The 89th Academy Awards night at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California was a celebration of diversity in various disciplines of filmmaking. It meant moving beyond the traditional approach of selecting nominees to a more inclusive one and it also meant correcting some mistakes of the past. The Eddie Redmayne starrer 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' directed by David Yates won for Best Costume Design after all the eight previous 'Harry Potter' films were given the snub.
Costume designer Colleen Atwood known for 'Chicago,' 'Memoirs of a Geisha' and 'Mission Impossible III' among others, received her fourth Academy Award for J.K. Rowling's 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,' which is a prequel to the 'Harry potter' films that ran from 2001 till 2011. As noted by Variety, the previous eight films had acquired 12 nominations but didn't win a single one. This happened despite the wonderful production design by Stuart Craig throughout all the eight films. Fans were left devastated, along with those involved in the making of the films themselves.
Speaking backstage with Variety on the issue Colleen Atwood said: "That's shocking. There's so much incredible artistry in the 'Harry Potter' movies."
Then she reflected on the reason why 'Fantastic Beasts' may have been able to clinch it in. She said: "I think maybe the fact that this movie, J.K. Rowling's creation, is set in the 1920s, which keyed off a different visual sense, is the obvious thing."
But the previous Daniel Radcliffe driven Harry Potter films weren't exactly very modern-looking. In fact, apart from the casual jumpers and jeans, the whole magical world of Hogwarts and dark forests had a gothic vibe, with a tone that we associate more with fantasy stories set in the Middle Ages. The performances in the films, especially by the late Alan Rickman, were also shockingly overlooked.
So, the Academy Voters may have tried to ease their sense of guilt by handing the Oscar to the newly re-launched franchise of the wizarding world. The movie was a success both commercially and critically. In fact, almost all of the nine 'Potterverse' movies have garnered critical acclaim. It is a good sign that the Academy is no longer overlooking movies that are popular fantasies.