Friday, April 10, 2015

Early Oscar Predictions: Visual Post-Production

Once principle photography has wrapped, the long, laborious post-production process begins. Editors splice together all the footage while visual effects artists and animators complete the effects shots.

The editing branch has a habit for mostly cribbing from the Best Picture lineup for their own nominees. That doesn't give us much to go on from a predictive standpoint, but there are a few early contenders that wouldn't be terrible bets.
Michael Kahn, for instance, has been nominated eight times (winning three), and he could be back a ninth time for Spielberg's Cold War drama Bridge of Spies.

If the editing branch feels bad about shafting Stephen Mirrione's stealthy editing of Best Picture winner Birdman, they could throw them a consolation nom for Inarritu's upcoming The Revenant.

The works of Danny Boyle have a reputation for their frenetic assemblage, but will his Steve Jobs biopic be a deviation from his usual form? Even if it is, general Best Picture heat could still give it a coattail to ride.

David O. Russell's last three features, by virtue of all being Best Picture nominees, have all been cited here. Could Jay Cassidy earn his fourth career nod for Joy?

I firmly believe that Jeremiah O'Driscoll should have been in the conversation for his excellent cutting of Robert Zemeckis' Flight a few years back. Perhaps
The Walk could provide enough visual razzle dazzle to draw his peers' attention.

Also consider: Brooklyn, Everest, The Hateful Eight, In the Heart of the Sea

As for the visual effects branch, they are not so beholden to the films that meet the overall approval of the Academy. Blockbusters and action spectacles can score here far more easily than they can in the more 'prestigious' editing category.
To date, every Marvel film featuring an Iron Man suit has been nominated. Of course, The Avengers: Age of Ultron will have far more than just Tony Stark's mechanical costume going for it.

A couple of older franchises that might make a comeback as far as Oscar attention is concerned are Jurassic Park and Star Wars. Jurassic World will have dinos galore and Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens promises tons of space adventure and sci-fi magic.

Ridley Scott's The Martian may make a three-time nominee of Richard Stammers, who pulled off an unlikely but well-deserved nod for Scott's horrendously received Prometheus a couple of years back.

But at the end of the day, we may be looking at a potential win for Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea. The Academy has exclusively reserved this category for late-season prestige efforts in the last several years, and this high seas adventure just looks like it fits the bill.

Also consider: Ant-Man, Chappie, Cinderella, Fantastic Four, Jupiter Ascending, Spectre, Tomorrowland

Stay tuned for Best Animated Feature.


  1. "Horrendously perceived" seems a bit strong, no? 'Prometheus' wasn't a hit or even a classic necessarily, but critically it didn't do THAT bad. I think mixed is a more fair way of looking at it.

    I really like these predictions, especially the VFX branch, which I don't think I have any quibbles with!

    I'd be interested in reading an article on Star Wars before the full-length trailer comes out; hopefully we can compare thoughts and opinions!

    1. You're actually right about that. Maybe I only misremember it as been really poorly received because repeat viewings have not been kind to it. Not for me, any way.

  2. I think of Stephen Mirrione as one of the best in the editing business, Birdman being a great showing of his seamless work (I think it's a crime he didn't get a nomination for Contagion) so I am pulling for him for sure.

    Do you have an Emanuel Lubezki/Roger Deakins equivalent to film editing? Not saying Mirrione is up to their level, I just feel they are similar in their control over what is shown on the screen (obviously done in very different ways as you have so well represented so far in your predictions)