Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Designers Nominated for Oscars

While the general public clamors for the Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director Oscar nominees, designers look at categories like Best Animated Film, Best Cinematography, Art Direction, Set Design, Costume, Makeup, Special Effects, Editing and the other categories for designers and visual thinkers.

The nominees for Best Art Direction this year include a sure winner - Laurence Bennett for "The Artist" (left) - and a strong contender in Rick Carter for "War Horse" (right) who was also nominated for "Avatar" and "Forrest Gump" in previous years.

Movies are a visual medium requiring strong visual communication skills and should be part of a comprehensive visual education program whether approached from production, history, criticism or aesthetics. The Academy Awards nominations in January and awards ceremony in February provide an excellent opportunity to highlight the design of films and the film designers who are among the best in the world.

Many people mistakenly think that watching movies is a passive activity compared to the active thinking associated with reading but recent brain research proves that old way of thinking is wrong. Visualization is an active function of the brain which calls upon long-term memory and predictive abilities activated in numerous locations in the brain.

Have your students look at the list of Oscar nominees and research nominees in each of the design categories. Who do you think will win? Who do you think should win? What can we find out about their past work and how they go about their work?

Click on the heading above to see the list of other Oscar nominees.

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