Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
Best Makeup and Hairstyling may not be the flashiest category on awards night, but it’s one whose merits, unlike editing or sound mixing, are easy to spot for even the novice filmgoer. For me, this year’s contenders are most noticeably marked by the shocking decision to not even submit The Favourite for consideration, as it would be the obvious frontrunner. Border seems to be the throw in, as it’s not been a particularly widely celebrated or even seen film this year, but the transformative makeup work earns its presence here. Mary Queen of Scots slots in for The Favourite as the alternative choice of Victorian era period piece, a favorite of the Academy for this category in the past. Still, the obvious leader here seems to be Vice. If there’s one thing that the Academy loves to award, it’s imitation, and nominees Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe, and Patricia Dehaney certainly do an effective job of presenting the cast of Vice in a way that convincingly allows the audience to see recognizable modern political figures like Dick Cheney and George W. Bush on-screen. Vice contending with The Favourite in this category would’ve made for an interesting showdown, but given the circumstances I’d argue that it’s become a blowout.
Best Costume Design:
The Academy tends to reward Costume Design and Makeup and Hairstyling along similar patterns. Only one film, Mary Queen of Scots, crosses both categories, but the rationales remain similar. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs earns a nod here for its period American Western paraphernalia. Black Panther gets another nomination, this time for the impressive outfitting of not just its main hero, but for that of the entire world that it creates. Mary Poppins Returns works its way in by dredging up the nostalgic appearance of the classic Disney film that merited this decades-later reboot. However, it’s hard to imagine that the Academy will fail to award this to The Favourite, particularly given its absence in the Makeup and Hairstyling category. The elegant attire of the cast feels both authentic and believably gaudy for the excesses enjoyed by English royalty.
Prediction: The Favourite
Best Production Design:
As the Art Directors Guild Awards has four separate categories for features, it can be difficult to ascertain which films merit a nomination for an Academy Award in Production Design. This year’s nominees have the Academy choosing between historical dramas and lavish fantastical sets whilst no contemporary-set or animated films were nominated in this category. The winners of Best Period Film Design and Best Fantasy Film Design would seem to be the ones in the running to take home the Oscar with 2019 joint-record nominee The Favourite- which was the victor in Period Film- being joined by two other features of that category. First Man has been recognized for its technical brilliance receiving one of its four nominations here along with the visually gorgeous Roma. Two films distributed by Disney make up the other nominees: Black Panther, which won the Fantasy Film Design Award is joined by fellow ADG nominee Mary Poppins Returns.
Prediction: The Favourite