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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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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TECH SUPPORT INTERVIEW: The makeup of ‘Barney’s Version,’ ‘The Way Back’ and ‘The Wolfman’

Posted by · 11:21 am · February 10th, 2011

As we have noted a number of times, the makeup branch is one of the Academy’s most independently minded. While many people have criticized them in the past for bestowing the moniker “Oscar nominee” on many mediocre (or worse) films, the makeup artists clearly seem to take the work into account regardless of perceived film […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Makeup

Posted by · 8:15 am · February 4th, 2011

The makeup branch of the Academy has often been criticized for making “Oscar nominees” of artistically dubious films. But I submit that it’s one of the bravest and noblest branches, sticking properly by the point of their task: to single out the greatest achievement in their field, no matter the other factors. This year’s line-up […]

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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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WEEKLY WRAP: Guilds galore and season fatigue

Posted by · 7:13 pm · January 14th, 2011

• The Directors’ Guild of America presented few surprises in their award nominations, though some raised eyebrows at “True Grit”‘s omission. (Their documentary nods didn’t move the needle either.) • The American Cinema Editors’ nods matched those of the directors; the American Society of Cinematographers didn’t deviate much from the formula either. • This week’s […]

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OSCAR TALK: Ep. 48 — Armond White vs. Darren Aronofsky, guilds speaking up, ‘True Grit’ box office, awards show/party weekend on the way, supporting actress wide open

Posted by · 11:38 am · January 14th, 2011

Welcome to Oscar Talk. In case you’re new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty […]

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AMPAS narrows makeup category to seven

Posted by · 3:34 pm · January 10th, 2011

I’ve been noting for a while now that “Barney’s Version” could be a sleeper in the Best Makeup category due to some impressive aging.  The film joins six others today as a bake-off finalist.  The only film missing that I’m currently predicting is “Shutter Island,” so replace that with “The Way Back” (which I was […]

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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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WEEKLY WRAP: ‘127 Hours’ dissent, BIFA nods, interviews

Posted by · 5:10 am · November 6th, 2010

• Guy didn’t much care for “127 Hours.” That got you talking. • Happily, Kris did, and got talking to director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy. • The British Independent Film Award nominations threw some surprises into the mix, handing scads of noms to “The King’s Speech”… and “Kick-Ass.” • Chad’s Life Without Oscar […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Makeup — Volume II

Posted by · 9:13 am · November 4th, 2010

As I said last week (and have said several times before), no category is year-in and-year-out more perplexing than Best Makeup. Each year, this branch finds ways to turn otherwise dubious awards contenders into bona fide Oscar nominees — dubious because often nominees might be abysmal or relatively obscure.  The branch seems to have its […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Makeup — Volume I

Posted by · 11:14 am · August 12th, 2010

Makeup and hairstyling builds characters by transforming actors with realism or imagination that would otherwise be lacking on the screen. With the announcement that the Best Visual Effects is expanding to include five nominees this year, Best Makeup now remains the sole category to have three nominees, chosen from a “bake-off” of seven finalists which […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Diving right back in

Posted by · 11:36 am · July 8th, 2010

Here we go again.  We just said goodbye to the 2009 film awards season four months ago, yet here we are, halfway through 2010 and ready to kick the tires on Tech Support, a unique feature here at In Contention. Tech Support, for those unaware, seeks to highlight below-the-line talent on films.  We offer space […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Final stretch, final predictions

Posted by · 8:26 pm · March 4th, 2010

Well, here we are. On Sunday, the statuettes for the Oscars will handed out. It seems difficult to remember that it was eight months ago when we started looking at the categories for the first time. Today, let’s take one last look at the crafts categories to see where we stand. Best Art Direction (Oscar […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Makeup

Posted by · 11:50 am · February 19th, 2010

The Academy’s makeup category is one of two fields that calls for a whittling down of the contenders via a “bake-off.” Reels of the work from the seven finalists are screened, so an impressive assemblage is all you need. The work on the whole isn’t really being considered, so this can yield surprises in the […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Post mortem

Posted by · 12:17 pm · February 5th, 2010

So here we are. For the most part, the crafts category nominations weren’t surprising, and there is not a single film that fared drastically better – or worse – than I expected. As for comments on individual categories? In Best Cinematography, Bruno Delbonnel’s nomination for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” has got to be […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Final predictions, part two

Posted by · 2:02 pm · January 31st, 2010

Continuing from where we left off yesterday, today we look at the fields of makeup, music, sound and visual effects. BEST MAKEUP The shortlist of seven makes predicting this category slightly easier. “District 9”’s realistic wounds, not to mention the practical elements of the central character’s transformation, likely make it the frontrunner. “Star Trek,” meanwhile, […]

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WEEKLY WRAP: BFCA awards, Guilds triple, Rohmer passes

Posted by · 5:47 am · January 16th, 2010

• As you’ve just heard, “The Hurt Locker” emerged triumphant at the BFCA Critics’ Choice Awards. • Earlier this week, Éric Rohmer, sly giant of New Wave intellectualism, passed away at the age of 89. • That same day, “Avatar,” “The Hangover” and “Star Trek” were among the films nominated by the WGA. • The […]

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