Thursday, 10 April 2014

Encore Awards (2013 in Review): Actor

Why, yes, it is April and no I’ve not completed these as yet.

On with the celebration of 2013 in film.

THE NOMINEES

Gael García Bernal in No (René Saavedra)
Although René is our protagonist No is about so much more than him, and yet Bernal performance is essential and he makes good playing this man who is something of a question mark but moving through moments of apathy, cynicism and sensitivity.

HIGHLIGHT: Blasé to say that I’d probably single out the scenes with his son? In a way no because René is at his most sensitive in these moments. But, then, outside of his personal life the performance is so humorous, not aggressively comedic but easily numerous in the way he’s not sure whether to be cynical or steadfastly optimistic about the job he’s undertaken.


Daniel Brühl in Rush (as Niki Lauda)
Brühl benefits from the fact that the richest emotional beats of Rush focus on his character, but it’s not just that. Lauda is a difficult character in his impenetrability, but Brühl does fine work of making the stolidness work for him. The performance never becomes overbearing. He plays Lauda well enough that the man, though still difficult is not difficult for us to understand or difficult to care for.

HIGHLIGHT: I need to single out Alexandra Maria Lara here who gives a fine performance. Brühl has excellent chemistry with her and the rapport the two share is a significant reason Lauda’s scenes with Marlene end up feeling as effective and integral as the racing ones. Their first meeting is a lovely for Brühl but it’s acting through the prosthetics, arguing his case for going back on to the track that he is most effective.

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street (as Jordan Belfort)
The time spent on Jordan pre-Wolf-transformation is slight which robs DiCaprio, somewhat, of showing the gradations in Jordan’s journey to debauchery. And, yet, just a bit is enough. That lunch with McConaughey shows a Jordan that’s wide-eyed but maybe not so pure but the hunger on DiCaprio’s face is palpable and it’s that all-encompassing thirst for more which drives the performances occasionally tipping into excess but consistently one with the character he’s playing.

It’s why my HIGHLIGHT: is that final scene of terrifying violence against Naomi. It’s Jordan at his emphatically worst but DiCaprio is on point in the scene tracing the way that the overwhelming thirst for more sets and becomes not just unappealing but disgusting and distressing.

Jake Gyllenhaal in Prisoners (as Detective Loki)
Gyllenhaal wins major points for carving one of my favourite performances of the year out of a character we now significantly little about. Loki is all work with no discernible aspects of personality aside from his tattoos, tics and hair which offer the faintest hints of something underneath. And, yet, he manages to give one of the most sincere portrayals of a cop just trying to do his job.

HIGHLIGHT: On one hand his solitary moment of complete berserk behaviour seems counterintuitive to use here, although the way Gyllenhaal plays suggests such richness in the character. Still, like Tim, I’m sort of in love with the way he adds deftness to the line reading of “I hear what you’re saying.”

Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis (as Llewyn Davis)
Llewyn is much colder, and harder to love than Anders from Oslo August 31 but they both exist in that same space for me as troubled, young men trying to find their way in life, going around in circles and getting nowhere. I think it was Nick Davis who said that Lleywn feels like someone you know and as much as the Coen’s write a good script a great deal of that is on Isaac who embraces Llewyn’s foibles, his resentment, his pettiness but also his despair and his dejection. You have to look close to see it’s a mask he’s wearing, the performance is deft, but there are nuances throughout.

HIGHLIGHT: The line-reading “I just need a place to dump my stuff. I'm tired of dragging it all around with me” has stuck me with all these months later. A gem.

FINALISTS: Casey Affleck gives my favourite performance in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints carving a character to root for with just a tilt of the head; Alden Elderich gives a performance to stand up and take note of in Beautiful Creatures playing both romantic lead and winsome pseudo-comedic humour to great effect; Nick Frost steals the show in The World’s End pulling focus from Pegg’s also excellent turn; James Gandolfini is an excellent romantic lead in Enough Said giving a sensitive portrayal that’s easy but effective; Ethan Hawke is typically ace in Before Midnight; you're never sure if Jude Law is playing a saint or a devil in Side Effects but the performance is excellent throughout; Joaquin Phoenix in Her is warm and lonely and sad and so sincere

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger; Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave; Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips; Koffler in Free Fall; Mossafa in The Past; Nick Robinson in Kings of Summer

FURTHER JOURNEYS INTO THE BEST OF 2013: Opening Scenes / Supporting Actress / Sound and Music / Costume, Production Design, Editing, Visual Effects, Makeup / Cinematography

Monday, 31 March 2014

Lost Ones; on the last two episodes of The Good Wife


Will Gardner died, but I left the last two episodes thinking about the other lost life….

With a quarter of the runtime remaining in last week’s “Dramatics Your Honor” Will Gardner was shot. At the end of the episode we realise he had died. Killed by a stray bullet from his client, Jeffrey Grant. The two episodes will forever be remembered as the moment The Good Wife changed – for better, or worse – bringing seemingly mindless violence to a show which had never seen it quite like this before. But, was the violence really mindless and without reason as it seemed?

I was itching to write on the Kings’ decision to have Charles exit from the due via death, especially when the critical conversation turned to whether the moment was authentic to The Good Wife universe or not. I tarried, though, when I saw that Hunter Parrish (playing Jeffrey Grant) was scheduled to make an appearance on last night’s episode of the show. For in an episode titled “Dramatics Your Honor”, the episode that will go down as the episode where Will Gardner died, I left the wreck of tragedy in this fictional Chicago more troubled, and moved, by the client-turned-assailant who killed him.

Grant first appeared early this season when a random traffic violation came to be revealed as a ruse to arrest him for murder. We left him before the case went to trial and he turned up a the opening of the last episode. In fact, he was the first thing we saw.
Even before the complaints of the Kings taking the sensational way out, or giving way to the darkness in primetime TV by having Will be brutally murdered I was already thinking how fitting an end to a main character’s life this was for the show. Too many critics - fans of the show - in the wake of its excellent fifth season have decried its existence as a legal show. No, it's better than a legal show. It just happens to have characters who are lawyers. That's a bit disingenuous, though. Sure, The Good Wife is not a standard procedural but its examinations of the legal system and its foibles have been incisive to its success. Just take a look at the taut season opener. Arguments that the senselessness of Will’s death failed to be coherent because it came out of nowhere seemed, to me, a misunderstanding of the world which Lockhart/Gardner and recently formed Florrick/Agos inhabit. Will’s death was shocking in that no one saw it coming. Still, knowing what we know of jail, how it changes you, and the way people are psychologically affected in the wake of the potentially tragic accusing the moment where Jeffrey Grant goes rogue as inorganic seemed specious.

The Good Wife has always been excellent at using the fabric of the show and its characters proximity to so many hot-button issues  to examine real world problems (DOMA, terrorism, spying, the death penalty) and despite the darker than usual turn the sidebar ruminations on Jeffrey Grant’s actions and what it portends for the penal system and the way it works were the at fore of my mind even before that series changing moment. It's right there in the shot of his eyes which open the episode with that heavy, percussive music. They're dead inside. (Look at Jeffrey's eyes and then look at this.) Something isn't right here, it tells us immediately. Jeffrey mentions it in brief, but never in detail. And, the question sat with me for a week. Considering how significant knowledge of Jeffrey's state of mind might be regarding the moment which changes the fabric of the show – why so short a time spent on Jeffrey’s sufferings in jail? Not because they’d necessarily mitigate the way the series’ fandom might be ready to villainise him in the wake of tragedy. But, for simple follow-through? The more I pondered, the more the lack of Jeffrey backstory in a Will centred episode seemed clear.

Consider the critical incidents of the shoot, a fateful difference between Will Gardner and Alicia Florrick as lawyers has always been their techniques. You were always the better lawyer, Alicia tells him in a moment that seemed a bit jarring even before his demise. Although what she probably meant was that he was the better litigator. With the dogged focus on winning his clients would be lucky to have him unless like Jeffrey, they were young, scared and lost. Alicia’s inclination to handhold her clients has been sometimes observed as a gendered role, but it’s the critical difference between the two so that when in “The Last Call” she says, He was my client, the first thing I think was - how might Alicia's focus on Jeffrey not as a client, but a person differed from Will?

The story’s insistence on shrouding the what of Jeffrey’s psyche, though, becomes part of a larger formal exercise in avoidance the episode takes on. Good editing is always best when unobserved the argument goes, except this episode depends on the savvy cuts director Brooke Kennedy makes in moments that seem odd. In the climatic build-up to Jeffrey losing his mind as his eyes gaze on the bailiff’s gun we don’t see chaos break but cut immediately to Diane in an adjoining courtroom. It’s a similar cut away from pain which closes the episode that has us ending not with Alicia reacting to the news, but just her opening “Hello” on the phone to Kalinda. Brooke Kennedy produced six episodes of peerless comedy Pushing Daisies in its first season, but she turns her comedic sensibilities on their head in “Dramatics Your Honor”. She doesn't direct the follow-up episode, but the way the camera circles Kalinda as she delivers the news to Eli in the opening to “The Last Call”, finally settling on her face informs the same avoidance of pain. Kennedy is doing excellent work, though. In the build-up to Jeffrey's gunfire the loud music seeps into the sound-design again as we focus on his face, going through emotions. Except, this time when the music take over the courtroom isn't silent. It may seem slight, but the opening use of the music rendered everything in the courtroom silent except this time the percussive music is accompanied by the faintest sound of Will laughing attached to the final image of a live Will we get. Kennedy, and the entire team of The Good Wife is giving its audience credit. The shrouding of Jeffrey's state-of-mind are not cop-outs, that cutaway from Jeffrey's desolate face to a laughing Will tells us everything that Jeffrey feels. He is alone and forsaken. No one cares about him, or so he feels.
Eventually, we have to deal with Will's death and Jeffrey's culpability. Kennedy's directing is all about keeping the most gruesome at bay, until it cannot be kept and the episode ends just before Alicia gets the news. Jim McKay directs the follow-up episode dealing with the fallout, the tears, the realisation, the drama. I prefer Kennedy's work on the quieter episode, though. Her directing the taut build-up from the gavel banging in Diane’s court to Kalinda crying over Will’s body is some of my favourite directing work on television this season. And not because her camera is milking for emotion. Kennedy, a producer on the show, gets the beauty of the show – how acts of sadness or violence don’t just happen in a vacuum. So much has been written on how the Kings wrote this episode it's a shame more emphasis wasn't placed on how well directed it was. An episode of harrowing details, the single most devastating shot was not the reveal of Will's corpse but the hollow image of Jeffrey fruitlessly pulling the trigger on the gun with no bullets. Eerily accompanied by the silence but for the hollow click-click the shot so effectively. Nothing gets to the root of the tragedy as well.
The most memorable image of the two episodes.
It's not just because I was no big fan of Will Gardner the character. I liked him, I never loved him. But, even if you hated him the show did a fine job of grieving him. But, even amidst Goodbye-Will show the unsettling realisation that more than one life was lost was what made the follow-up episode so much more poignant. Yes, the life of Jeffrey Grant. It’s that sense of overwhelming loss hanging over the entirety of “The Last Call” - Kalinda and Diane have lost a colleague and friend, Alicia has lost a lover and a wisp of a hope, Lockhart Gardner has lost a partner, Peter has lost a rival but that final shot also evokes a sense of a loss of greater magnitude regarding Alicia's reaction to the death. But, most moving, is Jeffrey's loss occurring at his own hands. What of the evidence which seemed to exonerate him? Sure, he was not-guilty of the initial murder-charge, right? What, then, to make of a prosecution that a year after the murder arrested an innocent man having him languish in jail for months suffering severe psychological trauma?

Will's death, although, tragic was less heartrending both because the effectiveness of his send-off gave it a respectability and because of his prescient final bar conversation with Kalinda. He loved what he did, and even amidst the tragedy of Will and the not un-analagous tragedy of Jeffrey shone through. What was happening to Jeffrey in jail? Usual piling on the newbie in prison? Something more insidious? A great deal of the story line managing to succeed is on Parrish's performance giving one of my favourite guest-turns of the season. In an episode of quiet shows of grief, the most overt emotion shown in an episode of muted, clinical grieving was Jeffrey's loud sobs, jarring both for its overtness as well for the realisation that unlike the main characters he was not only grieving a friend, but something more. It's why I was so thrilled to see the always austere Becky Ann Backer turn up as his lawyer. I suspect, the show being what it is, focusing on Jeffrey's future in the penal system would be unnecessary especially since Kalinda's "only suffering for you" has so much finality. But, what an interesting and necessary subject. And even in an episode not about him, what a fantastic directorial choice to leave us with this image which represents the chilling, and depressing resolution to Jeffrey's life.
It is more than just personal interest in the effects of the penal system making this arc resound with me. The Kings have their plates full dealing with justifying Will's death to the fans of the show, but even with so many things like the pain of the eponymous Good Wife and the loss of a formerly main character this still remains the same savvy show which does peerless work at fitting social issues into its narrative. Jeffrey Grant might be just a vessel towards the show's development as Josh Charles leaves the show, but his existence and his plight are not incidental things. More significantly, his story, though briefly examined teems with profundity. His actions led to a shocking moment for the show, but the story itself - of the way that the legal system works, and does not work, evoking unfortunate tragedies like this - is not one that is at odds with the world of The Good Wife.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Every week around this time of the year Nathaniel R invites fellow writers to choose their favourite image from a film and publish it on their respective blogs/sites/tumblrs/etc. The first film for the 2014 edition is the ten year old Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind...

...which, oddly, presented a great challenge for me. I say oddly because I remember it as such a visual film. As my second favourite movie of 2004 I like Gondry's film a great deal and even as I'd agree that it is well shot I never had a shot in my head to choose. Usually, for films I've seen before, I know what I'm looking for and there are many images within Eternal Sunshine which call for "best shot" focus but there was no singular image I felt certain of. I have only seen one other Best Shot entry for this week before writing, but there seemed to be three especially fertile moments to choose from: childhood Clementine and Joel, Joel and Clementine on ice, and Joel and Clementine on the beach. After consideration, I thought I'd find something there, too. But, I don't know if it was just my general inclination to be contrary thought. As arresting as those choices were I could not submit to any as one which defined the way I felt about the movie. Which is, indeed, asking too much of a single shot. Nathaniel just asks us to choose our favourite. But, I feel I must choose one which exemplifies what the film means to me. Which put me in a weird quandary where the shots I kept gravitating were not the ones which showcase Ellen Kura's skill as a DP as good as they ought, at least on an aesthetic level.

For the dozen of you who have not seen it, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tells a story about Joel Barrish who decides to erase his girlfriend of two years from his mind when he finds out she has done the same to him. Due to some glitches during the process, his subconscious rejects the erasure and we follow him through his mind as he tries to stop the process.

From the 10 shots I shortlisted the most objectively, aesthetically pleasing one was this.
Joel, mid-erasure, realises that he does not want to erase Clementine from his memory and so tries to hide her in memories where she does not belong in hope that he will still remember when the process is done. In a seamless moment, a memory of he and Clementine in the immediate past at home fades into a memory in the distant past of of rainfall and the apartment becomes submerged in water as we begin to seep into a memory of young Joel under a table. The Joel-as-a-child moment is initially funny and then sad in the way remembering moments of childhood tend to bee. And although my shot is not from any of those scenes I realised on looking at the film this time around that despite its appearance Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is, above all else, a character study. Thus, making that flashback to Joel as a child integral to the film. The majority of the film, after all, is literally within the confines of Joel's mind. Even Clementine, who emerges as the film's beacon with her hair-colours is really just a representation of the real Clementine which Joel has stored in his mind. And, Joel, is not a happy person. He is sad, he is lonely, he is self-doubting and too often innocuous moments in his adult life make him feel like a child. The shot above doesn't get to Joel's sadness, but it does capture the image of Joel as child-like which I found so essential to the film's major themes.

As the film nears its climax we reach the first time Clementine and Joel met and he talks of being scared of her then. Scared of her unpredictable nature and her nerve. So scared that he cut their first meeting short.

I walked out the door. I felt like a scared little kid. I was....like, it was above my head. I don't know...
I love this shot of Carrey here. People always talk about this being Winslet's tour-de-force performance (possibly, but it's hard for me to chose) but for me this is doubtlessly Carrey's towering achievement. I'm obsessed with his face in this film and it might just be me being a melancholic mood of late but that wistful look of him there conveys so much that this time around I feel its emotion in a sharp way. This isn't Joel-in-the-past, this is Joel-within-his mind in the present day wistfully remembering all the things that could-have been. And isn't that just the worst type of punishment? Forced to relive all your experiences with someone you loved and see just what you did wrong. And, sure, you'll see what you did right to. But that's the human brain for you, zeroing in on the wrong.

It's why my best shot is an image that is aesthetically not very appealing but gets to the root of Joel so hard that I kept coming back to it. And, this is my best shot.
 
It's sort of ugly. There's the mattress behind him. The newspapers on the swivel-chair, the cardboard box. But it's the unappealing nature which makes me like it. This seems like a moment where present-day Joel is bleeding into child-Joel's sensibilities, the stance looks like a child-like one except it's not Joel as a child. It is Joel as an adult. He's listening to the tape Mary has sent him where he speaks about getting Clementine erased and he realises what has happened. What is he feeling when he looks like that? Arms clasped about his knees, heartbroken? Embarrassed? Sad? The way the camera observes him from above (it's from Clementine's vantage point) only makes his dejection in the moment so much more pronounced. He looks so small, so hopeless, so lost. Sure, in real time, he's known Clementine for years. But, in his mind he's just met her the day before, and she's already made him feel like a child. It's a harrowing reading of the events, especially when the open laugh that ends the film is so hopeful. But, thinking of the events now without the unbridled hope I had for a happy ending the first time I saw it (too young to latch on to its sadness), I worry for Joel. He'll always feel as lost, hopeless, and small when he feels he cannot live up to his romantic ideals. Oh Joel, I want to tell him, please grow up. Or, at least grow out of the issues you have that make you recede to this state of childhood dejection. If Clementine had not come looking would Joel even have gotten up off the floor to go look for her? And then the text on the cardboard box leaps out at me - fragile, it says. And I sigh. Maybe in the face of our romantic shortcomings we all feel like Joel - hopeless, small, boxed in, and alone. And even with the potential hope in the ensuing scene, this time around I leave Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind sadder than it's ever made me feel before.

(Bonus: My second favourite shot was this one.
 
I toyed with it for a long time even though it's so very busy. It's similar to my favourite shot, but instead of being boxed in he's buried beneath all his memories and looking back at his first/last/"created" moment with Clementine. )

(All Entries HERE)

Monday, 17 March 2014

Encore Awards (2013 in Review): Cinematography

Have I already said that, with the exception of the acting categories, cinematography is the category in my personal awards I'm most excited about each year. It took me longer to choose my favourites with this category than any other.

 The thing about cinematography, though, is that I always worry that I'm undiscerning in my choices and not really making the right choices vis-a-vis what stands for good photography in film. Case in point, in 2011 when fairly everyone seemed certain that the photography on The Tree of Life was without a doubt the best of the year I was more intrigued by the darkness of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Hugo (even with Richardson's love for those golden hues, but I love his work generally, anyhow). This preamble, in addition to being a weird case of me arguing against my choices, (and warning you that the consensus choice for this category is not mine) is just one in a long line of questions I encounter when making my year-end citations - to what degree is it all subjective, and to what degree are there elements which objectively comprise good photography (or anything). Is objectivity even possible?

Who knows?

Nonetheless, onward I go with my ballot for Cinematography. Like last year, I hate to whittle down so many great films to a ballot of five so a long, long list of my favourite shot films with a single shot to represent each ending up with my #1 at the end. (My favourite photography work in 2012)

Onwards.

(Apologies for the varying sizes of images. Unavoidable.)

And, yes, I'd recommend a ballot with five of any of these 22 films. Good work all throughout.

TIER #3 

#22 No (Sergio Armstrong)
Because the conceit of its filming makes the themes of what's real and what's created stand out even more. And for still ensuring that García Bernal is as well shot as he is. (But that might just be a García Bernal thing. He gives good face.)

#21 Upstream Color (Shane Carruth)
Because the way it evokes mood is undeniable.

#20 Side Effects (Steven Soderbergh)
Because it's just as cold and antiseptic as the film around it.

#19 The Bling Ring (Christopher Blauvelt, Harris Savides)
Because, even though I love the darkness, Savides and Blauvelt photograph the sun-kissed with aplomb.

#18 The Past (Mahmoud Kalari)
Because this shot of Marie made me more unnerved and moved than I expected and has stuck with me since I saw it.

TIER #2

#17 Her (Hoyte van Hoytema)
Because that is just a beautiful shot to look at.

#16 The Great Beauty (Luca Bigazzi)
It's all terribly immaculate and 

#15 Spring Breakers (Benoît Debie)
The film itself is not very wordy, so its the visuals which become essential to the "story" and Debie does it justice.

#14 12 Years a Slave (Sean Bobbitt)
I'm more enamoured with specific shots than the work holistically, but even when I think the film is too in love with Solomon's visage it makes sense considering the film itself is, too, very focused on Solomon at the expense of all else. (Also, night time photography!)

#13 Rush (Anthony Dod Mantle)
Easily the best example of cinematography which does not translate well to a single shot (a shot from a racing scene would work best, but everything is constantly in motion). The way he decides to shoot the film in such a way to make it pop does appeal to me, and does make for an energetic and fun experience where you might not have expected.

TIER #1

#12 World War Z (Ben Seresin)
Ostensibly this is a terrible image to represent the film because World War Z and its photography is so often about staunch orderliness even amidst chaos. But it makes sense that this is one of the scenes where the camera work is just jarring, and as far as enhancing mood goes Seresin (and an uncredit Robert Richardson) are doing A+ job at milking the thriller roots of the film.

#11 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Andrew Lesnie)
Lesnie comes into criticism for his playing-one-note type of cinematography, but it's a good note. If the work isn't as dynamic as it might be I'm more than satisfied with the sheer joy in photography which embraces the childish sense of magic in keeping with the slight naivete of its protagonist. Also, he shoots those visual effects setpieces excellently.

....the top ten after the jump....

Friday, 14 March 2014

Encore Awards (2013 in Review): Visual Awards

More 2013 accolades coming your way. In some key ways I suppose my personal choices are not that far off from public consensus (but for, probably editing) but it's been a typically strong batch of nominees in all the visual categories even a few films tend to reappear in many of the categories.

I saved Cinematography for a post on its own, because there are so many films to consider.

Onwards.

HAIR AND MAKEUP
THE NOMINEES

Great Expectations
- for aging Mrs Havisham in her decaying glory but never repulsive
- but also for the flashback to young Mrs Havisham making Helena look 20
- for the grimy world of young Pip's life and fine work on Joe
- for making Fiennes almost unrecognisable as Magwitch
- for understanding the difference between the greasy Pip before he leaves for London and the gentleman Pip after is more than just the absence of dirt on his face
- for Olly Alexander's ridiculous hair

Zoe Brown
Marc Pilcher

The Great Gatsby
- because make-up to make actors pretty is rarely, if ever, given the recognition it  deserves
- for making young Daisy different from older Daisy and both of them similar but not quite like Carey Mulligan regularly
- for recalling Leonardo DiCaprio at his youngest
- for keeping older Gatsby seeming young until you look closer and notice the wrinkles
- for the ace hair of all the ladies
- for Tom's mustache

Wizzy Molineaux
Ashley Johnson


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
- because, yes, it's still fine work on a particularly large cast
- for working magic keeping Orlando Bloom looking like he did a decade ago
- for believably making Lee Pace and Orlando Bloom seem like family
- for Radagast who is all makeup in some ways
- and for the Dwarves, of course
- for Thranduil's dye-job

Peter King
Rick Findlater
Richard Taylor


The Lone Ranger
- for showing restraint and not making Old Tonto ridiculous
- for work on Young Tonto that never seems over-the-top
- for John Reid's face when he wakes up after his near-death experience
- for realistic touches on the entire of Butch's gang
- for making James Badge Dale maintain his looks but still look like a man who has weathered some storms
- for knowing just how to make Helena Bonham Carter look like a Madam

Joel Harlow
Gloria Pasqua-Casny


World War Z
- because it's a zombie movie, obviously, this is an essential part
- but, also for such attention to detail like teeth and tongues
- for showing stages in zombie development through the makeup
- for human work on Mireille Enos showing just how tired this woman really is
- for something as banal as Brad's weird hairstyle

Julie Dartnell
Joe Grover
Shaune Harrison
Carmel Jackson


FINALISTS: 12 Years a Slave for my favourite bit: the subtle work on Alfre; Dallas Buyers Club for effective shades not just of sickness but exhaustion; Rush for specific work on Bruhl after the crash, but for making Hemsworth the best looking he's ever been on screen

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: American Hustle; August: Osage County; Prisoners

COSTUME DESIGN
THE NOMINEES

Blue Jasmine

- for Jasmine, mostly because a great deal of her status is found in what she wears
- but even more for the way present day Jasmine's wardrobe becomes more and more worn
- for Chili's blazer in his first scene
- for Ginger's warm wardrobe

Suzy Benzinger

The Grandmaster

- for a wide array of period sumptuousness going through the decades
- for great use of colour to convey emotion
- for all the women who have no lines but have clothes that are not afterthoughts.
- for Gong Er's cloak
- for Sister San's shoes

William Chang Suk Ping


Great Expectations
- for knowing that in a tale like this the difference between Pip and Mr Pirrip is in the clothes
- for Mrs Havisham's dress decaying, but still ornate
- for Estella's entire wardrobe
- for that first gentleman outfit Pip wears from Pumblechook which is just the ostentatious thing you'd expect him to choose

Beatrix Aruna Pasztor

The Great Gatsby
- for the very first outfit Daisy wears which is just the sort of dream thing we expect her in
- for tailoring each woman to specific appropriateness
- for having fun with colour and understanding why Gatsby's jackets matter
- for, in a brief flashback, telling us significant things about how Daisy dressed in the past

Catherine Martin

Mother of George
- for kowing that with Adenike as the focus every article must count
- but, for still knowing well enough to give specificity to what Sade wears
- for evoking mood through use of colour
- for just general eye-catching ability, also head-wraps.

 Mobolaji Dawodu 

FINALISTS: American Hustle for many things but mostly for the wardrobe in the disco; Beautiful Creatures for contemporary work with a flair that's magical enough to endorse its narrative; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug for the elf-wear, mostly; The Lone Ranger for having fun with dressing Red, and for sensible menswear throughout

HONOURABLE MENTIONS: 12 Years a Slave; Her; Inside Llewyn Davis; Spring Breakers; The Wolf of Wall Street

...production design, visual effects and editing below the jump....