April 20, 2014

2013 Oscar Preview: Part Three

In which we address the nomination omission that doesn’t rhyme with Den Maffleck.

Visual Effects

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi – VES, BAFTA,Critics Choice
Marvel’s The Avengers
Prometheus
Snow White and the Huntsman

Will Win: Life of Pi
Should Win: Life of Pi

It’s all about the tiger. Visual Effects Society, BAFTA, and Critics Choice all gave this the win.

Here’s the thing. All of the films nominated here had great special effects. As I was watching most of them I thought, “Wow, those are great effects.” But with Life of Pi, it never occurred to me to consider whether or not the tiger was real. All I was thinking was, “Dude, get the fuck away from that tiger!”

(Which makes this news all the sadder.)

Animated Feature

Brave
Frankenweenie
ParaNorman
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph

Will Win: Brave
Should Win: Tie: ParaNorman/Wreck-It Ralph

Wins have been scattered all over the place in animated this year. ParaNorman got 11 critics circle wins but no majors. Wreck-It Ralph scored 5 plus a Critics Circle and an Annie. Brave scored zero regular season wins but nabbed a BAFTA and a Golden Globe and Pixar is, like, the New York Yankees of the animated category. That having been said, consider Wreck-It Ralph a serious spoiler.

Technically, I consider ParaNorman the more accomplished film. It is a truly brilliant crafting of a horror film as a kid’s film, and not the other way around. That having been said, I have a soft spot in my heart for Wreck-It Ralph. It has such a great energy and loves video games as much as ParaNorman loves horror movies, so I’d have to say I’d be perfectly happy to see either one win.

Cinematography

Anna Karenina
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Skyfall

Will Win: Life of Pi
Should Win: Life of Pi

Nine critics circle wins and a BAFTA and a Critics Choice award and, come on, I mean, have you seen it?

There are some truly unforgettable images in this film. It’s kind of a no-brainer. That having been said, I would love to see Skyfall snatch this out from under Life of Pi. (Which is a distinct possibility. It did win the American Society of Cinematographers Award.) First, I love me some Skyfall, and second, Roger Deakins has been nominated ten times already.

Film Editing

Argo
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Will Win: Argo
Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty

While the common wisdom is that whatever wins Best Picture tends to win Best Editing because, I don’t know, people are lazy, looking at least at the last ten years of wins makes that sound less realistic. That having been said, a likely winner like Argo looks better than most of the rest of these right now. Also, a BAFTA. And an ACE Eddie Award.

While I’d be happy to see Argo win—a whole lot of making the first and last twenty minutes work is in the cutting—to make a procedural like Zero Dark Thirty feel like something other than than a decade of dead ends is first rate editing. Ditto The French Connection and All the President’s Men, with which this film shares a lineage.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook

Will Win: Argo
Should Win: Argo

Right now this is kind of a dead heat between Lincoln, Argo, and Silver Linings Playbook. Lincoln‘s got 6 critics circle wins and Critics Choice award. Silver Linings has four and a BAFTA. But Argo has 8 circles and the Writer’s Guild Award and, conceivably, a Best Picture edge. Oddsmakers favor Lincoln, but Argo is close behind and, in this case, I’m betting on the spoiler.

While I love, love, love the dialogue in Lincoln (it’s Tony Kushner here folks) I have to say, Argo has that too, plus great structure. The only way you get to a point where you can take a story where I know the ending and still make it tense is to start with a solid screenplay.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Amour
Django Unchained
Flight
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty

Will Win: Django Unchained
Should Win: Looper

Hollywood doesn’t seem to know what to do with Quentin Tarantino except occasionally nominate him for writing, which is a fine thing to do, he’s an exceptional writer, but he does other things, too. (To be fair, he did get a directing nod for Pulp Fiction.) In this case, BAFTA, Globes, and Critics Circle have already jumped on this bandwagon, so it seems likely the Academy will follow. Fair warning, oddsmakers favor Zero Dark Thirty heavily over Django. I’m thinking that’s due to the WGA win, but my guess is the torture controversy will hold more weight than the Spike Lee won’t go see it controversy.

How in the fuckety-fuck name of fucekty-fuck does Looper not get at least a nod in this category? Just what the hell? No, seriously, what. the. hell?

Next: Not having seen The Master or Amour comes back to bite me in the ass.

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