Alice Felton and her best friend Fiona Crombie, the set decorator and production designer for “The Favourite,” have already won the BAFTA, Art Directors Guild and BIFA awards for their work on Yorgos Lanthimos‘ acclaimed historical drama. And they are the frontrunners to win Best Production Design at the Oscars on Feb. 24.
Reflecting on all of this attention from awards bodies, Felton readily admits, “The relationship you get with the other nominees is my favorite part of everything.” As she explains, “we did the BAFTA sessions discussing movies and it was so lovely hearing them talk about their films and their process, so that’s been one of my highlights. It’s been fascinating!”
For Felton, the recognition from her guild was beyond anything she could have hoped for. “I loved being there because I met so many great set decorators and production designers who I would never meet. It was a community of designers. It meant so much, that award, for designers to give it to us, it was really personal and really meant a lot that other designers cared for, loved and voted for our work on the film.”
She and Crombie are proud of the way that they helped to develop the characters through their work. “Olivia Colman really loved this – when Abigail (Emma Stone) is more in charge and looking after her, the Queen’s room has sweet foods in. She was allergic to sugar but we put piles of sweet foods in her bedroom, almost as if Abigail was overfeeding her and sweetening her,” explains Felton.
“Whereas when Sarah (Rachel Weisz) was looking after her, we put in fruit and healthy foods and oatcakes, because Sarah loves her and is trying to look after her, whereas Abigail is trying to make her feel good in the moment at the time, being more sickly – so we showed that with food.”
And it didn’t stop there. You wouldn’t think that Excel would be play a part in staging this period piece but it did. “We also tracked the Queen’s emotional state with spreadsheets. If she was feeling sad and alone, we would have her bed unmade and mess up the room. And when she was feeling good, the room would be tidy, the bed would be made,” says Felton. “In the royal palace, you’d always have servants doing everything but we imagined that she’d be like ‘ get out, don’t come in, I want to be on my own.’ You have to give reasons for everything you do.”
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