Open Letter to the Academy: Frost/Nixon Deserves the Oscar for Best Costume Design


As studios release a flurry of films to make the Oscar-nom cutoff, Frost/Nixon jumps to the top of our list of Academy Award hopefuls. Seriously, if Frank Langella’s turn isn’t Best Actor material, we’ll eat our Team Edward Hot Topic tee.

But another serious highlight for us — besides, y’know, the acting and stuff — was the makeup and costume design, courtesy of Daniel Orlandi. Because while Langella, along with Sam Rockwell, Michael Sheen, and Toby Jones, were expert in their transformations, they got ample help from the apparent “flare it out, comb it over” motto of their ’70s styles.

Sheen’s hair is feathered, his sideburns almost as impeccable as his suits; even his swishy Italian leather loafers feature as a plot point (Nixon derides them as unduly effeminate). Rockwell’s thinning wisps struggle to match Sheen’s feathered coif, and, paired with the de rigueur professorly corduroy blazer, go far in selling the actor as a harried and indignant Nixon expert. Meanwhile, Jones — with help from a bald cap and thick-framed “producer’s glasses” — proves he can ape public figures beyond just Truman Capote. Langella also notably OK’d prosthetics to reprise his Tony-winning turn as Tricky Dick; on stage, the actor did without the ex-Pres’ signature jowls.

Of course, knowing Hollywood, they’ll probably just fork the costume/makeup awards directly over to like, Tropic Thunder, for Tom Cruise’s fat suit. Sigh.