Golden Rule: Victoria & Abdul – The Requisite Period Piece

Leading up to the 90th Academy Awards on March 4th, we’re diving into as many of the nominated films as possible to look at their chances for taking home the Oscar. Today we’re looking at Victoria & Abdul, which is nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Costume Design.

Victoria & Abdul is about the real life relationship between Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and an Indian Muslim servant named Abdul Karim. They met when Abdul presented her with a mohur, a token of appreciation from British-ruled India. From there they grew to be close friends in her final years, much to the chagrin of her family and the servants within her home. After Victoria’s death the records of their friendship were destroyed by the royal family.

Despite being a good, heartwarming film, Judi Dench’s performance is the only thing that makes Victoria and Abdul stand out. If she hadn’t taken the role of Queen Victoria, I’d almost be willing to bet that the film wouldn’t have been nominated for anything. Her pedigree helps to elevate the film, as does her performance.

It’s hard to believe that Victoria & Abdul will take home either award. Make and Hairstyling is almost certainly going to go to Darkest Hour, and it’s hard to believe that Phantom Thread, a film about making clothes, won’t win Costume Design. Those two films rest heavily on those categories and are front runners in both for good reason. If the film stands a chance at either category, it’s probably Costume Design. But I wouldn’t hold my breath. It’s tied with Beauty and the Beast for last place in this race.

Victoria & Abdul is currently available on DVD, Digital and Blu-Ray. Be sure to keep following Poor Man’s Spoiler for all of our Oscar coverage. The Oscars air on ABC on March 4th at 8pm ET.

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