Welcome to the 2019 CIRCUIT CONSIDERATIONS series. Highlighting the very best in film, acting, and technical achievements for the past 12 months that awards voters may need help remembering. Each day a different writer will make their plea for a specific film in a respective category. If you miss one, click the tag “Circuit Considerations 2019,” and if you have some suggestions, include them in the comments below!
Amazon Studios’ “The Aeronauts” is a technical wonder worthy of celebration. Alexandra Byrne‘s costumes are exquisite in design, capturing the spirit of the characters and the adventure awaiting them.
Byrne has designed costumes across genres and time periods, earning five Academy Award nominations over the years. She won for “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” in 2007, and earned another nomination just last year for “Mary Queen of Scots.”
Her work in “The Aeronauts” is different from most of what she’s done before, giving Byrne the opportunity to learn not just about the London of the 1860s, but about the very spirit and challenges of 1860s adventuring, particularly for women. Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) is the expert Aeronaut, the pilot of a gas balloon. But as a woman, she wouldn’t be taken seriously unless she put on a show, adopted something of a persona, and made a spectacle of herself. Byrne designed a show costume that would not only capture the right look of the period, but intentionally wanted it to look like something a woman like Amelia could have created and made by herself. She took the same great care in designing the oilskins Amelia changes into once they are away from the scrutiny of a crowd, choosing a collection of fabric and materials someone like Amelia would have available to her, opting for a waxed cotton over something wealthier travelers might have used.
But it isn’t all oilskins and circus outfits, though. The story of “The Aeronauts” weaves through flashbacks, showing how Amelia met her fellow adventurer, James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne), and how the two of them came to find themselves on this journey together. Mens’ suits, womens’ dresses, each piece is beautiful and perfectly suited to the character and the occasion.
There are a lot of reasons to celebrate “The Aeronauts” and its beauty. Alexandra Byrne gives us a window into the characters through clothes that look great, and serve the function of both the actors and the production. Her work helps add dimension and layers to the characters, helping in silence tell the stories of Amelia and James. They are some of the best costumes of the year and Alexandra Byrne deserves consideration for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design.