Oscar Predictions: Part 2 – Songs, Styles, and Sets!

Oscar Predictions: Part 2 – Songs, Styles, and Sets!

This week’s set of predictions rounds up the lower tier categories and begins the accent to the major ones. As stated last week, The People’s Critic has decided to unveil predictions on all 24 major categories over a four week period leading up the big day on February 24th. This week’s predictions will focus on the six categories that make up the atmosphere of a film: Original Song, Original Score, Costume Design, Production Design, Makeup, and Film Editing. Readers are invited to continue to weigh in with their own opinions by submitting to the public polls following each category’s predictions.

7. Best Original Song:

Nominated songs are “Before My Time” from Chasing Ice, “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from Ted, “Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi, “Skyfall” from Skyfall, and “Suddenly” from Les Misérables

This is an interesting category in that its number of nominees varies from year to year. Current prerequisites for a nomination require that the song is originally written for a film and that the song is completely original and not partially sampled from another source (as was the case with 1995’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” from Dangerous Minds). This year there is a full set of five nominees, but that is only a formality since there is a clear and overwhelmingly obvious frontrunner, and it’s not the one that came from a musical. It is also definitely not the one that was a gift to the host of the Oscars, Seth Macfarlane. Songs from Bond movies have a storied and often kitschy past, but this year Adele’s “Skyfall” will raise that bar. The Peoples Critic Selection: “Skyfall”

8. Best Original Score:

Nominated Films are Anna Karenina, Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Skyfall

John Williams (Lincoln) may have five Oscars, but he has been nominated 48 times suggesting that he is not an Academy favorite. Additionally, the five Oscars he has are for scores much more memorable and powerful than Lincoln’s. The film with the most substantial use of music is Life of Pi.The People’s Critic Selection: Life of Pi

9. Best Costume Design:

Nominated films are Anna Karenina, Les Misérables, Lincoln, Mirror Mirror, and Snow White and the Huntsman.

The key to this category is not to get too caught up in the film itself but rather focus on the creativity, authenticity, and accuracy of the costuming. Period pieces are favorites in this category and we have three of them along with two fairy tale films. This year the period pieces have the edge. Lincoln may seem like a strong contender, but designer Joanna Johnston is rarely recognized for her work, although she has designed costumes for some of the most iconic films of all time including Indiana Jones and Back to the Future. Thus, the toss up goes to the lavish Anna Karenina. This is Karenina’s Jacqueline Durran’s third nomination and she’s yet to win. The People’s Critic Selection: Anna Karenina

10. Best Production Design:

Nominated films are Anna Karenina, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, and Lincoln

The Oscar for Production Design goes to the art director who best accomplishes the appropriate mood for an audience’s experience through visuals, movement, and other varieties of art direction. This can be a complicated job, and an A.D.’s success relies on whether or not an audience is appropriately affected psychologically by a film. From a psychological standpoint, these films all offer wildly different ways of using style and motion to affect an audience. However, performances aside production design is the only other reason Les Misérables could possibly nominated for best picture. The People’s Critic Selection: Les Misérables

11. Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

Nominated Films are Hitchcock, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and Les Misérables

In a year of impressive films, it’s hard to believe that only three of them included Oscar-worthy makeup and hair. Last year, this went to the team behind the subtle transformation of Meryl Streep into Margaret Thatcher for the film The Iron Lady; but typically this award goes to wildly imaginative, over-the-top makeups and hair. Two of the three previous Rings films won the Oscar for this award, and Peter King (nominated here for Hobbit) was part of the team that won for Return of the King. The People’s Critic Selection: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

12. Best Film Editing

Nominated films are Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty

This is an impressive award to win and the Academy does not treat that lightly. The winner for Best Film Editing has often been the film that wins Best Picture, and it is no surprise that all five films nominated here are also nominated for Best Picture. The editing of a film is nearly as important as the direction since it affects the story, the pace, and the tone. Often, great editing goes unnoticed by the viewer because of how seamless the story has been woven together. The major consideration here is that William Goldenberg is nominated for his work in both Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. Argo is the better of those two films especially given its genius and flawless balance of tones throughout the film. We also have an editing legend nominated in Michael Khan for Lincoln who has won three Oscars from seven nominations. Also not to be counted out, Jay Cassidy’s avant-garde style has mostly been seen in documentary films, and it is refreshing and interesting to see that style in a feature film like Silver Linings Playbook. This is a tough one and could add to the controversy of Affleck’s snub as Director for The People’s Critic’s Selection: Argo.

Oscar Predictions: Part 1 – The Ones You Always Guess On

The 85th Academy Awards will be airing on ABC February 24th, 2013. The People’s Critic has decided to unveil predictions on all 24 major categories over the next four weeks. This week’s predictions will focus on the six categories that are usually the toughest to call since they require some technical knowledge about film making, or they are short films not easily viewed by most people. Nonetheless, we leave no category behind. Additionally, all readers are encouraged to weigh in with your own opinions by submitting to the public polls following each category’s predictions.

1. Best Short Film (Live Action):

Nominated films are Asad, Buzkashi Boys, Curfew, Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw), and Henry.

Asad and Buzkashi Boys are both glimpses at hard luck youth who struggle in their homelands of Somalia and Afghanistan respectively. Buzkashi seems to be the stronger film of these two, while Death of a Shadow is certainly the strongest technical achievement of the five. Curfew and Henry pose little threat, but the off kilter relationship between the uncle-niece relationship in Curfew is interesting. The Peoples Critic Selection: Death of a Shadow

2. Best Short Film (Animated)

Nominated Films are Adam and Dog, Fresh Guacamole, Head over Heels, Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare,” and Paperman.

Adam and Dog and Head Over Heels are both extremely simple but cute. Head Over Heels has no chance, however. Yes, The Simpsons have a film entered here, which played theatrically with Ice Age 4, but this one comes down to powerhouse animation studio Pixar’s Paperman and the ingenious stop-motion film, Fresh Guacamole…but come on – The People’s Critic Selection: Paperman

3. Best Documentary (Short):

Nominated films are Inocente, Kings Point, Mondays at Racine, Open Heart, and Redemption.

For short films, these are all pretty heavy in terms of their subject matter. I think it comes down to Inocente, Kings Point or Mondays at Racine. I like Kings Point, which chronicles the lives, loves, and losses of several older Americans in a retirement home in Florida. I don’t know if it has the stuff to win, and I also don’t know if it’s that great, but I like it. Inocente probably has a much wider appeal given its subject is an artistic and interesting young homeless girl. Mondays at Racine certainly puts a touching spin on Cancer by examining the stories of different patients who come to a salon that opens free of charge to Cancer patients on a Monday, once a month. The Peoples Critic Selection: Kings Point

4. Best Visual Effects:

Nominated Films are The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Life of Pi, Marvel’s The Avengers, Prometheus, and Snow White and the Huntsman

Ok, now we get down to films that the average filmgoer can evaluate. The Visual Effects Oscar goes to a film that demonstrates greatness in the world of special effects. If one were to see all of these films, there is certainly something to admire in each. However, a large part for why one of these ended up being The People’s Critic’s #2 film of the year, was its visual effects. The People’s Critic Selection: Life of Pi

5. Best Sound Mixing:

Nominated films are Argo, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, and Skyfall

6. Best Sound Editing

Nominated films are Argo, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Skyfall, and Zero Dark Thirty

I’ve decided to deal with these two together since most people are unaware of their differences. Sound editing is the art of recording sound effects, background music, as well as sound creation. Sound mixing is taking all of the sounds recorded and needed for a film, along with the dialogue, and putting it all together, adjusting the levels, etc. Traditionally, I go along with the theory that more times than not, the film that wins one will win both. Thus, Argo, Skyfall, and Life of Pi are the only contenders. The People’s Critic’s Selection: Life of Pi for both

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