Harlem Nights’ Joe I. Tompkins was nominated for an Academy Award for best costume design and we can see why just by looking at this movie still of the lovely Jasmine Guy as Dominique La Rue. Of course we love the Ostrich Feather details used throughout the whole film! And while the movie is now a cult classic, the costume design is more than enough reason to watch and the Academy agreed!
“I originally thought we should shoot in black-and-white, but after researching, I decided to make black skin tones the most essential color in the film and use a limited palette. That would set off and highlight the beautiful skin tones of our cast, which was mostly black. I didn’t know what Eddie and Larry Paull and Joe Tompkins would think about this, so I created a color chart to demonstrate my idea. After seeing it, they supported the idea, and it became the basis for the look of the entire picture. In that environment, a few very strong color accents seemed to jump off the screen, but most importantly, the skin tones of the actors dominated each scene.” – Woody Omens, the film’s cinematographer