The frontrunners in this year's awards race inproduction, costume design, and make-up are impressing Academies both sides ofthe Atlantic.
The sumptuous world of the Geisha in 1930s Japan, theJamestown settlement of 1607, Jerusalem in the 12th Century or London duringthe Blitz.
The range of design spectacle and period opulence on showin the films of 2005 gives the crafts categories of both US and UK Academies awealth of choices.
Certainly in categories such as cinematography, artdirection/production design and costume design, the field has a range ofvividly realised period films set in exotic locales vying for the prize.
Rob Marshall's Memoirs Of A Geisha has to be a frontrunner for the sheer beauty and artistryon show, but then again it faces stiff competition from Kingdom OfHeaven, The New World, Pride & Prejudice, Casanova and Cinderella Man.
Then there are more recent period stories such as Munich,Brokeback Mountain and GoodNight, And Good Luck. and 1930s-set KingKong which reunites much of theOscar-winning talent from The Lord Of The Rings trilogy.
Not to be forgotten are the effects-driven blockbusterssuch as The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe, WarOf The Worlds, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith and Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, which will not only dominate the visual-effectscategories, but also offer stunning production designs and concepts of theirown.
The details and innovations in these films areincredible. For example, Emanuel Luzbeckishot entirely with natural light on The New World; Dion Beebe covered the entire outdoor set of Memoirs Of AGeisha with a silk screen to capture the appropriate lighting; theeffects wizards at Weta created a range of emotions for King Kong based on the human expressions of actor Andy Serkis;production designer Andrew Sanders recreated Shanghai in 1936 ona rundown set in Shanghai itself. The list of achievements is long.
Arthur Max and Sonja Klaus (set decoration), Kingdom Of Heaven
John Myhre, MemoirsOf A Geisha
Andrew Sanders, Steve Simmonds and YuBai Yang, The White Countess
Stuart Craig, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
Nathan Crowley, BatmanBegins
Roger Ford and Kerrie Brown (set decoration), The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch AndThe Wardrobe
Alex McDowell, CharlieAnd The Chocolate Factory
Allan Starski, OliverTwist
Gavin Bocquet, StarWars: Episode III
Mark Friedberg and Ellen Christiansen (set decoration), The Producers
Guy Dyas, TheBrothers Grimm
Bill Boes and Elizabeth Wilcox (set decoration), Fantastic Four
James D Bissell, GoodNight, And Good Luck.
Sarah Greenwood, Pride& Prejudice
Rick Carter and Anne Kuljian (set decoration), War Of The Worlds
Howard Cummings and Barbara Munch (set decoration), Rent
Hugo Luczyc-Wyhowski,Mrs Henderson Presents
Ben van Os, TheLibertine
David Gropman, Casanova
David J Bomba and Carla Curry (set decoration), Walk The Line
Rick Carter, Munich