TECH SUPPORT: Final analysis, part two

Posted by · 8:40 am · February 25th, 2011

Yesterday we began our final look at the 10 crafts categories.  Check out part one here.  Today, the conclusion.  Meanwhile, you can find my final predictions in all categories here. Best Music (Original Score) Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, despite their atypical approach to film music composition, are very much contenders in this race. Having […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Visual Effects

Posted by · 10:34 am · February 17th, 2011

This year the visual effects branch of the Academy followed the lead of the sound editing category and widened its net to five nominees. It did not, however, follow suit by eliminating the superfluous bake-off process, which whittles the contenders down to seven before deciding on the ultimate slate of nominees. This year the two […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Final analysis, part one

Posted by · 8:57 am · January 20th, 2011

It seems hard to believe that it’s been more than six months since I wrote this year’s introductory Tech Support column ( a dissection of the art direction race). Much has changed since then, naturally, as we are less than a week away from the big day when we find out the nominees for the […]

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‘Scott Pilgrim,’ ‘Hereafter’ make visual effects bake-off

Posted by · 4:19 pm · January 5th, 2011

As we await the USC Scripter finalists (which should drop any minute), I should pass along the Academy’s bake-off finalists in the Best Visual Effects category. Last month the field was narrowed down to 15 titles. Today, seven titles remain, from which five nominees will be selected in a bake-off (which is an odd extra […]

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Visual effects race whittled down to 15

Posted by · 3:43 pm · December 10th, 2010

This is the first year the race for Best Visual Effects will feature five nominees.  So take a third of these lucky semi-finalists and there we are.  The five I think most are expecting to show up are still in the mix. The most surprising omission for me is “Black Swan,” which used digital wizardry […]

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FIRST-HALF FYC: Best Supporting Actor

Posted by · 5:18 pm · December 8th, 2010

Only two weeks into my new feature and I’m already a day late — apologies. My laptop (now cured, at least until its next mood swing) will graciously accept the blame. If you missed last week’s introductory instalment, the game is a simple one. In the run-up to nomination day, I’m picking five outstanding contenders […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Visual Effects — Volume II

Posted by · 8:19 pm · December 2nd, 2010

I find it somewhat appropriate to be ending my in-depth looks at the crafts categories with a discussion of Best Visual Effects. This is, after all, a category which awards the sort of behind-the-scenes crafts work that is often prominently displayed in advertisements and talked about with reverence after the film ends. When looking at […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Sound Mixing — Volume II

Posted by · 10:40 am · November 26th, 2010

Sound mixing has a lot in common with sound editing, but the distinctions are still critical. While both clearly relate to what we hear in the theater, sound editing specifically relates to the creation of artificial sounds (“sound effects”) while sound mixing brings everything together — from effects to music to dialogue (recorded on set […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Sound Editing — Volume II

Posted by · 10:06 am · November 18th, 2010

Last week we discussed how a movie’s soundtrack can be immeasurably improved by music.  This week, we turn to the sound technicians.  While next week will concentrate on sound mixing (the overall mix of effects, recorded sounds, dialogue and music), this week we look at sound editing, the creation of artificial sound effects to enhance […]

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Zimmer, Pfister, ‘Toy Story 3,’ ‘Iron Man 2’ kick off the season

Posted by · 10:12 am · September 16th, 2010

The first awards of the Oscar season have been announced for Carlos de Abreu’s Hollywood Film Festival.  Hans Zimmer will get some love for his “Inception” score, while Wally Pfister will be recognized for his work behind the camera on the film.  Meanwhile, “Toy Story 3” and “Iron Man 2” have been singled out for […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Visual Effects — Volume I

Posted by · 9:07 am · September 9th, 2010

How often do you go to the movies to escape? To be immersed into a different world, whether it be fantastical, thrilling or action-packed? For many movie-goers, if not most, the answer is “frequently.” Visual effects often play a massive role in this experience.  Studios invest heavily in them and frequently try to sell films […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Sound Mixing — Volume I

Posted by · 3:44 pm · September 2nd, 2010

Last week, while discussing the sound editing category, I explained the difference between that art form and sound mixing.  The Oscar for the latter is shared between two (or more) persons who construct the soundtrack of a movie.  The re-recording mixers bring together everything – dialogue, sound effects, music – into what we hear in […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Sound Editing — Volume I

Posted by · 11:31 am · August 26th, 2010

Now matter how many times I watch the Oscars, someone will always ask, “So what is the difference between the two sound categories?” The difference is quite significant.  It is so important that the sound branch is only one of two “tech” branches in the Academy (the other being music) that gives out two separate […]

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FRIDAY FORECAST: Disrespect the Middle East edition

Posted by · 2:44 pm · May 28th, 2010

*All historical figures cited are adjusted to today’s dollars. There’s a mild controversy every time a “Sex and the City” movie comes out where it is mercilessly trashed for existing by male critics who, the accusation goes, often let comparable trash starring men get off easy. Well, you all know that I can not be […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Taking the temperature

Posted by · 8:28 pm · May 23rd, 2010

Now that we’re on the other side of Cannes, I felt it was a good time to put a finger to the wind, stare into the tea leaves, shake the magic 8-ball and basically just take stock of where we’re at roughly three months away from the start of the 2010-2011 film awards season. The […]

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SUNDAY CENTS: Pain in the ‘Shrek’

Posted by · 1:51 pm · May 23rd, 2010

*All historical figures cited are adjusted to today’s dollars. We did it guys! Collectively, we have decided that the Shrek property, after three dreadful installments, is no longer an untouchable juggernaut, but just a regular old extremely profitable movie. We have also decided that summer 2010 is going to give movie theater owners a lot […]

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FRIDAY FORECAST: Is it ogre yet?

Posted by · 2:16 pm · May 21st, 2010

*All historical figures cited are adjusted to today’s dollars. That fat, green face to the right is the most successful animated character in the history of film. You guys have made him an icon of cinema greater than Don Corleone, Marty McFly and Jack Sparrow as far as box office receipts are concerned. Whatever hilarious […]

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AMPAS will vote on expanding visual effects category to five

Posted by · 10:58 am · May 18th, 2010

Expansion is the thing these days.  And after last year’s shift from five Best Picture nominees to 10, it’s looking like the wheels are in motion to finally cough up another two slots in the category of Best Visual Effects, a move I think many will agree is a long time coming. But we’re not […]

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