British Costume Designer Sandy Powell to be Honored with BAFTA Fellowship

Sandy Powell
Sandy Powell

Renowned British costume designer Sandy Powell will be awarded a Fellowship at the upcoming EE BAFTA Film Awards.

The award is the highest recognition given by BAFTA to an individual for their exceptional contribution to the film, games, or television industry. Powell, who is the first costume designer to receive the Fellowship, has a three-and-a-half decade-long career that spans some of the most iconic films of the late 20th and 21st centuries. Her extensive body of work ranges from period dramas like “Shakespeare in Love” and “The Favourite” to fantasy productions such as “Cinderella” and “Mary Poppins Returns.”

Powell will be working with BAFTA over the next year to inspire and nurture aspiring costume designers through their learning, inclusion, and talent programs.

I am hugely flattered to receive the BAFTA Fellowship and especially proud to be the first costume designer,” Powell said. “I am lucky in that I love what I do and have been extremely fortunate to have collaborated with some of the most talented and inspirational people in the industry both behind and in front of the camera. I look forward to many more years to come.

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Born in Brixton, London, Powell was taught to sew by her mother and honed her skills from a young age by making outfits for her dolls and clothes for herself. She studied at London’s Central School of Art and Design and started her career working for fringe theatre companies and music videos before designing costumes for Derek Jarman’s 1986 film “Caravaggio.”

Many of the world’s most esteemed filmmakers worked with Powell to bring their script to life through costume, including Martin Scorsese, who has collaborated with her on six films, including “The Aviator,” which earned her a second Academy Award win. Actors she has worked with include Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ralph Fiennes. To date, Powell has been nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design 15 times and received 13 nominations for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, winning thrice at each.

She has also received numerous other awards and recognition, including the Costume Designers Guild Career Achievement Award, the London Film Critics’ Circle Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film, and the appointment of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to the film industry.

Jane Millichip, CEO of BAFTA, said: “Sandy Powell is not only a great designer, she is a great storyteller. Her costumes are mesmerizing in their beauty, but they also interpret narrative brilliantly and provide the infrastructure for the character. For more than three decades, Sandy has raised awareness for the craft of costume design in film and provided a spotlight for designers in the act of filmmaking.

Powell’s recent credits include Oliver Hermanus’ “Living” and Marc Webb’s “Snow White,” which is currently in post-production. The Fellowship will be presented to her at the BAFTA Film Awards ceremony, which will take place at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in London on Feb. 19.

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