April 24, 2014

2012 Oscar Preview—Part One: “And the Award for ‘Best App’ Goes to…”

As usual, I have no idea about this first set of categories, but let’s guess anyway…

Short Film (Animated)

Dimanche/Sunday
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

Will Win: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Should Win: A Morning Stroll

Do any of the other short films have an iPad app that’s more famous than the film itself and used, probably, by many of the Academy members’ children? No? Well, there you go. La Luna, a Pixar joint, could be a spoiler given their record here.

For the first time ever, I’ve actually seen all of the animated short nominees, and as much as I love Lessmore (the movie and the app), A Morning Stroll is just downright hilarious and unforgettable.

Short Film (Live Action)

Pentecost
Raju
The Shore
Time Freak
Tuba Atlantic

Will Win: Raju
Should Win: The Shore

The Academy tends to go back and forth between fairly serious and fairly fun here, and last year (God of Love) was fairly fun, so a probably heart-rending story about a couple who adopts and Indian kid who goes missing is a likely contender. Pentecost seems to be getting favorable buzz as well.

The Shore is from Hotel Rwanda writer/director and In the Name of the Father writer Terry George, so I’m guessing it doesn’t suck.

Documentary Short

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
God Is the Bigger Elvis
Incident in New Baghdad
Saving Face
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

Will Win: The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
Should Win: Saving Face

I find this category to be utterly unpredictable. That having been said, I’ll go with Cherry Blossom because it’s incredibly topical, chronicling recovery from a disaster that happened less than a year ago.

All of these docs sound good, but for some reason Saving Face, about a doctor who specializes in reconstructive surgery for women in Pakistan who have been the victim of acid attacks, seems especially compelling.

Documentary Feature

Hell and Back Again
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Pina
Undefeated

Will Win: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Should Win: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory is about the incarceration of the West Memphis Three on dubious evidence, which became a cause célèbre, which is the point. The célèbres are already familiar with this story, and how many documentaries can you name that freed the unjustly accused?

I haven’t seen any of these, so I’m just going to be lazy and go with the one that had the most impact.

Sound Editing

Drive
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse

Will Win: Hugo
Should Win: Drive

Not a terribly consistent category. Usually goes to something respectable and popular, which is why Super 8, leading the sound editors’ Golden Reel noms, would make perfect sense, except that it didn’t get nominated. Hugo just won a BAFTA for best sound, so I’ll call it as good a guess as any.

Drive deserves to win something, dammit. It was the second best film of last year.

Sound Mixing

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Hugo
Moneyball
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse

Will Win: Hugo
Should Win: War Horse

As often as not, strong Best Picture contenders do well here (Gladiator, Hurt Locker, Chicago). Also, this is only one of two nominated that’s also up for a Cinema Audio Society award. (The other one’s Moneyball.)

I have no strong opinion here, but I do remember really liking the sound mix on War Horse.

Next: For once, the Academy’s wacky rules may actually result in a quality win.

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