Golden Rule: “Beauty and the Beast” – Visually Stunning-ish

Leading up to the 90th Academy Awards on March 4th, we’re going to be diving into as many of the nominated films as possible and taking a look at what their chances are for taking home the Oscar. You can check out our list of where to watch each film here, and see the full list of nominees here. Today we’re looking at Beauty and the Beast, which is nominated for Best Production Design and Best Costume Design.

Beauty and the Beast is a live-action adaptation of the 1991 animated film. The film features some expanded subplots and a few new songs, and it expands on the original film in some fun and intriguing ways. In all honesty, it’s a much better film than I anticipated going into it. Despite being a fun, family-friendly movie, it takes itself seriously. The film features incredibly beautiful costumes and sets, which are very intricately designed – possibly even more so than the traditional period piece.

Despite the beautiful and intricate design put into these two elements of the film, I think the film may be the underdog here. The Academy tends to favor straight-up period pieces for Production Design, like Dunkirk or Darkest Hour. Blade Runner 2049 essentially creates a completely new world, and The Shape of Water is not only a period piece, but also the type of film that Academy members will give a straight ticket to (awarding the film every Oscar possible). It’s hard to imagine that Phantom Thread won’t take home the Oscar for Costume Design, solely because it’s a film about designing clothes. If Phantom Thread loses, it will probably be to The Shape of Water for one of two reasons: straight ticket or the costume for Doug Jones’ Amphibian Man.

B&B CGI

The other thing that works against Beauty and the Beast in both of these categories is the uncertainty of the CGI elements. The Academy tends to give these awards to films with practical costumes and practical sets, and it doesn’t often celebrate anything that features a lot of CGI. Beauty and the Beast features a lot of CGI, and it’s not exactly clear what all is real and what’s not at times. Obviously the Beast and the servants of his castle are CGI, which doesn’t help anything. If one of your two leads is a character that is completely motion capture, there’s a good chance you won’t take home a Costume Design award.

Most importantly though, Jacqueline Durran is the actual individual nominated for Costume Design for Beauty and the Beast; she’s also the individual nominated for Darkest Hour. Sarah Greenwood & Katie Spencer are also both nominated for Beauty and the Beast and Darkest Hour. If the Academy is going to decide award the three women for one of the two films, they’re going to choose Darkest Hour.

Beauty and the Beast is currently streaming on Netflix and is available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital. Be sure to keep following Poor Man’s Spoiler for all of our Oscar coverage. The Oscars air on ABC on March 4th at 8pm ET.

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