The A-listers of Hollywood all gathered to celebrate at the 88th Academy Awards Sunday. But for one star, British costume designer Jenny Beavan, who won the award for Best Costume Design for Mad Max: Fury Road, nobody seemed to celebrate her achievement.
As Us Magazine reports, Beavan veered away from the traditional dress code of the Oscars, showing up in a leather jacket and a striped scarf, much to the disdain of all those who gathered at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.
Many of the talents gave her disapproving stares. Spotlight director Tom McCarthy held his hand over his mouth as Beavan made her way to the stage. Four-time Oscar-winning director Alejandro Iñárritu had his arms crossed and refused to clap. Others looked on with bemusement and whispered to themselves. Some members of the audience eventually raised their hands to slowly clap for Beavan.
That snippet showing the Oscar audience failing to clap Jenny Beavan? It’s cobblers. See the full clip:https://t.co/Nub6xVQJm7
— Terence Dackombe (@SirTerence) March 1, 2016
The British designer dressed down for the occasion in leather Marks and Spencer jacket, emblazoned with a studded skull in tribute to Mad Max, and black pants. She graciously accepted her award and appeared unmoved by the lack of applause from the audience.
She addressed her choice of clothes to the media backstage.
“I really don’t do frocks and I absolutely don’t do heels. I simply can’t wear them. I’ve got a bad back. I look ridiculous in a beautiful gown and this was homage to Mad Max obviously.”
Pointing to her jacket, she continued, “This is Marks & Spencer with Swarovski at the back. I had a bit of a shoe malfunction and the glitter fell off. I just like feeling comfortable and as far as I’m concerned I’m really dressed up.”
All those famous guys didn’t clap for Jenny Beavan because they were consumed with jealousy over her badass jacket. pic.twitter.com/uJfUMO9B5c
— Suzan Eraslan (@SuzanEraslan) February 29, 2016
Stephen Fry came under fire for referring to Beavan as a “bag lady” when he hosted the BAFTAs. The 58-year-old writer and comedian made the reference after Beavan had collected an award for her costume design work for Mad Max: Fury Road. As she left the stage, Fry jibed “Only one of the great cinematic costume designers would come to the awards ceremony dressed like a bag lady.”
His comment drew a tsunami of criticism, which led to him deactivating his Twitter account, but not before cryptically tweeting that the social platform was a “stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous.” Beavan insists that she is not upset by his remark and remains good friends with Fry.
Beavan has never been a conformist or one to play by mainstream rules. In a career that has spanned over 30 years, her red carpet look had always been as what she portrayed at the 88th Academy Awards. The designer has always stepped out into the limelight without a glam squad and leaves her hair largely untouched.
Despite the low regard at the Oscars, she continues to be in massive demand for her vast knowledge of costume history, fashion politics, and how to build costumes on a budget.
She has worked on some of the most successful period pictures, including Howard’s End, The King’s Speech, The Bostonians, Sense and Sensibility, and Gosford Park. Beavan remains unrepentant about her clothing choices.
“I have always been pretty rebellious and anarchic with my own free-wheeling style. I love dressing others and I know how to make them look beautiful onscreen but I have never been interested in that kind of look for myself.”
Mad Max: Fury Road was not Beavan’s first win at the Oscars. Even though Mad Max was a big winner on the night, with a cumulative six awards, she had won a first in 1986 for Best Costume Designer for A Room with a View.
Jenny Beavan has been nominated for Academy Awards 10 times.
[Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]