Frank Awards 2013: Art and Effects

The Frank Awards 2013 are here! These are my personal awards that go through a group of categories on the best things that I saw in movies in 2013 for movies, shorts, tv stuff that were available in 2013 in their original date of release (only 2013 stuff that I saw, that counts for unreleased movies).

So, for the first time this year, I’ll divide the categories, a bunch a day so we can have a steady build up. So, let’s start with four categories: art direction, costume design, make up and special effects. So, here we go.

Best Art Direction:

Last year, the winners of the 2012 Frank Award for best Art Direction were Alex Cameron, Anthony Caron-Delion, Peter Dorme, Marc Homes, Paul Inglis, John King, Arthur Max, Adam O’Neill and Karen Wakefield for ‘Prometheus’ (2012). So, what did this group of people do in 2013? Well, we can say that Anthony Caron-Delion, Paul Inglis, John King and Karen Wakefield didn’t have a 2013 release under their belts in any art direction or production design work. On the other hand, a group of them reunited for Ridley Scott’s next film, ‘The Counselor’ (2013), that I was unable to see (though I wanted to), and had the participation of Alex Cameron, Marc Homes and Arthur Max. Adam O’Neill continued his work during 2013 on the new season of the hit TV cable series ‘The Borgias’, and Peter Dorme is nominated again this year for his work in art direction. In which movie? Let’s see.

The nominees this year represent what I like the most in art direction: precise disposition of beautifully impacted elements. So, let’s begin.

From the movie ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’, directed by Jim Jarmusch, I had a tremendous shock when I saw the way that the ambience helped how to see the characters in the screen, the cluttered manner in which books and other artifacts moved around, how precise the placing of certain elements, how the film looked overall surprised me a lot, just because I also liked and wanted to have what was on the screen, the responsibles here were Marco Bittner Rosser (nominated for a Frank Award for his work in ‘Inglourious Basterds’ (2009) ), Anja Fromm and Anu Schwartz. There’s a great display of art, paintings, statues and many other art offerings in the italian film (spoken in english) ‘La migliore offerta’, that was actually, again, about the accumulation of artistic and beautiful elements from the past, trying to put them together for an unknowable reason, and that’s what made this movie so interesting on its own (even if the movie itself is not that great), and the people responsible for the best element of this movie (the art) are Andres Di Palma and Maurizio Sabatini. So, last year’s winner of a Frank Award for art direction, Peter Dorme, is joined by Nick Gottschalk and also previous Frank Award winner Marcus Rowland (for best production design, a defunct category, for ‘Scott Pilgrim vs the World’ (2010) ), but this time for the great comedy/scifi film ‘The World’s End’ directed by Edgar Wright, where the bars and places the characters visit are luxiously recreated, bringing forward a beauty of colours and shapes, hidden messages and other precisely connected and controlled little pieces of information that make the movie a joy to watch every time, just to find that little new piece of art every time, I love that. Dan Hannah was nominated last year for this same category among other people for her work in ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ (2012), this time she is nominated alone for her splendid work in the sequel, ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’, as always, just superb to see the new places like the lake or the castle of the elves, the design of the characters and creatures, the way that the places are created, the objects that are crafted, and the experience with the gold and the other treasure, all a beauty to behold. We have a big group of people here again, and there are some winners and nominees from earlier Frank Awards, there’s Andrew L. Jones, who won for ‘Avatar’ (2009) this same award, while Robert Stromberg was nominated for best production design for the best movie, also Todd Cherniawsky and Stefan Dechant were nominated for best art direction for their work (with other people) on ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (2010), all these talents are acompanied by John Lord Booth III, Iain McFadven and Meghan C. Rogers for the splendid and colorful work they did on the movie ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’, an explosion of design, filled with wonderful creatures, splendid structures and colours, a treat!

So, the nominees are:
· Marco Bittner Rosser, Anja Fromm and Anu Schwartz for ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’
· Andres Di Palma and Maurizio Sabatini for ‘La migliore offerta’
· Peter Dorme, Nick Gottschalk and Marcus Rowland for ‘The World’s End’
· Dan Hannah for ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’
· John Lord Booth III, Todd Cherniawsky, Stefan Dechant, Andrew L. Jones, Iain McFadven, Meghan C. Rogers and Robert Stromberg for ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’

And the winner/s is/are:
The work of Marco Bittner Rosser, Anja Fromm and Anu Schwartz in ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ is splendid, just take a look at those books, is the movie that made me want to live in it the most of them all in the year that just passed. I can’t wait for people to experience this movie the way I did.

Best Costume Design:

The winner last year was Shane Davis for her splendid and beautiful work as a costume designer in the western ‘Django Unchained’ (2012). She didn’t have a 2013 release, but she might have a spectacular one in 2014.

Bob Buck, Ann Maskrey and Richard Taylor all come back from last year, they were nominated for a Frank Award in this category for their work in ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ (2012), and this year they come back for the same award, this time not only doing the dwarves, but also humans, elves and orcs, going wider and more interesting. In ‘Yi dai zong shi’, the costumes are a token of their worth in front of other people, the fights move them and helps to feel the motion, the way that the colors contrast whenever they are confronted, and William Chang does a great work at making these. Based on one of the most ancient tales of Chinese culture, ‘Xi You Xiang Mo Pian’, the movie features all kinds of robes and crazy outfits from amazing and crazily outlandish characters, a real treat to see all the monkey kings and shaolin monks with great colours being brought together by the hand of Pik Kwan Lee. On the other hand, the outlandish and extravagant costumes of Liberace are maybe the most known atribute for those that weren’t particularly familiar with his music, and his life was the subject of ‘Behind the Candelabra’, whose costume design was under the order of Ellen Mirojnik. Trish Summerville was nominated for a Frank Award for her costume design work in ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ (2011) and this year she is nominated for the spandex and beautiful dresses that Katniss Everdeen wears in the latest installment of the Hunger Games series, ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’.

So, the nominees are:
· Bob Buck, Ann Maskrey and Richard Taylor for ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’
· William Chang for ‘Yi dai zong shi’
· Pik Kwan Lee for ‘Xi You Xiang Mo Pian’
· Ellen Mirojnik for ‘Behind the Candelabra’
· Trish Summerville for ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

And the winner/s is/are:The work of Bob Buck, Ann Maskrey and Richard Taylor for this second installment of the new trilogy was superior to the original, this time bringing down the dwarves and going up the challenge with the armors for the men, the crazy costume of the mayor, the gawns of the elves, and how everything seems to blend in with the ambience, that makes ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ one of the best films of the year.

Best Special Effects:

The winner last year was the first film of a new trilogy, ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ (2012), and as expected, the sequel also makes the cut in this year’s nominees, but will it win?

One of the most talked about events of the year in terms of filmmaking was ‘Gravity’, since its special effects have revolutionized the market and the images shown nowadays, and while it feels videogamey, it might be the best videogame graphics you’ve ever seen in your life. As mentioned before, the sequel, the new ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ appears as a nominee, this time being bigger and more impressive with the addition of the dragon Smaug itself as a creature to behold and be fearful of because of its realism and well crafted figure. ‘Iron Man 3’ managed to make you believe that there was a lot of suits going in the sky at the same time, the launching of the missiles and how they crashed the Stark manor was maybe one of the best special effects sequences of the year. In ‘Pacific Rim’ it was important that the special effects were really well done, specially as a creature feature, and it managed to have giant robots that are accurate in their movements and monsters that surprise and amaze. On its own, ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ might be the weakest film of all the nominees in terms of quality overall, but the special effects of the ships, creatures and ambience are among the best done in a year that surprised itself with the quality of this work.

So, the nominees are:
· Gravity
· The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
· Iron Man 3
· Pacific Rim
· Star Trek Into Darkness

And the winner is:‘Gravity’ surprised me because it tricked me, it made me believe that what I saw was mostly done in real life, when it wasn’t, it just wasn’t, and while it breaks my heart a little bit, I must say that it’s maybe the biggest achievement of special effects in a long time.

Best Makeup:

The winner of last year in this category was also the Tolkien inspired film ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ (2012), and its sequel also found its way to the list of nominees, let’s see what happens.

Another sequel that appears in this list of nominees is ‘Ciudadano Kramer’, the sequel to ‘Stefan vs Kramer’ (2012), the biggest Chilean film of all time, and while this didn’t achieve that much success, it does feature striking make up work for the imitations. This is another sequel that finds its way here is ‘Di Renjie: Shen du long wang’, who follows the 2010 film of the Detective Dee series of books, written in China, this time this category is for the work done on one of the main character that seems to turn into an horrific creature, the makeup work is impressive there. As mentioned, the work on the beards and the faces, the ogres and orcs, in a film like ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’, while awaited and almost a given, still surprises for its meticulosity and great amount of prosthetics used. The compilation film ‘V/H/S/2’, another sequel that is in this list of nominees, has many directors and hence different make up artists, this is an award for the collective work of all of them, that made this film highly watchable and recommendable, just because of how well the makeup, the blood and the different elements made it seamless from an horrific and impossible reality. The only reason why ‘Xi You Xiang Mo Pian’ is nominated in this list, is because of how well made the makeup for the Monkey King is, it’s one of the most frightening and at the same time impressive stuff done in that part of the world, and it never feels goofy.

So, the nominees are:
· Ciudadano Kramer
· Di Renjie: Shen du long wang
· The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
· V/H/S/2
· Xi You Xiang Mo Pian

And the winner is:‘V/H/S/2’ has swollen eyes, zombies, dismemberments, blood and creatures made possible only through the magic of make up, this might be one of the best horror movies in a while just because of how well done the makeup is, just let that sink in.

Tomorrow: The Visuals, The Aura, Two Important Awards.

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