2023 Oscars: The Art of Costume Oscars Shortlist for Best Costume Design


On Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce this year’s Academy Award nominations. Like everyone reading, I am on the edge of my seat! It was a fantastic year for costume design, and I can think of so many designers who deserve this year’s Oscar. With that being said, I have some thoughts on what films I would like be nominated. Narrowing this list down to ten films was close to impossible. However, these ten films and storytelling behind the costumes really left a lasting impression with me. Enjoy the inaugural “The Art of Costume Oscars Shortlist for Best Costume Design”!


Top Five Contenders

The following films are listed in alphabetical order by film title.

Avatar: The Way of Water – Costume Design by Deborah Scott

Academy-award winning costume designer Deborah Scott teamed up with director James Cameron once again to design the costumes for Avatar: The Way of Water. I bet I can guess what you are thinking… “Aren’t most of those costumes just CGI?” Not only did Scott and her teams have to design the costumes for the live-action human characters, but they also had to create every single costume piece worn by the Na’Vi. The costumes are created by Deborah and her team for reference that inform the digitization process. Mind. Blown.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Costume Design by Ruth E. Carter

No shortlist for Best Costume Design would be complete this year without Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Just a few years ago, costume designer Ruth E. Carter won the Academy Award for designing the costumes for the first Black Panther film. Now here we are again and Carter could more than certainly make history once again with her costumes for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever! Not only did Carter elevate the costumes for Wakanda, but she and the team created an entire new world in Talokan led by Namor (Tenoch Huerta).

Elvis – Costume Design by Catherine Martin
ELVIS: Credit Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection

Academy-Award winner Catherine Martin does not miss when it comes to brilliant costume design and Elvis was no exception. As Elvis performs through the years, the audience falls more and more in love. While Austin Butler gives an award-worthy performance, none of it would be possible without the incredible costumes designed by Catherine Martin. The silhouettes, fabrics, and color palettes are simply mesmerizing.

Everything Everywhere All At Once – Costume Design by Shirley Kurata

Everything Everywhere All At Once was an incredible film (perhaps my favorite of the year) backed by brilliant performances and a masterclass in costume design. Costume designer Shirley Kurata moved alongside Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) as she journeyed through various universes… including one where everyone had hotdogs for fingers! This costume design rollercoaster takes you to places you never imagined, and it’s more than worth the ride!

The Woman King – Costume Design by Gersha Phillips
THE WOMAN KING: Credit: Ilze Kitshoff Courtesy of Sony Pictures

The Woman King was amazing. Costume designer Gersha Phillips did an immense amount of research exploring the history of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s. Her research brought forth beautiful textiles and fabrics that perfectly support an amazing cast (led by Viola Davis) as the audience dives into the heart of Dahomey and West Africa.


The following films are listed in alphabetical order by film title.

Babylon – Costume Design by Mary Zophres
BABYLON – Credit: Scott Garfield Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Babylon was full of exciting costumes. Right away, the audience is brought into a fantastical world and perhaps the greatest party on Earth. The opening scenes were worthy of a nomination alone. But as this Hollywood tale continues, the audiences are brought along on a wild ride full of movie sets and period costumes designed by Academy-Award nominated designer, Mary Zophres.

Don’t Worry Darling – Costume Design by Arianne Phillips
DON’T WORRY DARLING – Credit: Warner Bros.

If you were seduced by the creepy but pleasant glow of Olivia Wilde’s picturesque town of Victory, then you have Academy-Award nominated costume designer Arianne Phillips to thank! While the plot of Don’t Worry Darling is quite sinister, the costumes created by Phillips bring a feeling of joy, tranquility, perfection… exactly what Frank (Chris Pine) wants you to feel!

Tár – Costume Design by Bina Daigeler
Cate Blanchett stars as Lydia Tár in director Todd Field’s TÁR, a Focus Features release. Courtesy of Focus Features

Cate Blanchett gave the performance of a lifetime as Lydia Tár. However, this stylish character was brought to life in part of the genius work of Tár costume designer and Academy-Award nominee, Bina Daigeler. Daigeler designed the costumes to highlight Lydia’s minimalist on-the-go style, while also pointing to the celebrity nature of her life. At the same time, Daigeler invested a lot of time researching famous composers to create the famous tuxedo look. You know the one!

The Northman – Costume Design by Linda Muir
Björk stars as Seeress in director Robert Eggers’ Viking epic THE NORTHMAN Credit: Aidan Monaghan Courtesy of Focus Features, LLC

Let’s be real, The Northman was grossly underrated. I’ll go even further and say that the costumes designed by Linda Muir are worthy of an Academy-Award nomination and I am proud to put it on this year’s shortlist for Best Costume Design The intricate detail in the seeress look worn by Björk took my breath away. Not to mention, Alexander Skarsgård’s berserker costume, countless viking costumes, the valkyrie look, and of course Queen Gudrún (Nicole Kidman).

Women Talking – Costume Design by Quita Alfred
WOMEN TALKING An Orion Pictures Release Photo credit: Michael Gibson

Costume designer Quita Alfred gave a masterclass in research when it came to Sarah Polley’s film, Women Talking. When it came to designing the costumes for the characters in the film, Alfred went straight to the source and learned from actual Mennonite communities to learn about and source fabrics. She then responsibly and authentically recreated plain dress for each of the films characters.

Set a reminder for Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce this year’s Academy Award nominations. If you enjoyed the “The Art of Costume Oscars Shortlist for Best Costume Design” leave a comment and let me know who you hope to get a nomination.

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