September 24, 2023

Disney live-action remakes ranked by Oscars wins and nominations


Disney tapped into the live-action remake market pretty quickly, realizing that these movies were obvious money-makers for them. And they were right. So far, 21 live-action remakes — starting with 1994’s “The Jungle Book” and this year’s “The Little Mermaid” being the most recent offering — have grossed over $10 billion worldwide. They have been huge successes and, with the likes of “Snow White,” “Moana,” and “Lilo & Stitch” coming up, the studio is showing no signs of slowing down. But how successful are these flicks in terms of awards? Well, nine of them have been nominated for Oscars and three have them have won. Here’s the breakdown.

“Alice in Wonderland” (2011) — three nominations, two wins
This film, directed by Tim Burton, was the first entry into Disney’s new wave of live-action remakes, and they got off to a good start. The movie won Best Art Direction for Robert Stromberg and Karen O’Hara and Best Costume Design for Colleen Atwood. It was also nominated for Best Visual Effects for Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas, and Sean Phillips. They lost to the might of Christopher Nolan‘s “Inception” (Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, and Peter Bebb).

“Cruella” (2022) – two nominations, one win
Emma Stone
starred in Craig Gillespie‘s re-imagining of “101 Dalmations” and she managed to fill the stilettos of Glenn Close well. Jenny Beavan won Best Costume Design while Nadia Stacey, Naomi Donne, and Julia Vernon were nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” won that award, however (for Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram, and Justin Raleigh).

“The Jungle Book” (2017) – one win
This is the only other Disney live-action remake, so far, that has taken home an Oscar. Jon Favreau‘s ultra-realistic style of animation won Best Visual Effects for Robert Legato, Dan Lemmon, Andrew R. Jones, and Adam Valdez. This one fared much better than the much-maligned 1994 live version. However, this one win was also the only nomination the film received.

“Beauty and the Beast” (2018) – two nominations
One of the more warmly received remakes. Bill Condon‘s movie, starring “Harry Potter” actress Emma Watson, earned nominations for Best Costume Design for Jacqueline Durran and Best Production Design for Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer. However, they lost both of these nominations. Mark Bridges won Best Costume Design for “Phantom Thread” and Best Production Design went to eventual Best Picture winner “The Shape of Water” (Paul Denham Austerberry, Shane Vieau, and Jeff Melvin).

“Mulan” (2021) – two nominations
Niki Caro‘s remake earned two nominations. Bina Daigeler was nominated for Best Costume Design but lost to Ann Roth for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury, and Steve Ingram were nominated for Best Visual Effects but they lost to Scott R. Fisher, Andrew Jackson, David Lee, and Andrew Lockley for “Tenet.”

“Maleficent” (2015) — one nomination
Robert Stromberg‘s re-imagining of “Sleeping Beauty” was a winner from the start after it cast Angelina Jolie as the titular villain. The film was nominated for Best Costume Design for Anna B. Shepard but lost to Milena Canonero, who won for Wes Anderson‘s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

“Cinderella” (2018) – one nomination
Kenneth Branagh directed this one, with Lily James in the title role and Cate Blanchett delivering a deliciously villainous performance (a lot of these Disney remakes have great villains, like Emma Thompson in “Cruella”). This one was also nominated for Best Costume Design — for Sandy Powell. She lost to Beavan, who won for “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

“The Lion King (2020) – one nomination
Favreau followed up “The Jungle Book” with another photo-realistic adaptation. This star-studded remake featured Donald Glover, Beyoncé, and Seth Rogen, and was nominated for Best Visual Effects for Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, and Elliot Newman. They lost to “1917” (Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, and Dominic Tuohy).

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” (2020) – one nomination
Such was the success of “Maleficent,” a sequel was quickly ordered. This one was directed by Joachim Rønning and it, too earned an Oscar nomination, this time for Best Makeup and Hairstyling for Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuition, and David White. They lost to Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan, and Vivian Baker, who won for “Bombshell.”

So, there’s the rundown. It’s interesting to break down those nominations by category.

Two of those nominations came for Best Production Design, two came for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, four came for Best Visual Effects, and six came for Best Costume Design. One of the three wins came for Best Visual Effects and the other two wins came for Best Costume Design.

Bringing these larger-than-life worlds and characters to live-action means translating colorful, cartoonish, sometimes over-the-top characters into real life. It’s no wonder, then, that the larger-than-life costumes of said characters are rewarded most. “The Little Mermaid” will hope to join this list next year, and it will be competing for Best Costume Design (Atwood), Best Production Design (John Myhre), Best Makeup and Hairstyling (TBC), and Best Visual Effects (TBC).

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