What’s notable about the most striking displays of mise-en-scène this year is that many of the best sets, costumes, and makeup aren’t just beautiful or highly detailed but contribute crucially to the storytelling of their movies. In this exclusive IndieWire Consider This video, Editor-at-Large Anne Thompson, Crafts Editor Bill Desowitz, and Toolkit Editor Chris O’Falt gather to discuss the year’s Oscar contenders for Production Design, Costume Design, and Makeup & Hairstyling.
One film looms large over both Production Design and Costume Design: “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” The Academy loves period films for these categories, and as Thompson notes, a fair number of Oscar voters have nostalgic memories of Tarantino’s 1969 setting. But the sprawlingly continuous trenches and battlefields created for “1917” to enable the appearance of the film being shot in one long take might be hard to beat. And don’t count out the nightmarish New York City created by Mark Friedberg for “Joker.”
Likewise, Ruth Carter may win Best Costume Design a second year in a row (after last year’s “Black Panther”) for the 75 flamboyant outfits Eddie Murphy wears in “Dolemite Is My Name.” But Desowitz hopes that Deborah Cook receives some attention for the elaborate costumes she created for the stop-motion animated feature “Missing Link.”
Best Makeup & Hairstyling seems like a sure thing for legendary Japanese artist Kazu Hiro, who created elaborate jowls that move to transform John Lithgow into Roger Ailes for “Bombshell,” along with more subtle prosthetics that morphed Charlize Theron into a dead ringer for Megyn Kelly.
Meanwhile, IndieWire also dives into the sound categories via this Consider This exclusive video. The two categories, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing, are both three-way showdowns among “Ford v Ferrari,” “1917,” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Sound editor Don Sylvester found a car enthusiast in Ohio to build a Ford GT from the ground up, using vintage parts. Outfitted with microphones it was then raced around to create the sounds that would become Ken Miles (Christian Bale) “hero” Ford GT he drives in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” also stands out for its unique mix of period sounds: radio jingles, TV commercials, and ambient music.