a theatre, film & pop culture review
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5. Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I deserves it. This is the fourth time Stuart Craig and Stephanie McMillan have been nominated for the series, and alas, this is the fourth time they’ll lose. This fact is shameful, as all of the HP films are gorgeous, though of course they’re such visual stunners because of all of their combined visual design elements: costumes, effects, makeup, cinematography, etc — and yet this is only one of two of HP’s nominations this year (it won’t win its other category either). I know I’m rooting for the underdog of underdogs here, but root for it I shall.
As for the actual winner? Who the bloody hell knows. This could be one of the hardest categories to call this year: I’ve come across equal numbers of predictions in favor of Alice, King’s, and Inception, so who do I think the Academy will favor? Honestly, you’ve got me. There’s The King’s Speech with its lush, historical setting, and the Academy does love it some period pieces — not to mention that it’s absolutely gaga for the film in general, so this could be King’s one technical category win (and it wouldn’t be totally undeserving). Alice in Wonderland has more than a decent shot here as its vision is totally cohesive and very Tim Burton — which is to say dark, dreary and really rather dull, hence its placement at the bottom of my (personal) list. True Grit offers the quintessential Western with a strong, clean look, but a good amount of the film takes place out-of-doors, thus putting it in better favor to win the cinematography category than this one. And, anyway, if a period piece is going to win, it’s going to be the Academy’s (sentimental) favorite film of the year, The King’s Speech. So that leaves us with the uber-imaginative “dreamscapes” of Inception: while it’s got a lot going for it, a lot of that is wrapped up in visual effects, and so I wouldn’t be surprised if it loses this category only to win that one. Could it win both? Sure, but it seems unlikely.