Design

BAFTA Awards 2019: the design winners

From costumes to animation, we look at the award-winners across visual arts and design at this year’s British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards.

Costume Design

The Favourite – costume design by Sandy Powell

Period film The Favourite took away the BAFTA for costume design, with its elaborate Georgian clothing such as women’s ornate gowns and men’s flamboyant suits, which signalled a precursor to the appearance-obsessed dandy style that took hold of London in the 18th century. The film, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and set in the 1700s, explores the life of Queen Anne and two women close to her who are also cousins, who vie for the Queen’s attention.

While some parts of the historical film are based on fact, such as Queen Anne having 17 children and gout, a condition common to the upper classes, other parts have been dramatised, including her penchant for pet rabbits and the sexual relationship she holds with the other two female protagonists.

The costumes for the film were designed by Sandy Powell, a prolific designer who has previously tackled other period films including Shakespeare in Love and The Young Victoria. While many of the clothes in The Favourite are monochrome and dark shades, the intricate detailing and stitching that features, alongside lavish and over-the-top jewellery, make the film quite a spectacle, while the range in styles shows the significant difference between the upper and lower classes.

The film also won the award for hair and make-up, featuring men in ludicrous white wigs and both men and women in shocking, white powder and red-cheeked make-up, characterised by The Favourite’s era.

Production Design

The Favourite – production design by Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton

The Favourite also landed a gong for production design, one of seven total wins for the film. Production designer Fiona Crombie and set designer Alice Felton are behind the look and feel of the Georgian era film, helping to curate and make the sets, locations, graphics, props, lighting and camera angles, working alongside the costume and hair and makeup designers.

The film is categorised by its dark, gloomy, candlelit lighting at night, with plenty of natural light in the day, ornate and monochrome patterns, as well as garish paintings, dark wooden furniture and flowers, all borrowed from the 18th century’s luxurious style.

Animated Film

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – animated by Sony Pictures Animation

One of the latest in superhero depictions, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a fully animated film produced by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation in association with comic book giant, Marvel. Screenplay writer Phil Lord and producer Christopher Miller ended up compiling a team of 142 animators to create the film in a way that combined both traditional comic book illustration techniques and modern visual effects (VFX).

The film is based on Marvel Comics character Miles Morales, a teenager who idolises Spider-Man and gets bitten by a radioactive spider, gaining spider-like abilities. Incorporating both two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) animation, the film borrows from the “Ker-pow”-filled, brightly coloured, bubble typography style of comics from the 1940s and mixes it with computer-generated imagery (CGI).

The animation team overlaid hand painting, dots, lines and other classic comic book illustration techniques over the top of rendered frames created by CGI, to make the frames look like comic panels.

British Short Animation

Roughhouse – animated by Jonathan Hodgson

Roughhouse, a 15-minute-long animated film directed by graphic designer and university professor, Jonathan Hodgson, took the prize for best British short animation. Unsurprisingly, he also produced and animated the short film, alongside film score composer, Yan Volsy, who did sound and music composer, Stuart Hilton, who did music.

The film follows the story of three friends who embark on an adventure, but their group is shattered and falls into disarray when a new member joins them. The animation style is hand-drawn and 2D, with layered illustrations to create a more 3D feel, such as that of buildings drawn on top of each other in different shades. There is an overall dark and gloomy aesthetic focusing on shades of blue, purple and dark red.

Special visual effects

Black Panther – visual effects by various studios

Marvel Comics-inspired superhero film Black Panther was well-received last year, not only for its plot and production, but for making steps in racial diversity, being the first ever Marvel film to feature a majority black cast. The fictional film is set thousands of years ago and features five African tribes who are at war over a meteorite containing the metal vibranium. After a warrior eats a plant tainted by the metal, he gains superhuman abilities and becomes the first “Black Panther” and goes on to reunite four out of five tribes to form a new nation called Wakanda.

The visual effects (VFX) for the film were produced by several studios, including Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Method Studios, Rise Visual Effects Studios, Cantina Creative and more. Those working on VFX had to create a science-fiction-inspired world that also incorporated more traditional elements such as African landscape, culture and tribal costumes.

They were responsible for creating the make-believe digital scenery of the nation Wakanda, with animators taking inspiration for the set from real-life things such as Uganda’s architecture, and the Northern Lights, which inspired the skyscape.

Sound

Bohemian Rhapsody – sound design by John Casali, Tim Cavagin, Nina Hartstone, Paul Massey and John Warhurst

Biographical film Bohemian Rhapsody tells the life story of late rock star Freddie Mercury, who famously headed up the band Queen. The film won the BAFTA for best sound, while Rami Malek, who plays Mercury, also won for best actor in a leading role.

The film’s team of sound designers, sound editors, sound engineers and sound mixers scoured the real archives of Queen to mix original studio and live recordings in with new ones, some of which were orchestrated by recording crowds of hundreds of people to replicate the famous hand-claps and thigh-slaps that are synonymous with “We will Rock You”, according to Variety.

The crew also crowd-sourced some sounds, asking fans to email in recordings of themselves singing songs such as Bohemian Rhapsody.

For the full list of BAFTA 2019 winners, head here.

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