Friday, June 14, 2013

June Oscar Buzz and Predictions - The Visual Techs

     I'm not going to spend a lot of time leading into this one because I have six categories to try and zip through here.  Again, I'm only going to offer alternate prediction lists where I seriously differ with the buzz.  As always, current buzz rankings appear first and my commentary (where applicable) comes afterwards. Let's hop on in...

  Make-Up and Hairstyling
1. The Butler
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
3. Star Trek: Into Darkness

4. Grace of Monaco
5. Oz, the Great and Powerful
6. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
     The buzz seems to me to be on the right track as far as our limited knowledge allows us to guess.  The Butler in particular seems like a no-brainer with all of those famous faces to make into Presidential (or First Ladial) doubles.
     I would also consider:  Diana, Horns, Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Only God Forgives and Snowpiercer (Have you seen Tilda in the previews?  Come on...)

  Costume Design
1. The Great Gatsby
2. Grace of Monaco
3. The Butler
4. The Monuments Men
5. Diana

6. The Immigrant
7. Oz, the Great and Powerful
8. The Wolf of Wall Street
9. Inside Llewyn Davis
10. Saving Mr. Banks

     Like Score, this is one of those categories where certain artisans have actually created some semblance of celebrity (at least among those in the know in the industry).  As such, there are some overdue factors that I think deserve a LITTLE more consideration than the buzz currently affords them.  My list would look more like this...

1. The Great Gatsby - Catherine Martin (1 win out of 2 nominations)...Baz Luhrman's films may be EXTREMELY hit or miss with the Academy but his wife's Costume and Production Design can earn recognition even on a stinker of a film like Australia.  I see no reason to think that a divisive critical reception to Gatsby overall should be any deterrent to a well deserved nod for the film here.
2. The Butler - Ruth Carter (0 out of 2 wins)...Previously nominated with no wins plus period piece often equals nomination.  Multiple periods should only increase those odds.
3. The Wolf of Wall Street - Sandy Powell (3 wins out of 10 nominations)...Do I even need to justify predicting a nomination for the Meryl Streep of the craft categories?
4. Grace of Monaco - GiGi LePage (never nominated)...There's almost always one rookie nominee in the bunch.  Royalty and a period setting are two good reasons to pick this one.
5. Inside Llewyn Davis - Mary Zophres (0 wins out of 1 nomination)  This promises to be a multi-nod film anyway, and Ms. Zophres is still waiting for a win.

6. The Monuments Men - Louise Frogley (never nominated)...If there is room for two first time nominees, this seems like a likely second choice.  Plus, I love her name...
7. The Immigrant - IMDb doesn't even list the costume designer for this film at present but the reviews out of Cannes were HIGHLY complimentary of all the period detail on display, so...
8. Diana - Julian Day (never nominated)...I'm sure that Ms. Watts will sport some fabulous outfits in this and it does have the backing of the Weinstein Company, but the time period might be a tad too close to contemporary for the rarefied tastes of the Costume Branch.
9. Elysium - April Ferry (0 wins out of 1 nomination)...Occasionally science fiction movies get honored here and Ms. Ferry doesn't have a win yet.  Considering how high the production values were on director Blomkampf''s District 9 when he had no budget to speak of, I'm expecting a strong showing from the follow up picture.
10. Captain Phillips - Mark Bridges (1 win out of 1 nomination)...Mr. Bridges is certainly central on the Academy's radar after his recent win for The Artist.  IF the costumers were to give the atypical nod to something more contemporary, this could be it.
     I am also keeping tabs on: The Counselor (Janty Yates), Labor Day (Danny Glicker), Oldboy (Ruth E Carter), Oz the Great and Powerful (Gary Jones), Philomena (Consolata Boyle), Saving Mr. Banks (Daniel Orlandi) & Serena (unannounced)

  Production Design
1. The Great Gatsby
2. The Monuments Men
3. The Butler
4. Twelve Years a Slave
5. The Immigrant

6. The Wolf of Wall Street
7. Inside Llewyn Davis
8. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
9. Grace of Monaco
10. Oz, the Great and Powerful
     This looks like a pretty strong group of guesses, although I would say that slots 4-7 are fairly interchangeable.  Also on my radar:  Elysium, Kill Your Darlings, Saving Mr. Banks, Serena, Snowpiercer, World War Z, The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, The Zero Theorem

1. Gravity
2. The Great Gatsby
3. Inside Llewyn Davis
4. The Monuments men
5. Captain Phillips

6. The Immigrant
7. Prisoners
8. The Wolf of Wall Street
9. The Counselor
10. Nebraska

     Just like with the Costume Branch, certain Cinematographers have a certain prestige attached to their name, which can influence how the Oscar race will go.  I think I'll predict...

1. Gravity - Emmanuelle Lubezki (0 wins out of 5 nominations)...If the camera work in the rest of the film comes close to maintaining the quality on display in the trailer, this overdue celebrity lenser should have no problem managing a sixth nod, if not the win.
2. Inside Llewyn Davis - Bruno Delbonnel (0 wins out of 3 nominations)...This is Mr. Delbonnel's first collaboration with the Coens and he is said to create a very unique look for the movie.  Multiple nominations with no wins are always a mark in your favor.
3. The Monuments Men - Phedon Papamichael (never nominated)...Again, there is almost always at least one rookie and between this film and Nebraska, Mr. Papamichael seems poised to take that slot.  For now, I'm going to say he gets in for this one.
4. The Wolf of Wall Street - Rodrigo Prieto (0 wins out of 1 nomination)...Mr. Prieto may only have one nod to his credit, but he;s working with Scorsese and until proven otherwise, I'm expecting this to be one of the big players.
5. Twelve Years a Slave - Sean Bobbit (never nominated)...I KNOW, I'm predicting another rookie, but this is the man responsible for the camera work on Shame and The Place Beyond the Pines. If "Twelve" catches the Academy's eye as I'm expecting it to, and this man lives up to anything like his potential, expect him to pick up his first nomination.

6. Captain Phillips - Barry Ackroyd (0 wins out of 1 nomination)...If this film transcends mere Action Flick the way that everyone is expecting the cinematography will have to play a big role, so...
7. Oldboy - Sean Bobbit (never nominated)...Ditto to everything I just said about "Twelve", only with Spike Lee instead of Marty.
8. Prisoners - Roger Deakins (0 wins out of 10 nominations)...I'm not letting my expectations for Prisoners get too high to enjoy it if it turns out to be a perfectly good thriller and nothing more.  Still, if ANYONE is overdue for a win in this category, it's Roger Deakins.
9. The Immigrant - Darius Khondji (0 wins out of 1 nomination)...Mr. Khondji may be far from the most recognizable name on this list, but his work on this film has already been seen and the consensus in tres' positive.
10. Pacific Rim - Guillermo Navarro (1 win out of 1 nomination)...If anyone can pull a cinematography nod out of giant fighting robots, it would be the man who won an Oscar lensing Pan's Labyrinth.
     But don't count out: The Butler (Andrew Dunn), The Counselor (Darius Wolski), Elysium (Trent Opaloch), The Great Gatsby (Simon Duggan), Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael), Rush (Anthony Dod Mantle), Saving Mr. Banks (John Schwartman) & To The Wonder (Emmanuelle Lubezki)

1. Gravity
2. The Monuments Men
3. Captain Phillips
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
5. Inside Llewyn Davis

6. The Counselor
7. Twelve Years a Slave
8. Elysium
9. American Hustle
10. August: Osage County

     This category is usually tied so closely to Best Picture that the best thing to do this early in the game is throw together ten films that MIGHT be fighting it out for the top prize giving a little bit of an edge to movies with an action element.  That's pretty much what the buzz has done.
     I would also consider: The Butler, Foxcatcher, Labor Day, The Man of Steel, Nebraska, Oldboy, Pacific Rim, Prisoners, Rush, Snowpiercer, World War Z & The Young and Prodigious Spivet

  Visual Effects
1. Gravity
2. Man of Steel
3. Elysium
4. Pacific Rim
5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

6. Star Trek: Into Darkness
7. The Great Gatsby
8. Oblivion
9. Iron Man 3
10.Oz, the Great and Powerful
     I won't say a whole lot here, I'll just give you my list.

1. Gravity
2. Man of Steel...Hard to argue with these two at this juncture.
3. Elysium...I REFUSE to argue with this one.
4. Snowpiercer...Am I the ONLY person Tilda is already giving shivers to?
5. Pacific Rim

6. World War Z...the promos are pretty amazing, am I right?
7. Star Trek: Into Darkness
8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug...both of these franchises must be taken seriously here.
9. Europa Report...seems more likely than Gatsby, that's for damn sure.
10. Oz, the Great and Powerful

     And...whew...that's the Techs, post-Cannes edition.  Predictions will resume shortly with the six Genre categories. Just don't expect any profound wisdom about the shorts. If you have some, please share...

  Related articles: What "Cannes" We Tell So Far?, June Oscar Buzz and Predictions - The Aural Techs

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