TECH SUPPORT: Final predictions, part one

Posted by · 3:37 pm · January 30th, 2010

Melanie Laurent in Inglourious BasterdsIt’s hard to believe we’ve almost made it to nomination morning. Over the past six months here at Tech Support, we’ve previewed all the races and interviewed several of the contenders. On Tuesday, we find out who advances.

In the way of final predictions, today I’ll preview the art direction, cinematography, costume design and film editing categories. Tomorrow I’ll address the makeup, music, sound editing, sound mixing and visual effects fields.


I should begin this category by stating that Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg’s designs for “Avatar” are the sort often avoided in this category because so little is physically built. However, the look of the film has been so embraced, and the precursor citations have been so great, that I don’t think the branch will be able to ignore them.

David Wasco has been unfortunately passed over by the Academy on many occasion. I’m nonetheless optimistic that “Inglourious Basterds” will end that trend. Wasco has guild and BAFTA nominations behind him, not to mention his most Oscar-friendly opportunity yet.

Two other films that managed to score at both BAFTA and the guild were both fantasy in nature, but I think only one will actually get in come Tuesday. Call it a hunch.

On “District 9,” Philip Ivey created a slums community of Johannesburg in ways that are painfully non-fantastical at all. On the one hand, the film was incredibly realistic and seems to be very respected in the industry. But at the same time, it really could be described as almost contemporary and therefore not what we normally see nominated here.

Stuart Craig’s designs on the “Harry Potter” series have been superb, and after the surprising nomination for “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” it would be very dangerous to rule him out for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” especially with guild and BAFTA nominations to his credit. The film is unlikely to score anywhere else but for a designer of Craig’s caliber and reputation, that won’t be much of an obstacle in and of itself.

These four films were joined at BAFTA by Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.” There can be no doubt that Gilliam has once again created an incredible world. On the one hand, it would be a great way to recognize this crew, which includes Gilliam himself. But on the other, I can’t help wonder if the late release, and the failure to even get a fantasy nomination from the guild, will pose problems.

I suspect that these numerous superb fantastical candidates will ultimately keep “Star Trek” out of the race as well.

Two other films that scored period guild nominations had fine work but strike me as too subtle to ultimately get in with all the other huge period pieces and fantastical endeavors. I’m speaking of “Julie & Julia” and “A Serious Man.” I might have a different opinion if the production designers were past nominees.

I do think at least one more period guild nominee will find a home here. Nathan Crowley, who has been nominated two of the past three years, is the best chance “Public Enemies” has for a nomination, in my opinion. The work is detailed, handsome and, if they want to cite the film anywhere, this would appear the most likely place.

On the other hand, Sarah Greenwood has also been nominated twice in recent years, for “Pride & Prejudice” and “Atonement.” I think a nomination is a very strong possibility for recreating London of 100 years ago.

Two final notes: Despite failing to be cited by either BAFTA or the guild, I continue to believe that Dan Bishop has a strong chance at a nomination for “A Single Man.” And it’s interesting, I remember previously thinking John Myrhe was nearly assured of a citation here for “Nine.” Now that looks very unlikely indeed.

Final predictions:
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Public Enemies”
“Sherlock Holmes”

Anthony Mackie in The Hurt LockerBEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

It’s always a good idea to look at what the American Society of Cinematographers has cited in analyzing this category. The guild never misses more than two of the nominees.

I have very little doubt that Robert Richardson (“Inglourious Basterds”) and Barry Ackroyd (“The Hurt Locker”) will receive nominations. For Richardson, it’s been a five year gap since his last win for “The Aviator.” For Ackroyd, it’s been a long time coming for nomination #1.

I’m normally skeptical about films with as much visual effects work as “Avatar” finding a home here. Perhaps the cinematographers don’t like their monopoly on the camera being infringed? But not only has it won the BFCA award and earned an ASC nomination, it has become a behemoth of epic proportions. I’ll be surprised if Mauro Fiore misses.

The two other ASC nominees have great chances at nominations, but aren’t in as strong a situation. The fact that Christian Berger managed to earn an ASC nomination for a very small film in “The White Ribbon” is impressive.

On the other hand, Dion Beebe could fall victim to “Nine”’s cataclysmic descent. However, he has been nominated for both his previous efforts with director Rob Marshall and, watching the film, Best Cinematography struck me as the most likely place for it to find a home.  But there are other possibilities.

Lance Acord’s lensing of “Where the Wild Things Are” was innovative, but that hasn’t helped him in the past. Grieg Fraser’s camerawork on “Bright Star,” meanwhile, was praised, but people seem to have forgotten about the film entirely.

Stuart Dryburgh’s photographing of “Amelia” is exactly the sort that normally gets nominated. But the film is hated.  And Edward Grau’s capturing of the early 1960s on “A Single Man” was appropriately moody, but the film has not done nearly as well with the crafts guilds as I expected.

I’d ultimately look to two BAFTA nominees as most likely to upset the guild quintet, but they still have their drawbacks. Trent Opaloch truly put us in the middle of “District 9,” but I fear the work is a tad gritty for this branch. Javier Aguiressarobe, meanwhile, is in a similar position for “The Road.” While he may have a better shot as he’s somewhat due for a nomination, he also has the problem of relatively few people having seen his film.

I think ultimately think we’re looking at a matching lineup with the guild.

Final predictions:
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“The White Ribbon”


Here is a category, where I see two likely nominees, and MUCH uncertainty beyond that. Recent years in the costume field have shown a dominance of corsets and the like, often worn by royalty. This year looks like it will be no exception, with Sandy Powell leading the way with “The Young Victoria.” Powell has, remarkably, been nominated only once before this year by her guild.  I have little doubt she’ll take that nomination, and her BAFTA nod, to her eighth mention from AMPAS.

Powell’s principal rival for dominance in the costuming world in Hollywood is Colleen Atwood, another two-time winner I expect to get her eighth nomination this year for “Nine.” While the film has crashed and burned, Atwood’s name, and the nature of the costumes, should get her to the finish line.

For some reason, I’m cautiously optimistic that Jenny Beavan will find a home here for “Sherlock Holmes.” Famous for her Merchant-Ivory work, Beavan rarely does blockbusters. But this film was a huge hit and, with a guild nomination, it seems like an appropriate time to welcome her back.

Anna B. Sheppard has been cited twice before for World War II films and “Inglourious Basterds” was her showiest opportunity yet. So I was somewhat surprised to see her miss the guild nomination. However, she has never been cited by the guild to date and, given the BAFTA nod and a surefire Best Picture berth, I’d think it’s more likely than not that she will get Oscar nod #3 on Tuesday.

Catherine Leterrier designed the classic threads on “Coco Before Chanel” and has done quite well in the precursors. There’s usually a first time nominee in this category every year and nd she’s likely best-placed.

Alternatively, Odile Dicks-Mireaux could ride her BAFTA nomination to an Oscar citation for “An Education.” But BAFTA was always going to embrace this film. I doubt AMPAS will follow suit. At least not in this category.

Ann Roth managed to earn a guild nomination for “Julie & Julia,” so it would be foolish to rule her out. But despite a career now in its sixth decade, Roth’s nominations are actually relatively infrequent (“only” four), and I somehow doubt this film is going to join the ranks of “Places in the Heart,” “The English Patient,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Cold Mountain.”

Arianne Phillips managed a BAFTA nomination for her classy and appropriate work on Tom Ford’s “A Single Man.” A citation is certainly possible. But I’m skeptical given the number of contenders.

I should add that, despite a guild nomination, I really do not expect Mayes C. Rubeo & Deborah Lynn Scott to score for “Avatar.” If they do, it’s a sign of a film getting votes everywhere because it is a simple way to fill out one’s ballot.

Monique Prud’Homme, who I interviewed a few weeks ago, did very innovative work on “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.” After a CDG nomination, I wouldn’t be shocked to see her show up for a film which has received a fair number of citations from awards bodies here and there.

Lastly, I should mention Janet Patterson. If anyone can survive “Bright Star”’s somewhat surprisingly disappointing awards season, it should be her. She received a BAFTA nomination and has been nominated for two previous Campion efforts. But it’s still far from a sure thing.

Final predictions:
“Coco Before Chanel”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Sherlock Holmes”
“The Young Victoria”

Sharlto Copley in District 9BEST FILM EDITING

The film editing category historically mirrors the Best Picture race at the Oscars for the most part, with action films, war films and musicals also scoring with frequency. It is completely possible that the five ACE Eddie nominees for drama will line up perfectly, as they did last year. Here, we see a nice blend of the typical nominees:

Stephen E. Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron for “Avatar” (a surefire Best Picture nominee, also filled with action); Julian Clarke for “District 9” (a very possible Best Picture nominee, also filled with action); Bob Murawski and Chris Innis for “The Hurt Locker” (a surefire Best Picture nominee, also filled with action); Mary Jo Markey and Maryann Brandon for “Star Trek” (a possible Best Picture nominee, a massive hit, and clearly filled with action); Dana E. Glauberman for “Up in the Air” (a surefire Best Picture nominee, classily cut).

However, I still think Sally Menke ought to be able to return to the game for “Inglourious Basterds.” Despite the snub from the guild, the film is clearly heading towards a Best Picture nomination, and it was edited like only a Tarantino film can be edited.

“Star Trek” and “Up in the Air” strike me as most vulnerable, the latter because it’s editing is not as obvious as the fellow ACE nominees and the former because I’m skeptical of three huge action blockbusters getting in, and “Distirct 9” and “Avatar” seem to me to be on safer ground.

The only other significant possibility, in my opinion, is Joel Klotz for “Precious.” But, though one never knows, I really think it’s between the aforementioned six.

Final predictions:
“District 9”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Up in the Air”

Tune in tomorrow for the final six tech forecasts.

→ 17 Comments Tags: , , , , | Filed in: Tech Support

17 responses so far

  • 1 1-30-2010 at 3:43 pm

    Jim said...

    Not a chance for Fantastic Mr Fox with Art Direction? :(

  • 2 1-30-2010 at 3:56 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    “She received a BAFTA nomination and has been nominated for two previous Campion efforts (that weren’t cited by the guild).”

    It should be mentioned, however, that the CDG only began handing out awards in 1998/9, one year after Patterson’s last Oscar nod. So the stat isn’t really relevant.

  • 3 1-30-2010 at 4:02 pm

    Me. said...

    My Cinematography and Costume Design predictions match yours. As for Art Direction, I have “Where the Wild Things Are” instead of “Public Enemies” but the rest match yours.

    Film Editing: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek, Up in the Air

  • 4 1-30-2010 at 4:38 pm

    Speaking English said...

    You didn’t conclude Film Editing with your final five.

    And I don’t see how “Bright Star” could miss out on Costume Design or Cinematography. There’s just no way.

  • 5 1-30-2010 at 4:52 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I actually added the stat, Guy, without realizing.

  • 6 1-30-2010 at 4:54 pm

    Matt King said...

    I really hope Bright Star gets nominated in cinematography and costume design. I’m shocked at how it’s been nowhere to be found during the awards season, but Grieg Fraser’s photography and Janet Patterson were just gorgeous and helped to build the story rather than just look pretty. Too bad it won’t be nominated.

  • 7 1-30-2010 at 5:03 pm

    Andrew2 said...

    Agree Matt, it should and it wont be. It got neither Guild nom speaking english (although scored both BAFTA chapter nominations) so has a chance as Costume I think. Greg Fraser the Bright Star cinematography is an unknown 24 year old Aussie. really deserved recognition but it aint going to happen

  • 8 1-30-2010 at 6:08 pm

    Me. said...

    I agree with everyone on the Bright Star love. Deserves nominations in Picture, Directing, Actor, Actress, Screenplay, Score, Art Direction, Cinematography and Costume Design. It’s probably one of the best films of the decade I’ve seen. Great great film. Too bad it will more than likely not be nominated for anything. Shoot.

  • 9 1-30-2010 at 7:03 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    im really hoping inglourious basterds shows up in editing, if not then Ill have to finally agree with kris that it is in fact a two horse race. though i dont think precious deserves editing, the editing was part of what made me not love it as much as i could

  • 10 1-30-2010 at 7:59 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Regarding costume design, the following films were nominated without a BAFTA or Guild mention in the last 10 years:

    Across the Universe
    The Hours
    The Pianist
    The Affair of the Necklace
    102 Dalmations
    Anna and the King
    The Talented Mr. Ripley

    The last three are part of the 1999 design contingent that didn’t reflect the guild much in both costumes and art direction, but for the most part, all of those were from very well respected costumers in the business.

    I think Anna B. Sheppard will get in for Basterds and probably fit this bill well enough, but I find myself wondering more and more about Bright Star and/or An Education.

  • 11 1-30-2010 at 9:21 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I also can’t shake the notion that Avatar or The White Ribbon might miss in cinematography.

  • 12 1-30-2010 at 9:25 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Or maybe even Nine.

  • 13 1-30-2010 at 10:20 pm

    matsunaga said...

    Nice predictions..

    For Art Direction:

    I strongly believe that “Avatar” doesn’t deserve a nomination.. Its Production Design should be credited for Visual Effects… I will replace it by “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” or “Nine”.. They’re much more deserving..

    For Cinematography:

    I was surprised that ASC snubbed “Bright Star”, especially “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”. They really love Bruno Delbonnel. Even though, I think just like the previous years, one or two of ASC nominees will not make it. I really don’t trust the cinematography of “Avatar” because of pure CGI. But I think it might be a toss between “Nine” or “The White Ribbon” on who who not make it especially “Nine” which has a falling critics’ love. So I will put “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” on the last slot.

    For Costume Design:

    In the event the Academy remembered “Bright Star”, “Sherlock Holmes” is out. Though I wanted it to be nominated for Musical Score for Hans Zimmer.

    For Editing:

    Basically, they will be the nominees… I’m not sure with “District 9”, but I’ll be fine if it will make it….

  • 14 1-31-2010 at 1:18 am

    Simon Warrasch said...

    Final Predix for Costumes will be 100 % the Oscar Nominees!

  • 15 1-31-2010 at 2:54 am

    Edward L. said...

    I second the Bright Star love. It looked from trailers and clips like it was going to do everything wrong – and then when I saw the film itself I was very pleasantly surprised. It’s one of the best of the year, but sadly overlooked so far – along with The Road.

    Just re: the post: Ann Roth’s fourth Oscar nomination was for The Hours, rather than Cold Mountain.

  • 16 1-31-2010 at 6:46 am

    rizza said...

    I would like to add this..

    Aside from “Bright Star”, I think Stephen Frear’s “Cheri” has been badly snubbed.. Hope it can make it to Best Art Direction and Costume Design.. It was a finely made film Very exquisite..

  • 17 1-31-2010 at 4:02 pm

    Richard said...

    I must admit that I’ll be quite disappointed if Where the Wild Things Are doesn’t receive a Cinematography nod.