Chris Hanna and Radina Papukchieva have a look at the categories that often get overlooked. The people working on makeup and costumes often put in more hours than anyone else on set. Movies can be elevated to another level with some great work from people whose faces we never see. Follow the jump to see our predictions for costume design, makeup, cinematography, art direction and visual effects.

The nominees for Best Achievement in Costume Design are:

“From all the nominated movies, Anonymous is set the furthest back in time, and that’s a good criteria when it comes to judging costumes. The earlier the time period, the more elaborate the way people dressed.  Set in Shakespearean England, it boasts over-the-top gowns, wigs, corsets, the whole shebang. Hugo, set in 1930s Paris, clothes its characters modestly, but with attention to the smallest details (Hugo’s overgrown shorts and ripped cardigan, and the train station officer’s meticulously put-together look). W.E. and The Artist are set in my favorite era in terms of fashion: the 1920s. The hairdos are just gorgeous, and people in general looked extremely well groomed. Jane Eyre was great in terms of capturing the main heroine’s mousy look with dresses predominantly brown, grey and black, and Mr. Rochester’s famous white shirts with wide sleeves (dreamy). I would say the two contenders would be Anonymous and W.E., the two films that put everything they lacked as such into their costume design.”Radina Papukchieva

“In the past, the award has gone to the film with the most costumes or costumes that were the most lavish. This year, Oscar darling The Artist is my pick for the win. Its costumes are simple and minimalistic, like the film itself. When a film has no dialogue, everything else has to be top notch. Costumes can be used to distract audiences from the less than-ness of a film.” – Chris Hanna

The nominees for Best Achievement in Makeup are:

 “Among the three nominees for makeup, I’d go with The Iron Lady to give credit to the people who helped an already amazing Meryl Streep really slip into the skin of Margaret Thatcher. The result was an uncanny resemblance to the woman French President François Mitterand described as “having Caligula’s eyes and Marilyn Monroe’s mouth.” The makeup was a big part of Streep’s performance and deserves the gold, even though Streep as Thatcher is up against Voldemort, the villain who looks great in every Harry Potter movie. As for Albert Nobbs, yes, Glenn Close looks like a man, but that doesn’t really break new ground.” – Radina Papukchieva

“I have to disagree with Radina. As much as Streep looked remarkably like Thatcher over three decades, the makeup team on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 had their work cut out for them because they had so many more actors and characters to work on. I also think that aging an actor or making them bend genders isn’t necessarily remarkable in this movie day and age. For Voldemort and eight movies worth of goblins and creatures, the Oscar should go to Harry Potter.” – Chris Hanna

The nominees for Best Achievement in Art Direction are:

The ArtistLaurence BennettRobert Gould
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2Stuart CraigStephenie McMillan
HugoDante FerrettiFrancesca Lo Schiavo
Midnight in ParisAnne SeibelHélène Dubreuil
War HorseRick CarterLee Sandales

“This Oscar is given to the art director and set decorator of a movie, and the five nominees all make very strong cases for themselves. I sometimes think the award goes to the most elaborate and complicated sets, in which case the battle for gold would be between Hugo and the final instalment of the Harry Potter franchise. This is not to undervalue The Artist or Midnight in Paris, which both had convincing 1920s settings, the former in Hollywood, the latter in Paris. War Horse was also quite impressive, but I found the landscapes and stunning shots of the U.K. and the rest of Europe much more breathtaking than the sets. My pick for Art Direction would have to be Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo, who have already won two Oscars for their work together on the sets of The Aviator and Sweeney Todd. The duo’s work on Martin Scorsese’s Hugo cannot go unnoticed. They built a train station, for crying out loud!” – Chris Hanna

“A good selection of movies for this category; I would say it’s between Hugo and The Artist. Hugo had great photography and costumes, and the fact that it was released in 3D was a plus, although it would have looked just as stunning in 2D. I think as far as art direction goes, it’s the biggest gem among the nominees.” – Radina Papukchieva

The nominees for Best Achievement in Cinematography are:

The ArtistGuillaume Schiffman
The Girl with the Dragon TattooJeff Cronenweth
HugoRobert Richardson
The Tree of LifeEmmanuel Lubezki
War HorseJanusz Kaminski

“Another very competitive category. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a chilling story and the cinematography depicted that with deep shots of snowy surroundings, white mansions and overall cold, blue-ish feel. Hugo had a palette of colors that was of disposal to directors like Georges Méliès, who used to dye specific parts of his shots by hand – lush browns, reds, oranges. In terms of aesthetics,  it’s the best photographed film of the year. I think The Artist is a weak contender in this particular category, because its only asset is its being shot in black and white. In terms of cinematography, it doesn’t stand a chance to Scorsese’s work. The two other contenders are War Horse and Tree of Life, but I think (and hope) that Hugo will go home with the Oscar.” – Radina Papukchieva

“Another very competitive category. No you’re not re-reading Radina’s post. This really is a great category. The cinematography award often goes to a film’s director of photography. Think of a film as a series of (hundreds of thousands of) stills. Which would make the most beautiful photographs? The Artist is certainly a novelty in 2012 and the fact that it was shot in 4:3 is definitely different. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, like the Swedish version of the film that came before it, makes great use of bleakness and darkness. War Horse didn’t have much going for it to keep my interest, but those pans on the gorgeous European landscapes really were awe-inspiring. Martin Scorsese’s vision is unparalleled: the man knows what looks good and knows how to make that happen. But if there is one director’s films that are MADE (yes, MADE!) by how gorgeous they look, it is Terrence Malick. The New World and Thin Red Line director’s films are for patient film lovers. The Tree of Life’s only award will be in this category.” – Chris Hanna

The nominees for Best Achievement in Visual Effects are:

The Rise of the Planet of the Apes was overall pretty well accepted by critics this year, in part for its visual effects.  It is the underdog blockbuster, sandwiched between Real Steel and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Harry Potter and Hugo get acknowledgement by being nominated, but Apes will most likely be the winner.” – Radina Papukchieva

“The Apes franchise has been known to never use real apes in their films, but they have never looked or moved as realistically as Caesar has in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Of course Andy Serkis (Gollum in the LOTR trilogy, King Kong in Peter Jackson’s 2005 film) was Caesar, and many people thought he would get an acting nod for his work. Caesar felt more real and personable than a lot of other human performances this year.” – Chris Hanna

The nominees for Best Achievement in Film Editing are:

“The film editor is the person working the closest with the film director. Editing is an art of storytelling, essentially – the editor is the one that assembles the footage, but in a creative way. Flashbacks, dreams, dialogue – all of these little events are meticulously put together and the word ‘meticulous’ is something I seem to have reserved for Martin Scorsese and co. in particular.  The director and film editor Thelma Schoonmaker have literally been inseparable – all of Schoonmaker’s editing work, except in two other films, has been with Scorsese.  She won the Oscar for The Departed (2006) and The Aviator (2004). Hugo was a fairytale: it involved so many scenes of characters dreaming, reminiscing and all of these were just breathtaking. The footage of silent films was one of my favorite moments in the movie, as well as the inclusion of scenes from Méliès’ movies. These moments were artistic, as well as they served to push the story forward. Hugo is definitely my pick for this awardbut The Artist and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo have a fair chance as well. The Artist, albeit being a silent film, made some great use of sound, and it also paid homage to so many silent movie prototypes in the way it was shot – the melodrama, the romantic comedy, even the film noir and the musical. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had a difficult plot to follow, but the continuous jumping between the main characters made the story come together and paid tribute to the books. Nevertheless, my pick (and likely winner) is Hugo.” – Radina Papukchieva


About The Cafe Phenomenon

"The Cafe Phenomenon" refers to a situation, specifically in a cafe, where you are sitting with a friend and engaging in conversation with them, but you suddenly find yourself unable to listen because the background noise of the cafe distracts you from what they are saying (the background noise could be any thing: the gossip at the next table for example). It happens that, from time to time, in certain contexts the background noise is stronger and more defined than our personal and private one on one conversations. Our blog, made up of a group of friends from Concordia's journalism program, can serve as the background noise penetrating the intimate discussions of our virtual cafe dwellers (hopefully adding insight, relevant coverage, and interesting ideas). Or it can be the friend with whom you are deep in conversation. This, our dear readers, we leave to you.

One response »

  1. Jeyna Grace says:

    That is remarkable costume design! And Hugo definitely has a brilliant set!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s