Tuesday, January 25, 2011

OSCAR NOMINEES 2011: The art categories

To much fanfare, the 2011 Academy Award nominations were released today.  You can grab an entire list of the nominations here.  Here's an analysis of the artistic nominees in the categories of Art Direction, Costume Design, and Makeup.

Best Art Direction

Who was snubbed:  When it comes to art direction, meaning set design, the nominees here are all very worthy.  The one questionable omission would be the striking, yet creepy balletic sets of Black Swan.  From Nina's overly childlike apartment to the shadows of her workplace, it was pretty good.  This is a category where the overlooked/long-forgotten Martin Scorcese February release Shutter Island could have deserved a nomination.  It received zero nods, rare for a Scorcese film, especially a good one.

Happy to be there: Alice in Wonderland continues the tradition of Tim Burton films providing colorful, off-the-wall settings and creations.  His movies have a knack for getting in this category (and Best Makeup, see later) and sometimes even win (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sleepy Hollow, Batman).

Who will win:  Theoretically, this category is probably going to be part of the wave of awards that go to the eventual Best Picture winner, with The King's Speech leading that charge.  At the same time, this could very well be another one of those techical categories that Inception continues to deserve to win, but watch out for the "happy to be there" Alice in Wonderland too.  For now, let's say Inception.

Best Costume Design

Who was snubbedBlack Swan was truly a slam dunk in this category for its amazing and imagined costumes.  This is could top the pair of Tron: Legacy snubbed nominations in Score and Visual Effects as the biggest omission of the day.  it's another one of those snubs who should've probably won the award outright.  It also had prior nominations from the Critics' Choice and the Costume Design Guild in the same category.  Just like the last category, the shut-out Shutter Island deserved at least a look here as well.

Happy to be there:  The small under-seen independent fare of The Tempest and I Am Love should count their lucky stars.  While The Tempest boasts Broadway's visionary creator Julie Taymor (The Lion King) and her resume, I Am Love is out of nowhere.

Who will win:  Without Black Swan around, the award is probably leaning toward Alice in Wonderland's Colleen Atwood.  It's her ninth nomination in a category she has won twice in before (Chicago and Memoirs of a Geisha).  She's the vetaran presence, but watch out for Jenny Beaven of The King's Speech, another nine-time nominee on a more award-popular film.

Best Makeup

Who was snubbed: A few more to the mix, period, would be nice.  Like Best Animated Feature and Best Visual Effects the last few years, this is a category that is narrowed to three nominees when you really could, deservedly, give credit to a full five.  The Academy does choose from a narrowed short-list of seven to get to three.  The category could should have been expanded to honor the notable makeup for Jonah Hex (yes, admitedly so), the outstanding Black Swan (which didn't make the short-list of seven), The Fighter, and also Alice in Wonderland (normally a Tim Burton sure-thing category)

Happy to be there:  Anyone who isn't Rick Baker, namely the no-names of The Way Back and Barney's Version.  Rick Baker is the king of this category and should have the award named after him when he dies, thanks to his twelve nominations and six prior wins in the category (Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Men in Black, The Nutty Professor, Ed Wood, Harry and the Hendersons, and An American Werewolf in London).

Who will win:  Rick Baker for The Wolfman.  Stellar makeup and, again, the king of the category.  Bank on it.