Mank," here's a firsthand look at this year's Oscar nominees for best costume design.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES -- COVID-19 forced the cancellation of a favorite pre-Oscar exhibit. The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising allowed fans to see dozens of the year's movie costumes in person.

The cancellation of this year's exhibit has disappointed both fans and Oscar voters.

"A lot of times we have some of the Academy voters that actually come to the exhibition, as a sort of 'let me just double check before I put in my vote.' And none of them can do that," said Nick Verreos, a FIDM spokesman.

Last year was the 28th annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibit, which includes the movies nominated for best costume design, and where the FIDM spokesman always dishes the best secrets.

This year, we could have seen the true colors used for "Mank," shot in black and white of the 30s and 40s, where Oscar nominee and FIDM graduate Trish Summerville used a most modern tool.

"She had a secret weapon for 'Mank' because it was shot digitally, but then it was black and white, filmed in black and white. And to find out what colors would work best with black and white, she used the monochromatic setting on her iPhone," revealed Verreos.

Summerville told FIDM Museum curator Kevin Jones it was a bonus working on the movie.

"It was really amazing to be able to work on 'Mank' in L.A., in Hollywood when it's a Hollywood story. That's really, really rare, and I got to work at home," said Summerville.

Summerville is a first-time nominee. So is designer Massimo Cantini Parrini, who used history to create the "Pinocchio" costumes, not the Disney animation.

But Bina Daigeler did reference the 1998 Disney animated "Mulan" for her first costume nomination.

Also in contention for "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" is 89-year-old designer Ann Roth, who has four nominations and an Oscar - and a strong point of view.

"She wanted Ma Rainey to look like a queen. So, everything that she wore was rich, expensive. She was wanting to show out, especially among a white man's world," said Verreos.

"Emma" costume designer Alexandra Byrne has five nominations and a win.

In the FIDM museum all you see right now are the crates for packing up costumes, but come the end of February next year, they expect that the Art of Motion Picture Costume Design will be back.

Mark your calendars: April 25 is Oscar Sunday. Live coverage begins Sunday morning and continues all day with special "On The Red Carpet" coverage leading up to the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony. After the last award is handed out, stay with "On The Red Carpet" for continuing coverage. Be sure to follow @OnTheRedCarpet on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok for all your Oscar news and information.