Today, the FOTS talks Cinematography, Score, and those pesky shorts.
Bradford Young, Arrival
Linus Sandgren, La La Land
Greig Fraser, Lion
James Laxton, Moonlight
Rodrigo Prieto, Silence
TYLER: Shooting on film wins Prieto and Sandgren quite a few bonus points with me, and I’m sure the “Grandeur of Movies” team at the Academy has done their due diligence pushing that narrative to the people. While I think that Moonlight and Arrival were more impressive, especially Bradford Young’s magnificent work inside the spaceship in Arrival, gotta give the nod to the presumptive favorite, Linus Sandgren and La La Land.
DAVID: I’m just happy Silence is here. That’s the one nomination I really wanted, and that’s the one it got. But this is a surprisingly tough category; Laxton and Young did stunning, evocative work, but the guild award went to Fraser, and La La Land is poised to dominate all night. The Academy will probably think of the Observatory sequence and go for Sandgren. (For the record, since we’re all complaining about how many awards La La Land is going to win: I liked the film more than most here, but I agree that it’s not going to stand the test of time.)
CHASE: Call me a broken record, but this is another award that Moonlight should win for James Laxton’s intimate, swirling camera work. I’d be disgusted if Fraser won for Lion, so I’ll join the La La Land bandwagon again.
SEAN: Rodrigo Prieto should win this in a walk, but that’s not the way it will play out. La La Land will steamroll through the night for its flash and toothlessness.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La Land
TYLER: How, on god’s green earth, did La La Land get nominated for this award? I’m not going to go all umbrage-y with this, but there’s a little “look, they made a musical! Let’s give it all the awards!” thing going on here. I didn’t see Jackie, but it seems like exactly the kind of movie to win this category.
DAVID: Jackie would be a great pick, and it’s the strongest challenger to La La Land. Neither Madeleine Fointaine or Mary Zophres have won before. Not that it’s hard to put Emma Stone in canary yellow and call it a day, but Zophres’ outstanding work in Hail, Caesar! wasn’t nominated, so if she wins for La La Land, I can live with it.
CHASE: I can’t bring myself to pick La La Land as a contemporary-set film hasn’t won this award in the last 20 years. Things like Anna Karenina, The Great Gatsby, and Alice in Wonderland win this award. I’ll take Jackie, which already won the BAFTA and BFCA.
SEAN: Jackie would be a deserving choice and it would make me happy to know that it at least WON SOMETHING. However, like David I will hold my nose when Zophres takes to the podium and pretend its for her deserving work in Hail, Caesar!.
Hell or High Water
La La Land
TYLER: The first few musical numbers were enough to seal this category pretty well. I think that Arrival had a pretty excellent edit done to what could’ve been an awfully maudlin draft. But I think this is La La Land’s to win, by virtue of the (admittedly great) opening number, as well as the number in the pool.
DAVID: Yep. This is getting exhausting and probably no fun to read, but Tom Cross should pick up his second Oscar for La La Land. I sure wish someone would throw Arrival a bone, but this award should have been earmarked for Sebastián Sepúlveda and Jackie months ago.
CHASE: I really hope I get to watch La La Land not win all these awards, but what can you do?
SEAN: Out of these nominees Moonlight should win for its bold, yet elegant three act structure… but the La La Land craze will continue. I second David’s mention of Sebastián Sepúlveda.
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
TYLER: Oh cool, we get to acknowledge a makeup department’s ability to so effectively mask the biggest guest star (Idris Elba) in their franchise movie that I barely could tell it was actually him! Still, all kidding aside, Star Trek Beyond was well put together, and deserves to win.
DAVID: Just not Suicide Squad, right? I’d be fine with Star Trek in this notoriously weak category, though it’s more “Most Makeup” than “Best Makeup.” So how about I go out on a limb and pick the little-seen Swedish film, A Man Called Ove? The same team snagged a surprise nomination for last year’s The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, so maybe it’s “time.” Why not.
CHASE: David, you’re being crazy. It’s Most Makeup unless you’re Dallas Buyers Club and famously only got a $50 makeup budget. It’s a two-horse race between Star Trek Beyond and Suicide Squad, and I can’t imagine that anyone would feel really good about voting for the latter.
SEAN: The make-up branch is notorious for looking at the work behind the make-up, movie quality be damned. I think Suicide Squad pulls a Norbit.
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
Mica Levi, Jackie
Justin Hurwitz, La La Land
Dustin O’Halloran & Hausckha, Lion
Nicholas Britell, Moonlight
Thomas Newman, Passengers
TYLER: [fights back the wave of bile building up inside…] La… [c’mon just two more syllables, you know it’s going to win, what’s the point in fighting…] La… [you can do it! think of the self-congratulations for being right! no matter that the rightness leaves you empty, like this score does. just do it…….] Land. [dies.]
Ok, that was the last one, right?
DAVID: Yeah, La La Land again. It’s the immovable object. But my personal pick would be Mica Levi’s incredible Jackie score, which I described once as “Hadyn scoring a horror film.” And can someone please tell me what Passengers is doing here? And explain why Johann Johannsson wasn’t eligible for Arrival?
CHASE: I think by now everyone understands that, while La La Land is going to win all of these awards, none of us really cared all that much for it. Still, if the musical doesn’t win for score then that’s a huge upset.
SEAN: La La… I’m so sick of typing that freaking title. JACKIE FOR THE WIN BECAUSE IT ACTUALLY DESERVES IT.
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land
“Can’t Stop The Feeling” from Trolls
“City of Stars” from La La Land
“The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go” from Moana
TYLER: NOOOOOOOOOOO. Nope, it’s all over here, this is the line in the sand. “City of Stars” is hardly even a damn song. It’s a verse with no payoff. It’s a giant tease. It’s putting two over the top musical numbers in your movie and then neglecting to put any more into the entire damned movie. It’s a barroom cover of fifty year old laments about the moonlight. It’s sung by two voices wholly incapable of singing in the key the song demands. It is, by every conventional measure other than Hollywood’s “IT’S A SONG ABOUT LOS ANGELES AND LOVE AND HOW GREAT WE ALL ARE OUT HERE” rubric, a bad song. I refuse to vote for it, despite it’s clear front-runner status. Just to spite it, and to spite Ryan Gosling’s voice, I’m voice “Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” because at least it properly utilizes Emma Stone’s voice. And isn’t from Trolls. Bravo, here’s your gold man.
DAVID: First, I need to rage for a second, too: HOW THE F–K DO YOU NOT NOMINATE SING STREET FOR ANYTHING? I’d replace Justin Timberlake and Sting (STING?!) with “Drive It Like You Stole It” and “Up” in a heartbeat. Absolutely infuriating. But it’s not here, and La La Land is likely to pick up another dumb win for the dumb “City of Stars”…unless. Unless the flagship Ryan “five-note range” Gosling ditty splits votes with the superior Emma “I’ll take my Oscar for this, thanks” Stone anthem “Audition,” leaving the door open for Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go,” and for Lin-Manuel Miranda to complete his EGOT. I’d cheer that.
CHASE: Hey, what do you know? Complete disagreement. Again, I think La La Land wins, but I’m taking the other song, “City of Stars.” The sad secret of La La Land is that neither of its stars can sing! Still, it’s more about the song than the singer here.
SEAN: Lin-Manuel Miranda completes his EGOT because it’s his year, he is an enormous talent, he’ll be part of a wave of POC winning the night, and I just can’t handle any more La La Land wins. If you’re placing bets though, go with the latter.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
La La Land
TYLER: The magnificent period settings of both Hail, Caesar! and Fantastic Beasts will go unnoticed. Arrival‘s airy, devastatingly cold spaceship will float over the proceedings just as so many other before it. Even frickin’ Passengers, which at least put together a somewhat impressive spaceship, will get the cold shoulder. La La Land‘s got it, walking away.
DAVID: Ugh, yeah. Fine. La La Land, again. But if you’re listening, Academy, the correct answer is Hail, Caesar!.
CHASE: Ugh, yeah. Fine. La La Land, again. But if you’re listening, Academy, the correct answer is Passengers (not really).
SEAN: Hail, Caesar!, but it’s totally the film that must no longer be named.
La La Land
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Thirteen Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
TYLER: While I think Arrival has a puncher’s chance at this Sound Editing, or even Hacksaw Ridge, I think La La Land wins it. [vomits] But for Mixing… No joke, I think La La Land deserves that one. Oh god who have I become?!
DAVID: I for one don’t think La La Land deserves Mixing, because the lyrics in those group numbers shouldn’t have been that hard to make out. But it’ll get it anyway, as musicals usually do, so I’ll throw Editing to the bang-bang viscera of Hacksaw Ridge, though I’d vastly prefer the original soundscape of Arrival.
CHASE: I’m joining David for the La La Land/Hacksaw Ridge mixing/editing split. War movies always do well in editing.
SEAN: Hacksaw takes both because the film that must not be named would just be too embarrassing, right? RIGHT!?
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
TYLER: La La Land… Wait… could it be?! Do I get to pick someone ELSE?! Can my lips form any other words? What is this strange world? Surely this must be some kind of mistake. Better to vote before The Academy realizes its grievous error. The Jungle Book, just edging out Kubo, which was a visual masterpiece, among other, worse things.
DAVID: I’ll pick The Jungle Book as well, in which everything was an effect but the kid — though I wouldn’t rule out any other entry except Deepwater Horizon. Rogue One is Star Wars, Kubo had the degree of difficulty, and Doctor Strange was a phantasmagoria. But The Jungle Book’s immersive sets and character work should win the day.
CHASE: Nothing wrong in picking The Jungle Book for all of those CGI animals, but I’m going to take Doctor Strange for it’s world-twisting, Inception-inspired visuals.
SEAN: The Jungle Book would be a worthy winner, but how great would it be if it went to Kubo and the Two Strings? A boy can dream.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Land of Mine (Denmark)
A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
The Salesman (Iran)
Toni Erdmann (Germany)
TYLER: The impending remake of Toni Erdmann, starring an “oh god this is either going to be amazing or colossally fail” Jack Nicholson, makes me rethink the pick I had penciled in here. Producers would undoubtedly love to talk up the Oscar pedigree of their remake that hasn’t even been shot yet. But I’m still sticking with the soppy, really quite charming, A Man Called Ove.
DAVID: Toni Erdmann was the perceived frontrunner until Hollywood learned that The Salesman director Asghar Farhadi, who won in 2012 for A Separation and at Cannes for this, would not be able to attend the ceremony after President Trump’s travel ban. Though that may no longer be the case, the story vaulted Farhadi’s (worthy) film to the level of “statement vote,” and with apologies to to the 162-minute German comedy of manners, that’s where it’ll stay.
CHASE: I think you guys are nuts. Neither of you want to take the obvious front-runner? Fine. I’ll take Toni Erdmann and thank you two for letting me pick up a point in the Oscar pool.
SEAN: As soon as Trump’s travel ban hit Farhadi became the immediate de facto winner. This award will be the most anticipated and glorious political moment of the night.
SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
La Femme et le TGV
SHORT FILM (DOCUMENTARY)
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets
DAVID: And finally, the dart-throwing portion of the program. I’ll take Pixar’s Piper, the lighthearted Timecode, and the exemplary The White Helmets for the topical vote. Good luck to the rest of you.
CHASE: As the person who actually saw all of the shorts I actually feel some pressure to get these right. The White Helmets is the obvious answer from the documentaries, but the other two categories are harder to pick. Pear Cider and Cigarettes is so ambitious that it’s hard not to pick. Plus, it’s the work of a single artist and not just something Pixar did in their spare time. As much as I loved Timecode i’m going to have to go with the masterful, tension-ratcheting work that is Ennemis Intérieurs for my live action pick.
TYLER: [blindfolds self, is handed darts…] Ennemis Intérieurs, Piper, The White Helmets.
SEAN: Piper, Timecode, and White Helmets because they were the last in each set of nominees. Why not!
Final tally: A bonkers ceremony left David in first place, with (only) 15 out of 24. Yikes. But yay, Moonlight!