When the Oscars are handed out in Hollywood Feb. 22, The Grand Budapest Hotel just might sweep the costume, makeup and production-design categories. As eye-popping as it is, however, it’s hardly the only stylistically memorable flick of the past year. Here are Globe Style’s picks for the (largely unheralded) best of the rest
As far as anti-heroes go, Larry (Doc) Sportello of Inherent Vice, P.T. Anderson’s trippy detective saga, is one stylish dude. Sure, he’s a hippie and a dope head, but Doc’s 1970s duds – including an embroidered denim jacket that could have come directly from Anna Sui’s spring 2015 show – were both unusually of the moment and true to the period setting. Designer Mark Bridges, who’s up for a Best Costume Oscar, reportedly took inspiration from the era’s most potent style icons – rock stars like Neil Young – to craft Doc’s appealingly haphazard look. – Odessa Paloma Parker
In America is Elsewhere, Eric Dussere writes about the critique of consumerist culture in Raymond Chandler’s postwar novels, which are set in acquisitive suburban Los Angeles. Neo-noir Gone Girl offers a similar judgment, made explicit in Donald Graham Burt’s production details, from an abandoned local shopping mall to the central couple’s McMansion (notably rented). The latter, with its symmetrical sofa cushions and showy chef’s kitchen, epitomizes banal comfort, but with a hint of lurking danger. – Nathalie Atkinson
Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip packs a lot of visual information just in its title. The credits typeface is a retro chunky font in daffodil yellow, a stylistic reference to the late 1960s. The title design alludes to a specific cultural memory, namely the cover of Philip Roth’s novel Portnoy’s Complaint (by no coincidence, the movie concerns a similar young male narcissist with a Roth-like literary mentor). The closing credits, meanwhile, boast a brilliant montage of books (by graphic designer Teddy Blanks) that sum up the careers of the fictional characters and capture decades in the changing trends of book-jacket design. Typeface synecdoche in which a font is worth 1,000 words. – N.A.
Dead and loving it
While there’s an undercurrent of anomie in Jim Jarmusch’s poetic vampire love story Only Lovers Left Alive, the movie’s primary bloodsuckers aren’t the usual mopey monsters slogging through eternity with only violence and deep sleep to break the monotony. Rather, they’re culture vultures! Detroit-based Adam (Tom Hiddleston) is really into music, while Morocco-loving Eve (Tilda Swinton) is a voracious reader. Indeed, her book-filled Tangier apartment is a monument to the luxury of time rather than its oppressiveness – and considerably cozier than anything Bela Lugosi had to endure. – Danny Sinopoli
Suit to kill
Tracksuits have figured prominently in cinema – remember Roger Moore’s velour number as James Bond or the intergenerational Adidas models worn by Ben Stiller and his boys in The Royal Tenenbaums? – but few have been worn to such sublimely creepy effect as Steve Carell’s in Foxcatcher. In the drama about real-life millionaire John E. du Pont’s fascination with wrestling, the customized suit that Carell wears through much of the movie is a visual cue to both his commitment (the words Team Foxcatcher are emblazoned on his jacket’s back) and his ultimately lethal nuttiness. The only clothing more disturbing in the film is the singlet du Pont wears to compete in an oldsters league. – D.S.
While the casting of the feisty, brown-haired Anna Kendrick as Cinderella in the big-screen version of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods initially raised some eyebrows, doubters were silenced as soon as she trilled the opening note of the film’s first song. Sondheim’s Cinderella, of course, is not your ordinary housemaid-turned-princess – she comes with a mouth and a mind of her own. And once Kendrick’s work is done and her transformation into a glamourpuss is complete, her dazzling, gold corseted gown cuts as fabulous a figure in the ballroom as it does in the woods. – Maggie Wrobel
Newly minted Academy Award nominee Emma Stone is becoming known for her chameleon-like style as much as her comic timing. For Alejandro Inaritu’s dreamy dramedy Birdman, she takes to the screen as the scrappy Sam with her signature copper locks dyed a shade of the palest blonde. Stone, who holds her own in the film against such heavyweights as Michael Keaton, virtually pops off screen, as the new hair colour highlights her freckled porcelain skin and giant blue-green eyes. While we’ll always love her as a redhead, Stone may consider sticking to this glam shade for a little while longer. – M.W.