PGCMAs: Best Art Direction, Make-Up, and Costume Design (2014)

Posted: February 3, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2014

Best Art Direction

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: This is one of the more minimalist nominees, but it achieves its goals very well. The ape village constructed in the jungle is really well-realized and the visual of a desolate city slowly being overrun by wild life looks great while also playing into the themes of the film nicely.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson is known for building his own quirky worlds and this is one of the biggest examples of this. Many of the sets here have a 1930s/40s feel, while still having a unique flair that’s all their own. The titular hotel is an especially fun locale.

Interstellar: There’s a tremendous scope to the art direction here, as the film needs to depict a near future Earth slowly falling apart, alien planets which need to excite while still being plausible, and design all sorts of technological stuff like the ships. It’s a tall order, but Nolan and his production team prove up to the challenge.

Snowpiercer: One of the best things about Snowpiercer was simply exploring the titular train. The back end is a pretty well-realized dystopia, but the real highlight is the later cars which feature the likes of a classroom, a pleasure car, and an aquarium. Cool stuff.

X-Men: Days of Future Past: The most showy art direction comes in the future scenes with dark and desolate buildings spread around the world. This stuff is great, but the 1970s elements work very well too. The pentagon set is especially effective.

And the winner is…





Perhaps I’m simply conforming to the “more=better” theory, but I can’t deny the enormity of the work. This film had to excel in a number of different areas and it pulled through in all of them. I think what really won me over though is the design of the robots. Those things look great and prove surprisingly practical as well.

Best Hair and Make-Up

American Sniper: This might not seem an obvious candidate for this award, but the film does need to use make-up effects in order to show the effects of bullets on the soldiers. A scene involving one of Chris’ comrades being shot and a subsequent hospital visit are especially impressive.

Foxcatcher: Channing Tatum and Mark Rufallo both have some hair styles which differ from their usual here, but the obvious highlight as Steve Carell’s prosthetic knows, grey teeth, and odd skin. Apparently this one done to look like John du Pont, but it mostly just looks creepy, and I mean that in a good way.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: A lot of the characters in this film have slightly weird and interesting looks which alone would warrant consideration, but the deal clincher is the fantastic old age make-up on Tilda Swinton. I’m not sure why they didn’t just cast an older actress, but it still looked great.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Aliens and make-up is a great tradition in sci-fi cinema. Guardians gave us a lot of multi-coloured aliens, but I like the subtle details that seem to suggest that despite sometimes being the same colour, there are a lot of different species. The film also has Benecio del Toro looking weird and Drax especially has a neat look.

Under the Skin: Scarlett Johansson definitely has a distinct hair and make-up style going for Under the Skin, but the film doesn’t get into heavy make-up effects until the end. However when it does, it provides for a really surreal and memorable image that has really stuck with me.

And the winner is…




Under the SkinUNDER-THE-SKIN-poster-610x903

Objectively speaking, the make-up effects in something like Guardians of the Galaxy may technically be better, but Under the Skin gets a lot of points for what it actually does with its make-up. The other nominees all had good make-up effects, but all to accomplish fairly standard things that we’ve seen before. Under the Skin provides something far more unique and that deserves to be celebrated.

Best Costume Design

Edge of Tomorrow: The slightly futuristic military look is certainly solid, but this nomination is all about those mech suits, which look great but also somewhat practical. You can tell the actors are actually moving around in something and if infantry troops were provided with mech suits, I imagine they’d look something like this. Effective, but also rough and dirty.

Exodus: Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott always nails the production elements of his films, to the point that I think it’s taken for granted. People can say what they want about Exodus, but there’s no denying that the costumes look great, authentic, and go a long way to selling the world.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: The costumes in this film are a great manifestation of Anderson’s stole in the form of clothing. All of the costumes are unique, colourful, and match the characters quite well. Additionally, the film needs to have a wide range of clothes, from prisoners to soldiers to aristocrats, all while committing to the style.

The Immigrant: Period pieces are prime contenders for costume awards, and The Immigrant really nails this. The period clothes look great and lived in. Additionally, the film also has a lot of stage performance elements which lead to some stylish costumes that look awesome.

X-Men: Days of Future Past: Part 1970s period piece, part apocalyptic future, Days of Future Past is able to sell the 70s setting with appropriate and stylish costumes, while the futuristic X-Men uniforms are in keeping with the other costumes in the series while still having a “war style” look. I also really like their new costume for Magneto.

And the winner is…




The Grand Budapest Hotelo-GRAND-BUDAPEST-HOTEL-POSTER-570

Anderson seems to have a great ability for putting the perfect costume on his characters and he uses that well here. There are a lot of characters in this movie, and almost all of them have a great and distinct link that still blends well with the rest of the film.

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