'Grand Budapest,' 'Interstellar' dominate Oscar's craft categories
Well, there we went. The Oscar nominations are in and, in a nice change of pace, the crafts categories were revealed on the air. Let's see what the last several months of build-up has left for us. A few trends come to mind…
The (Near) Shut-Outs
Oh how the mighty have fallen. A measly sound editing nomination for "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" shows that the novelty eventually does wear off. Goose eggs for "Noah" (despite a strong push), "Nightcrawler" (given its precursor run), "Gone Girl" (you would have thought it had great chances in film editing and original score), "Transformers: Age of Extinction" (given the sound branch's love of this series) and "Big Eyes" (given the pedigree) have also got to be considered disappointing. And even though it garnered two nominations, I can't imagine that there aren't some long faces regarding "Guardians of the Galaxy," with no design or sound nominations to show for itself. Similarly, earning only a nomination for original score cannot be all that "The Theory of Everything" was gunning for. Ditto "Selma" in original song.
Though many may not have noticed it, "Mr. Turner" got a nomination in every conceivable crafts category. It should be proud. Ditto "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (unless you bought the notion that it had a shot at sound mixing). Once again, however, the branches spread the wealth this year, and virtually all other contenders missed a spot or two where they might have scored as a true "sweeper."
So clearly "The Imitation Game" did well. But where are its sound mixing and costume design nods? And surely "Birdman" cannot complain, unless you're its production designer or film editor, that is. And "Unbroken" did respectably given its overall reception, but it's not exactly earth-shattering with only three nominations (random: the same three "Batman Forever" earned). "Interstellar" also did well, with five nods, but a few months ago, everyone thought cinematography and film editing were sure things.
Turning to the particular categories…
I managed to pin this category down exactly, with Emmanuel Lubezki ("Birdman"), Robert Yeoman ("The Grand Budapest Hotel"), Dick Pope ("Mr. Turner") and Roger Deakins ("Unbroken") getting their very predictable nominations and Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski ("Ida") scoring with this branch's affinity for black-and-white films and foreign films. Óscar Faura ("The Imitation Game") and Hoyte Van Hoytema ("Interstellar") were likely very close to nominations given how well their films did overall. They will have to wait for their first nods, alas.
Lubezki looks to be in great shape to win this category for the second year in a row, with his fellow nominees either too small ("Ida," "Mr. Turner"), not loved enough ("Unbroken") or likelier to find favor in other categories ("The Grand Budapest Hotel").
Best Costume Design
The nominations for Milena Canonero ("The Grand Budapest Hotel"), Colleen Atwood ("Into the Woods") and Jacqueline Durran ("Mr. Turner") should have surprised no one. We also accurately predicted that "Maleficent" would earn Anna B. Sheppard her third nomination and Jane Clive her first. I thought Mark Bridges' work for "Inherent Vice" would prove too stylized to earn him his second nomination. I'm glad I was wrong. The result is that titles such as "The Theory of Everything," "Selma" and "The Imitation Game" were left out as the branch sought to really "go back in time" from a historical perspective.
I suspect Canonero will be tough to beat but let's not rule out Atwood and Durran just yet.
Best Film Editing
Billy Goldenberg ("The Imitation Game") and Sandra Adair ("Boyhood") predictably ran with Best Picture nominations to the final five. Barney Pilling's nomination for "The Grand Budapest Hotel" shows just how much AMPAS loved this movie. With "American Sniper," Joel Cox and Gary Roach finally return to the fold for a Clint Eastwood film, 10 years after "Million Dollar Baby." And as for Tom Cross and "Whiplash?" I'm glad the Editors Branch avoided the riots that would have accompanied his omission. John Gilroy ("Nightcrawler"), meanwhile, suffered the fate of his film while Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione coming up short was one of few instances where "Birdman" missed a plausible nomination.
This is actually quite an interesting race for the win as cases can be made for any contender.
Best Makeup & Hairstyling
This is the most original and creative of Academy branches so color me slightly surprised that they went predictable with "Foxcatcher," "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Guardians of the Galaxy." This is an instance where all three films could make a run for the win. Had "The Theory of Everything" made the nomination stage, it likely would have been leading the charge now.