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Sandy Powell earned the Academy Award for Best Costume Design for her work on Shakespeare in Love, directed by John Madden. That same year, she was also nominated in the same category for her work on Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine (for which she won a BAFTA Award). She was earlier Oscar-nominated for Iain Softley's The Wings of the Dove and Sally Potter's Orlando.
Powell has also designed the costumes for such noteworthy films as Martin Scorsese's upcoming Gangs of New York; Atom Egoyan's Felicia's Journey; Mike Figgis' Miss Julie and Stormy Monday; Anand Tucker's Hilary and Jackie; Michael Caton-Jones' Rob Roy; and Bill Forsyth's Being Human.
Two directors with whom she has collaborated extensively are Neil Jordan (on The End of the Affair, The Butcher Boy, Michael Collins, Interview with the Vampire, The Crying Game, and The Miracle) and the late Derek Jarman (on Wittgenstein, The Last of England, the "Depuis le jour" segment of Aria, and Caravaggio).
Powell is a four-time winner of the (London) Evening Standard Award; and, in addition to her BAFTA Award win for Velvet Goldmine, has received four additional BAFTA Award nominations.