OSCAR PREDICTIONS 2017: The visual and artistic categories

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PART 3: THE VISUAL AND ARTISTIC CATEGORIES

On February 26th, Jimmy Kimmel will host the 89th Academy Awards and its time to make predictions. On this website, I've been tabulating all of the minor and lead-up award winners in all of the Oscar categories since last November on my 2017 Awards Tracker.  Those results have been my data trends to predict these winners.  In this third post, we look at the visual and artistic categories which include Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Costume Design, and Best Makeup and Hair-Styling.  Stick with me and I will win you your Oscar pool!


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

The nominees:  Greig Fraser for “Lion," James Laxton for “Moonlight," Rodrigo Prieto for "Silence," Linus Sandgren for “La La Land," Bradford Young for “Arrival”

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  20- Sandgren, 7- Laxton, and eight others win one win

Who was snubbed:  The five finalists are pretty rock solid in upper-level quality in a very deep category.  Some of my favorites from the year were Bill Pope’s green-screen camera moves for “The Jungle Book” and Seamus McGarvey’s probing lenses in “Nocturnal Animals.”

Happy to be there:  Following other categories of scattered recognition, this is sadly the only Oscar nomination bestowed upon Martin Scorsese’s highly regarded “Silence.”  Many believe the film to be a masterpiece worthy of so much more.  Prieto is a distant longshot in this category.

Who should win and will win:  Coupled with Tom Cross’s editing (more on him later), the single shot and soaring production numbers in “La La Land” wouldn’t pop like they do without Linus Sandgren and his team throwing that camera crane all over the place.  The film’s visual dance is really something.


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

The nominees:  “Arrival,” “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” “Hail, Caesar!,” “La La Land,” “Passengers"

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  10- "La La Land,” 5- "The Handmaiden,” 2- "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” and five other films with one win  

Who was snubbed:  According to the data and love from critics, “The Handmaiden” deserved a place on this list.  I’ll throw an extra bouquet in the direction of the wacky forest creations in “Swiss Army Man” to be worthy of Oscar consideration in this field.

Happy to be there:  Similarly to “Silence” in Best Cinematography, this is the lone category where the Coen brothers’ “Hail, Caesar!” received an Oscar nomination.  I call that a shame because it should have had a shot in costume design, editing, and even original song.

Who should win:  If we were going on sheer volume, “Passengers” and the set designs of Guy Hendrix Dyas deserves this Academy Award.  The rest of the film might not be very good, but the enormous and polished practical sets created for the film’s opulent spaceship/cruise ship were outstanding.

Who will win:  Mark this as another category in the “La La Land” parade and, honestly, the least deserving one of the many it’s going to win.  Sure, the film looks nice, but I would credit that more to excellent Los Angeles location scouting than full-bodied design.


BEST FILM EDITING

The nominees:  “Arrival,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” “La La Land,” “Moonlight"

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  7- "La La Land,” 4- "Hacksaw Ridge,” 3- "Arrival,” 3- "Moonlight,” 2- "O.J.: Made in America,” and four others with one win

Who was snubbed:  I was impressed at the taut shaping and pacing of Pablo Larrain’s “Jackie.”  There’s not an ounce of fat on that historical drama when it clocks in at well under two hours.  In a different filmmaker’s hands, that film is a bloated 150 minute mess.

Happy to be there:  It’s difficult to question who my suggested snub of “Jackie” would replace as all of the nominees other than “Hell or High Water” have won editing awards at some point this awards season.  Even though the battle scenes were impressive in “Hacksaw Ridge,” the formulaic and over-long hayseed origin first act could have trimmed a half-hour off the movie and accelerated the push to combat.

Who should win and will win: I don’t know how anyone doesn’t look at those huge, shifting, and sweeping single take shots in “La La Land” from editor Tom Cross and not be endlessly impressed.  His work and the film should win handily and deserves it.


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

The nominees:  "Deepwater Horizon," “Doctor Strange," “The Jungle Book," “Kubo and the Two Strings," “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  8- "The Jungle Book, 7- "Doctor Strange,” 2- "Arrival,” 1- "Kubo and the Two Strings,” 1- "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"

Who was snubbed:  Good arguments can be made for the likes of “Arrival,” “Captain America: Civil War,” and the very good performance-capture work from “The BFG.”  “Arrival” feels like the biggest slight.

Happy to be there:  It’s rare to see an animated film get some love outside of the animated feature category.  The honor of a nomination to Laika’s “Kubo and the Two Strings” is something for them to be proud of.

Who should win:  My personal pick would be “Doctor Strange.”  They were the only effects this year that made my eyes pop and my jaw drop.  The film was the best use of 3D I’ve seen in years.  To me, this one’s not even close.  Sorry, Bill “Baloo” Murray.

Who will win:  “The Jungle Book” will win and I can see why with the Disney clout and the volume of its entirely green-screen work.  The fact that the only item you see in the frame that is actually is Mowgli is pretty impressive.  


BEST COSTUME DESIGN

The nominees:  “Allied," “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," “Florence Foster Jenkins,” “Jackie,” “La La Land"

AWARDS TRACKER DATA: 4- "Jackie,” 2- "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” and five other films with one win   

Who was snubbed:  Two excellent dark horses would have been the foreign decadence of “The Handmaiden” and the tiny budget flourishes of “The Love Witch” getting honored next to the frontrunners.

Happy to be there:  As was the case yesterday in my predictions of a few technical categories, this is the lone Oscar nomination for Robert Zemeckis’s tepidly-received “Allied.”  The film would be even faster forgotten without it.  

Who should win:  Chasing behind the eventual winner is my preferred pick, Madeline Fontaine’s work on “Jackie.”  Her sharp period recreations were inspired and flawless, draping Natalie Portman’s style icon.  Not a thread was dull or out of place.

Who will win:  “La La Land” costume designer Mary Zophres is the odds-on frontrunner for her primary colors and the film’s juggernaut popularity.  In terms of resume, Zophres also did the Hollywood backlot fashion for “Hail, Caesar!”  Expect the “La La Land” parade to walk through here on its quest for double-digit wins.


BEST MAKEUP AND HAIR-STYLING

The nominees: “A Man Called Ove,” “Star Trek Beyond,” “Suicide Squad"

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  1- "Swiss Army Man,” 1- "Suicide Squad,” 1- "Jackie,” 1- "Florence Foster Jenkins,” 1- "Hacksaw Ridge"

Who was snubbed:  I’ve said for years that there is no reason this category can’t honor a full field of five nominees.  “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Swiss Army Man” should have been automatic nominees, if not contenders to be the actual overall winner.

Happy to be there:  For being as narrow as three nominees, the foreign film “A Man Called Ove” pulled off what “The Hundred Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared” did last year as a random film to crash the big budget field of fantasy blockbusters.

Who should win and will win:  For years between television and film, the alien makeup work on “Star Trek” properties has been revolutionary and memorable.  It’s high time it was finally recognized on Oscar night.  The odds favor “Star Trek Beyond” breaking that glass ceiling.


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