Ann Roth is a master of subtly in her craft of costume design. She possesses the ability to make costumes look authentic, while maintaining their unique integrity. The first film that she designed costumes for was The World of Henry Orient (1964); that is a career spanning over five impressive decades. Throughout her career Ann Roth has been nominated for numerous awards, including four Academy Award nominations, including one win. Her work work may be realistic, but it is far from ordinary. Each piece that she constructs is perfectly fitting for the actor/actress fortunate enough to wear them.
Her first Academy Award nomination was for Places in the Heart in 1985. Clothing in the 1930’s were on the simpler side, but Ann Roth has an eye for patterns. The garbs that Sally Field wore were made of fabrics hand selected because they work with Sally’s portrayal. A characters economic status could be perceived by the accurate costumes.
Her second Academy Award nomination, and win, was for The English Patient, in 1997. Ann Roth’s costumes played a distinct role in creating authentic production value. In order to be swept up by the romance, the romance must be believable. We felt these were real people, in real situations, wearing real beautiful clothing.
The third Academy Award nomination was for The Talented Mr. Ripley in 2003. Her costumes complimented the privilege and charm of the characters, but they also match the sinister tone of the film. One can almost imagine exploring the cities and countryside of Italy, but perhaps with a different group of friends. It was upsetting to see blood get on such beautiful clothes.
Her fourth, and most recent, Academy Award nomination came in 2003 for The Hours. The costumes in this film were truly part of the characters. The Hours happens to be my favorite film and book; I couldn’t imagine the actors/actresses wearing any other clothing. The costumes elevated the fictional characters beyond fictional, and made them feel as real as Virginia Woolf and her writings.
Whether Ann Roth is designing Civil War era costumes, the habits of nuns, or the wardrobe of two Miami club owners she does so with extreme precision and an eye for subtle details. She is a master of matching the tone of a film with fabrics and patterns that she selects. Once you are aware of Ann Roth’s talent, you will always be able to recognize it. Roth already has numerous other projects in the works, and it won’t be long until the Silver Screen gets to showcase her inspired work.