Film Bitch History
Oscar History

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Directors of For Sama

Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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Entries in precursor awards (304)


Cinematography Honors

The seasonal wheels keep turning. I can't keep up. I literally have three, count them, THREE interviews to type up. Plus the top ten list. But awards news waits for no man. Not even Nathaniel, man. If you don't peruse every awards website known to man, the following info regarding visual work that's somewhat safely on the Oscar nomination track will come as fresh news to you. If you do, you've already sussed out what you think it all means and you're ahead of us.

I Am Vertigo

First, a moment of silence for I Am Love's Yorick Le Saux who was not nominated for ASC's cinematography prize despite having better Vertigo hair bun homages than Black Swan! I only partially kid because both movies are byootiful (biutiful?) but...come on. I Am Love is not going to get any Oscar nominations and that is going to make me jump off my web cliff.


ASC Feature Nominees

  • Danny Cohen for The King's Speech
  • Jeff Cronenwerth for The Social Network
  • Roger Deakins for True Grit
  • Matthew Libatique for Black Swan
  • Wally Pfister for Inception

127 SpeechesThis list could transfer intact to Oscar -- they're all handsome movies for sure -- but you never know. ASC nominees, like all guild honors, generally differ a bit from the final Academy pronouncement. [2009 FLASHBACK - LOOKOUT!] Last year for example Oscar dumped Dion Beebe's ASC nominated work on Nine for Bruno Delbonnel's work on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. If you ask me it was a downgrade. Sure everyone hated Nine and blah blah blah... but awards aren't supposed to be about whether you loved the film (that's Best Picture) but what was done in that category. And Nine was beautifully shot. The weirdest thing about Rob Marshall's oeuvre is that the art directors are always getting credit for how well the DP's shoot those big cavernous somewhat empty stages.[/FLASHBACK] The King's Speech and The Social Network are probably the vulnerable ones here as they're the least showy and "best" often equates with "most" in awards season. You may see either or both of them replaced by Robert Richardson's work on Shutter Island (I'll never forget Nick calling that one "gangrenous") or the two gents from 127 Hours (who might get credit not just for the beautiful lighting but also for the inventive setups given the claustrophobic environs. But me, I'm rooting for a surprise foreign attack from I Am Love. Stop laughing! Popular foreign films sometimes show up here. Especially the visually wondrous ones.

The question on everyone's mind: Is Deakins EVER going to win an Oscar? It won't be an easy get this year either.

ASC TV Nominees
(announced last month)

  • Eagle Egilsson for "Shell Game" Dark Blue
  • Jonathan Freeman for "Home" Boardwalk Empire
  • Christopher Manley for "Blowing Smoke" Mad Men
  • Kramer Morgenthau for "Family Limitation" Boardwalk Empire
  • David Stockton for "Pilot" Nikita
  • Michael Wale for "Shield" Smallville
  • Glen Winter for "Abandoned" Smallville

Sigh. I miss Mad Men so hard, don't you? The nominated episode is the one where Midge (awesome Rosemarie DeWitt) returns all drugged up.The ASC Awards ceremony is on February 13th.



Best Achievement in Messing With Josh Brolin's Face

Brolin as himself. Brolin as Jonah Hex. Brolin as Tom Chaney.

The Academy's makeup artist and hairstylist branch has announced their finalist list. Three films from their list of seven will likely go on to become Oscar nominees.

The Finalists

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Barney's Version
  • The Fighter
  • Jonah Hex
  • True Grit
  • The Way Back
  • The Wolfman

The makeup branch is among the hardest to predict each year because there never seems to be any rhyme or reason to their selections despite all of these rules. For example: How the hell did Black Swan miss? Never mind, I don't want to know. The answer would undoubtedly be depressing like "but those removable body parts in Alice in Wonderland that they wore to make Helena Bonham-Carter not feel bad about her CGI enlarged head were hilarious!". This branch also rarely remembers the "wigs and hairpieces" part of the equation always failing to honor the oeuvre of Nicolas Cage. They always ignore achievements wherein an actress becomes a total glamour goddesses with extra help from wigs and makeup. I mean they didn't even nominate Cate Blanchett wig-orgy Elizabeth: Turn Off The Dark (2007) sorry Joe, I'm using that podcast joke forever.

Nor, do they nominate "deglam" movies for actresses which definitely require the services of makeup artists and hairstylists. I still think the makeup on Monster (2003) is one of the great Oscar snubs of all time; Charlize didn't blotch her own skin or have dental surgery.

The official criteria for the "makeup" award is...

...any change in the appearance of a performer’s face, hair, or body created by the application of cosmetics, three-dimensional materials, prosthetic appliances, or wigs and hairpieces, applied directly to the performer’s face or body.

In other words, everything that Black Swan did (minus maybe the wigs).


Director's Guild Big 5. Plus Trivia!

If you click on over to the Best Director page that we've had up for awhile, you'll see this Oscar prediction awaiting you.


It's the exact DGA nominee list for Best Director (just announced). This isn't The Film Experience blowing its own horn so much as the obvious: This is the shortlist. In order for anyone else to pull an Oscar nomination on January 25th for Achievement in Direction, they'll have to either: K.O. David O. Russell as he floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee; cut those thespian marionette strings that Tom Hooper is gracefully pulling; sue David Fincher for capturing zeitgeist in a bottle before they could; break the legs of Darren Aronofsky's ballerinas; or invade Chris Nolan's Oscar dream. Before it even happens!


Any one of those things will be very difficult to do.

Click to read more ...


Art Directors Guild: Period, Fantasy, Contemporary

The power of eye candy at the movies is greatly underestimated. Whole star turns can be elevated with the right costuming choices and entire films can be propped up with meaning, beauty, authenticity or imagination with the right production design decisions and set creation and decoration.

love the dilapidated dioramas of The King's Speech

So congratulations to the nominees. The ADG chooses them in three separate categories.

Jess Gonchor for TRUE GRIT
Eve Stewart for THE KING'S SPEECH
Dante Ferretti for SHUTTER ISLAND
Arthur Max for ROBIN HOOD
Geoffrey Kirkland for GET LOW

Most of these will probably show up on Oscar's list. They don't have separate categories so they tend to favor period work.

Disappointed to see Eugenio Caballero's fine work on the 70s rock biopic THE RUNAWAYS (pictured left) snubbed here. We knew it wouldn't figure in (see griping at the end of this post for why) but still...

Therese DePrez for BLACK SWAN
Donald Graham Burt for THE SOCIAL NETWORK
Judy Becker for THE FIGHTER
Sharon Seymour for THE TOWN
Suttirat Larlarb for 127 HOURS

Disappointed to see Albrecht Konrad's work on THE GHOST WRITER left off the contemporary list. That film is a perfect example of how crucial art direction can be for a movie. So many of those scenes just bounce off the walls of that coldly enticing house with all the sharp angles. Everything feels both rich and sinister. Plus that little hotel room Ewan stays in? Perfection.

Robert Stromberg for ALICE IN WONDERLAND
Guy Hendrix Diaz for INCEPTION
Darren Gilford for TRON LEGACY

still the best set in the Harry Potter series, don'cha think?Now that we've congratulated all these talented people we have to bitch a teensy bit. It's always a little odd that the various guilds still name all the movies that are the popular ones heading for "best picture" citations when their awards should be focusing very specifically on their own profession. It doesn't make any sense at all that all of the best work in each field each year would be done only in the movies that have overall 'I love this movie' popularity.

For instance, does 127 Hours really depend on its art direction? This is not to discount the cohesive color palette and all the other things that a production designer must judge but the bulk of the film takes place in a tiny crevice where James Franco carries the movie. That's a performer/directors movie if I've ever seen one. And then there's the matter of Stuart Craig. There's no question that he's done fantastic work on the Harry Potter series, movies that do rely heavily on their art direction for and we don't begrudge him his Oscars. But, more than most of the films in the series, this current installment doesn't actually ask him to add significantly to the look, design or sets. Huge portions are set within Hermione's magic vaguely non-descript tent and some of the other sets we've seen before. It begs the question: how many times can you reward someone for work that you've already rewarded them for?

These films are popular for a reason but we always hope that the various branches would think about their own profession first and only later consider which films they most loved for tiebreakers.

see also: Art Direction Oscar predictions


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