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Epcot Center (#110 of 2)

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions Production Design

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Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Production Design
Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Production Design

In 2010, we asked, “How do you solve a problem like Avatar? How do you hold a fluorescent, floating anemone in your hand? Well, you can’t. Because it exists in hexadecimal code on a hard drive somewhere in Silicon (or is it Uncanny?) Valley.” So we threw our vote to Sherlock Holmes and shook our heads on Oscar night when James Cameron’s Epcot Center diorama was awarded. The lesson? That Gravity, even though it’s the Mission: SPACE to Avatar’s more elaborately designed Universe of Energy: Ellen’s Energy Adventure, shouldn’t be too quickly discounted. Two years earlier, we thought the category would break toward Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood’s Wild West City attraction only to see it (rightfully) lose to Tim Burton’s Broadway-ed Dickens funhouse Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Meaning that the benefits of being a Best Picture frontrunner in this category are negligible. And so we put our money on Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina last year only to see it toppled by the Lincoln Logs of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. Meaning that being a politely revered or disliked Best Picture nominee is also negligible.

Prospero’s Parks

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Prospero’s Parks
Prospero’s Parks

If you’re going to Disney World in Orlando for the first time—or going again—I’d suggest beginning with the Disney-MGM theme park. It’s a cute, gaudy shrine to the American entertainment machine in all its forms, from so-called Golden Era Hollywood (represented by Spanish-inflected art deco architecture, faux studio backlots and employees affecting hardboiled, “Hey, Mac!” accents) to the Muppets, arena rock, Rod Serling and big-budget action pictures (the Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show). The ideal gateway would be “Fantasmic!”, a sound-and-light show that also serves as a metaphor for the theme parks and for the world of Disney in general.