hen it comes to costume design prizes and the Academy Awards, the choice will almost always be between history or fantasy. The Oscar nominations generally favour period pieces, or the odd ‘prestige’ genre movie that’s also found love in other categories – Mad Max: Fury Road or Black Panther, for example.
On very rare occasions where non-fantastical features set in the present enter Oscar conversations for costuming, it’s usually for films where contemporary fashion is explicitly prominent in the story, such as The Devil Wears Prada. Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love, set just a few years before its 2011 nomination, also falls under this umbrella, in following very wealthy characters who can afford runway fashion on the regular.
With this in mind, there’s a far less showy contemporary contender that was overlooked with this year’s nominees, but is no less crucial in reflecting the characters and narrative of the respective film. The tale of a married Busan-based detective getting too close to a suspect under his surveillance, Park Chan-wook’s Decision to Leave most immediately stands out in costuming terms with the sumptuous outfits worn by Song Seo-rae (Tang Wei), the wife of a murdered man, who’s being interrogated by inspector Jang Hae-joon (Park Hae-il)…
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