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FN Spy: Special Oscar Preview

Hear from costume designers for "The Artist" and "Hugo," and FN picks red-carpet winners

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Costume Party
The race to the Academy Awards is on. The 84th annual star-studded event is expected to feature some standout footwear moments, both on-screen and off. This year, "The Artist," "Hugo," "Anonymous," "Jane Eyre" and "W.E." will battle for the Best Costume Design honor. So who deserves the award? Here, Mark Bridges of "The Artist" and Sandy Powell of "Hugo" offer their pitch for your consideration.

Mark Bridges, "The Artist"
Styles featured
: "For the women, Capezio and Champion ballroom dancing shoes. For the men, Brooks Brothers, Alden, Allen Edmonds and Stacy Adams."

Design strategy: "I did a lot of research to see what was typical footwear for the period. For the lead actresses' shoes, I custom-painted some deco shapes onto the styles."

Challenges of finding period specific shoes: "There absolutely was a challenge of doing the research and then duplicating [the looks]. [In one case], we bought a satin dance shoe with a T-strap and then we added hand stones to duplicate a pair of French shoes that I found at a costume store in North Hollywood."

Best footwear moments: "There is definitely a footwear scene where people are walking over a newspaper with George's [Jean Dujardin] face on it in the rain. Also, once Peppy [Bérénice Bejo] is a star, she has boxes of shoes around her and her maid is putting a shoe on her foot."

Sandy Powell, "Hugo"
Styles featured: "The period is set in 1931, so we found a flea market in Paris that had a supply of original 1920s shoes. For the men, we could use contemporary shoes, including laceups or broques."

Design strategy: "I thought that designing for 3-D would be difficult, but we used a lot of worn-looking things on original costumes and it made the [outfits] look more interesting. It gave them a richer color."

Challenges of finding period specific shoes: "It's always a challenge trying to find the footwear, so we did make custom shoes. For Hugo [Asa Butterfield], he actually wore a contemporary fashion boot made in Italy for women, but it looked old-school."

Best footwear moments: "There is a specific shoe moment when George's [Ben Kingsley] [film reels] were melted down to turn into the heels on the shoes. There is a close-up of the shoe, the shape of the heel and the molten liquid."

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