Well, here it is, everybody: those last few days leading into the Oscars after all the big pre-cursor awards have been handed out.
The Critics Choice Awards. The Golden Globes.
All the Societies, from the Cinematographers to the Visual Effects to the Sound Editors and Mixers.
The Guilds, from the Producers to the Directors to the Screen Actors to the Writers to the Art Directors. And now, you can add one last guild to that list: the Costume Designers Guild.
Why does the Costume Design award matter? It’s definitely not a “big” award at the Oscars. In fact, aside from the last couple years, I could have cared less who won it.
But, last year, my freshman-year roommate (let’s call him “Nick”) and I made a bet on who could correctly predict the most Oscar winners. Winner took all, and by all, I mean that the loser had to buy the winner a Chipotle burrito. Our competition came down to the smaller awards, as expected: I guessed many of the technical categories correctly, Nick didn’t.
Needless to say, I won in a very close race. The bet is on again this year, and I would like to repeat that outcome on Sunday. There is a Chipotle burrito on the line here, people!
Aside from that, the Costume Designers Guild awards are the final awards given out that have some real bearing on predicting the Oscar race. There is still the Independent Spirit Awards, which will take place on Saturday, but those will hardly do anything to influence mine and other film bloggers’ and critics’ picks.
The Costume Designers Guild (CDG) gives out 3 awards: Excellence in Period Film, Excellence in Fantasy Film, and Excellence in Contemporary Film. Below are the CDG’s nominees for each, with yesterday’s winners pictured and in bold.
Excellence in Period Film
Excellence in Fantasy Film
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Red Riding Hood
X-Men: First Class
Excellence in Contemporary Film
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
As you can see from above, it was the critically acclaimed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Harry Potter winning for Contemporary and Fantasy, respectively, and the much-maligned Madonna-directed W.E. taking home Period.
Typically, the Academy Awards skew towards the period films, as they are generally more difficult to properly costume. This was not the case last year, however, as fantasy film Alice in Wonderland took home the award over period piece (and Oscar favorite) The King’s Speech. Each film won their respective awards from the CDG.
This year’s Oscar nominees are a mix of 4 of the CDG-nominated period films — The Artist, Jane Eyre, Hugo, W.E. — and 1 film that was not nominated at all by the CDG: fellow period piece, Anonymous.
Prior to last night’s awards being handed out, I’d have chosen Hugo as my prediction to win the Oscar, with The Artist in a close second, Jane Eyre in third, Anonymous in fourth, and W.E. in fifth, or as I like to call it, “thanks for trying.” I was high on Hugo since it is likely going to lose all the big awards it is nominated for (Picture, Director, Screenplay, Score), and the Academy likes to use the technical and art awards to recognize films it liked but did not select as its winners for the major awards.
However, W.E.‘s win seemingly tips the Oscar in its favor: each of the last 3 years, and 4 out of the last 6, the eventual Oscar winner has won a prize from the Costume Designer’s Guild. More and more, in recent years, the pre-cursor awards have been very strong predictors of the eventual Oscar winners.
Perhaps moving my #5 film up to #1 is a bit of a knee-jerk reaction, but other than this guild award, there really has not been much to go off in terms of predicting the Oscar for Costume Design.
Quite frankly, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Oscar winner this year was not a CDG Award winner, as I think that Hugo and The Artist are very strong in terms of conjuring up a specific period. Where I think Hugo could nab this award as a consolation for missing out on the major awards, I also think that The Artist could surprise this year and darn near run the table. However, with W.E.‘s CDG win, I’m re-evaluating those earlier assessments. Could the Academy award a very poorly received film with the Oscar, despite the other strong contenders?
Maybe. I suppose it really wouldn’t surprise me.
I will select my final Oscar picks and share them right here sometime before Sunday’s awards ceremony, and I will likely be live-blogging and tweeting updates for every single awards category, so that you can follow along with us as you watch the 84th annual Academy Awards.
Oh, and I’ll be sure to let you guys know who wins the Chipotle burrito.