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Jenny Beavan
Oscar winner Jenny BeavanInstagram user Jenniams

Jenny Beavan explains why she gives zero fucks

The legendary Mad Max costume designer responded to the controversy around her Oscar win – where the audience was filmed not clapping – by saying ‘I don’t mind in the least’

Jenny Beavan is a true legend within the film industry. The costume designer has won two Oscars for her work – including last Sunday, for her work on Mad Max: Fury Road. She’s also picked up a Tony Award and a Bafta, and been nominated for a further eight Oscars. Which is why it’s grossly unfair, in a way, that she’s become known globally not for her incredible talent, but for recent events during awards season. 

Controversy was first stoked after Baftas host Stephen Fry referred to Beavan as a “bag lady”. Such was the furore that Stephen Fry quit Twitter afterwards, protesting that he and Beavan were good friends and she was in on the joke. And then this footage emerged of Beavan collecting her Oscar last Sunday to an audience full of stony-faced celeb types who were failing to clap. Check it out: some people literally flinch as she walks down the aisle, as if the sight of an older woman killing it in a custom (vegan) leather jacket is too much to bear. 

Some of the people pictured, such as best director winner Alejandro González Iñárritu, have now claimed that they did in fact clap, and the Vine (which has been viewed more than 37 million times) was just unfortunately timed. To be fair, if you’ve ever been to an awards ceremony you’ll know that you probably don’t clap all the way through, although the withering expressions on people’s faces are harder to explain away by saying your hands are tired. 

Now Beavan has responded to the controversy in a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter. Speaking to the publication, Beavan explained her choice of outfit for the ceremony. “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?” 

Beavan’s view on the clapping controversy? She DGAF, basically. “Honestly, I didn’t clap the whole time (during the ceremony) — your hands get tired. We had done a huge amount of clapping by that time. They didn't have to! 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 (Miller, Mad Max director) and it didn’t matter what anyone else thought, really.”

She went on to conclude that “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.”

Wise words, from a wise woman.