Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Incoherent Oscar: Costume, Art Direction, Make-Up

Potentially illogical, occasionally inspired ramblings on the nominees for the imminent Oscar ceremony…               
Film lovers were abuzz yesterday with news of the winners of the NYFF and the Spirit Awards nominations, I’ll get to what they reveal about certain categories later but for now I’m interested in taking a look at those artistic categories which few care to muse on until later in the game. There’s usually much less drama in these categories and for some time that used to mean that there was a lack of excitement when it came to predicting them. If there’s anything to take away from the last Oscar ceremony, though, it’s the unpredictability of the artistic awards. You could easily make a case that the wins in each of these three categories was something of a surprise, and this year I suspect that it shall be just as uncertain…

Next to the Original Song category, I’d say that this is the most exasperating category when it comes to straight predictions. Luckily, I’m almost always more interested in the act of predictions than getting it right (just see my Emmy musings with Ryan earlier this year). There’s nothing that immediately jumps out at me for a potential nomination except for J. Edgar which I’m almost certain won’t get a nomination. It’s really, for now, just speculative hunches, but sometimes AMPAS seems averse to the overuse of aging make-up (see The Reader) but then again there was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The thing is, without J. Edgar in the mix I’m even more uncertain about who will be nominated…so, my hands are tied.

MY GUESS: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; J. Edgar; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

THEN AGAIN, PERHAPS: Captain America: The First Avenger; Albert Nobbs; The Artist; The Iron Lady; Green Lantern; X-Men: First Class;

MORE POSSIBILITIES: My Week with Marilyn; A Dangerous Method

And, I immediately want to swap out J. Edgar for Captain America because quite a few seemed to have love it and its artistic offerings, but then I’d have a trio of fantasy films, which would happen but then again, may not. I’m not certain if the The Artist has substantial makeup work, but I do think that if it ends up sweeping like a few are predicting then it could show up here by default. They don’t usually remember “pretty” makeup, but when they went crazy for Shakespeare in Love in ’98 that got in there .

Jose is the resident clothes connoisseur, but I do love seeing what happens with the costume categories. The reigning Queens are currently Colleen Atwood and Sandy Powell, both of whom have three apiece. There aren’t as many straight up period films heading into the season that Oscar seems poised to remember, but you really do never know with them…

MY GUESS: The Artist; The Help ; Hugo; Jane Eyre; War Horse

THEN AGAIN, PERHAPS: A Dangerous Method; Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows; W.E.; Anonymous; Captain America: The First Avenger

MORE POSSIBILITIES: Immortals; My Week with Marilyn

I have this hunch that Sharren Davis will show up for her work in The Help. The costumes aren’t overcomplicated and loud as they like, but they are pretty and if overwhelming support earlier this year holds strong it should at least pick up some amount of consider for the smaller categories. I’m keeping my eye on Sandy Powell’s work in Hugo, though. Her work is amazing, and she gives good speech and if any fantasy film gets it it’d be that and not Captain America or Sherlock Holmes - even if I don’t want to rule either out. I’m less confident in the Jane Eyre citation, and then I think that even though it’s an early release it’s an obvious contender for the prize (I’m occasionally apathetic about the film, but the technical work is impeccable). The Artist and My Week with Marilyn are both recreating costumes for movies, but one is sure-fire contender. So, The Artist it is… 


Of the three artistic awards, this is the one that most correlates with those big films in Picture category, and then there’s also the frequent correlations between it and the cinematography category. Sometimes, though, they end up going for the obvious loud choices (see Alice in Wonderland last year) whereas sometimes they go for the surprisingly softer ones (like Chicago over Gangs of New York).

MY GUESS: The Artist; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; Hugo; Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows; War Horse

THEN AGAIN, PERHAPS: A Dangerous Method; Midnight in Paris; Jane Eyre; The Tree of Life; Captain America: The First Avenger

MORE POSSIBILITIES: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy 
On one hand, it’s a bit silly to put Sherlock Holmes there when there are so many strong contenders to consider. On the other hand, you never really know with the voters and the first instalment in the series did get a nomination over more interesting fare like Bright Star and Cheri. The thing about A Dangerous Method is that all of its technical work is understated, and unless the film does land with the Academy I’m worried that it will be ignored – which would be a shame. Last year the least arresting of the Harry Potter films (visually, at the very least) managed a nod here and though I don’t anticipate a Picture nomination I’d imagine they’d t least be sent off with a slew of nods here and there. And, I don’t want to have The Artist there, but I’m doubtful about how AMPAS will respond to it in categories like this. And, even though Hannah and her Sisters got an unlikely Art Direction nod I’m not sure Midnight in Paris could unseat it. We shall see… 

Coming Soon: Best Actor / Previously: Best Supporting Actor

So, what say you? These are not the categories everyone is clamouring to predict, but who are you rooting for?


Alex in Movieland said...

I agree with Hugo wins for Art Direction and Costumes. But The Iron Lady is clearly the front-runner for Makeup.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

alex you think so? i don't know, i'm not feeling, but what do i know? incoherent oscar, after all.

Jose said...

I want "W.E." to make it into the tech categories so badly. The costumes look astonishing and the art direction screams Oscar!

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

jose i, too. screw the critics, i hope i love it.