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Sandy’s Dandy: In Defense of Sandy Powell, the Blasé Oscar Winner

It would be nice to let the damn Oscars go already, but among the burning Twitter issues — Elinor Burkett’s dementia, Sean Penn’s mumblecore — there’s one that really galls my kibe: the abuse for costume designer Sandy Powell for seeming blasé about receiving her third Oscar for The Young Victoria. People who work with Powell describe her as refreshingly b.s.-free, so she wasn’t about to put on a teary little show. More than that, she showed humility in daring to say out loud what many believe: that it’s much easier to win an Oscar for period films or “costume dramas” in which you notice the costumes than for modern, more realistic films in which the costumes don’t call as much attention to themselves. In that case, though, designers work closely with the actors, study the psychology of the characters, and endlessly confer with production designers and cinematographers to adapt to the overall mood and mise-en-scène. So pace the Twitterati, Sandy Powell is my new hero — and she wore, for my money, the best damn dress in the whole snoozer.

UPDATE: My colleague Stephanie Zacharek has located Sandy Powell's delightful dress, and for $3200 it can be yours!

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