A leading Hollywood designer has condemned the outrageous outfits Melissa McCarthy and Bryan Tyree Henry wore while presenting the Oscar for Best Costume Design on Sunday (24Feb19).
The pair wore over-the-top outfits that represented the styles featured in the nominated films The Favourite, Mary Poppins Returns, Mary Queen of Scots, Black Panther, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and McCarthy added more comedy by operating a rabbit hand puppet – a reference to the royal bunnies in The Favourite.
The Can You Ever Forgive Me? star and Henry’s moment in the spotlight was one of the ceremony’s comedy highlights, but not everyone found it funny, and in a Facebook post on Tuesday (26Feb19), Oscar nominated costume designer Arianne Phillips called the stunt “tasteless and insulting”.
“I like to think I have a sense of humour, and I love Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry,” she wrote. “But… I honestly thought this was tasteless and insulting to costume design.
“The Oscars are an opportunity to honour our craft. As costume designers we struggle with people in our own industry UNDERSTANDING our job. On this one night, where the work is supposed to be elevated (look at the international ratings), this is perhaps the most egregious misrepresentation not only of taste (which is subjective) but of value to the filmmaking process.”
Phillips, who was recognised by the Academy in years past for her work on films like Walk the Line and W.E., feels the decision to poke fun at looks crafted for film is going to lead to further misunderstandings surrounding the role of costume designer on set.
“We constantly have to explain our job (and) this kind of mockery only underscores frustration,” she continued. “(It) feels like major steps backwards. SHAME on The Academy for allowing this to be broadcast.”
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