PGCMAs: Best Production Design, Hair and Make-Up, and Costumes (2013)

Posted: January 23, 2014 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2013*The above image represents 2012’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master.

Best Production Design

This award refers to the look of the film and includes sets and other creative designs.

ElysiumWhen he had a low budget, Neill Blomkamp brought the science fiction into the real world in District 9. With a higher budget, Blomkamp has made a science-fiction world real. A really love the world Blomkamp has created here. The slums of Earth make for a nice contract with the pristine cleanliness of Elysium and the weapon and vehicle designs are cool too.

The Great GatsbyMost films set in the 1920s have the challenge of accurately replicating the era. This film has the added challenge of bringing Baz Luhrmann’s hyper stylized version of the 20s. However the results are quite impressive and the designs match the decadence of the era and the work’s characters.

HerWhat sells Her’s world are the subtleties. This is a future that looks close to our current world, but the sets are littered with little details which set the world apart. These are mostly in the details of the technology which feel plausible.

Man of SteelKrypton is a world which has been designed a variety of different ways over Superman’s 75 year history. Yet Zack Snyder and his production team came up with a unique look for both the planet and the various Kryptonian technologies. These designs also make for a nice contrast with how realistic Earth is depicted.

Pacific RimI’m not in love with the film like the rest of the internet seems to be, but there’s no denying that the designs are awesome. I love the look of both the Kaijus and the Jaegers but even more so I love the world Guillermo del Toro and his crew have created here. It truly is inspired and actually far more interesting than the film’s actual story.

And The Winner Is…




Man of Steel


All of these films have great production design, but this award quickly came down to Pacific Rim and Man of Steel. Both have a lot of creativity in their designs, but what sealed the deal for Man of Steel is purpose. In Pacific Rim, the story serves the designs, whereas Man of Steel is the opposite. The production design aids the story rather than surpassing it. Ultimately I find that far more admirable.

Best Hair and Make-Up

I think this award is pretty self-explanatory.

All is LostNot much has been made of the make-up in All is Lost, mostly because I’m sure the studio wants to act like Robert Redford really did physically morph his body. The fact is, the make-up team did an excellent job showing the protagonist’s physical degradation over the course of his struggle.

American HustleChristian Bale’s epic comb over alone would have warranted consideration, but when you add on the flashy hairstyles of the remaining ensemble and American Hustle becomes a lock. Not only do the styles often echo the time, but they speak to the characters as well.

Blue is the Warmest ColorThis nomination probably seems crazy given how little make-up is used. Well, the lack of make-up is just as important a decision as the abundance of it. In the case of Blue is the Warmest Color, the minimal make-up used keeps things deglamorized and emphasizes the film’s realism.

Evil DeadWith the exception of some lame contact lenses, the make-up effects used here are all kinds of awesome. Not only do the deadites look deformed and scary, but the practical effects used to bring the gory violence to life are excellent. I was particularly impressed with any scene involving sharp objects piercing skin.

The Lone RangerThough the decision to cover Johnny Depp in “Indian Face” is certainly questionable, the old man look in the future segments are very good as is the design of William Fichtner’s villain role.

And The Winner Is…




American Hustle


It is easy to look at the goofy hairstyles in American Hustle and dismiss them as all flash, but I don’t think that’s fair. The over the top styles are deliberate and speak to how not only are these characters trying to scam others, but trying to scam themselves into thinking they are something that they aren’t, which also speaks to the larger themes of the film.

Best Costume Design

Again, self-explanatory, though it’s worth noting that while style is important, what’s more important is how it serves the film.

12 Years a SlaveEarly on, the film needs to accurately re-create late nineteenth century fashions, but their goal changes once Solomon is sold into slavery. The film needs to contrast the rags of the slaves versus the more proper clothes of their masters. Given that most of the costumes need to look cheap, this probably wasn’t the most hard to accomplish goal of the nominees, but the execution is strong all the same.

American HustleGenerally there seems to be two ways to go about the costumes in a period piece. To be subtle and have the clothes blend in with the rest of the film, or to go big and make the fashions as noticeable as possible. American Hustle does the latter to great effect. The 1970s fashions really pop and the outfits go a long way to enforce the characters.

The Great GatsbyLike Hustle, The Great Gatsby really wants you to notice the elaborate costumes. This is of course is true to the film’s themes of excess and greed. Additionally, the recreations seem pretty accurate and are certainly nice to look at.

Inside Llewyn DavisEssentially the polar opposite of Hustle and Gatsby, though Inside Llewyn Davis is a period piece, the Coens don’t overstate the costumes. The work is still very impressive though and both capturing the setting while also being true to the characters. In other words, the actors wear the clothes; the clothes don’t wear the actors.

Man of SteelThe Earth clothes are designed to be very basic and unflashy, which makes a great contrast with the creative Kryptonian fashions, which also make for a good explanation of Superman’s costume. Speaking of the costume, I love the look of Superman’s suit here. Yes, even though he doesn’t have the underwear on top of the pants like before.

And The Winner Is…




Man of Steel


Most of the other nominees had “more” costumes, but I’d say Man of Steel has the best. The Kryptonian fashions are a pretty unique choice of clothing for the alien race. More importantly, I think the costume designers completely nailed Superman’s costume. Superman has one of the most iconic looks of all time, but to place that costume in a film with Man of Steel’s tone would not have worked. Instead, the designers found the perfect way to capture the essentials while adapting it to their needs.

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