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HomeAwardsAward Contender-Sandy Powell, Mrs Henderson Presents

Award Contender-Sandy Powell, Mrs Henderson Presents

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For costume designer Sandy Powell, coming off Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator (for which she won an Oscar) straight into director Stephen Frears’ Mrs. Henderson Presents was a surprisingly easy transition. “I went from 1930s and ’40s Hollywood to ’30s and wartime London,” she says. “I still had my points of reference and I knew where to look to source materials appropriate to the era.”But going from a big-budget Hollywood movie to a notably smaller, independent English film presented certain challenges. With a much tighter budget there was a lot less prep time than she’d have liked. And her team of an assistant, a cutter and seven seamstresses was comparatively small. Nevertheless, with an abundance of reference material relating to that era and, in particular, in the archives of the Windmill Theater around which the story is set, Powell was able to concentrate her research time effectively.“There was a whole collection of copies of original Windmill programs, lots of photos of the shows, and the girls dressed up in costumes of the shows. I actually went out and met a couple of women who were involved at the time, and borrowed photos from them,” she says.Her costume designs not only drew from these many visual cues, but also from the memories of her seasoned cast. “Judi Dench talked about remembering things that her mother and grandmother wore during that period,” says Powell, who had previously designed costumes for Dench on Shakespeare in Love, for which both actress and designer won Academy Awards. “She’s very good with clothes and costumes and has a very good idea of proportion. She knows what works, and she’s so easy to work with.”Bob Hoskins’ character, theater director Vivian Van Damme, was more of a challenge, admits Powell. “He’s not an easy shape to design for. And he was very proper, always properly dressed for work.”It was Powell’s first time working with director Frears, who, she says, left her up to her own devices. “He didn’t really give me a specific brief. He just wanted to not have to worry about it. It was quite flattering really.”The two-time Oscar winner and BAFTA Film Award winner was most recently back working with director Martin Scorsese on The Departed, a crime thriller set in Boston. “This was different altogether, totally contemporary,” she says. 2006: Nominated, Academy Award for best achievement in costume design Mrs. Henderson Presents; Nominated, BAFTA Film Award for best costume design Mrs. Henderson Presents; 2005: Nominated, British Independent Film Awards for best technical achievement for the wardrobe Mrs. Henderson Presents; Won, Academy Award for best achievement in costume design The Aviator; Nominated, BAFTA Film Award for best costume design The Aviator; Nominated, CDG Award for excellence in costume design for film – period/fantasy The Aviator; Nominated, Golden Satellite Award for best costume design The Aviator; 2003: Nominated, Academy Award for best costume design Gangs of New York; Nominated, BAFTA Film Award for best costume design Gangs of New York; Nominated, Golden Satellite Award for best costume design Gangs of New York; 2000: Nominated, BAFTA Film Award for best costume design The End of the Affair; Nominated, Genie for best achievement in costume design Felicia’s Journey; 1999: Won Academy Award for best costume design Shakespeare in Love; Nominated, Academy Award for best costume design Velvet Goldmine; Won, BAFTA Film Award for best costume design Velvet Goldmine; Nominated, BAFTA Film Award for best costume design Shakespeare in Love; 1998: Nominated, Academy Award for best costume design The Wings of the Dove; Nominated, BAFTA Film Award for best costume design The Wings of the Dove; Nominated, Golden Satellite Award for outstanding costume design The Wings of the Dove; 1995: Nominated, BAFTA Film Award for best costume design Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; Won, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Award for best costumes Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; 1994: Nominated, Academy Award for best costume design Orlando; Nominated, BAFTA Film Award for best costume design Orlando

Written by Sam Molineaux

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