Top Oscar-Winning Movies For Best Costume Design

Over 90 films have won the most prestigious film honor, the Academy Award for Best Costume Design since it was first given in 1994. Most of the time, films with historically accurate clothing take home the prize. 

But it’s not just the clothes that count in movies; hairstyles and makeup are as significant. As a result, such films frequently garner multiple Oscar nominations. In other circumstances, the film itself may be mediocre and fail to win an award for performance or screenplay. Another advantage of going through the list of Oscar-Winning Movies for costume design is that you’ll probably come across several that you’ve never heard of — not just the usual cult classics. 

Need some assistance narrowing things down? Find 11 outstanding movies that won Oscars for best costume design below, spanning a variety of styles and decades. So, the next time you’re looking for some visual stimulation, start here.

West Side Story, 1961

There are likely a thousand of reasons to watch (or re-watch) this 1961 classic musical: the timeless love tale, the iconic lines, the songs, and, of course, Natalie Wood’s stunning beauty, to mention a few. The wardrobe, on the other hand, demands a viewing as soon as possible.

Costume designer — Irene Sharaff

The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert, 1994

There was this campy Australian sitcom about drag queens before Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Lizzy Gardiner’s wardrobe was among the key reasons this 1994 film is still so beloved, from the feathered headdresses to the iconic flip-flop dress.

Costume designer — Lizzy Gardiner

Moulin Rouge!, 2001

There were as many as 300 costumes in total and 80 costume designers in the film. Short dresses, pantyhose, feathers, and lacy pantaloons were used to create a highly playful and sexy look.

Costume designer — Catherine Martin and Angus Strathie

Memoirs of a Geisha, 2005

Atwood, who also designed the costumes for other Oscar winners like Chicago and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, bagged the award for this breathtakingly stunning film set in 1920s Japan in 2006.

Costume designer — Colleen Atwood

Marie Antoinette, 2006

The rococo style is strongly featured in this film, even though the gowns are not historically authentic. Canonero maintained the overall appearance of the costumes but removed unnecessary ornamentation. It’s fascinating to learn that the designer got the inspiration for the pastel-colored outfits after seeing a pack of almond cookies that looked similar.

Costume designer — Milena Canonero

Elizabeth: The Golden Age, 2007

Queen Elizabeth wearing a yellow dress and a yellow hat

All images of the English Queen represent a specific period in her life. 

Her coronation and rule are marked by red and orange gowns, which distinguish her from other ladies. And the Queen’s garments are made up of greener colors in various scenes where she is sorrowful or anxious.

Costume designer — Alexandra Byrne

The Artist, 2011

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it’s actually a silent black-and-white film. All elements, including the costumes and interiors, were included to pay tribute to the silent film era. The stylization was flawless, and the audience at the Cannes Film Festival gave it a 10-minute standing ovation.

Costume designer — Mark Bridges

The Great Gatsby, 2013

woman donning The Grea Gatsby clothing style, feather headband, handbag

The original picture, released in 1974, was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design. The costumes for the 2013 film were designed by high-end fashion houses such as Tiffany & Co., Prada, and Brooks Brothers. This is why there was a lot of buzz about the movie’s costumes before it ever came out in theaters.

Following the premiere, various fashion collections featuring dresses in the style of The Great Gatsby were created.

Costume designer — Catherine Martin

The Grand Budapest Hotel, 2014

Because the film was set in an ironic utopia, the outfits were designed to look like they came from a fairy tale. Red, yellow, pink, violet, and gold were the five predominant hues employed. Felt was the most often used fabric in the picture. 

In an interview, Canonero stated that felt was primarily utilized in the production of military uniforms. It was intended to give the most discerning and attentive spectators the impression that something dreadful was on the way.

Costume designer — Milena Canonero

Phantom Thread, 2017

This film is set shortly after World War II, and during this time, London and Paris had the best fashion industry in the world. Bridges’ work was based on the former. He examined the biographies of Hardy Amies, Peter Russell, and Michael Donnellan, three not-so-well-known English designers, and blended their talents and features.

Costume designer — Mark Bridges

Black Panther, 2018

The designer combined futuristic components, haute couture accessories, and traditional African clothing to create stylish superhero outfits. According to Ruth E. Carter, she had images of actual African clothing in front of her at the time, and she looked at rare seashell ornaments and samples of body art and body piercing.

Costume designer — Ruth E. Carter