Is the costuming and makeup in ‘Elvis’ Oscar-worthy?

The costuming and makeup teams for Elvis deserve Oscar awards for their work on the film.

Photo via Warner Bros. Pictures

The costuming and makeup teams for ‘Elvis’ deserve Oscar awards for their work on the film.

Gianna Roberts, The Delphi Staff

The new Elvis Presley biopic, ‘Elvis,’ was a smash hit at the box office, and skyrocketed its lead actor, Austin Butler, to fame.

Though many pay attention to the plot, music and realism of the movie, the fashion, costuming and makeup are what truly made this film the success it is. Ahead of the upcoming Oscars, now seems a better time than any to see if this film was worth its eight nominations.

‘Elvis’ recounts the life of iconic singer Elvis Presley, from his rise to fame to his untimely death. Born in 1935 and passing in 1977, Elvis saw many iconic eras of fashion and trends, which were clearly displayed through his flamboyant outfits. Along with the costuming, the biopic had to display the process of Elvis’ aging; from his drug use to weight gain, this film has it all.

Audiences are first introduced to Elvis as a preteen living in Memphis, Tennessee. He wears a dirty, bland shirt and overalls with a yellow filter placed over the screen. Not only does this filter help to differentiate the different time periods, but it also adds a drab look to Elvis’ appearance. This represents that he has yet to find his true personality, which he doesn’t display until his musical career.

The next major outfit was Elvis’ pink suit. The outfit symbolizes his rise to fame, as the beginning of the movie leads up to the moment he can buy his mother a pink Cadillac to show he’s truly made it. It’s the first display viewers have of Elvis’ loud personality and the incorporation of equally loud colors. 

When Elvis’ mother passes away, he and his father travel outside to speak to the press. In this scene, Elvis can be seen wearing white, which isn’t a traditional mourning color, but it shows Elvis’ innocence when it comes to the first major loss in his life: a period before he goes to war and blind to the colonel’s manipulation. 

Afterward, Elvis’ Christmas concert went off track when the artist decided he did not want to stick to the set list. Instead, he wears dark leather and performs “his” way. The outfit is a return to his younger self before the pills, the loss of his mother and the stresses of stardom. The happiness from the beginning of his career is coming back and can be physically seen in Butler’s expressions.

The final notable outfit was Elvis’ white suit, which he wore during his Las Vegas performance. One of the most recognizable outfits from Elvis Presley’s career, the two suits are virtually identical. Although this outfit was incredible, what really steals the show here is the prosthetics used on Butler to add weight, especially to his face, and to look older. It’s widely known that the singer gained a substantial amount of weight towards the end of his life due to his addictions. This film does an amazing job at progressively adding weight to Butler until a final performance in the white suit.

Overall, this film does a phenomenal job in the costuming and makeup department, not just when it comes to Elvis’ outfits, but also to ensemble characters throughout the 50s and 60s and his wife Pricilla Presley.

The movie deserves to win Best Costuming as well as Best Makeup and Hairstyling.