The Oscars 2015, Graphic Design
If you were awake, you must have noticed the stunning Academy Awards graphic design on the recent Oscars 2015 telecast. Henry Hobson is one of the unsung graphic designers behind those category introductions, along with the California animation studio Elastic and show co-producer Lee Lodge. The fantastic graphics were the best part of the whole show, breaking up the usual pomp and cheese with refreshingly beautiful visuals.
British born Henry Hobson has been behind the scenes at the Oscars since 2009, but this year ramped it up quite a few notches. Artfully done, full of insight and texture, these title sequences were refreshing, interesting and excellently designed. They presented a visual language, images popping with narrative, keenly aware of the multi facets behind each story. Elegant typography, clean poster-like design and popping animations were imposed over collaged assemblages. By themselves, these wonderful orderly lay-outs of objects and elements composed a veritable Cabinet of Curiosities for each film’s title card.
From an interview over at Slate:
Those production design slides with birds-eye view shots of objects from each film were pretty incredible. Where did that idea come from? The idea was to break down what production design is. Last year I did something with sketches coming to life—scenes from Her and Gravity with line art that mixed through to footage. It was much more of a traditional exercise. So this year we had to convince the Academy to send us all the props from these films for a photographic shoot.
Was that difficult? Some films were quick to get stuff over. My favorite was Grand Budapest Hotel, when they started sending the little Mendel’s boxes and books and badges that they’ve produced during their show. They’ve put as much love into that as you could imagine. The objects were as beautiful as they appear in the film.
The graphics team had only about two and a half weeks to complete the work, once the nominations were announced. Hobson is currently in post production for his first independent feature film, starring Abigail Breslin and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“I’ve always been interested in telling a story visually and giving it a sense of thrill; where you slowly bring the characters to life and reveal their true selves…
…I try to put in hidden secrets within spots so that viewers can watch them time and again and they can explore and find new elements that excite them,” he says. “Even if the audience doesn’t realize those little aspects the first time, it’s subconscious: it’s just knowing that something is there.” - Henry Hobson
For the sweet video of all the animated graphics in their element, click here.
For a video of the 2014 poster-inspired title cards, click here.
The LA based animation studio Elastic has also produced the superb intros for two of our favorite TV shows, both on HBO. Last year’s True Detective intro was riveting with its surreal, faded and gritty emotions. And the vintage, moody opening for Carnivale, complete with that entrancing voyage into and through a Brueghel painting…
The In Memoriam section of the broadcast was also greatly enhanced - instead of the usual rehashed Hollywood glamour shots, there were painterly portraits of each actor. Given the amount of time dedicated to each actor, this artful approach paid more homage to the individual, than a truncated film clip might. A stately image full of gesture allowed the individual viewer to remember them in their own way, recalling their own personal favorite roles.