If you've read The Film Experience for any length of time beyond let's say, a week, you'll know that we live for eye candy. Three of the cinematic arts that most regularly provide this are, outside of beautiful movie stars in the acting categories, Production Design and Costume Design i.e. the Moulin Rouge! categories. We love these categories so much we have two weekly series for them, Daniel Walber's "The Furniture" and my own forthcoming costume series "Three Fittings".
Anyway, it's time to make our final predictions for Oscar but it's also time to get those Film Bitch Awards (my own long running awards jamboree) going. So herewith my personal ballot and, putting the pundit hat on, my Oscar predictions. These two modes should not be confused... so apologies for discussing them simultaneously. This is what happens when you procrastinate!
Production Design - Oscar Predictions
I figure this is a slot for the BAFTA surging Nocturnal Animals and I'm predicting that at the expensive of the haunting minimalistic sci-fi of Arrival (work I really really love. Sigh). That damn outdoor potty and the opening art world light slabs will do it. This is an interesting category, though, and I'm going to predict The Handmaiden both because it is hugely deserving and because of all the critics foreign film prizes and the LAFCA prize in this very category. If Park Chan Wook's brilliant film is going to score anywhere it will be here (with an outside shot at costumes, too). There's plentiful buzz around Doctor Strange and Fantastic Beasts (they do love the Harry Potter films in this category but come one, how many times do we need to dip in that well with so many richly art directed films of all genres happening each year ?!?). Question: is Doctor Strange really well liked enough to score multiple nods when so many other Marvel Studio films couldn't do it?
If you really give in to the predictive mania of at home Oscar punditry costume design will surely drive you craziest. What an impossible category to predict this year! Since the CDG has multiple categories they've covered a ton of possibilities and the ones they didn't still have buzz for costumes anyway. Just thinking casually about the films won't help. On paper you might think: oh easy, period pieces + a little Colleen Atwood and you're done (Jackie, Florence Foster Jenkins, Hidden Figures, Love & Friendship, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them). But not so fast. Silence, Hail Caesar, and Allied also feature period costumes and they're both buzzing for this category which is easily understandable if you've seen them given the gorgeous work. Even stranger, at least in terms of Oscar history, is that people are talking up not one but two contemporary films: Captain Fantastic as a dark horse (yes please) and La La Land as a sure thing. And that's before you even consider outside possibilities like Kubo and the Two Strings (which wants to be the first animated film nominated here, with all those lovingly detailed miniature costumes), less showy period fare like Fences, Cafe Society or Loving, a costuming legend in Albert Wolsky (Rules Don't Apply). Finally there's a foreign possibility in this category, too, via the The Handmaiden. Here's my best guess though I'm prepared to go 1 or 2 for 5 because I've taken quite a chance on two of them that aren't anything like sure things (The Dressmaker and Hidden Figures) but who the hell knows!?!