2011 Oscars Challenge: Alice In Wonderland

“Alice In Wonderland” only exists on the basis of art and design. It is fitting then that the film is nominated in those respected categories including Art Direction and Costume Design, as well as Visual Effects. It is no lie that “Alice” has all of these and in abundance. The art design of the sets is absolutely stunning to the eye, with brilliant colors and radiant richness, you know all too well that infinite hard work and preparation was poured into the film’s look and feel. The same goes for the Costume Design.

In all reality, “Alice” could easily come out the winner in two-thirds of these categories for the sole fact of being an iconic story reproduced in a way only Tim Burton could imagine. The film has a style that screams award winning and I would not be disappointed to see it win on Oscar night. There are, however, several films standing in its way.

In Art Direction and Costume Design, the same two films may overshadow “Alice” for the gold; those films being “The King’s Speech” and “True Grit”. The Academy tends to lean towards period pieces in the past, and the same can be said for westerns. There is a standard that must be met in dealing with these pieces and, when done effectively, that garners respect.

On the other hand, this is what may lead to the opening of a door for “Alice”, as it could be argued that it is much easier to reproduce a historical period than it is to conjure the “Wonderland” into a live action representation. “Alice” takes the childhood Disney tale and makes it physical, a task that requires a more than creative mind. We all have ingrained in our minds the appearance of Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the Red Queen. Therefore, it needs to match our recollections or it fails. “Alice” does not fail. Alice’s constantly changing dresses are worth the Costume Design nomination alone, appearing elegant and gorgeous while remaining what we pictured from the cartoon version.

The Visual Effects category that “Alice In Wonderland” surfaces in is towered by the prize horse of “Inception”. Though “Alice” exists as an entirely separate entity than that of “Inception”, “Alice” blends reality with cartoon-fiction (and does it well). Combining those two worlds is a difficult task, especially in producing a convincing portrayal. If “Alice” failed to make the animated characters appear unrealistic, it makes it that much harder to view.

That is not the case with “Alice” as it is visually stunning throughout. The Red Queen’s over-sized head is mind-boggling, the hare irrefutably fits in the “real world”, and the entire Wonderland is captivating. However, Nolan produces one of the most visually stimulating (and innovative) films of the year (and ever). It is going to be hard for even “Alice” to defeat that.

“Alice In Wonderland” by far deserved its three well placed nominations and, save for the Visual Effects category, “Alice” could more than definitely earn two of its three golden Academy awards. Come the final predictions, I feel as though “Alice” may reign at the top of the list as the front-runner for winning both Art Direction and Costume Design. I have come to expect nothing less from the studio that brought the original “Alice In Wonderland” to life as from the magnificent mind of mastermind Tim Burton himself.

(33 OF 41 FILMS REMAINING)-(26 DAYS TO OSCARS)


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