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New Guard Versus Old Masters

Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.

There were a bevy of masters as well as some incredibly talented newcomers in this year’s below the line Oscar race.  Cinematography found eight-time nominee Roger Deakins (True Grit) in a race against four-time nominee Wally Pfister (Inception). These two pros were joined by first timers Danny Cohen (The King’s Speech), Matthew Libatique (Black Swan), and Jeff Cronenweth (The Social Network.)


Pfister, who won the ASC award for feature film cinematography a few weeks prior, was this year’s Oscar winner.  After thanking director Christopher Nolan and his union crew during his acceptance speech, Pfister emphasized the brilliance of Nolan in the press room.


“There’s a reason that I’ve been nominated for films with Christopher Nolan; because he’s a brilliant filmmaker and he’s got incredible vision,” said Pfister.  “There’s no way I accomplished what I’ve accomplished without Christopher Nolan.”


When asked how he felt after being recognized first by the Academy for his work, Pfister said “How do I feel?  I’m blown away.  I walked out there and it’s the most surreal moment in my life.”  


In the art directing category, three-time Oscar winner Stuart Craig (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1) was up against last year’s “Avatar” winner Robert Stromberg (Alice in Wonderland) along with previous Oscar nominee Eve Stewart (The King’s Speech) and newcomers Guy Hendrix Dyas (Inception) and Jesse Gonchor (True Grit). 


Robert Stromberg received his second Oscar in a row, sharing the win with set decorator Karen O’Hara (last nominated in 1987 for “The Color of Money.”)  Stromberg outfitted his statue with an Oscar-sized Mad Hatter’s hat during his acceptance speech and kept the hat on his trophy as he entered the press room.


“I just thought it was a nice little punctuation to the end of the show,” said Stromberg.  “I’m very proud that it was recognized and very happy to win, but all the nominees I take my hat off to.” 


To this, Stromberg removed the tiny hat adorning his Oscar.


In the makeup category, former Oscar winning teams found their members split and competing against each other.  Three-time Oscar nominee Yolanda Toussieng and her team from “The Way Back” was competing against Rick Baker, with whom she previously won an Oscar for their collaborative work on “Mrs. Doubtfire.”   Joining these former Oscar-winning collaborators was first-time nominee Adrien Morot.  Six-time Oscar winner (and five-time nominee) Rick Baker, along with previous Oscar nominee Dave Elsey, was the ultimate winner for “The Wolfman.”


“I’ve got to be honest about it, I really wanted this one,” said Baker in the press room.  “The original ‘Wolfman’ meant so much to me that it’s just going to be so cool to have an Oscar that says ‘The Wolfman’ on it.”


The costume design race saw seven-time nominee and one-time Oscar winner Jenny Beaven (The King’s Speech) sharing the race with six-time nominee and two-time Oscar winner Colleen Atwood (Alice in Wonderland), five time nominee and three time Oscar winner Sandy Powell (The Tempest), and two first-timers: Mary Zophres (True Grit) and Antonella Cannarozzi (I Am Love).  Atwood ultimately was the winner who could add another Oscar to her collection.


Although a considerable Oscar night veteran with 18 Oscar nominations, Randy Newman found himself receiving his second Oscar statue of his career.  During his visit to the press room, Newman indicated there was still much uncovered territory he’d like to explore in his career.


“I would like to still get better,” said Newman.  “Writing music is difficult.  There are a lot of challenges to it that are just inherent in the field.  I’d like to get better at that, at what I’m doing.”


For a complete list of all the 83rd Annual Academy Award winners, please visit: