Friday, October 19, 2012

October Oscar Predictions: Production Design

One thing I’m pretty sure of is that Les Miserables is winning this too.  Yeah, I’m so excited for the prospect of a true sweep, and I kind of see that happening with Les Miserables.  I just hope that my expectations are met and it is a deserved one (I fear for my health if this turns out to be a bomb).  Honestly though, from the screenshots and the set designs released on the latest issue of EW, I’m pretty sure that this is going to be an easy win here.
After that I’m not entirely sure as to who is going to make it.  Anna Karenina seems highly possible, and most probable thanks to the praise it’s received in the visual department (so lush and pretty to look at) and the idea of staging this on the ‘stage’ could be an interesting ‘gimmick’ that will work in its favor.  Django Unchained also looks completely lush and really strong here.  Then you have some serious contenders in different eras that show replications of more subtle yet authenticated living spaces.  Lincoln, The Master and Argo should all be in the conversation.  They are primed to be serious Oscar players, and that always helps in dragging in a more subtle piece of work.  Argo, for example, could easily get a filler nomination if it winds up being one of the frontrunners for the actual Best Picture Oscar.
And then I’m wondering about the fantasy side of things.  While I’ve stated to considering The Hobbit a joke, I’m not sure about its chances here.  The trailer and stills look rather detailed, and Oscar does like their fantasy elements here.  Could it be seen as too much of the same?  That never hurt the Harry Potter films, which regurgitated similar set pieces and still managed multiple nominations here.  What about Dark Shadows.  It seems almost forgotten now, but it is Tim Burton and they cream all over his stuff.  The gaudier the better, right?  No, but whatever.  The Dark Knight Rises could also factor in, if they want to reward the series for fleshing out darkly lit nightmares with complexity (it would be deserved, but I’m not betting on it at the moment).  Prometheus was also mentioned for its art direction, and the original Alien film was nominated in this category, but the category is filling out this year and I don’t know if I see it getting in right now.
And then you have unseen films like Wuthering Heights and Great Expectations, both of which could factor in if they are perceived as truly innovative or at least visual spectacles.
One real question mark for me is Moonrise Kingdom.  I haven’t seen the film yet, but the stills are amazing and Wes Anderson movies are always really exciting in this department (yet they are always Oscar snubbed) and I’ve heard by many that this is his most accessible film and so maybe it could actually generate buzz in more fields than a mere screenplay nomination.  I’m skeptical, and I won’t predict it right now, but if it gains momentum over the season thanks to a critical awakening then I could see it becoming a player.  It probably won’t make it in in the end, but I’d love to see it in the conversation.
And then we have Cloud Atlas.  Like, this is that one movie that looks so god-awful in my eyes and yet is such a visual spectacle even in trailer form that I’m wondering if it will factor in to all of these tech categories on that basis alone.  Does it need to be a huge success for it to nab nominations across the board here?  I mean, the epic scope of the film itself is so large that it really is a technical wet dream. 
I’m thinking, at the moment, of something like this:
1)      Les Miserables
2)      Anna Karenina
3)      Cloud Atlas
4)      Lincoln
5)      Django Unchained


  1. Dark Shadows is probably the most likely to surprise here, but Moonrise Kingdom would be an inspired choice by AMPAS.

    1. My only issue with a Dark Shadows nomination is that the film's reviews were so terrible that I don't think anyone is even going to give it a second look, and the art direction didn't look as abrasive as Alice and Wonderland, so it may not truly 'stick out' in the minds of voters.

    2. That's true, but the fact that Alice won here (and in Costumes) makes me wonder...