Movies

Countdown to the Oscars: Part 1

Hello Geeks + Gamers! We are just two weeks away from the 90th Academy Awards ceremony. Because the Oscars are the biggest of all the major award shows, it only made sense to divide our coverage into 3 separate articles. This week is going to focus on the technical awards, which gives credit to those working behind the scenes that help bring movies to life. We’ll begin with an easy category, at least in my opinion:

Best Visual Effects:

Blade Runner 2049

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Kong: Skull Island

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

War for the Planet of the Apes

This is probably one of the most competitive years for this category that I’ve seen in a very long time. Even though I believe that War for the Planet of the Apes is the clear frontrunner, strong arguments could be made for any of the other 4 entries. For example, Blade Runner 2049 is a close runner-up that may pull an upset. Ultimately, the reason I’m confident in War for the Planet of the Apes is because it’s been dominating the category in several other awards ceremonies, including the Critics Choice Awards. Moving right along to our next category, we have:

Best Film Editing:

Baby Driver – Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos

Dunkirk – Lee Smith

I, Tonya – Tatiana S. Riegel

The Shape of Water – Sidney Wolinsky

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Jon Gregory

Here we have another highly competitive category among the technical awards. I would love to say that Baby Driver has the best chance of winning, but let’s not forget that the Academy Awards are different from other award shows. Given the subject matter of the film and previous nominations in this category, a strong argument could be made in favor of Lee Smith for his work on Dunkirk. The next category might just be the most underappreciated, especially in terms of these particular nominees:

Best Costume Design:

Beauty and the Beast – Jacqueline Durran

Darkest Hour – Jacqueline Durran

Phantom Thread – Mark Bridges

The Shape of Water – Luis Sequeira

Victoria & Abdul – Consolata Boyle

What do all five of these movies have in common? They’re all period pieces, fictional or otherwise. The reason I called this category underappreciated is the same reason why I think Phantom Thread is the clear frontrunner: it’s the only film in this category that truly focuses on the fashion industry. Academy voters love movies that tell inside baseball type stories, and this one is certainly no exception. Next up is the category that made Suicide Squad an Oscar winner:

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

Darkest Hour

Victoria & Abdul

Wonder

I know it’s hard to take this category seriously after last year, but what you have to understand about these technical awards is that the quality of the overall film should not be important when voting in a specific category. Take this year for example; most people would agree that Darkest Hour wasn’t exactly the best film of the year, but it certainly deserves to win Best Makeup and Hairstyling for Gary Oldman’s excellent transformation into Winston Churchill. The next category is one that a lot of film fans will be paying close attention to:

Best Cinematography:

Blade Runner 2049 – Roger Deakins

Darkest Hour – Bruno Delbonnel

Dunkirk – Hoyte van Hoytema

Mudbound – Rachel Morrison

The Shape of Water – Dan Laustsen

As of this year, Roger Deakins has been nominated for an Academy Award 14 times, but has yet to actually win. Could this finally be the year to break that curse? We can only hope, as long as Hoyte van Hoytema, Rachel Morrison (the first female nominated for this category), or Dan Laustsen don’t pull a major upset. Moving on to our next category, we have:

Best Production Design:

Beauty and the Beast

Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

With this category, it’s a fight between Blade Runner 2049 and The Shape of Water. Both movies have won this award within a handful of critics circles, including Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Seattle for BR2049, and San Diego, San Francisco and St. Louis for The Shape of Water. But where Shape has the advantage is its win at the Critics Choice Awards, which has matched the Oscars consistently since 2013. We have four more categories to go, all involving sound in some capacity, starting with:

Best Sound Mixing:

Baby Driver

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Each of these 5 nominees has a fairly equal chance at taking home the gold, but there can only be one winner. So who could that be? My mind is leaning towards Dunkirk, partially because one of its sound mixers, Gregg Landaker, has already won the award for his work on films such as The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. The next category is similar, yet different:

Best Sound Editing:

Baby Driver

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

It’s easy to confuse sound editing with sound mixing, especially when both categories have the exact same nominees. That being said, Dunkirk feels like the obvious frontrunner. Richard King and Alex Gibson have been working with Christopher Nolan since 2006’s The Prestige, and King has previously won awards in this category for his work on The Dark Knight and Inception. The last two categories we’ll cover this week are the music awards, starting with:

Best Original Song:

“Mighty River” from Mudbound

“Mystery of Love” from Call Me by Your Name

“Remember Me” from Coco

“Stand Up for Something” from Marshall

“This is Me” from The Greatest Showman

At the start of Awards Season, I was convinced that “Remember Me” was a shoe in to take home the gold. It still has a fighting chance, but based on the continued success of The Greatest Showman at the box office, it’s looking like “This is Me” has become the new frontrunner. This would be songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s second consecutive Oscar win, after last year’s “City of Stars” from La La Land. Now, to close out part one of the Countdown to the Oscars, we have:

Best Original Score:

Dunkirk – Hans Zimmer

Phantom Thread – Jonny Greenwood

The Shape of Water – Alexandre Desplat

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – John Williams

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Carter Burwell

Each one of these 5 nominees absolutely deserves the recognition, but only one of them can be victorious. The Star Wars fan in me would love to see John Williams pull a major upset, winning his first Academy Award since Schindler’s List in 1993. However, this award belongs to Alexandre Desplat for his work on The Shape of Water, and that’s been true ever since it won both the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice for the same category.

So that concludes part 1 of our Countdown to the Oscars. Do you have any predictions of your own? If so, drop them down in the comments below, and stay tuned for part 2 next week. Thank you as always for checking out GeeksandGamers.com, your source for all things Geek.

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