Sandy Powell

Born (1960-04-07) 7 April 1960 (age 63)
London, England
Alma materCentral School of Art
OccupationCostume designer
Years active1985–present
RelativesAnthony Powell (cousin)[1]

Sandy Powell OBE (born 7 April 1960) is a British costume designer. She created costumes for either independent films or blockbusters and became particularly noted for her prolific work in period dramas. She has received numerous accolades throughout her career spanning over three decades, including three Academy Awards, three BAFTA Film Awards, and two Costume Designers Guild Awards. Powell was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for her services to the film industry.[2]

Powell gained prominence for her collaborations with filmmakers Derek Jarman, Neil Jordan, Todd Haynes and Martin Scorsese.[3][4][5][6] She has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design fifteen times, winning three awards for Shakespeare in Love (1998), The Aviator (2004), and The Young Victoria (2009). She has also received sixteen nominations for the BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design, winning three awards for Velvet Goldmine (1998), The Young Victoria, and The Favourite (2018).

Early life and education

Powell was born in London in 1960,[7] and grew up in Brixton and Clapham.[8] Her father worked in casinos, while her mother was a secretary.[9] Powell learned to sew from her mother on a Singer sewing machine,[10] drew pictures of clothes, designed and made outfits for her dolls, and started making her own clothes from a young age.[11] She also developed an interest in film and theatre from an early age.[9]

Powell attended Sydenham High School,[10] and in 1978 she completed an art foundation course at Saint Martin's School of Art, where she became acquainted with Lea Anderson, who later became a dancer and choreographer as well as Powell's collaborator.[12] In 1979, Powell began a BA in theatre design at the Central School of Art and Design, but left after two years before completing her degree and started working for fringe theatre companies.[10][7]

Career

1980–1997: Early work

Powell at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival (2011)

After leaving Central, Powell began a working relationship with dancer and choreographer Lindsay Kemp, whom she greatly admired. She designed costumes for his productions, the first of which was the show Nijinsky at La Scala in Milan.[11][13] In the early 1980s, Powell became acquainted with filmmaker Derek Jarman, who became a mentor and an influential figure in her life.[9] Following Jarman's advice, she spent a year working on music videos.[14][15] She made her entry into the film industry in 1986, designing costumes for the Jarman film Caravaggio.[10]

In 1992, Powell achieved prominence in the period drama film Orlando, directed by Sally Potter.[13] Operating on a limited budget,[16] Powell created elaborate costumes for the gender-switching and time-traveling protagonist (played by Tilda Swinton), for which she received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design.[17] Powell also began a collaboration with director Neil Jordan, which would produce a total of six films including the British thriller The Crying Game (1992), the gothic horror film Interview with the Vampire (1994) and the period drama Michael Collins (1996).[16]

1998–2017: Breakthrough

Powell received dual nominations at the 71st Academy Awards for her two 1998 films, Velvet Goldmine and Shakespeare in Love. Echoing the contemporary tone of Shakespeare in Love, Powell opted to sacrifice historical accuracy in her costume designs but still managed to achieve "emotional accuracy", according to Salon critic Stephanie Zacharek. The detail on the costumes of Gwyneth Paltrow's Viola and the thematic significance of her costume changes were also noted as highlights of the film. For her work in the film, Powell won her first Academy Award for Best Costume Design.[17]

Costume worn by Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria, designed by Powell.

Following her win at the 71st Academy Awards, Powell began her collaboration with director Martin Scorsese, starting with his 2002 epic period drama film Gangs of New York, for which she earned her 5th Oscar nomination. The two reunited for the 2004 biographical drama film The Aviator, for which Powell won her second Academy Award.[18] In 2005 she worked on Stephen Frears' Mrs Henderson Presents earning another Academy Award nomination. She worked on Scorsese gain this time for a film set in modern day creating current day clothing for the Boston crime drama The Departed (2006) starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson. She then worked on the historical romantic drama The Other Boleyn Girl which was based on 2001 film of the same name by Philippa Gregory. The film was directed by Justin Chadwick and starred Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman, and Eric Bana.

In 2009, She worked on the romantic period drama The Young Victoria directed by Jean-Marc Vallée.[19] The film starred Emily Blunt as Queen Victoria, and the film revolves around her upbringing and romance with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha portrayed by Rupert Friend. She won her third Academy Award for Best Costume Design, and a BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design for her work on the film. The following year she worked on Scorsese's psychological thriller Shutter Island starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Julie Taymor's The Tempest with Helen Mirren. In 2011 she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design her work on Scorsese's childrens action adventure film Hugo losing to Mark Bridges for The Artist (2011).

Detail of the costume worn by Helen Mirren in The Tempest, designed by Powell.

In 2016, Powell received her second dual nominations at the 88th Academy Awards, having been recognized for her works in Kenneth Branagh's Disney live-action adaptation of Cinderella and for Todd Haynes' romantic drama Carol (2015). The later was based off the Patricia Highsmith novel The Price of Salt (1952). The film starred Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as starcrossed lovers in the 1950s.[20] She reunited with Haynes for the black and white film Wonderstruck (2017) starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams. The film was based off the 2011 novel of the same name by Brian Selznick. She also served as an executive producer on the film. That same year, she worked on the John Cameron Mitchell's wacky science fiction romantic comedy How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2017).

2018–present

In 2019, Powell garnered her third dual nominations at the 91st Academy Awards for her works in Yorgos Lanthimos' The Favourite (2018) and Rob Marshall's Mary Poppins Returns (2018), making her the most nominated costume designer in Academy Awards history after Edith Head.[21] In 2020, Powell received her 15th Oscar nomination in her seventh collaboration with Martin Scorsese in his epic crime film The Irishman starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci. She shared the nomination with her co-designer, Christopher Peterson.[22][19] At the same year, Powell collected many stars' signatures on a cream calico suit in a widely publicized tour of 2020 awards ceremonies, including the 92nd Academy Awards and 73rd British Academy Film Awards, to be auctioned to raise funds for the preservation of director Derek Jarman's home, Prospect Cottage.[23] She also did the costume design for the British drama Living (2021) starring Bill Nighy and the live action Disney film Show White starring Rachel Zegler.

Film credits

Year Title Director Notes
1986 Caravaggio Derek Jarman
1988 The Last of England
1991 Edward II
The Miracle Neil Jordan
1992 Orlando Sally Potter
The Crying Game Neil Jordan
1993 Wittgenstein Derek Jarman
1994 Being Human Bill Forsyth
Interview with the Vampire Neil Jordan
1995 Rob Roy Michael Caton-Jones
1996 Michael Collins Neil Jordan
1997 The Butcher Boy
The Wings of the Dove Iain Softley
1998 Velvet Goldmine Todd Haynes
Hilary and Jackie Anand Tucker
Shakespeare in Love John Madden
1999 Felicia's Journey Atom Egoyan
Miss Julie Mike Figgis
The End of the Affair Neil Jordan
2002 Far from Heaven Todd Haynes
Gangs of New York Martin Scorsese
2003 Sylvia Christine Jeffs
2004 The Aviator Martin Scorsese
2005 Mrs Henderson Presents Stephen Frears
2006 The Departed Martin Scorsese
2008 The Other Boleyn Girl Justin Chadwick
2009 The Young Victoria Jean-Marc Vallée
2010 Shutter Island Martin Scorsese
The Tempest Julie Taymor
2011 Hugo Martin Scorsese
2012 Suspension of Disbelief Mike Figgis
2013 The Wolf of Wall Street Martin Scorsese
2015 Cinderella Kenneth Branagh
Carol Todd Haynes
2017 Wonderstruck also executive producer
How to Talk to Girls at Parties John Cameron Mitchell
2018 The Favourite Yorgos Lanthimos
Mary Poppins Returns Rob Marshall
2019 The Irishman Martin Scorsese Co-designed with Christopher Peterson
2020 The Glorias Julie Taymor
2021 Mothering Sunday Eva Husson
2022 Living Oliver Hermanus
The Bower Marco Alessi Short film; creative producer only
2025 Snow White Marc Webb Post-production

Awards and nominations

Major associations

Year Category Nominated work Result Ref.
Academy Awards
1994 Best Costume Design Orlando Nominated [24]
1998 The Wings of the Dove Nominated [25]
1999 Shakespeare in Love Won [26]
Velvet Goldmine Nominated
2003 Gangs of New York Nominated [27]
2005 The Aviator Won [28]
2006 Mrs Henderson Presents Nominated [29]
2010 The Young Victoria Won [30]
2011 The Tempest Nominated [31]
2012 Hugo Nominated [32]
2016 Carol Nominated [33]
Cinderella Nominated
2019 The Favourite Nominated [34]
Mary Poppins Returns Nominated
2020 The Irishman Nominated [35]
BAFTA Film Awards
1994 Best Costume Design Orlando Nominated [36]
1995 Interview with the Vampire Nominated [37]
1998 The Wings of the Dove Nominated [38]
1999 Velvet Goldmine Won [39]
Shakespeare in Love Nominated
2000 The End of the Affair Nominated [40]
2003 Gangs of New York Nominated [41]
2005 The Aviator Nominated [42]
2006 Mrs Henderson Presents Nominated [43]
2010 The Young Victoria Won [44]
2012 Hugo Nominated [45]
2016 Carol Nominated [46]
Cinderella Nominated
2019 The Favourite Won [47]
Mary Poppins Returns Nominated
2020 The Irishman Nominated [48]

Other awards and nominations

Award Year Category Title Result
British Independent Film Awards 2005 Best Technical Achievement Mrs Henderson Presents Nominated
2017 Best Costume Design How to Talk to Girls at Parties Nominated
2018 The Favourite Won
2022 Living Nominated
Capri Hollywood International Film Festival 2015 Best Costume Design Cinderella Won
Costume Designers Guild Awards 2005 Excellence in Period/Fantasy Film The Aviator Nominated
2010 Excellence in Period Film The Young Victoria Won
2011 Excellence in Fantasy Film The Tempest Nominated
2012 Excellence in Period Film Hugo Nominated
2016 Excellence in Fantasy Film Cinderella Nominated
Excellence in Period Film Carol Nominated
2019 The Favourite Won
Mary Poppins Returns Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Awards 2010 Best Costume Design The Young Victoria Won
2012 Hugo Nominated
2016 Carol Nominated
Cinderella Nominated
2019 The Favourite Nominated
Mary Poppins Returns Nominated
2020 The Irishman Nominated
Empire Awards 2016 Best Costume Design Carol Nominated
Cinderella Nominated
European Film Awards 2019 Best Costume Designer The Favourite Won
Evening Standard British Film Awards 1992 Best Technical/Artistic Achievement Edward II
The Miracle
The Pope Must Die
Won
1994 Orlando Won
Genie Awards 2000 Best Costume Design Felicia's Journey Nominated
Hollywood Film Awards 2015 Costume Designer of the Year Cinderella Won
2018 The Favourite Won
London Film Critics' Circle Awards 2016 Technical Achievement of the Year Cinderella Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Awards 2003 Best Costume Design Far from Heaven Won
Gangs of New York Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards 2018 Best Costume Design The Favourite Won
Satellite Awards 1998 Best Costume Design The Wings of the Dove Nominated
1999 Shakespeare in Love Nominated
2003 Gangs of New York Nominated
2005 The Aviator Nominated
2009 The Young Victoria Nominated
2016 Cinderella Nominated
2019 The Favourite Won
2023 Living Nominated
Saturn Awards 1995 Best Costume Design Interview with the Vampire Won
2012 Hugo Nominated
2016 Cinderella Nominated
2019 Mary Poppins Returns Nominated
Seattle Film Critics Society Awards 2018 Best Costume Design The Favourite Nominated
Mary Poppins Returns Nominated

Honorary accolades

Organization Year Category Result
British Academy of Film and Television Arts 2023 BAFTA Fellowship Won
Camerimage 2015 Costume Designer with Unique Visual Sensitivity Won
Capri Hollywood International Film Festival 2015 Capri Legend Award Won
Costume Designers Guild 2010 Career Achievement in Film Won
London Film Critics' Circle 2020 Dilys Powell Award Won

References

  1. ^ "Anthony Powell". The Stage. 28 April 2021. Retrieved 7 July 2023.
  2. ^ "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. p. 12.
  3. ^ "What Inspires Martin Scorsese's Go-to Costume Designer". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  4. ^ "In conversation with costume designer Sandy Powell". The Daily Telegraph. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Todd Haynes: 'She said, there's a frock film coming up, with Cate attached … It sounded right up my alley'". The Guardian. 15 November 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  6. ^ "'American Horror Story,' 'Carol' Costume Designer and Director Teams Discuss Collaborations". Variety. 19 November 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  7. ^ a b Bromwich, Kathryn (17 July 2016). "On my radar: Sandy Powell's cultural highlights". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  8. ^ Dziautaite, Modesta (26 February 2006). "Sandy Powell: Behind the Silver Screen". 1 Granary. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  9. ^ a b c "'Carol' and 'Cinderella' Costume Designer – Sandy Powell – In Conversation". Film Doctor. 1 February 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d "Sandy Powell OBE, RDI". University of the Arts London. 19 July 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  11. ^ a b Bromwich, Kathryn (22 January 2020). "The Irishman Costume Designer Sandy Powell on Her Career in Drama". W. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  12. ^ Harries, Rhiannon (5 September 2010). "How We Met: Lea Anderson & Sandy Powell". The Independent. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  13. ^ a b Bromwich, Kathryn (23 November 2019). "Sandy Powell: 'I am not afraid to be adventurous and go against the grain'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  14. ^ Feinberg, Scott (23 February 2016). "'Awards Chatter' Podcast — Sandy Powell ('Carol' & 'Cinderella')". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  15. ^ Kelsey, Colleen (18 February 2016). "Fashioning Sandy Powell". Interview. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  16. ^ a b Hirschberg, Lynn (20 December 1998). "A Dresser for the Ages". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  17. ^ a b Zacharek, Stephanie (6 May 1999). "Queen of the cross-dressers". Salon. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  18. ^ Cusumano, Katherine (10 June 2016). "Costume Designer Sandy Powell On Dressing Martin Scorsese's Leading Women, and 15 Years of Collaboration". W. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  19. ^ a b Mead, Rebecca (9 December 2019). "De-Aging De Niro with Suits and Spanx". The New Yorker. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  20. ^ Chan, Stephanie (14 January 2016). "Oscars: Costume Designer Sandy Powell Scores Two Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
  21. ^ Brian Welk (14 February 2019). "How Double Oscar Nominee Sandy Powell Tackled Both 'The Favourite' and 'Mary Poppins Returns'". TheWrap. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  22. ^ Cosgrave, Bronwyn (3 February 2020). "Sandy Powell on Working With Martin Scorsese: "The First Thing He Does Is Look at the Costumes"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  23. ^ "Sandy Powell – Signed suit for the Prospect Cottage campaign 2020 | Sandy Powell's Suit: An online auction in support of Derek Jarman's Prospect Cottage London Wednesday, March 4, 2020 Lot 1".
  24. ^ "66th Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  25. ^ "70th Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  26. ^ "71st Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  27. ^ "75th Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  28. ^ "77th Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  29. ^ "78th Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  30. ^ "82nd Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  31. ^ "83rd Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  32. ^ "84th Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  33. ^ "88th Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  34. ^ "91st Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  35. ^ "92nd Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  36. ^ "47th British Academy Film Awards". British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  37. ^ "48th British Academy Film Awards". British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  38. ^ "51st British Academy Film Awards". British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  39. ^ "52nd British Academy Film Awards". British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  40. ^ "53rd British Academy Film Awards". British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  41. ^ "56th British Academy Film Awards". British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  42. ^ "58th British Academy Film Awards". British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  43. ^ "59th British Academy Film Awards". British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  44. ^ "63rd British Academy Film Awards". British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  45. ^ "65th British Academy Film Awards". British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  46. ^ "69th British Academy Film Awards". British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  47. ^ "72nd British Academy Film Awards". British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  48. ^ "73rd British Academy Film Awards". British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Retrieved 15 August 2023.