3rd TFO Awards PART 2: Production Design / Costume Design

TFO 2011
The following awards are:

BEST production design – contemporary

BEST production design – period

BEST costume design – contemporary

BEST costume design – period

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Best Production Design – Contemporary

 

01 Drive Drive – (PD) Beth Mickle, (SD) Lisa Sessions Morgan
The film succeeds in its visuals because it has the capability to create a world that is identifiable yet partly detached, creating a world where its narrative and characters fit and giving the film the densely moody milieu that makes the film so visually striking.

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02 ELAICExtremely Loud & Incredibly Close – (PD) K.K. Barrett, (SD) George DeTitta Jr.
The film is all about Oskar’s journey, emotionally and physically, taking the film into different locations that over-all paints the post-9/11 New York, a place where the air of despair and the search for resolution collide. Also, its visuals also provide us hints on how Oskar’s mind works.

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03 TGWTDTThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – (PD) Donald Graham Burt, (SD) K.C. Fox, Erik Videgard
What I like about this film is its completeness in its visuals, enveloping the whole narrative with a world that is filled with minute details that help create the immensely atmospheric environment of the film.

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04 TSILNThe Skin I Live In – (PD) Antxon Gómez, (SD) Vicente Díaz
Almodovar’s films are always visually intriguing, and this film, with all its strangeness and eccentricities, depicts his visual control of the story. The whole film works like a labyrinth of the characters and their psyche, thanks to the attention to detail of the visuals.

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05 SBSleeping Beauty – (PD) Annie Beauchamp, (SD) Lisa Thompson
The film’s coldness and intrigue comes from how disturbing the visuals are. Its set pieces are always too classy and too polished, effectively giving the film the oddness and disquieting visuals its narrative deserves.

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And THE FINAL OSCAR goes to…

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DriveDrive

Production design by beth Mickle
set decoration by lisa sessions morgan

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Finalists: Melancholia | Coriolanus | Contagion | The Rum Diary | Bridesmaids | Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol | Shame

Semi-Finalists: Insidious | Super 8 | Carnage | Certified Copy | X-Men: First Class | One Day | Martha Marcy May Marlene | Take Shelter

The Rest of the Field: Moneyball | The Muppets | Margin Call | We Need to Talk About Kevin | The Descendants | The Beaver | 50/50 | A Separation | Rise of the Planet of the Apes

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Best Production Design – Period

 

06 Anonymous

Anonymous – (PD) Sebastian Krawinkel, (SD) Simon Boucherie
While I really feel indifferent about the film, I just cannot discount its brilliance in recreating the Shakespearean era with a noirish quality that feels classy and bleak at the same time.

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07 The ArtistThe Artist – (PD) Laurence Bennett, (SD) Robert Gould
The film is a stunning visual experience, and the completeness of its over-all design is what makes the film such an absorbing film. Whether be it the glamorous 1920s Hollywood studios or the neglected house of George Valentin, the film scores high with its visual wholeness.

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08 HugoHugo – (PD) Dante Ferretti, (SD) Francesca Lo Schiavo
Being in that train station is already a blast, but once the narrative enters its chapter concerning George Melies and the film career he once had, it is pure visual enthrallment.

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09 SubmarineSubmarine – (PD) Gary Williamson, (SD) Cathy Cosgrove
The film mostly works from how visually appealing and in sync it is with the film’s quirkiness. Its specificity in its design plots the characters’ mindset with intricacy.

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10 War HorseWar Horse – (PD) Rick Carter, (SD) Lee Sandales
The film employs several set pieces as the narrative traverses through different parts, from the cozy hose beside the plow field, to the military camps, bomb shelters, and the haunting No Man’s Land.

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And THE FINAL OSCAR goes to…

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HugoHugo

production design by dante ferretti
set decoration by francesca lo schiavo

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Finalists: Jane Eyre | Midnight in Paris | W.E. | Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy | Captain America: The First Avenger | The Help | Albert Nobbs

Semi-Finalists: My Week with Marilyn | The Tree of Life | A Dangerous Method | The Debt | J. Edgar

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Best Costume Design – Contemporary

 

11 BridesmaidsBridesmaids – Leesa Evans, Christine Wada
Before the characters wear their beautiful wedding gowns, the costumes already sprinkle a lot of information about the characters, whether be it Helen’s elitist tendencies, Becca’s pretty reserve, or Megan’s no-bullshit attitude.

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12 DriveDrive – Erin Benach
Stylish and dangerous, the film populates the narrative with characters that all harbor in peril underneath the slick façade. The scorpion jacket is already a classic, but the film shows more than that.

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13 The Iron LadyThe Iron Lady – Consolata Boyle
Helps in establishing the fragility underneath the tough in Margaret Thatcher in pre-prime minister era, her regality and authority in her prime minister years, and the sophistication and intelligence of the old-age Thatcher.

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14 Margin CallMargin Call – Caroline Duncan
Its characters remain in corporate attire for the entire film, but close attention to the costumes reveal the specificity of the details given to each character, defining them even more even in the quieter moments.

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15 Sleeping BeautySleeping Beauty – Shareen Beringer
Those impeccably designed lingerie worn by the servants still haunt me. In the moments before the lead character goes into hibernation, the costumes work wonders in walking the very fine line between clarity and ambiguity that makes each character come of as ethereal.

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And THE FINAL OSCAR goes to…

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DriveDrive

costume design by erin benach

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Finalists: The Rum Diary | Shame | Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol | Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close | Young Adult | The Ides of March | Coriolanus

Semi-Finalists: The Lincoln Lawyer | One Day | Carnage | The Muppets | Larry Crowne | The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo | Margaret

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Best Costume Design – Period

 

16 AnonymousAnonymous – Lisy Christl
Works wonders in highlighting the different dimension of each character when the screenplay or even the actors go for broader strokes, never afraid to sink in the story while still standing out.

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17 The ArtistThe Artist – Mark Bridges
The transformation of the main characters are given precision even in the subtlest way: the way Peppy Miller’s clothes slowly change from her simple attires as an aspiring actress to Hollywood star in contrast with George Valentin’s descent from beloved movie star to forgotten silent film actor.

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18 The HelpThe Help – Sharen Davis
The women of Jackson are provided with the succession of costumes that are both pleasing to the eye as well as revelatory of the characters themselves: the way Celia Foote’s sexy clothes go in contrast with the conservative but hypocritical women of the bridge club as well as the difference between Minny’s figure-hugging orange dress to Aibileen’s loosely modest yet classy red dress.

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19 Jane EyreJane Eyre – Michael O’ Connor
The film’s organic and earthy visuals are some of the best that I have seen in this category, and the costumes have a lot to credit for that. Its costumes are both unobtrusive to the over-all vision and also crucial in the creation of the distinct visual style of the film.

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20 w.e.

W.E. – Arianne Phillips
Its costumes strongly register because the film is lucky to have actors who have the attitude to wear those stunningly sophisticated dresses. The way the two women of different time periods both compliment and clash at the same time prove the volumes of intelligence in the costume design.

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And THE FINAL OSCAR goes to…

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we poster

 

W.E.

Costume Design by Arianne Phillips

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Finalists: Captain America: The First Avenger | Hugo | Midnight in Paris | War Horse | My Week with Marilyn | A Dangerous Method | Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Semi-Finalists: Albert Nobbs | Submarine | J. Edgar | The Debt

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Previous Awards Page: Animated Feature

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Next Part: AURAL CATEGORIES (Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Original Music Score, Adapted Music/Song Score, Original Song)

Best Picture Profile: Moneyball

moneyballDirected by: Bennett Miller
Written by: Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian
Produced by: Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt
Runtime: 133 minutes

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Moneyball is about Billy Beane, the team manager of Oakland Athletics. With a team that just lost during the last game, star players that are on their way to departure, and a budget that is even lesser than meager, he decides to meet Peter Brand, an economics graduate whose expertise is analyzing data on the computer. With Brand, Beane decides to build the team with players that are mostly no-names by studying and using the data supplied by Brand to bring back the team to its game.

Baseball is not one of those sports that usually interest me. However, you do not need to become a baseball enthusiast to understand or even enjoy the film. There is skilful craftsmanship present in the film – the film does not immediately divulge to noise or unnecessary aberration in the story. Every moment of the film is controlled with a steady hand, and the subtle unravelling of events does the best favour in the film. The film is definitely not hurrying, but the film is built on an expertly constructed narrative that creates the subtle urgency in the storytelling.

Bennett Miller, the director of my choice for Best Picture 2005, Capote, has again proved his amazing skill of control and restraint. He uncannily provides a lively treatment to a material that could have easily been uninteresting, me being not so well informed with baseball. With a clever and tightly fabricated screenplay that offers an insightful at the world of baseball and the people involved, the choice to dwell more on the characters rather than the game itself is ingenious, bringing in the specificity and unambiguity that causes the excitement in the human drama packed in the story.

The way Miller balances the exhilarating game that takes place behind the actual baseball matches and the personal drama of the characters, especially Beane, provides for a gripping story without instantaneously showing off. Here is a director that has proven his expertise on the craft by a careful handling of pace and rhythm.

Moneyball

The film also has an assuring cinematography that paints the frame with seamless and uncompromising imagery. Enhancing the visual experience is the potent editing. With the restraint comes a series of images that breathes life to the story with flawless movement. It captures every scene with an underlying sense of firmness. There is also the astute use of music, delivering a precise feeling of tension and smoothness.

Familiar faces like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, and Chris Pratt populate story, but it all boils down to the two central performances of the film – Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.

Jonah Hill surprises with a performance that oozes with clean-cut intelligence and quiet determination. The role does not necessarily demand Hill to carry a heavy emotional baggage. Rather, it requires him to imbue a reserved facade of confidence. Hill succeeds in playing with the tricks of the character, and more often in the film, he displays a surprising diligence that works well in his character’s tacit inwardness. Here is a supportive performance that can be overlooked at first glance, but rewatching reveals the crafty conviction Hill delivers to the role.

As Billy Beane, Brad Pitt reminds us that he is a formidable actor, wearing the slyness of the character with full confidence and smoothness. His character, like Hill’s Peter Brand, requires a complex and layered attack on a character that does not actually externalize his personal drama, but rather uses it as an underlining motivation. Pitt succeeds in breathing in life to a character that appears first as a know-it-all man, but later reveals himself as a man of vulnerability and implied tenderness.

Pitt’s performance leans on a very natural approach – it does not shout for attention; rather, it is in the slick nature of the character as well as the nuanced humor embedded in the lines he deliver that the performance rely on. And with this approach, Pitt has reached the crux of why the film works so well – it is his lively take on Beane that compliments with the film’s multifaceted yet tranquil atmosphere.

The film is mesmerizing. It does not break any new ground, but its bone-deep look at the world of baseball and the people involved in it makes for a fascinating watch. This is a smart film, and you do not need to be a baseball enthusiast for you to like it. The expertise in filmmaking evident is enough to seal the deal. The film is vibrant, alive, and energetic. I just wish I can love it more.

For this, the film gets:

4Agree or disagree?

INTRODUCTION – Best Motion Picture: 2011

Yes, this is the next year. This is, again, a very exciting year for me.

This year actually quite peculiar, just like 2012.

The frontrunners were a French silent film, a small independent drama-comedy, and a fantasy film from Scorsese.

The rest include a 9/11 drama that sharply divided the critics (just look at its Rotten Tomatoes score – 46%!), a melodrama about race that is obviously only made remarkable by the performances, a Woody Allen romantic-comedy-fantasy, a baseball drama, a spiritual film from Terrence Malick, and a war epic from Steven Spielberg that received a more-or-less lukewarm reaction.

Enough of that. So, here are the nominees:

artistdescendantsextremelyloud

helphugomidnight

moneyballtreeoflifewarhorse

The Artist

The Descendants

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The Help

Hugo

Midnight in Paris

Moneyball

The Tree of Life

War Horse

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Which film would win this one?

The arrangement of the profiles will be by lottery, then the last profile would be the Best Picture winner The Artist. 🙂

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So there you go.

Would I go with the Academy? Or would I go with an another nominee? Make your predictions now!