In a statement to the Guardian‘s Catherine Shoard, Revenant/Birdman director Alejandro G. Inarritu has defended what some have regarded as a seemingly snooty or disdainful reaction to Mad Max costume design Oscar winner Jenny Beavan during last Sunday’s Oscar awards.
“I think Jenny Beavan is a masterful costume designer and very deserving of the Oscar for Mad Max: Fury Road,” Inarritu says. “By editing and omitting the full reality and suggesting I felt anything but admiration is mean-spirited and false. What you don’t see in the 10-second clip being circulated is my applause for Jenny as she ascended the stairs to the stage.”
Inarritu added: “I’ve learned a lot this awards season…that I should never cross my arms when I am sitting down.”
It wasn’t just Alejandro, of course — Revenant/Spotlight producer Steve Golin and Revenant costar Tom Hardy also appeared to express less-than-respectful reactions to Beavan as she walked past them. Spotlight director-writer Tom McCarthy grinned as he put his hand to his mouth — something between slight disbelief and “oh, wow.”
It seems clear to me that all these guys were thinking the following as they heard Beaven’s name being announced and then caught their first glimpse as she walked down the aisle: (a) “I don’t know Jenny Beavan but whatever…fine,” (b) “Wait…that‘s Jenny Beavan? Where’s the stunning designer gown? She’s short and older and has gray brillo hair! Is this a possible impostor or maybe a friend of Beaven’s accepting in her absence? I think I’ll wait and see what develops”; (c) “Oh, that really is the winner of the Best Costume Design Oscar!” and (d) “Okay, I’ll clap then….better later than never!”
On Facebook this morning journalist Sandi Margolis had two comments: (a) “She didn’t look like the typical Oscar winner. Very unglamorous…just caught most people off guard” and (b) “She looked like Oscar writer Bruce Vilanch.”
The upside is that right now Beavan is probably the most famous costume designer in the world. If Alejandro and friends hadn’t reacted as they did, she would have been a forgotten blip. Now she’s immortal.