Thanks to over-the-top creations for Emma Stone like a garbage-truck gown with a 40-foot train, Jenny Beavan won the Academy Award for best costume design for her work on Cruella at the 94th ceremony on March 27, 2022.
The nod marked Beavan’s third Oscar win amid 11 nominations, previously winning for A Room With a View and Mad Mad: Fury Road. Her fellow nominees this year in the best costume design category included Dune‘s Jacqueline West and Bob Morgan, West Side Story‘s Paul Tazewell, Nightmare Alley‘s Luis Sequeira and Cyrano‘s Massimo Cantini Parrini and Jacqueline Durran.
“Go team Cruella,” said Beavan in her acceptance speech in which admitted that she almost turned down the project. “I have to say when [producer] Kristin Burr and [director] Craig Gillespie asked me to do this movie, I truly didn’t think we had time. I mean, I actually nearly said no.”
“Glad I didn’t,” continued Beavan. “The only reason I didn’t was because Clare Spragge, who’s sitting just there sparkling said she would come on board as costume supervisor and bring the team, the team of the most phenomenal, creative, clever, generous, amazing people without whom obviously it wouldn’t have happened.”
She also thanked the hair and makeup teams on the film as well as the actors “who just brought such life. I think Emma Thompson hyperventilating over some of her fittings her with joy was one of the highlights of my career.”
A live-action Disney movie, Cruella tells the origin story of arch-villainess Cruella de Vil, presenting her as a young adult named Estella (played by Stone) who manages to nab a job with haughty fashion designer The Baroness (Emma Thompson).
Stand-out outfits worn by Stone include an embellished military jacket worn atop a sweeping red skirt made of 5,060 hand-sewn organza petals. “We called them ‘photo bombs,’” Beavan said in a recent interview with THR of Estella’s attention-getting looks, often worn to upstage The Baroness.
Beavan noted that her own look at this year’s Oscars — which included a peak-lapel jacket and tulle details —honors “my inner Cruella a little bit.” Elements included glasses by Tom Davies, eyewear designer on Cruella, and “graffiti” on the outfit by Thom Botwood, costume illustrator on the movie. According to Vanity Fair, her white shirt her included an image of “a figure, a dove, and the words ‘Naked without us’… painted on by hand.” The slogan refers to the Costume Designers Guild campaign for pay equity for costume designers.
Beavan also referenced the look (that included a motorcycle jacket and boots) that she wore to the Oscars in 2016 when she won for Mad Max: Fury Road: “It didn’t go down well last time,” she said.
Born in London, Beavan grew up with a cellist-player father and viola-player and has said the family did not have a television when she was a kid: “We were always making and doing. I was blessed with an overactive imagination.” Early in her career her, she worked as a theater designer and later got her start in film working on films for Merchant Ivory leading to her first Oscar win for A Room with a View.