Saturday, June 9, 2012

June Oscar Buzz and Predictions - The Techs

     Most people who write about awards season like to start with Best Picture and work their way down.  I prefer to save the best for last myself, so we will be starting with the techs.  Trying to predict the technical awards this early in the game is really a shot in the dark, even more so than in the major categories.  For the most part I am just going to be revealing where the (limited) buzz lies for these categories at present, without a whole lot of commentary or predictions on my part.  When I feel that I have something significant to add, I will. Most of the technical nominations (say three or four out of five in most categories) will also be Best Picture nominees, but almost any movie could show up to fill in those one or two other slots.  Overall bad reviews do not mean that a film is automatically eliminated, especially if the costumer, sound designer, make-up artist, etc. is highly regarded by their peers.  Might as well get started with the biggest wild card at this point, which is...

Original Song:
     Outside of the shorts, this is probably the hardest category to predict this early in the year because not only have we not heard most of the songs, we don't even know what they are, who wrote and/or performed them, or what films may or may not feature them.  The only thing we can do is spitball which films seem likely to contain original songs and guess from there.  Buzz is so close to non-existent for this category that I'm just going to briefly list a few films that seem like decent bets.
  1. Les Miserables - It has been leaked that the film adaptation of Les Mis WILL contain one original song.  Sound unheard, this has to be considered the front runner.
  2. Sapphires - This original Australian musical got great press from Cannes and could easily be the fly in Les Miserables' ointment if it gets a qualifying U.S. release date.
  3. Brave - There is almost always a theme song connected to a Pixar release.  Other animated films such as the Lorax are also strong possibilities.
  4. Sparkle - Think Burlesque.
  5.  Won't Back Down - This sort of inspirational family fare usually has an inspirational song attached
  6.  Skyfall - Bond films are often the source of original song nominees.

Original Score:
  1. Brave
  2. Lincoln
  3. The Dark Knight Rises
  4. Anna Karenina
  5. The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey

  6. Moonrise Kingdom
  7. Life of Pi
  8. Argo
  9. The Master
  10. Killing Them Softly
     This category is a nightmare to try and predict before the fickle fingers of the Academy disqualify half of the favored films come winter.

The rest of the craft categories (even the ones people kind of care about like Visual Effects and Cinematography, after the jump:

Sound Editing:
  1. The Dark Knight Rises
  2. Zero Dark Thirty
  3. The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey
  4. Brave
  5. Les Miserables

  6. The Avengers
  7. World War Z
  8. Django Unchained
  9. The Hunger Games
  10. Prometheus

Sound Mixing:  
  1. The Dark Knight Rises
  2. Zero Dark Thirty
  3. Les Miserables
  4. The Avengers
  5. Lincoln

  6. The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey
  7. Brave
  8. Prometheus
  9. The Amazing Spider-Man
  10. Django Unchained
     In Both of the Sound categories, the academy likes war films, sci/fi, fantasy, action, musicals, and animation.  Animation, fantasy, and sci-fi fare slightly better in editing which is about creating sound effects.  Musicals are stronger contenders for mixing which is about, well...mixing. (Thanks, Movie Frog.) These lists are pretty good, but I would expect the Hobbit to be a shoo-in on both.  Maybe replacing Avengers in Mixing, which could instead be nominated in place of Les Miserables in Editing.  Otherwise, the buzz's guesses seems as good as mine.

  1. The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey
  2. Lincoln
  3. Dark Shadows

  4. The Dark Knight Rises
  5. Les Miserables
  6. The Great Gatsby
Also:  Cloud Atlas
     Dark Shadows is most likely out after not making Alice kind of bank, but I have no idea what might replace it just yet.  I would just like to say that this award is actually for make-up and hair although make-up is usually the deciding factor.

  1. The Great Gatsby
  2. Les Miserables
  3. Lincoln
  4. Anna Karenina
  5. The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey

  6. Argo
  7. Mirror Mirror
  8. Django Unchained
  9. Dark Shadows
  10. Snow White and the Huntsman
     I don't understand why Great Expectations is not on this list somewhere.  You know Helena Bonham Carter did not agree to play Miss Havisham without seeing the dress first and personally ripping it until she was happy with it.  Seriously, though, the top five here seem like the best bests, followed by Django and Expectations.

Visual Effects:
  1. The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey
  2. The Dark Knight Rises
  3. The Avengers
  4. Prometheus
  5. John Carter

  6. The Amazing Spider-Man
  7. Life of Pi
  8. Battleship
  9. The Hunger Games
  10. World War Z
Also:  Dark Shadows, Skyfall, Snow White and the Huntsmen, Total Recall
     Okay, so while 1-4 seem reasonable, John Carter is probably going to plummet down this list by the next time I report.  I mean, it got slaughtered critically and bombed at the theater.  One factor or the other can be overcome, but both are pretty lethal.
     My list would go like:
1. Avengers
2. Prometheus
3. Hobbit
4. Dark Knight Rises (quite likely the best film of the bunch, but how showy will the effects be?)
5. Beasts of the Southern Wild (they like to throw in one non blockbuster action/sci-fi/fantasy option)
  Alt:  World War Z, Life of Pi

Art Direction:
  1. The Great Gatsby
  2. Les Miserables
  3. The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey
  4. Lincoln
  5. The Dark Knight Rises

  6. Anna Karenina
  7. Dark Shadows
  8. Argo
  9. Hyde Park On Hudson
  10. The Master
Also:  Snow White and the Huntsman
     I would only like to point out that this award is for the people who design and/or decorate sets. Sight unseen, it's hard to argue with this top five, but if Beasts of the Southern Wild really becomes a serious contender for Best Picture...?

  1. Zero Dark Thirty
  2. Lincoln
  3. The Dark Knight Rises
  4. Argo
  5. Les Miserables

  6. The Master
  7. Life of Pi
  8. The Great Gatsby
  9. Django Unchained
  10. The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey
     The important thing to remember here is that it is pretty much impossible to win best picture without an editing nod, so the two or three top contenders will almost definitely be nominated here as well.  Harvey Weinstein made it clear at Cannes that his support is 100% behind The Silver Linings Playbook and he fully intends to try and get it an Oscar nomination.  But then again, his support is 100% behind Django Unchained and he WILL get it an Oscar nomination.  But then again, his support is 100% behind the Master and he fully intends to try and get it the Oscar.  He might not succeed, but it IS going to be a top contender.  That means it gets my #1 slot in the editing predictions game.

  1. Lincoln
  2. The Dark Knight Rises
  3. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  4. Django Unchained
  5. The Great Gatsby

  6. Les Miserables
  7. The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey
  8. The Master
  9. Life of Pi
  10. To The Wonder
Also:  Anna Karenina, Killing Them Softly, Zero Dark Thirty
     What the hell, I'll go:
  1. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  2. Dark Knight Rises
  3. To the Wonder
  4. Les Miserables
  5. Zero Dark Thirty
  6. The Hobbit
  7. Gatsby
  8. Inside Llewelyn Davis
  9. Life of Pi
  10. Lincoln

     Well, that took a minute, but I figured it was best to get all of these out of way so as not to stretch this series out too long.  I'll be back soon with the genre categories, then we'll go above the line in more detail.

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