‘Captain America’ keeps the summer sizzling

Posted by · 12:00 am · July 20th, 2011

So, “Captain America: The First Avenger” wraps up the summer’s superhero slate this week. Yes, we have “Cowboys & Aliens” on the way to keep the general comic book flow going, but Marvel’s other bookend to the summer hits Friday, and, well, I thought it was just (yankee doodle) dandy. “Robust” is the word that […]

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TECH SUPPORT: ‘Inception’ dominates below the line

Posted by · 8:47 am · February 28th, 2011

So, the morning after a terrible prediction record at this year’s Oscars, I’ll try to make some sense of what the Academy told us, and what it means for the crafts artists we got to know along the circuit this year. As the evening went on, many people began to wonder if “The Social Network” […]

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The five categories giving me hell

Posted by · 3:48 pm · February 25th, 2011

With a little over 48 hours until the big night, I find myself in an uncommon state of disarray — my crammed Oscar weekend “To Do” list includes viewing all 15 short nominees in order to make an informed dart-throw of a prediction (stickler that I am, I held out for a theatrical screening), preparing […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Final analysis, part one

Posted by · 10:35 am · February 24th, 2011

So this is it. Over the last seven-plus months here at Tech Support, we have tried to illuminate and analyze the craft races as they unfolded. On Sunday, the winners will be revealed, ushering some new faces into Oscar’s club.  And indeed, I expect the vast majority of the winners to make their first trip […]

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‘King’s Speech’ art direction hits the wall

Posted by · 8:29 am · February 23rd, 2011

By now you’ll have heard that the most celebrated set in “The King’s Speech,” that of Lionel Logue’s shabbily spartan office, was also used in a video by British gay porn producers UK Naked Men — which I’ve since discovered is called “Snookered,” and is readily available online. (Click at your own risk — decidedly […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Heading into the home stretch

Posted by · 11:48 am · February 21st, 2011

I’m watching CNN’s report of the on-going situation in Libya as I write these comparably pointless words. The “real world” seems so unique, so foreign after having our head in the awards season clouds since September. Now, six months in, victory lane is a mere six days away. And man, it’s been a marathon. So […]

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Prediction conundrum of the day

Posted by · 11:20 am · February 20th, 2011

You may have heard Anne and I get into it over the design categories in Friday’s Oscar Talk.  For costumes, she maintained that the great (and deserving) Colleen Atwood is likely to win for “Alice in Wonderland.” Yet, as best I can tell, the only true fantasies to win the award — ever — are […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Art Direction

Posted by · 9:30 am · February 9th, 2011

The art directors settled on a wonderful quintet to represent their form in 2010. Each of these films (okay, I haven’t seen one of them) manages to showcase art direction in organic ways, even when it comes to the contender with the most robust and vibrant design to offer. When it comes to the design […]

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Art Directors’ Guild wins for ‘Swan,’ ‘Speech,’ ‘Inception’

Posted by · 6:36 am · February 6th, 2011

In a busy night for industry awards, the Art Directors’ Guild also dished out their trophies yesterday. “Inception” claimed its second Guild prize in one night as it triumphed in the Fantasy category — fending off fellow Oscar nominee “Alice in Wonderland,” which would be a surefire winner for “most art direction,” in the process. […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Analyzing the nominees

Posted by · 11:53 am · January 28th, 2011

So the 83rd Annual Academy Award nominations were finally announced this week, and I did fairly well in handicapping the nominees. Outside of Best Sound Mixing, I never missed more than one nominee in a category. Unfortunately, there were no categories where I scored 100% (apart from Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay). Oh well. […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Final analysis, part two

Posted by · 9:48 am · January 21st, 2011

Yesterday I began a final look at the crafts categories. Today, a look at the four remaining fields: Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design and Best Film Editing. BEST ART DIRECTION The precursors of the BFCA, BAFTA and Art Directors Guild have been fairly consistent in citing four titles in this category. Last […]

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FIRST-HALF FYC: Below-the-line standouts

Posted by · 11:45 am · January 11th, 2011

For the penultimate installment in our reflection on the most Oscar-worthy achievements from the largely forgotten first half of 2010’s release calendar, I’m backtracking away from the major categories to the place I should perhaps have started: the technical sphere. Had I thought to start this column 20-odd weeks in advance of nomination day, I […]

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Predict the WGA and Scripter nominees

Posted by · 11:25 am · January 3rd, 2011

Also speaking up tomorrow will be the WGA (Writers Guild of America).  The recently revealed list of ineligibilities makes picking this group’s choices much more fun, though it still kinda stinks because you know some of the best scripts of the year will be spectators. Last year the beneficiaries of the purge (which ultimately missed […]

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TECH SUPPORT INTERVIEW: The design of ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Posted by · 8:53 am · December 30th, 2010

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp may well be poised to go down in film history as one of the famous actor-director duets.  Seven collaborations to date have delighted audiences for the past 20 years. They have also earned 11 Oscar nominations and four wins.  Their latest, “Alice in Wonderland,” exemplifies how far along they’ve come […]

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TECH SUPPORT INTERVIEW: ‘True Grit’ production designer Jess Gonchor

Posted by · 6:16 am · December 24th, 2010

We’re wrapping things up today with a final look at the below-the-line of Joel and Ethan Coen’s “True Grit” and a chat with production designer Jess Gonchor. You might recall our interview with Gonchor from last year when he mentioned how he first came to work with the Coens (on 2007’s “No Country for Old […]

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TECH SUPPORT INTERVIEW: The look of ‘Inception’

Posted by · 9:23 am · December 16th, 2010

Christopher Nolan has become known for making the Batman films look, and consequently feel, “real.”  His latest film, “Inception,” despite being a visual treat, also seemed a far cry from the CGI spectacles that normally dominate the blockbuster circuit.  It was very well-received by critics and certainly audiences alike and is currently enjoying a solid […]

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WEEKLY WRAP: Precursors begin, ‘Grit’ unveiled and Oscar hosts tapped

Posted by · 2:18 pm · December 3rd, 2010

• The biggest news of this busy week may well have been the announcement of James Franco and Anne Hathaway as this year’s Oscarcast hosts. • Unless you count “The Social Network” dominating the National Board of Review as bigger news, that is. • Or, for that matter, our first look at the Coen brothers’ […]

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EXCLUSIVE: The production design of ‘Black Swan’ (clip)

Posted by · 2:43 pm · November 29th, 2010

I’ve been wondering lately about the below-the-line aspects of “Black Swan” and whether they could find the proper respect even if the film doesn’t take off in the major races. Specifically I’m thinking about Matthew Libatique’s cinematography, Andrew Weisblum’s film editing, Craig Henighan and company’s sound design and Thérèse DePrez’s production design. On the latter, […]

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