Rango took four awards in last night's Annie Awards, the 39th annual ritual of the ASIFA-Hollywood International Animated Film Society that honors animated theatrical features and animated television productions. The Gore Verbinski-directed film took best animated feature, best character design, best writing, and best editing. Verbinski lost the best director prize to Jenifer Yuh Nelson, who was responsible for Kung Fu Panda 2. The sequel had the most nominations going into the awards (12, versus Rango's 9). The only other film to win more than one trophy was The Adventures of Tintin, which won two--one for animated effects and the other for John Williams' score.
The 16th annual Art Directors Guild awards honored films in three different categories: period, fantasy, and contemporary. Dante Ferretti took the period honor for his production design on Hugo, Stuart Craig won the fantasy award for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, and Donald Graham Burt was laureled for his work contemporary work on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The guild's Cinematic Imagery Award went to the Harry Potter filmmaking team. The ADG lifetime achievement award went to Tony Walton, and Robert Boyle, William Darling, and Alfred Junge were admitted into the ADG Hall of Fame.
Since period pieces often win the Oscar for production design, Hugo gets a leg up here. And with Rango adding to its multiple critics awards as most favored animated feature of the year, it's a good bet to win an Academy Award.
The best makeup category was established by the Academy in 1981. Four best pictures have won the award -- Amadeus, Driving Miss Daisy, Braveheart, and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. With last year's The Wolfman winning him his seventh Oscar in this category, Rick Baker has been its most frequent recipient. This year Rick Baker is not a nominee and there are no best picture nominees in the category. But the trio of nominees has one fantasy entry, one gender-switching tale, and one aging, well-known historical figure.
The award often goes to makeup that alters an actor's visage in an extreme way, e.g., Benicio Del Toro in The Wolfman, Jim Carrey in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor. Frequently it has honored makeup that transforms actors into historical figures, such as Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose, Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo in Frida, Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood, and Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I in Elizabeth.
However, the makeup prize is bestowed most often on fantasy/horror films: Pan's Labyrinth, The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2 awards), The Chronicles of Narnia, Star Trek, Dick Tracy, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Men in Black, Mask, The Fly, Beetlejuice, Mask, and An American Werewolf in London. This is one category where Academy members could pay tribute to the Harry Potter franchise.
Albert Nobbs, the story of an Irish woman in the 19th century who lived as a manto avoid being abused by men, is a project that Glenn Close has been intimately involved with for 30 years. Having first played the character onstage, she was instrumental in getting the story on screen and used both Charlie Chaplin and Emmett Kelly as her inspiration for movement and mannerisms. With nose and ear prosthetics by Matthew Mungle and a ginger-colored wig by Martial Corneville, Close was transformed into the titular character (Lynn Johnston is also nominated with Mungle and Corneville). Close has admitted that while she was in makeup, she often thought she resembled her father. Mungle has won previously for Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Nobbs was a BFCA nominee for best makeup.
The nominees for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 are part of an extensive makeup and hair team.Nick Dudman was the makeup effects designer, Amanda Knight was the makeup designer, and Lisa Tomblin was the chief hair designer. Lord Voldemort, Bellatrix Lestrange, and the goblins in the Gringotts scenes are all images that required extensive hair and makeup application, but there was also the aging of the three lead characters for the finale. Voldemort's nose is not a manually applied prosthetic but rather a CGI effect. The mixing of actual makeup and hair design with CGIs is not uncommon, but it may affect voters' ideas of what should win. Its makeup won the BFCA award and it is nominated for a BAFTA makeup award.
There has been unanimous praise for the makeup work on Meryl Streep as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Nominated are prosthetic designer Mark Coulier and make-up artist/hairstylist J. Roy Helland. They showcase detailed work with nose, ear, and neck prosthetics, hand makeup, and wigs, all of which are prominently featured throughout the film on both the Thatcher and Dennis Thatcher characters (the former prime minister is aged up to 86 years). The makeup was nominated by the BFCA and is currently a nominee for a BAFTA award.
Will Win: The Iron Lady
Could Win: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Rationale: The Harry Potter films have been ignored throughout the series until now. The Iron Lady's
makeup is so effective in transforming Ms. Streep that you are almost unaware that it is her
on the screen. I think the skill and the purity of the work in Iron Lady aces the mix of
CGI work and manually applied makeup in Harry Potter.
The 10th annual Visual Effects Society (VES) award nominees were announced today in both feature film and television categories. Topping the feature film nominations was Steven Spielberg's animated motion-capture adaptation, The Adventures of Tintin, with 6 nominations. Three of those nominations were for outstanding created environment in an animated motion picture. Tintin is not shortlisted as a potential nominee for an Academy Award, so a close look at the other nominations points to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes as the frontrunners for Oscar's nominees.
2011's top two blockbusters, Harry Potter and Transformers, each had 5 nominations, including outstanding visual effects in a visual effects-driven feature motion picture. Rise of the Planet of the Apes nabbed 4 nominations and is also a contender in the top outstanding visual effects category. Picking up 3 nominations were Hugo and Puss in Boots, neither of which were nominated for the top prize.
Captain America: The First Avenger and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides are also competing for the VES top trophy. Captain America received only one other nomination, and this was the only category in which Pirates was nominated.
Three films on the AMPAS shortlist were completely ignored by the VES: The Tree of Life, Real Steel, and X-Men: First Class. Ironically, Tree's effects consultant, Douglas Trumbull, is being honored this year with the Georges Méliès Award. Another shortlisted blockbuster, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, only managed one nomination for outstanding models.
Five films not on the Academy's shortlist but copping a single VES nomination are Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Source Code, War Horse, Paul, and The Thing.
For a complete list of feature film nominees, go here.