Tuesday, March 01, 2011

"Alice" Wins Two Oscars

Alice in Wonderland won two of the three Oscars it was nominated for this Sunday at the 83rd annual Academy Awards.

The film won in the categories of Best Costume Design, with Colleen Atwood receiving her third Oscar, and Best Art Direction, given to Robert Stromberg (Production Designer) and Karen O'Hara (Set Decorator).

Here is Atwood's acceptance speech:

"Thank you to the Academy and especially to my fellow nominees who are just so much fun to sit with tonight and who have been so supportive, it's great to be part of such a great group of people. The story, "Alice in Wonderland," was described by its publisher in 1865 as a story valued for its rare imagination, priceless humor, and power to transport the reader into a world of pure fantasy, a gift to us all. The heart of any movie lies with the director and I've been incredibly lucky on this and many films to work with the singular Tim Burton. Tim's imagination along with the amazing cast Johnny's incandescent Hatter, Mia's Alice for all girls, all times, Helena's the fearless big headed Queen, and our crystalline snowflake princess, Anne Hathaway, made my job a delight. We had the support of a production team headed by Richard Zanuck and Katterli Frauenfelder. Supported by Joe Roth, Suzanne and Jen Todd, and Disney, but I couldn't have done it without my team Christine Cantella and my entire group. Thank you all very much."

This is the ninth Academy Award nomination for Colleen Atwood. She was previously nominated for:

NINE (2009) -- Nominee, Costume Design
MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA (2005) -- Winner, Costume Design
CHICAGO (2002) -- Winner, Costume Design
SLEEPY HOLLOW (1999) -- Nominee, Costume Design
BELOVED (1998) -- Nominee, Costume Design
LITTLE WOMEN (1994) -- Nominee, Costume Design

Atwood also filled out a questionnaire sheet, giving us some tidbits of her interests, inspirations, and memories from working on Alice (click the thumbnail to enlarge the image):

And here is the joined acceptnce speech from Stromberg and O'Hara:

Why didn't I lose that 20 lbs? First of all, the other nominees, Guy, all you guys deserve to be up here. Everyone at Disney from Iger and Ross and Bailey, Bruce Hendricks, Art Repola, the great Joe Roth. The Art Department led by Stefan Dechant, Crissy Wilson, and Todd Cherniawsky. This great set decorator. I'm standing here because of three people, Ken Ralston, the great Richard Zanuck, and the wacky world of Tim Burton. There he is!

O'HARA: Tim, this is yours. Thank you.

STROMBERG: Meet me with a saw because half of this is yours. There's one last bit of art direction for a Tim Burton Film. There it is. Thank You Academy and to my wife and kids and I dedicate this to my Dad.

This is the third Academy Award nomination for Robert Stromberg. He was previously nominated for:

AVATAR (2009) -- Winner, Art Direction

This is the second Academy Award nomination for Karen O'Hara. She was previously nominated for:

THE COLOR OF MONEY (1986) -- Nominee, Art Direction

Daniel Haim of Bloginity interviewed O'Hara and Stromberg back stage:

Q. Congratulations. What did you put on top of the Oscar? Oh, now I can see it.

A. You couldn’t see it? It’s a little Mad Hatter’s hat.

Q. Did you make that?

A. I had one of my prop makers make it, and I just thought it was a nice little punctuation to the end of the show. Could you not see it on the broadcast? You could see it.

Q. Congratulations. I just want to ask you, what was your biggest production design challenge on this film because it seemed like every scene probably would have been, but can you talk about that, but also in terms of set direction, what was your biggest challenge?

A. Well, you know, any time you work on a Tim Burton film, there’s a bar that you have to meet, and the challenge for a film like this is that we had a great deal of digital sets, but there were some challenging physical sets. And the biggest challenge was sort of making sure the director, the actors knew where they were at all times in these green environments through, having virtual versions of those sets available to them; physical models, and illustrations.

Q. The Academy made a big splash of connecting art direction, cinematography, and yet Alice’s other big below the line nomination is in visual effects. So, in an increasingly rendered age, what is the relationship between production design and the visual effects department?

A. You guys ask a set decorating question next. Well, I come from visual effects. But the difference between how we work now in these types of films is that the production designer is involved with the visual effects probably more heavily, and involved more in post production, which is actually good because the way it normally works is the production designer will sort of leave after the end of principal photography, and then you are relying on visual effects people to fill in those green screens. So, this keeps a more cohesive design coming from visual effects myself.

Q. This is your second in a row in art direction after your first nomination being in visual effects. Where do you see your art evolving from here?

A. I should probably retire (laughs). You know, I feel honestly, I feel that I’ve always done creative things, but design is design no matter what you do, no matter what form. We have lots of new technology that we’re trying and I feel like we are pioneering fusing art and machine. I am very proud of that because the next generation of kids coming up will know what they are doing.

Q. I just want to get some reaction from you, you’ve been up there before is it different the second time, and I want to hear from both of you about this?

A. Stromberg: Honestly, I was not expecting it. I was sort of following INCEPTION. I thought it had the upper hand this year, but I’m very proud that it was recognized and very happy to win, but all the nominees I take my hat off to.

A. Karen O’Hara: I think that the most difficult time that we had was when Johnny decided to walk across the table and suddenly all of our china and our tables, we had to triplicate. Other than that, though, we had a wonderful time working with Tim and this is really a nod to him and his supportive artists.
A. [Stromberg] Thank you all.

Q. Thank you, and congratulations.

Alice was also nominated for Best Visual Effects, but Inception took home that prize.


deadhearts666 said...

Finally saw Tim and Helena on t.v.! ^_^

Anonymous said...

Christopher Nolan's Inception winning Visual Effects oscar was inevitable ever since the first trailer.

As for the other 2 oscars, many rekon that The Coen Brothers' True Grit got screwed big time thanks partly to Alice.