Best Art Direction
Alice in Wonderland (Production design: Robert Stromberg; set decoration: Karen O’Hara)
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 (Production design: Stuart Craig; set decoration: Stephenie McMillian)
Inception (Production design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; set decoration: Larry Dias & Doug Mowat)
The King’s Speech (Production design: Eve Stewart; set decoration: Judy Farr)
True Grit (Production design: Jess Gonchor; set decoration: Nancy Haigh)
Who Will Win: Eve Stewart & Judy Farr, The King’s Speech
Period pieces are often something Oscar voters like to see as the art direction for the film in its 1920s to 1940s setting is definitely remarkable to watch. Even as it reveals what those times looked like back then in Britain from Buckingham Palace to the homes that everyone else lived. It’s definitely fantastic work though it’s real competition will be against the art direction for Inception.
Who Should Win: Guy Hendrix Dias, Larry Dias, & Doug Mowat, Inception
The art direction for a blockbuster film like Inception is definitely no other. Even as it featured a sequence inside a spinning hallway that moves around. Even as there are sets built for the dream-like sequences whether it’s a traditional-Japanese style home or a decayed apartment in another dream sequence. It’s definitely art direction at its finest as it’s the one that the voters should pick.
Dark Horse: Stuart Craig and Stephenie McMillian, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1
The franchise has yet to win an Academy Award and it’s definitely not going to be this year. Even as the film is mostly shot in the forest with very few set pieces such as the tent in a wedding sequence along with the dystopian look of the Ministry of Magic. While it’s definitely some great work, there is really no chance for Stuart Craig or Stephenie McMillian to beat out its competition.
Black Swan (Matthew Libatique)
Inception (Wally Pfister)
The King’s Speech (Danny Cohen)
The Social Network (Jeff Cronenweth)
True Grit (Roger Deakins)
Who Will/Should Win: Jeff Cronenweth, The Social Network
Cronenweth’s work in The Social Network is definitely one of the most distinctive features of the film. Shot in a mostly dark, colorless-palette with very little brightness, with the exception of a few scenes in California. The film has a mostly earthy yet haunting look that represents the trouble persona of Mark Zuckerberg. It’s definitely amazing as it’s the film to beat.
Dark Horse: Danny Cohen, The King’s Speech
Cohen’s photography for The King’s Speech is definitely wonderful though is mostly straightforward in comparison to the other nominees. While he creates some amazing shots including a scene where Bertie and Lionel walk through a foggy park in London. It’s work that shouldn’t be entirely dismissed though it did snub other possible nominees such as Enrique Chediak and Anthony Dod Mantle for 127 Hours and Harris Savides for Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere.
Best Costume Design
Alice in Wonderland (Colleen Atwood)
I Am Love (Antonella Cannarozzi)
The King’s Speech (Jenny Beaven)
The Tempest (Sandy Powell)
True Grit (Mary Zophres)
Who Will/Should Win: Jenny Beaven, The King’s Speech
Jenny Beaven’s work in the costumes is definitely spectacular as she plays up to the period setting of the late 1930s. With the regal though casual-like dresses that Queen Elizabeth wears throughout the film to the suits that the men wear. It’s a period film that works where the costumes give life to the characters and it’s definitely some great work. It’s not too lavish nor too understated as it’s costume designing at its finest.
Dark Horse: Antonella Cannarozzi, I Am Love
Antonella Cannarozzi’s work on the Italian film I Am Love is the film that is set in current times. Yet, with the gorgeous clothes that Tilda Swinton wears and the suits that men wear. It’s a film that not many people have seen while it’s competition are films that are either set in different periods or play up to something that is very lavish.
Best Film Editing
Black Swan (Andrew Weisblum)
The Fighter (Pamela Martin)
The King’s Speech (Tariq Anwar)
127 Hours (Jon Harris)
The Social Network (Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall)
Who Will/Should Win: Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall, The Social Network
The editing of Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall is truly amazing in the way it helps tells the story. From the back-and-forth structure of the story with seamless transitions to the rhythm of the cutting in its opening sequence. Baxter and Wall definitely create something that is magical along with the great boat-race sequence by slowing the action down in cue with the eerie music of Edvard Grieg’s In The Hall of the Mountain King. It’s one of the reasons why The Social Network is a great film.
Dark Horse: Tariq Anwar, The King’s Speech
Tariq Anwar’s editing is definitely excellent for what is needed in a historical drama film. Yet, it’s not the kind of film in terms of editing that voters will go for. Even as it’s mostly a very straightforward kind of editing in terms of a historical period film.
Barney’s Version (Adrien Mort)
The Way Back (Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk, & Yolanda Tessieng)
The Wolfman (Rick Baker & Dave Elsey)
Who Will Win: Rick Baker & Dave Elsey, The Wolfman
Rick Baker is already famous for his work in make-up whether its in horror films or the comedies that starred Eddie Murphy. For The Wolfman, he transformed Benicio del Toro into a werewolf with lots of hair and skin that would make it believable to the audience. Baker’s track record and his work is the one that other nominees have to beat.
Who Should Win: Adrien Mort, Barney’s Version
While it’s a dramatic piece, Adrien Mort has the job of changing Paul Giamatti’s appearances as the character grows older. While it’s not as big or as lavish as what Baker is doing. Mort’s work helps enhance Giamatti’s performance in the way he goes from one woman to another.
Dark Horse: Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk, & Yolanda Tessieng, The Way Back
Since the film is about a trek from the Gulag in Siberia to the deserts of India, the characters had to put on various makeup to endure the weather conditions they encountered. While it’s not the kind of makeup work that will win awards, it at least brings some needed attention to Peter Weir’s epic as it was able to secure at least a nomination.
Best Original Music Score
How to Train Your Dragon (John Powell)
Inception (Hans Zimmer)
The King’s Speech (Alexandre Desplat)
127 Hours (A.R. Rahman)
The Social Network (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross)
Who Will Win: Alexandre Desplat, The King’s Speech
Having been nominated three times previously, Alexandre Desplat is definitely a shoo-in as he plays a plaintive yet understated score for many of the film’s more somber yet light-hearted scenes. Even as he includes bombastic arrangements to the heighten the drama in some scenes as Desplat has a great chance to win. Even as he faces some very tough competition with the intense bombast work of Hans Zimmer for Inception and the dark, chilling score of The Social Network by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross.
Who Should Win: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, The Social Network
The duo of Reznor and Ross is probably the most unlikely film score to get nominated for an Oscar. Particularly one that is largely dominated by electronic music. Yet, Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor and his longtime cohort Atticus Ross create haunting pieces that plays to the dark mood of Mark Zuckerberg as well as how intense creativity can be. It seemed unlikely that Reznor and Ross would be nominated since they did take a few pieces from the NIN album Ghosts I-IV. Somehow, they’ve managed to get a lot of attention as this is the score that should win.
Dark Horse: John Powell, How to Train Your Dragon
John Powell’s triumphant score that is a mixture of Scottish-style woodwind arrangements and sweeping orchestral flourishes is definitely a surprise in the category. Even as it has it all of the elements needed for an adventurous animated film. Yet, Powell is facing some big compositions in not just veterans like Hans Zimmer and Alexandre Desplat but also more experimental composers like A.R. Rahman and the team of Reznor & Ross.
Best Original Song
Coming Home, Country Strong (Music & Lyrics by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges, & Hillary Lindsey)
I See the Light, Tangled (Music by Alan Menken; Lyrics by Glenn Slater)
If I Rise, 127 Hours (Music by A.R. Rahman; Lyrics by Dido & Rollo Armstrong)
We Belong Together, Toy Story 3 (Music & Lyrics by Randy Newman)
Who Will Win: Alan Menken & Glenn Slater, I See the Light from Tangled
The team of Alan Menken and Glenn Slater has been known for making award-winning songs for Disney films in the past. The song I See the Light is a plaintive yet flourishing ballad that works as it wonderfully sung by Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi. It’s not overdone either as its orchestral arrangements in the background help play to the emotions of the film as it’s the one to beat.
Who Should Win: A.R. Rahman, Dido, & Rollo Armstrong, If I Rise from 127 Hours
Dido’s collaboration with A.R. Rahman is a somber ballad that features Rahman’s soft Indian touches and Dido’s calm vocals. The song is very reflective about Aron Ralston’s experience as the children’s choir in the film plays up to the emotive quality of the film.
Dark Horse: Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, and Troy Verges, Coming Home from Country Strong
The country ballad has all of the elements of a big, bombastic country power-ballad with Gwyneth Paltrow singing heartbreaking lyrics. Yet, it’s also the most bloated as it’s the kind of the song that screams for the Oscar. The problem is that it’s not going to be the kind of song voters want to win as they’re yearning for something simpler unless they want something that is big and flashy.
Best Sound Editing
Inception (Richard King)
Toy Story 3 (Tom Myers & Michael Silver)
Tron: Legacy (Gwendolyn Yates Whittle & Addison Teague)
True Grit (Skip Lievsay & Craig Berkey)
Unstoppable (Mark P. Stoeckinger)
Who Will/Should Win: Richard King, Inception
For a film as big as Inception is, the sound editing in terms of creating chaos in the dream sequences is definitely spectacular. Even as it creates a sense of mood of what is real and what is fiction while bringing together lots of sounds for intense action sequences. King’s work is definitely an idea of what sound editing is and it’s definitely the one to beat.
Dark Horse: Mark P. Stoeckinger, Unstoppable
An action film about an unstoppable train has all of the elements of a Tony Scott film in recent years. Speedy cuts, even in sound as it captures all of the ideas of what is needed in a breaking action film. Yet, action films such as this don’t usually win as it’s often about something bigger or something innovative.
Best Sound Mixing
Inception (Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo, & Ed Novick)
The King’s Speech (Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen, & John Midgley)
Salt (Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan, & William Sarokin)
The Social Network (Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, & Mark Weingarten)
True Grit (Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff, & Peter F. Kurland)
Who Will/Should Win: Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, & Mark Weingarten, The Social Network
Led by sound designer Ren Klyce, the sound mixing for the film is another of the film’s technical highlights. Even as it captures the tense atmosphere in the deposition scenes where the music and dialogue help create that tone. The scenes such as the little moments where Facebook is being created with overlapping dialogue and party scenes are another great example of the film’s sound design and mixing as it is truly masterful.
Dark Horse: Jeffrey J. Haboush, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, & William Sarokin, Salt
The sound work for a blockbuster thriller like Salt has all of the ideas needed such as the layering of sounds in a chase scene or a gun battle. Yet, it’s the one film that is very unlikely to win because it’s a typical blockbuster film as it’s facing up against another blockbuster film plus a western, a historical drama, and a character-study drama.
Best Visual Effects
Alice in Wonderland (Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas, & Sean Phillips
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 (Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz, & Nicolas Aithadi
Hereafter (Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephen Trojanski, & Joe Farrell)
Inception (Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, & Peter Bebb)
Iron Man 2 (Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright, & Daniel Sudick)
Who Will/Should Win: Peter Bebb, Chris Corbould, Paul Franklin, & Andrew Lockley, Inception
The visual effects in Inception is truly dazzling from the way a city can fold up onto itself or a bridge to appear in a dream-like world. Yet, it is definitely something that has the look to make it feel real and also not make it look like it was all computers. This is an idea of what visual effects should be as it’s also the film to beat.
Dark Horse: Joe Farrell, Bryan Grill, Michael Owens, & Stephen Trojanski, Hereafter
The big sequence of a tsunami sweeping Thailand in the film is the only big visual effects scene in Clint Eastwood’s supernatural drama. Yet, it’s the most unlikely film and sequence to be nominated as it’s going up against blockbuster films. So it’s definitely the long-shot in this category.
Well, that is it for the Oscars prediction. Let’s be sure to enjoy and see who wins what.
© thevoid99 2011
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