Tech Support: Final predictions for Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing
This is part two of our pre-nominations wrap-up. We'll be looking at Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. Click here for part one.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY (Tech Support Analysis)
Oy…what a stacked category! Claudio Miranda is the only mortal lock for the visually extraordinary “Life of Pi.” Everyone agreed that living legend Roger Deakins made “Skyfall” look gorgeous and if anyone can get nominated for a Bond movie, it’s him. I wouldn’t call him a lock given the genre but I’d say a nomination is more likely than not.
After that, I’m banking on Robert Richardson (“Django Unchained”), Greig Fraser (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and Janusz Kaminski (“Lincoln”), in ascending order of likelihood, to round out the category for these likely Best Picture nominees with important visual narratives. They have disadvantages – Fraser’s newness, Richardson’s film’s late arrival, Kaminski’s film’s relative lack of showiness. But I feel their advantages – Fraser’s critics’ awards, Richardson’s and Kaminski’s reputations – are greater. The visual palette of each film draws attention to itself in unique but appropriate ways. Richardson’s film is not assured of a Best Picture nomination and I’d rank him fifth.
But this leaves Mihai Malaware Jr. on the outside looking in for the gorgeous 65mm “The Master,” which I’ll be the first to admit doesn’t seem right. It just seems to me to be the sort of achievement that the critics adore but comes up short with Oscar. Just a hunch.
And what of Danny Cohen’s BAFTA-nominated take on “Les Misérables” (musicals usually do well here), Rodrigo Prieto’s narratively-tailored photography of “Argo” (though it feels like more of an ASC nominee to me -- we'll find out shortly), Wally Pfister’s work with Christopher Nolan on “The Dark Knight Rises” (their last four collaborations have earned nominations here) and Seamus McGarvey’s gorgeous lensing of “Anna Karenina” (also a BAFTA nominee)? Well, this is, as usual, a really tight race.
(UPDATE: With the ASC nominations, I'm opting for "Les Mis" over "Django.")
"Life of Pi"
"Zero Dark Thirty"
(alt. “The Master”)
BEST COSTUME DESIGN (Tech Support Analysis)
The Costume Designers Guild is not announcing its nominees until next week, leaving us at a disadvantage in this category. Even so, Jacqueline Durran is a mortal lock for a nomination for “Anna Karenina.” The combination of respected costume designers, period settings and likely Best Picture nominations leads me to predict Jacqueline West (“Argo”), Sharen Davis (“Django Unchained”), Paco Delgado (“Les Misérables”) and Joanna Johnston (“Lincoln”) to round out the top five.
Though as I noted in my column about this category two months ago, costumers don't necessarily care for a film’s overall reputation, and there are frequently nominees that are sole representatives from their films. Indeed, five respected titles, and four Best Picture nominees, would be highly unusual – nothing remotely similar has happened since 2002/2003. So perhaps Kym Barrett and Pierre-Yves Gayraud will score for their very noticeable and plentiful work on “Cloud Atlas?” Or will Manon Rasmussen be the beneficiary of this branch’s love for royalty and foreign films with “A Royal Affair?” More likely, however, I’d look to the “Snow White” films of the late Oscar winner Eiko Ishioka (“Mirror Mirror”) and AMPAS favorite Colleen Atwood (“Snow White and the Huntsman”).
(alt. "Snow White and the Huntsman")
BEST FILM EDITING (Tech Support Analysis)
Like Best Costume Design, this is an especially difficult category to predict as the American Cinema Editors are unapologetically announcing their nominees after the Academy. Even so, this category tends to line up to a great extent with Best Picture. As such, I fully expect Best Picture frontrunners “Argo” (William Goldenberg), “Lincoln” (Michael Kahn) and “Zero Dark Thirty” (William Goldenberg and Dylan Tichenor) to end up in the final five.
A big musical like “Les Misérables” (Chris Dickens) has all the makings of a nominee. Some have quibbled with the editing but given how well the film seems to be doing with the guilds, I’ll predict Dickens’s second nomination.
I’ll round out the category with Tim Squyres (“Life of Pi”), who seems to have everything going for him as well – Best Picture contender, cutting incredibly important to the considerable success of the film. But he has been a notable omission before (“Gosford Park,” “Sense & Sensibility”) as have Lee’s films (“Brokeback Mountain,” “Sense & Sensibility”), so I wouldn’t bet the farm on him.
An action-oriented Tarantino film such as “Django Unchained” (Fred Raskin) is difficult to pass up on. Though the still uncertain status of Tarantino’s film overall with AMPAS, and Raskin’s newcomer status, may prove an obstacle. Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers did an outstanding job setting the crisp pace of “Silver Linings Playbook,” though this category hasn’t been terribly kind to comedies over the past decade.
So if there is a surprise, I can’t bring myself to rule out Stuart Baird for “Skyfall.” I’m predicting at least four nominations for this film (Song, Cinematography, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing). But it fits the mold of a prestigious action film that finds a home here, especially with a veteran such as Baird on board.
"Life of Pi"
"Zero Dark Thirty"
BEST SOUND EDITING (Tech Support Analysis)
Major summer blockbusters like “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Avengers” are the types of films that usually end up as nominees in this category. I don’t entirely expect both of them to cross the finish line but I can’t decide which one is likelier. I’ve predicted both all year so I’m not going to stop now, even if the lack of precursor citations gives me serious pause.
I also suspect that “Django Unchained” and especially “Skyfall” will tickle the fancy of the sound branch, resulting in nominations in both sound categories. In fact, “Skyfall” is the only nominee in this category in which I have reasonable confidence, being a prestigious blockbuster with many artificially created noises, and having consistently hit the sound precursors.