The Academy Award for Best Costume Design has some serious competition this year:
Anna Karenina- Jacqueline Durran
Les Miserables- Paco Delgado
Lincoln- Joanna Johnston
Mirror Mirror (posthumous nomination)- Eiko Ishioka
Snow White and the Huntsman- Colleen Atwood
This award is geared towards films that took place a long time ago. Royalty, biographies, 19th century novels and fantasy abound in this category almost every year. And would you look at that, we have all of those this year! Therefore, we can't discount any of them having a chance of winning (although biographies are less likely to win overall).
The buzz for this award has centered around two films, Anna Karenina and Mirror Mirror. There are no films this year that portray real-life queens, but Mirror Mirror fills that niche through fantasy (also, the other Snow White film). However, the real reason that movie is a contender is because of Eiko Ishioka, a real heavy-weight in the art direction world who passed away in 2012. She previously won this category for Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), and has directed costumes for two Olympics (Salt Lake City 2002, Beijing 2008). Needless to say, I would put her on the top of my list because of the posthumous recognition. The costumes in Mirror Mirror don't look too shabby either; the only thing that really stands out about the film is the costumes and the art direction.
However, Anna Karenina may throw a wrench into that prediction. The film has gotten excellet reviews as far as cinematography and general artistry are concerned, and could just as easily win on merit as well. The other 3 films also have great costumes, but that is not their main strength, in my opinion.