The Great Craft of 2023 | Features

Godzilla’s size and bulk, his terrible power, was impressive in Ishiro Honda’s 1954 film, but there was also an element of animalistic tragedy to him. He was made by our folly and killed for the same reason. Yamazaki’s Godzilla is the first Godzilla that has been truly terrifying, the tragedy sucked from his eyes as he is refashioned as a malevolent challenge to the idea of rebuilding Tokyo after its destruction at the hands of the allies. Godzilla is now America, and as such he must be terrible, he must have nothing but murder in his eyes, and Yamazaki, who also served as the effects director, has made a Godzilla of horrific power, his scales shifting into place before unleashing his own nuclear blast onto an already humbled people. You believe both his aquatic agility and lumbering pace on land, you believe he could destroy the world, and you applaud and wipe the tears from your eyes when he is destroyed. Or anyway, I did. – Scout Tafoya

Costume Design, Stacey Battat, “Priscilla

“Priscilla” costume designer Stacey Battat, who created a whopping 120 looks for actress Cailee Spaeny, uses the styles of the changing eras to chart the emotional journey of Priscilla Beaulieu from her first teenaged meeting with superstar Elvis Presley in 1959 to her moment of self-actualization as she leaves her husband in order to live her own life in 1972.

Priscilla the girl is first introduced wearing a baby pink sweater, a plaid schoolgirl skirt and a sporting ponytail. Through their early dates, she wears similar conservatively youthful attire, including Peter Pan collared blouses, pastel sweater sets, and full, petticoated skirts. After moving to Graceland, the pastels and saddle shoes remain for school, but in a life with Elvis comes richer fabrics; satin and lace abound, although often with girly touches like bows and daisies. As his controlling grip increases, he forbids her to buy clothes on her own, dressing her up like a doll in rich brocades and floor-length gowns. He even suggested she dye her hair jet black, which becomes a full bouffant by the time gives birth to their only child, Lisa Marie. Gone are the playful silhouettes and muted pastels of girlhood in favor of formless shift dresses in deep pinks and corals and yellows.

She adopts a more counter-culture style as their marriage falls apart, dressing in dark greens and blues and even some funky purple bell bottoms. Finally, when Priscilla the woman, her hair, once again its natural light brown, gets behind the wheel to leave her gilded cage with Elvis behind, she wears a crisp white button up. At last, her wardrobe, like her life, is a blank canvas on which she can choose what to paint. – Marya E. Gates

Cinematography, Laura Valladao, “Fremont

In “Fremont,” which tells the story of a former Afghan translator adrift in the titular California city, longing for connection, lead actress Anaita Wali Zada is often center-framed with a still gaze, as if addressing the camera directly. A journalist and first-time actor, her understated performance is a wonder to witness, emanating the same warm, quiet glow that ultimately defines co-writer/director Babak Jalali’s luminous melodrama without for a moment suggesting anything contrived or actorly about her character’s dry wit and hidden reserves of feeling.

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