Costume Designers Guild Awards: ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ and ‘Promising Young Woman’ Among Film Winners

Chris Lindahl and Bill Desowitz
·5 min read
 IndieWire The Craft Top of the Line
IndieWire The Craft Top of the Line

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Promising Young Woman” were among the film winners at the 23rd annual Costume Designers Guild Awards Tuesday night. TV winners included “The Queen’s Gambit” (Netflix) and the filmed version of “Hamilton” (Disney+).

Broadcast online, the awards celebrated the best in film, TV, and short-form costume design in eight categories that spanned fantasy, contemporary, and period works. Streamed live on Twitter, the virtual ceremony was hosted by Lana Condor (“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”).

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Oscar frontrunner Ann Roth’s work on “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” bested other period film nominees at the CDG Awards, heading toward a likely Oscar win, beating “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “One Night in Miami,” and two other Oscar nominees, “Emma,” and “Mank.”

The 89-year-old Roth (an Oscar winner for “The English Patient”) bolstered Viola Davis’ powerful performance as the trailblazing ’20s blues singer. Davis, who picked up a historic fourth Oscar nomination — the most of any Black actress — and is the Best Actress favorite, flaunted her flashy wardrobe to convey a sexy, subversive image. Roth put Davis in a rubber suit modeled after Aretha Franklin, and assembled an array of bold and durable outfits (including flowing berry-red and blue velvet dresses). Roth also helped out hair department head Mia Neal and makeup stylist Sergio Lopez Rivera by informing them that Rainey made her wigs out of horsehair and had a mouthful of gold teeth.

Disney’s lavish “Mulan” (the only other Oscar nominee to win Tuesday), boasts the work of costume designer Bina Daigeler, who concentrated on the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD) for its use of primary colors, cotton, silk, and leather, and the symbolism of clouds and animals. The lilac Hanfu wrap dress became perfect for the matchmaking costume, with its intricately embroidered symbols, and Mulan’s red tunic and battle armor were form-fitted to comply with the lyricism of the battle sequences.

And, in perhaps a preview of the Emmy race, Netflix’s buzzy “The Queen’s Gambit” grabbed period honors for costume designer Gabriele Binder over the streamer’s other rivals, “The Crown” and “Bridgerton.”

Paul Tazewell, in accepting his award for his work on “Hamilton,” offered his support for Broadway costume shops that have been shuttered for over a year amid the pandemic.

“Grey’s Anatomy” and “Bridgerton” producers Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers accepted the Distinguished Collaborator Award, given annually to people who demonstrate unwavering commitment to collaboration with costume designers. “Our success certainly wouldn’t be possible without the brilliant creativity of the designers we’ve had the honor of working with,” Rhimes said.

Several winners and presenters spoke about the discrepancy in pay between those working in the woman-dominated costume department and others on set, including “Promising Young Woman” winner Nancy Steiner. “I’d like to take this opportunity to appeal to the industry with a plea to pay costume designers what we are worth,” she said. “So much of what you see on screen is our work. It influences culture, fashion and results in additional profits for the studio. It’s time for them to notice. Please, it’s time for pay equity now. You need to pay attention.”

Below is a complete list of nominees, with winners bolded:

Excellence in Sci-Fi / Fantasy Film

“Dolittle” – Jenny Beavan
“Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” – Michael Wilkinson
“Mulan” – Bina Daigeler (winner)
“Pinocchio” – Massimo Cantini Parrini
“Wonder Woman 1984” – Lindy Hemming

Excellence in Contemporary Film

“Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” – Trayce Gigi Field
“Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” – Erin Benach
“Da 5 Bloods” – Donna Berwick
“Promising Young Woman” – Nancy Steiner (winner)
“The Prom” – Lou Eyrich

Excellence in Period Film

“Emma” – Alexandra Byrne
“Judas and the Black Messiah” – Charlese Antoinette Jones
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” – Ann Roth (winner)
“Mank” – Trish Summerville
“One Night in Miami” – Francine Jamison-Tanchuck

Excellence in Sci-Fi / Fantasy Television

“The Mandalorian”: “Chapter 13: The Jedi” – Shawna Trpcic
“Snowpiercer”: “Access is Power” – Cynthia Summers
“Star Trek: Picard”: “Absolute Candor” – Christine Bieselin Clark
“Westworld”: “Parce Domine” – Shay Cunliffe (winner)
“What We Do in the Shadows”: “Nouveau Théâtre des Vampires” – Amanda Neale

Excellence in Contemporary Television

“Emily in Paris”: “Faux Amis” – Patricia Field & Marylin Fitoussi
“Euphoria”: “Part 1: Rue – Trouble Don’t Last Always” – Heidi Bivens
“I May Destroy You”: “Social Media is a Great Way to Connect” – Lynsey Moore
“Schitt’s Creek”: “Happy Ending” – Debra Hanson (winner)
“Unorthodox”: “Part 2” – Justine Seymour

Excellence in Period Television

“Bridgerton”: “Diamond of the First Water” – Ellen Mirojnick & John W. Glaser III
“The Crown”: “Terra Nullius” – Amy Roberts
“Lovecraft Country”: “I Am.” – Dayna Pink
“Mrs. America”: “Shirley” – Bina Daigeler
“The Queen’s Gambit”: “End Game” – Gabriele Binder (winner)

Excellence in Variety, Reality-Competition, Live Television

“Dancing with the Stars”: “Villains Night” – Daniela Gschwendtner & Steven Norman Lee
“Hamilton” – Paul Tazewell (winner)
“The Masked Dancer”: “Premiere – Everybody Mask Now!” – Gabrielle Letamendi & Candice Rainwater
“The Masked Singer”: “The Semi Finals – The Super Six” – Marina Toybina
“Saturday Night Live”: “John Mulaney / The Strokes” – Tom Broecker & Eric Justian

Excellence in Short Form Design

“Apple: Shot on iPhone” by Damien Chazelle – Vertical Cinema “The Stunt Double” short film – April Napier (winner)
The Killers: “Caution” music video – Samantha Kuester
Selena Gomez: “Boyfriend” music video – Dawn Ritz & Kenn Law
Tim Burton Themed Halloween Party short film – Dawn Ritz
The Weeknd: “Blinding Lights” music video – Ami Goodheart

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