Prediction conundrum of the day

Posted by · 11:20 am · February 20th, 2011

You may have heard Anne and I get into it over the design categories in Friday’s Oscar Talk.  For costumes, she maintained that the great (and deserving) Colleen Atwood is likely to win for “Alice in Wonderland.” Yet, as best I can tell, the only true fantasies to win the award — ever — are “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (a bona fide sweeper) and “Star Wars” (I’m considering “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” a period entry).  And no Tim Burton film has won here when nominated, unfortunately.  I’m thinking “The King’s Speech.”

She also contended that Tim Burton’s film and “Inception” are more likely to win Best Art Direction than the period frontrunner.  You know where I stand on what’s deserving, but I don’t think the Academy at large is savvy enough to go there.  History is on the side of “Alice in Wonderland” when you consider the fact that no Tim Burton film nominated for Best Art Direction has ever lost (going all the way back to my beloved “Batman”).  So suddenly I’m leaning in that direction more than I was for costumes.  Additionally, fantasies have historically fared better here than in Best Costume Design.

My template for “The King’s Speech” is very much “The English Patient.” I do see it as a potential sweeper, winning seven or eight Oscars.  Maybe.  Others think it’s closer to six, which is also possible.  But do you remember the sets and costumes of Anthony Minghella’s film?  Not really, right?

At the end of the day, it’s probably safer to predict the same film for both categories, in case you get the split wrong.  But I’m a bit stuck.

Let’s open it up for some discussion.  After ACE, I’m feeling a little more confident in that category, leaving these two as the real question marks with a week left in the season.

[Photos: Walt Disney Pictures]

→ 38 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

38 responses so far

  • 1 2-20-2011 at 11:33 am

    Kevin K. said...

    I think that Alice and Inception are neck and neck for Art Direction, and the costumes in The King’s Speech are too subtle to beat Colleen Atwood. However, I was predicting Colleen Atwood to walk away with it for Sweeney Todd and that didn’t pan out. She never won for a Burton film has she? Yet Burton’s films always win Art Direction when nominated. Interesting bit of trivia. I’m going to go with my instinct and say that Inception walks away with 5 oscars for Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing. Sound Mixing, and Original Score. I think Deakins will win Cinematography, but I’m wondering if Pfister isn’t lurking there. I get that True Grit vs. Inception for cinematography is a lot like Pan’s Labyrinth vs. Children of Men (even if I think Pan’s Labyrinth wholly deserved to win over Children of Men). But something tells me Pfister has real potential to win.

    So final predictions for me on these up in the air techs are

    Art Direction:
    Will Win: Inception
    Should Win: Inception
    Should have been here: Shutter Island

    Costume Design:
    Will Win: Alice in Wonderland
    Should Win: True Grit
    Should have been here: Shutter Island

    Will Win: True Grit
    Should Win: Inception
    Should have been here: Shutter Island

  • 2 2-20-2011 at 11:35 am

    Marc R. said...

    I think the fact that Inception won the bafta and the guild for art direction over Alice in Wonderland gives it an edge. I’m gonna be brave and predict inception for that. As for costume design, i’ll just stay w/ TKS on that one…. maybe. Also, i think TSN will take the editing award. it’s just one more way (in additon to screenplay) to reward the impeccable execution of the film

  • 3 2-20-2011 at 11:40 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    BAFTA and the guild were art directors voting, not a 6000-member strong group of people of which only 374 are art directors.

    I will truly be surprised if Inception wins Best Art Direction.

  • 4 2-20-2011 at 11:43 am

    Kevin K. said...

    Call it a hunch, but I can’t go against my gut on this one. Gonna stick to my guns on my Art Direction Prediction.

  • 5 2-20-2011 at 11:44 am

    Loyal said...

    So looking at your predictions, the 7 wins for The King’s Speech are

    Original Screenplay
    Art Direction

    I wrote earlier this morning that if The King’s Speech goes 0-3 in Costume, Art Direction, and Score, I don’t see a path to Best Picture.

    Certainly it could win with “only” 3 Oscars (I’m not predicting a win for Hooper) but it seems very unlikely. So perhaps I need to adjust my predictions this week.

  • 6 2-20-2011 at 11:44 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Weird note: Alice in Wonderland kinda has art direction built into the title. Just sayin.

  • 7 2-20-2011 at 11:57 am

    Kevin K. said...

    I wonder how many of the tech nominees that aren’t above the line contenders do voters actually watch?

  • 8 2-20-2011 at 12:13 pm

    Rob said...

    I’m with your initial thought that The Kings Speech starts to run away with it.

    I think Alice would be more of a contender if it were a respectable film. But the Academy prefers to vote for good films over bad ones when they can.

    As for Inceptions art direction, I think academy members will find it generally overwhelmed by the special effects. But i expect the unique art direction in The Kings Speech (Think about that wall in Rush’s “office”) took them by surprise.

    Essentially they’ll see Inception as a blockbuster… a film about special effects but The Kings Speech as a prestige picture… a film about art direction.

    Anne is right that they’ve spread the wealth around lately but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been longing for a juicy piece if Oscar bait to fall in love with.

  • 9 2-20-2011 at 12:24 pm

    Adam said...

    One point to maybe consider about the costumes in ‘Alice’ is that it has not only the fantasy aspect but the period aspect as well. The melding of the two (even within one costume in many cases) might be enough to take it.

  • 10 2-20-2011 at 12:26 pm

    Adam said...

    But, that Burton stat about zero costume wins is kind of making me cautious to predict it.

  • 11 2-20-2011 at 12:29 pm

    Alex in Movieland said...

    as I’m checking right now, The English Patient had little competition for Art Direction; but Costume Design was packed, with great work, but for films that could hardly compete with the EP buzz.

    I too find it hard to believe Inception has a chance in Art Direction. But they do love Coleen Atwood, and the costumes from Alice really stand out in a great way.

    King’s for Art Direction, Alice for Costume D.

  • 12 2-20-2011 at 12:49 pm

    JJ1 said...

    If the Academy stops to actually think about it, I think they’ll vote Alice for costumes. If they’re on auto-pilot, they’ll go TKS.

    Art Direction is harder. Unless …. they go ‘pretty” (as we’ve seen in the past) and give both Art D and Costume to Alice.

  • 13 2-20-2011 at 12:51 pm

    San FranCinema said...

    I often predict these categories on what lingers, in a gut-level-memory-check kind of way.

    What sold me on “Alice” for costumes is the opening scenes — the “period” set. All those guests in white.

    What sold me on “King’s Speech” for art direction is the Wall — every time I think of the film I recall that backdrop.

    What sold me on “Inception” for visual effects is the city rising up.

    So I see the wealth getting spread around.

  • 14 2-20-2011 at 1:04 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Another note, though probably inherently pointless, but the same film has received both awards 10 of the last 20 years.

  • 15 2-20-2011 at 1:14 pm

    Antonio A said...

    I think they will split the love and give Costumes to Alice, Art Direction to The King’s Speech. However, I’m very intrigued about other categories, mainly Score and Editing. I keep thinking that The Social Network has a legitimate shot at both categories and when I add Directing and Adapted Screenplay (to me both Fincher and Sorkin are locks, but who knows) the movie just seems in better position to won Best Picture, or better said, it feels like the movie that should win. If the Academy goes for The King’s Speech it needs to back it up strongly, and it’s then when the sweep theory starts making sense (and suddenly both supporting categories appear more open…).

  • 16 2-20-2011 at 1:17 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Additionally, the only films to win both in the last 20 years that were NOT Best Picture nominees were “Restoration” and “Memoirs of a Geisha.”

  • 17 2-20-2011 at 1:47 pm

    Dignan said...

    I see the King’s Speech/English Patient comparison as flawed. They’re both British, period, front-runners being guided by Harvey, yes, but the years are totally different. ’96 was the year of the indie where 4 of the 5 nominees were “low budget,” “non-studio” films and the 5th was a contemporary-set rom-com. In fact every best picture nominee except for The English Patient was set in the present or recent past meaning they were a non-factor in such below the line categories as art direction, costume, makeup, the sound categories and (w/ the exception of Shine) original score. Fargo was the only other best picture nominee to get a cinematography mention. Etc… People goofed on the fact that the khakis in The English Patient won best costume design, but how many voters actually watched Angels & Insects, Emma, The Portrait of a Lady and all 4 hours of Hamlet?

    My point it had the run of the tech categories because it was going up against a bunch of fringe titles, not well regarded blockbusters and also-rans. It was an easy prestige choice for a lazy voting body because the alternative was to throw awards at the likes of Baz’s Romeo & Juliet and The Birdcage.

    That’s not the case this year with The King’s Speech where it faces off against fellow best picture nominees (with arguably “showier” work) in costume design, art direction, score, sound mixing, editing and sound mixing. I don’t doubt the depths of admiration for the film within the Academy, but the competition in those “battleground” categories is that much greater. Just as an example, King’s Speech got 12 nominations to True Grit’s 10 therefor it should have the edge in art direction, cinematography, and costume? (I realize Deakins is “favored” in cinematography, but you get my point)

  • 18 2-20-2011 at 1:54 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Another note: The last Best Picture winner nominated for Best Art Direction to LOSE said award was “Gladiator” (which lost to fellow Best Picture nominee “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”). The last one before that: “Forrest Gump,” which lost to period piece “The Madness of King George.”

    Similarly, the last Best Picture winner nominated for Best Costume Design to LOSE said award was “Braveheart,” which lost to period piece “Restoration.”

    I’m feeling better and better about sticking with my original notion that “The King’s Speech” will take both.

  • 19 2-20-2011 at 2:36 pm

    Matthias Zucker said...

    Hmm, Kris, maybe what these statistics truly indicate is that The King’s Speech won’t win Best Picture after all? ;-)

    In any case, last year showed us that historical trends sometimes come to an end. Nick Park of “Wallace and Gromit” had never lost an Oscar he was nominated for – except the one time where he defeated himself. That caused many to predict “A Matter of Loaf and Death” to win – but it didn’t. So I wouldn’t put too much stock in the factoid that Tim Burton films have never failed to turn an art direction nomination into a win.

    TKS on the other hand feels too subtle, ultimately, in the art direction department, and possibly in Costume Design, too.

    I have a feeling the one below-the-line category TKS will win next Sunday is… wait for it… Sound Mixing (à la Slumdog Millionaire). Everything else, including Score, feels unrealistic, in some big or small way depending on the category.

  • 20 2-20-2011 at 2:59 pm

    Joe C said...


    I agree with you the safe bet is to bet on TKS in both categories. If nothing else, TKS is loved, it’s the likely Best Picture winner, and it’s a “period” film. If something was to beat it, I highly doubt it was a lukewarm received film that was released in March. No? I’m not saying Alice won’t win, but it seems silly to bet against TKS for Alice.

    In contrast, while I know you said you’d be surprised by Inception winning art direction, I almost feel that it’s the more likely film to upset in Art Direction. A) It has a best picture nomination, b) it’s ever so slightly more recent than Alice, and c) I think more Oscar voters took it more seriously than Alice.

    In defense of TKS, I think Bertie’s office design alone might be enough to make voters comfortable with their vote…

    Of course, maybe I’m overly optimistic about Inception having an outside shot…

  • 21 2-20-2011 at 3:03 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Wait, people want “The King’s Speech” to win for Production Design because of a – wait for it – wall? LOL. I’m all for the film winning here, but that’s silly.

  • 22 2-20-2011 at 3:14 pm

    Joe C said...

    Speaking English…I meant that a little tongue in cheek…but the point is, I think they’ll find it “showy enough” to win because of those type of touches throughout the film.

  • 23 2-20-2011 at 3:41 pm

    Marc R. said...

    Kris- I know the odds are still against Inception and I’m setting myself up for disappointment, but I’m gonna stay with Inception because it would be such a unique and deserving win and I would give myself tons of props if i am right.

  • 24 2-20-2011 at 4:00 pm

    Cameron said...

    Art Direction:
    Will Win-Inception
    Should Win-Inception
    Should Have Been Here-Black Swan

    Costume Design:
    Will Win-Alice in Wonderland
    Should Win-I Am Love
    Should Have Been Here-Black Swan

  • 25 2-20-2011 at 7:31 pm

    DylanS said...

    Here are my final craft category predictions:

    Best Makeup:
    Will Win: Barney’s Version (semi-upset)
    Should Win: Barney’s Version
    Spoiler: The Wolfman (probably the favorite)

    Best Cinematography:
    Will Win: True Grit (Deakins!)
    Should Win: Inception
    Spoiler: The King’s Speech

    Best Sound Editing:
    Will Win: Inception
    Should Win: Tie between TRON: Legacy and Inception
    Spoiler: True Grit (but not really)

    Best Art Direction:
    Will Win: Inception (very iffy)
    Should Win: Inception (hands down)
    Spoiler: The King’s Speech (Alice in Wonderland a possibility)

    Best Visual Effects:
    Will Win: Inception
    Should Win: Inception (Once again, hands down)
    Spoiler: Alice in Wonderland (which I’m starting to see as a legitimate possibility for an upset)

    Best Animated Feature:
    Will Win: Toy Story 3
    Should Win: How to Train Your Dragon (never would have thought I’d ever take Dreamworks over Pixar)
    Spoiler: Toy Story 3 (I think it could also go to Toy Story 3, though)

    Best Original Song:
    Will Win: Tangled (semi-upset)
    Should Win: Tangled (Menken!)
    Spoiler: Toy Story 3

    Best Costume Design:
    Will Win: The King’s Speech
    Should Win: The King’s Speech
    Spoiler: Alice in Wonderland (tight race)

    Best Sound Mixing:
    Will Win: Inception
    Should Win: The Social Network
    Spoiler: True Grit

    Best Editing:
    Will Win: The Social Network
    Should Win: The Social Network (Though 127 Hours is a super-close second)
    Spoiler: The King’s Speech (won’t happen)

    Original Score: (God do I love this slate of Nominees!)
    Will Win: The Social Network (Very, Very iffy)
    Should Win: The Social Network (completely original masterwork)
    Spoiler: The King’s Speech

  • 26 2-20-2011 at 10:19 pm

    ben said...

    The King’s Speech isn’t sweeping it will win Picture but not sweep. It’ll lose Editing, Cinematography and Sound for sure. Director and the 2 supporting awards pry won’t happen either. It’s not in the same position as Slumdog at all which picked up the CAS,ASC and ACE Eddie all of whom The King’s Speech has lost. Hell it wasn’t even nominated by the CAS.

  • 27 2-20-2011 at 11:19 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “Sweep” is a different thing than “clean sweep” in my book. The former is just a catch-all for winning the majority of its nods.

  • 28 2-21-2011 at 6:54 am

    Encore Entertainment said...

    Aren’t people always saying that AMPAS is always wont to reward the flashy but not weighty, so I’d think that the costume win for Roth’s smart designs in THE ENGLISH PATIENT would be lauded, though I preferred the work in PORTRAIT OF A LADY (I’d say that it’s art direction was hands down deserved, though.)

    I do prefer Atwood to win over Beavan, but I’d prefer THE KING’S SPEECH for direction. But, ah well.

  • 29 2-21-2011 at 7:33 am

    Craig said...

    The sweep possibility is giving me a lot of trouble as far as my predictions go. I think it’s definitely a possibility, but it could also win only 4 or 5, and then I’d be SOL.

  • 30 2-21-2011 at 8:25 am

    Maxim said...

    Lately, I found myself wondering if Alice could upset with a best Visual Effects win. I have no real reason to believe this will happen apart from the fact that “Golden Compass” beat “Transformers”.

    I know that Inception is much better received overall but it’s not like “Golden Compass” was exactly the highbrow pick of the year.

  • 31 2-21-2011 at 12:47 pm

    Graysmith said...

    I had no idea every Tim Burton movie has won Art Direction when it was nominated. That’s quite a feat!

    That said, I’m betting against history this year. Unlike past Burton films, this one more about CGI environments than it is beautiful sets. Despite Avatar’s win last year I do think there’s still a heavy preference for “real” art direction, real sets and such things over the digital. I’d be far more inclined to say Alice will win for Costume Design instead, since The King’s Speech, though it is a period film, still is male-centric and doesn’t feature a whole lot of lavish gowns and such eye-catching things.

  • 32 2-21-2011 at 3:28 pm

    Robin said...

    I see King’s Speech as much closer to ‘Chicago’ or ‘Gladiator’ territory. Picture, an acting win, couple of techs, and screenplay in place of those films editing wins. I think I’m switching out of Hooper as of today. Flashier films tend to win Costume/Art Direction and being “respected” doesn’t really matter, check out the reviews of the films that won Costume between 2005 and now. I’m saying AD goes to Alice while Costume goes to TKS, but it’s more likely that Alice wins both. I will also bee exceptionally surprised if Inception wins AD.

  • 33 2-21-2011 at 3:47 pm

    DylanS said...

    Robin: Just felt I needed to point out that “Traffic”, not “Gladiator” won best editing in its year. But I agree with your overall point entirely.

  • 34 2-21-2011 at 4:00 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Why do people see it as Chicago and Gladiator? I’ll tell you. Because they think The King’s Speech will be the same blight they see those films as being on the Academy’s record. So it’s projection. Chicago and Gladiator both (clearly) barely won. The King’s Speech is an overwhelming favorite.

    It could win six, but I think you need to think harder for reasons why that is.

  • 35 2-21-2011 at 4:06 pm

    Speaking English said...

    No, “Chicago” was hugely deserving. And even if “The King’s Speech” is an ‘overwhelming’ favorite, it doesn’t mean it’s going to win everything. People (we) just aren’t seeing the widespread support for it that would give it all these wins in the crafts categories.

  • 36 2-21-2011 at 6:20 pm

    DylanS said...

    Speaking English: The only thing “Chicago” is deserving of is being the toilet paper in my bathroom, but that’s just my opinion. What can I say, “The Two Towers” and “The Pianist” are all time favorites.

    I also don’t see the beef with “Gladiator” winning. Sure, it’s a genre film, and mabye Russell Crowe should have won for the year after or before instead, but it’s the pinacle of that kind of entertainment, not to mention some of Ridley Scott’s finest work.

  • 37 2-22-2011 at 4:32 am

    JJ1 said...

    Perception is a very strange & funny thing …

    Back in 2000 and 2002 I was 20 and 22. I remember LOVING Gladiator and LOVING Chicago. I did not follow the “Oscar season”. But when I watched in March, I just KNEW those films would win. They had to. They were awesome. I’d seen the other nominees. It was a given.

    And now, in retrospect, I can look at the cold hard facts and see how close it really must have been in those years. Naivety. So funny.