Oscars 2019 Predictions – Best Production Design, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography

In today’s look at the upcoming Academy Awards, we focus on three of the more prestigious technical categories: Best Production Design, Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography. The Best Film Editing category has historically provided a good indication of what will fare well in the Best Picture category.

89th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage

Best Production Design

Will win: The Favourite
Should win: The Favourite
Also nominated: Black Panther, First Man, Mary Poppins Returns, Roma

The world that Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton have created in The Favourite is deeply unpleasant (in the best possible way). It is dark, claustrophobic and disconcertingly eerie. Every corner holds secrets and all the walls have ears. It is the perfect realisation of Yorgos Lanthimos’ vision and would be a deserving winner in this category. The sprawling Wakandan paradise of Black Panther is its closest rival.

The Favourite PD

Dark and mysterious, the production design of The Favourite is the perfect realisation of director Yorgos Lanthomos’ vision.

Best Film Editing

Will win: Vice
Should win: Vice
Also nominated: BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book

A few years ago, Hank Corwin was robbed of his Academy Award when his editing for The Big Short was overlooked in favour of Mad Max: Fury Road. Three years later, he is back and nominated again for his work on another Adam McKay film. With Vice, much like The Big Short before it, the editing is fast, snappy and an integral part of the storytelling process. It moves the film along at a whirlwind pace and makes complicated themes and ideas easily digestible. This is no easy thing to do, and his Oscar will be fully deserved and long overdue.

Vice

The masterful editing of Vice is an integral part of the storytelling process.

Best Cinematography

Will win: Roma
Should win: Roma
Also nominated: Cold War, The Favourite, Never Look Away, A Star is Born

Alfonso Cuarón’s direction in Roma is noticeably understated. When the camera moves, it is with a calm and considered slowness, and shots can linger for minutes. The advantage of this, as Cuarón well knows, is that it gives the viewer ample opportunity to marvel in the beautiful black and white cinematography of the film. It is gorgeously shot, to the extent that each frame could well be a photograph. Cold War, which also happens to be shot in black and white, is probably the next-best film in this category, but it is in a quite distant second.

Roma Cinematography

Oscars 2019 Predictions – Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing

With the 91st Academy Awards now less than two weeks away, over the coming few days we will be taking a look at the films that have been nominated. The ceremony has already had its fair share of controversy and, for the first time in three decades, will be held without a host. However, the golden statuette has lost none of its prestige or reverence, and each category will be as hotly contested as ever.

89th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage

Best Sound Editing

Will win: A Quiet Place
Should win: A Quiet Place
Also nominated: Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man, Roma

As its title suggests, in first-time director John Krasinski’s debut it is silence that takes centre stage. Of course, whenever stillness is given so strong a focus, greater emphasis is always placed on what little sound does feature. Had any element been not quite right, had any note been off, the film would simply not have worked. Though the sound work on First Man and Bohemian Rhapsody will also be in close contention here, they are not as intrinsic to their films as the sparse, minimalist sound of A Quiet Place and therefore don’t quite reach the same heights.

A Quiet Place

In a film predicated on silence, it is the rare moments of sound which take the limelight.

Best Sound Mixing

Will win: A Star is Born
Should win: A Star is Born
Also nominated: Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man, Roma

There are numerous parallels that can be drawn between A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody. Perhaps the most obvious is that, in both, pivotal moments take place on the middle of a concert stage. Bohemian Rhapsody, quite understandably, allows Freddie Mercury’s vocals to soar above a roaring Wembley crowd in its final scenes, but what A Star is Born achieves is something far more difficult and new for cinema. When Lady Gaga blasts the bridge from Shallow, or when Bradley Cooper hits the searing opening guitar notes of Black Eyes, it is a completely immersive experience. Music performances on screen are not uncommon, but feeling that you are actually there in that moment is something few films have achieved before. Without detracting from the other nominees in the slightest (the sound editing in First Man is also worthy of note), there is only one rightful winner in this category.

A Star is Born (Sound) 2

The immersive sound editing of A Star is Born achieves something rarely seen (or heard) on screen before.