When costume designer Jenny Beavan accepted the Oscar for her work on Mad Max: Fury Road this year, many were quick to point out the apparent lack of applause from the crowd.
A Vine capturing the moment she walked up to the stage in a bedazzled motorcycle jacket (a nod to the film itself) has been viewed more than 38 million times.
Director Alejandro González Iñárritu, one of the figures captured in the video, later explained to The Guardian that he did applaud, and that the Vine’s editing of the full scene was “mean-spirited and false”.
However, Beavan has eloquently brushed off the entire debate, saying she hopes that, if anything, it sends a message to women to feel positive about themselves.
Beavan first addresses her outfit, telling The Hollywood Reporter:
“I am a real jeans person. I have clothes to dress up in, but [the Oscars] was a really conscious thing of not just doing the plain black suit,” she said.
“I am British with a slightly rebellious character; I always have been. But, actually, in truth, you’ve seen me. I’m short, I’m fat. I really would look ridiculous in a gown. What I was actually wearing at the Oscars was sort of an homage to Mad Max — a kind of biker outfit. I thought, ‘If I can’t beat them, or if I can’t sort of join them, then why not try doing something a little bit fun?'”
“The Academy didn’t say anything about a strict dress code,” Bevan continued. “I think it may have said to wear black tie, but you know, nothing about whether you must wear heels, not like in Cannes where apparently any woman who walks down the red carpet has to wear heels. I was furious about that! I mean, come on, it’s crazy.”
As for the clapping, Beavan jokes she herself didn’t clap all night: “Your hands get tired.”
“I don’t mind in the least if they didn’t clap. I felt really good, I felt the warmth, I was so proud of doing the film for George [director George Miller] and it didn’t matter what anyone else thought, really.”
Beavan – who was also caught up in a Twitter storm after Stephen Fry (a friend of hers) playfully referred to her as a ‘bag lady’ at this year’s Baftas – has no intention of changing things if she’s nominated again.
“What I was offered was this incredible chance to bring what was in George’s mind to life, which was just visually bonkers. I think that was recognised — that we had actually done something really special and original. And here I am, this older lady from London, doing something quite different,” she said.
“And I think my Oscar outfit succeeded to some extent because I think the majority in the audience seemed to like it. And if I ever happen to get nominated for an Oscar again, I’ll probably wear something a little more in line with the film. But it will always be trousers, because there is absolutely no way I would frighten the L.A. natives with my legs.”
And – enjoying that she’s not on social media herself – Beavan is just happy having the Oscar around and hopes it’ll do some good in making women feel more positive about themselves.
“The reaction has been slightly frightening, but thank God I don’t do social media. My Oscar is out on the table and we are patting it as we pass by, but I am just having a little moment. By the time I get back to London, hopefully everything will be settled down and I’ll get back to normal.
“The only thing I would like is for my outfit to have a positive effect on what women feel about themselves. You don’t actually have to look like a supermodel to be successful. If that could be a takeaway, I think that would be a good thing. It is really good to have a positive feeling about yourself, because then you can do anything. People don’t have to clap for you; they don’t have to like the work.”