The nominees for Best Achievement in Costume Design are:

Jacqueline Durran for Anna Karenina
Paco Delgado for Les Misérables
Joanna Johnston for Lincoln
Eiko Ishioka for Mirror Mirror
Colleen Atwood for Snow White and the Huntsman

Anna-karenina

I’m probably the only person who actually really liked Anna Karenina, but that might be due to my profound love for
Russian literature, Joe Wright, and Keira Knightley. So I might be biased. Regardless, I thought the costumes in the movie were exquisite, and by the way, in case you actually read the book, they matched Tolstoy’s descriptions exactly.  When Anna appeared in that divine black dress at her first dance with Vronsky, I gasped. Costume designer Jacqueline Durran was also the mastermind behind the costumes in Wright’s Atonement (that green dress Knightley wore has to be the most memorable dress in movies) and last year’s sly spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Yeah, so Anna Karenina for me. – Radina Papukchieva

I’m so glad Mirror Mirror is nominated in this category. The film was nothing great, just another Snow White adaptation in a long string of Disney-inspired remakes, starring Phil Collins’ daughter Lily and Julia Roberts. But, the costumes were breathtaking (swan hats, corsets, feather-embellished cabooses, and more). Japanese designer Eiko Ishioka was a master, and if Mirror Mirror takes it home, it will be a post-humous win for Ishioka, who passed away from cancer last January. However, Anna Karenina is the frontrunner. As a period piece with glorious jewelry and majestic gowns, Jacqueline Durran had her hands full from the get-go. Staying true to Tolstoy’s vision is no easy task and the twice-nominated Durran (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement) will probably prove the old adage right on Oscar night — third time’s a charm. – Sophia Loffreda

snow-white-and-the-huntsman08Article 42 subsection 8 of the Academy rule book (which is totally made up and not real) states that Colleen Atwood MUST be nominated if the film she worked on had even remotely complicated costumes. Case in point: Atwood’s nomination for Snow White and the Huntsman is her 10th nomination since 1995. She’s won three (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha and Alice in Wonderland) but will not win her fourth on Sunday. I’m torn between Lincoln and Anna Karenina (Les Mis? Nothing spectacular. Mirror Mirror was too cartoony). On the one hand, we’ve seen Karenina-like costumes take home the award so recently. From 2005 to 2009: Geisha, Marie Antoinette, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Duchess, The Young Victoria. On the other, Lincoln’s weren’t lavish at all, and in a category where style and over-the-topness rule, I’ll have to go with Anna Karenina.  — Chris Hanna

The nominees for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling are:

Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, and Martin Samuel for Hitchcock
Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater, and Tami Lane for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnel for Les Misérables

I have to say that although I very much enjoyed the performances in Hitchcock, Anthony Hopkins really did look like he was wearing a fat suit. I’m sick of the hobbits, so I’ll opt for Les Mis in the makeup category. I didn’t think it was anything special, but there are only three nominees.  More impressive was the weight loss that Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway went through, but I guess they did a good job in making them look rather ghastly and dirty.  Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter probably required the most make up for their turn as the comical guttersnipes Thénardiers. – RP

I’m going to go with Les Misérables for the same reasons. Helen Mirren’s makeup and wig in Hitchcock were so dreadful that it distracted from what was, otherwise, an enjoyable film. And it is damn difficult to make Helen Mirren look bad! Same goes for Hopkins, I wasn’t particularly impressed – the resemblance to Alfred Hitchcock came from his mannerisms and not from great makeup or hairstyling. To be honest, The Hobbit might actually win this category. The Academy loves a sweeping robe and prosthetic ears. But, I’m hoping it doesn’t. The wildly overrated and lengthy fantasy film didn’t lure me to the theatre and from the clips I’ve seen, it doesn’t present anything groundbreaking. Not to mention that 20 animals died in production, mostly due to neglect and overcrowding, which is something I would rather not support. –SL

Something tells me they’re gonna give this one to Les Mis because Anne Hathaway got a haircut on screen. It *should* go to The Hobbit because there was just so much makeup and hairstyling going on, but that movie was such a disappointment that I think the Academy will punish it every time it can. So, Les Mis? Yeah. It wasn’t a particularly impressive year for hair and makeup in film, though. — CH

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The nominees for Best Production Design are:

Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer for Anna Karenina
Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent, and Simon Bright for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson for Les Misérables
David Gropman and Anna Pinnock for Life of Pi 
Rick Carter and Jim Erickson for Lincoln

It would be between Anna Karenina and Lincoln for me.  Life of Pi and The Hobbit are post-production films, so I don’t think it’s fair that they are even nominated.  I thought that putting Anna Karenina on a theatrical stage was a clever idea, and it certainly matched the tone of the novel.  However, Lincoln hasn’t been getting a lot of heat other than in the Best Leading Actor category, so I think this one should go to Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy just because there isn’t a stronger contender. Scorsese didn’t make a movie this year. – RP

I agree with Radina about Pi and Hobbit: they were post-heavy, and I don’t think they really have a shot here. Although *some* of the sets were real, the more impressive ones weren’t. I think Les Miserables was good…for a play. It comes down to Anna Karenina and Lincoln and I’ll have to give the edge to Rick Carter and Jim Erickson’s for Steven Spielberg’s grandiose, over-the-top, epic, period piece. —CH

The nominees for Best Achievement in Cinematography are:

Seamus McGarvey for Anna Karenina
Robert Richardson for Django Unchained
Claudio Miranda for Life of Pi
Janusz Kaminski for Lincoln
Roger Deakins for Skyfall

Skyfall  all the way.  Not only was this the best Bond movie I’d ever seen, I think it was actually one of the best movies of the year and it should have been in the Best Picture category. But then again, heroes don’t make it that far.  Skyfall  was directed by Sam Mendes and shot by the brilliant Roger Deakins (The Shawshank Redemption, A Beautiful Mind, No Country for Old Men, True Grit), who has been nominated for an Oscar in cinematography 10 times but has never won. So please, Academy, get it right. – RP

Roger Deakins is a mastermind, playing with light, composition, and color like no other. Since seeing No Country for Old SkyfallMen, I have been smitten. He deserves this win, especially for a movie like Skyfall. Although a box office favourite, no one expected the James Bond movie to sneak into the Oscars this year. Life of Pi is a visual masterpiece, there is no debating that fact. But, like Radina mentions above, the magic comes mostly from the post-production work. In my opinion, the competition will be between Deakins for Skyfall and Janusz Kaminski for his work on Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. From the visuals of top-hat waving crowds, to the beautifully shot battle scenes, to the eerie blueish smoke that engulfes Daniel Day-Lewis’ face as he brings the 16th president of the United States to life, the film is a cinematographic pleasure. –SL

You can ask Radina and Sophia how I feel about Skyfall’s cinematography. The moment I left the theatre in November, I gushed at how breathtaking and picturesque *every* *single* *frame* was. I haven’t seen a film this year, or last for that matter, where the cinematography had a life of its own. Now, depending on the how the night goes, Lincoln might steal this from Deakins’ Skyfall, but it’ll be a travesty if that happens. — CH

The nominees for Best Achievement in Visual Effects are:

 Joe LetteriEric SaindonDavid ClaytonR. Christopher White for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
 Bill WestenhoferGuillaume RocheronErik De BoerDonald Elliott for Life of Pi
Janek SirrsJeff WhiteGuy WilliamsDaniel Sudick for The Avengers
Richard StammersTrevor WoodCharley HenleyMartin Hill for Prometheus
 Cedric Nicolas-TroyanPhil BrennanNeil CorbouldMichael Dawson for Snow White and the Huntsman

If Life of Pi doesn’t win in any of the other categories, it needs to win for visual effects. This was, after Skyfall, the most visually appealing movie of the year, and can you imagine that tiger wasn’t actually real? Every sequence of the film is breathtaking, and as long as it doesn’t involve orks, I’m on board.  – RP

life of pi blue 615 foxI’m keeping my fingers crossed for Life of Pi, and not just because it was a Montreal-based film. Shot in 3D, the special effects are ridiculously impressive and the CG tiger is top notch. Ang Lee expressed his sadness this past week after hearing that Rhythm & Hues, the visual effects company that did the work for Life of Pi (creating the tiger, water, etc.), has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Hopefully an Oscar win can save them from their financial woes. As a side note, Marvel’s The Avengers is also nominated in this category, along with The Hobbit, Prometheus, and Snow White and the Huntsman (really?!). Prometheus is pretty spectacular effects wise, and I was pleasantly surprised by The Hulk’s transformation and realism in The Avengers. Still, my money (or umm my pocket change) is on Life of Pi. –SL

I don’t see this award going to any film other than Life of Pi. The Avengers had a lot of visual effects, but I can’t say that they were really groundbreaking or original, and a few scenes for me looked too CGed. Ditto for The Hobbit, which basically just rehashed effects from the LOTR trilogy. I’ll admit I have a soft spot in my heart for Gollum and Andy Serkis, though. I’m going to dismiss Prometheus entirely, but I have to say that Snow White and the Huntsman had some interesting effects, but not enough to beat out Pi’s bengal tiger. The film deserves the award for the tiger alone. — CH

The nominees for Best Achievement in Film Editing are:

William Goldenberg for Argo
Tim Squyres for Life of Pi
Michael Kahn for Lincoln
Jay CassidyCrispin Struthers for Silver Linings Playbook
William GoldenbergDylan Tichenor for Zero Dark Thirty

I’m split between Argo and Zero Dark Thirty on this one.  Argo jumped from real newsreel footage to film, and from Iran to Hollywood without causing me panic attacks.  And the last sequence of the group making their way through the airport was one of the most tense moments in cinema this year, although I knew they were going to make it on that plane.  Zero Dark Thirty was very dynamic too and managed to keep me on the edge of my seat.  Like with Argo, that last scene where they raid Osama’s hideout was like an example for perfect editing out of the books.  Both films stand an equal chance to win this one, in my opinion. – RP

On the one hand, I would love to see Zero Dark Thirty win. There must have been hours and hours of footage that was ultimately boiled down into a really tense and taught 150 minutes. In terms of chronology, logic and it making sense for the viewer, the editing in ZDT was essential. On the other hand, this award usually goes to the best picture favourite, so I am going to have to go with Argo (spoiler alert for the best pic pick!): Argo, too, was a phenomenally edited film, with the third act in particular standing out to me as spectacular. — CH

argo

Up next: Sound, Song, Score.

By Chris Hanna, Sophia Loffreda, and Radina Papukchieva

Twitter @Chris_Hanna, @sloffreda, @Papukchieva

 

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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.

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