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Double Oscar-nominated costume designer reveals preferred film

Jacqueline Durran will be in competition with herself on Sunday night as Beauty And The Beast and Darkest Hour are shortlisted in the same category.

Oscar-winning designer Jacqueline Durran – nominated twice in the costume design category at this year’s awards – has revealed she would rather Beauty And The Beast is recognised with the prize than Darkest Hour.

Durran, who won an Academy Award in 2013 for her work on Anna Karenina, will be in competition with herself on Sunday night as the two films are shortlisted in the best costume design category.

The British designer said the two movies were “fundamentally similar” because of their reinterpretation of a famous image but the extra work involved with Disney’s Beauty And The Beast gave it an advantage in terms of the award.

Handout from Beauty And The Beast (Disney)
Handout of Emma Watson in Beauty And The Beast (Disney)

She told the Press Association: “I think the amount of work and invention I put into Beauty And The Beast was so much more than Darkest Hour and that’s what I’d say.”

She added: “Overseeing the making of 500 costumes was just a massive piece of work.”

On her double-nomination, Durran said: “My first feeling was shock, actually. I couldn’t quite believe it had happened. It seemed crazy to get two nominations.”

Asked if she had written two speeches, she said: “No, I haven’t written any speech.

“I’m slightly superstitious about it and I kind of resist doing it … a nightmare would be to read the wrong one.”

Keira Knightley at the Hollywood Costume exhibition at the V&A
Keira Knightley and designer Jacqueline Durran are seen with the dress she wore in the film Anna Karenina, which won the designer an Oscar (Ian West/PA)

She heaped praise on Darkest Hour star Gary Oldman – widely tipped to take the best actor prize at Sunday’s ceremony – and the film’s director, Joe Wright, for embracing the beauty of costume in the film.

“Gary wants the costume to be exactly the costume of the Churchill he’s playing. He thinks about socks, he thinks about the shoes, he thinks about where the pockets are, he thinks about the weight of the fabric, he thinks the scale of the bow-tie.

“He thinks about every one of those details and my job is to make sure we get all those details as correctly as possible,” Durran said.

On Wright, she added: “He’s an amazing director to work with for costume because he really appreciates the costume you provide for him.

“It’s not the case of you have a fantastic dress and he only shoots the head and shoulders of the actress; if it’s an amazing dress, Joe will get that into the shot somehow.”

Darkest Hour is released digitally on May 21, and on DVD on June 4.

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