Film (#110 of 3146)

Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions Sound Editing

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Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Sound Editing

Lionsgate

Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Sound Editing

This is your annual reminder that Eric Henderson and I slap each other silly every year until one of us screams “Auntie Roo!” and accepts the degradation of writing about this category. Because there's only so many ways one can say that the average Academy member can't tell the difference between sound mixing and sound editing, but when they're caught between a show tune and so much sturm und drang, they know where to draw the line in the sand. Or, rather, there are enough techies in the Academy who can tell the difference between sound mixing and editing that a maelstrom like La La Land is unable to get by here simply on sheer force of will. And while we would like to think that enough of these techies will tilt the scales in favor of Arrival and its densely layered aural environment, history favors the most earth-shattering sounds here, however artificially they've been fabricated, and Hacksaw Ridge is the more predictable choice for anyone in the La La Land fan club with at least enough sense to not obligatorily check off the film's name in all of its 14 nominated categories.

Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions Original Screenplay

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Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay

Lionsgate

Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Original Screenplay

So far as La La Land's Oscar chances in each category are concerned, there are only three statuses to assign: all sewed up, highly probable, and Ryan Gosling. And one of the main reasons that the middle status even exists at all is because of this category, where writer-director Damien Chazelle's song-and-dance trifle seems most conspicuously out of its league. Not that that will ultimately hurt the film. If anything, the presence of four other highly defensible nominees probably improves La La Land's odds, at least enough to make us feel more willing to take a gamble in a category that has admittedly tripped us up more often than almost any other in the past.

Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions Actress

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Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Actress

Lionsgate

Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Actress

Those who've been paying especial attention to the bylines attached to these articles may have noticed that I've largely predicted the categories in which La La Land isn't nominated. For the conspiracy theorists among you, let me be clear: My complete and utter ambivalence toward Damien Chazelle's film necessitated that I hand over the reins of the categories in which it is nominated to Eric Henderson, or we would have risked our rolling Oscar prediction coverage rousing the level of excitement of a Jeb Bush rally. And to those who've been relishing the shade Eric has been throwing at La La Land, I apologize, because I will not be taking Emma Stone to the library today.

Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions Sound Mixing

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Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing

Lionsgate

Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing

No film has reached the current record for most Academy Awards won (11, at least for the next nine days) without also taking this award. Ben-Hur, Titanic, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King all won it. And La La Land will win it. Even if the film weren't part of the sort of Oscar tsunami we haven't really seen much of in the last few decades, Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee, and Steve A. Morrow could've begun memorizing their acceptance speech the moment the nominations were announced. The category is littered with nominations for, as Ed quoted me as saying, “I gotta watch this now?!” movies both somehow inexplicably respectable (Hacksaw Ridge) and not (Template One: A Star Wars Simulacrum and 13 Hours: The Amount of Time Trump Voters Spent Typing the Word 'E-Mails' in Comment Sections Every Day in 2016). And, as we've correctly argued time and time again, musicals have a gam up in sound mixing, even when the musicals take such perpendicular form as in Ray or Whiplash. Only if voters start feeling a tinge of buyer's remorse this far down the ballot does Arrival have an outside chance, but we'd sooner expect real-life space squids to squirt us with circular Sanskrit.

Berlinale 2017: On the Beach at Night Alone Review

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Berlinale 2017: On the Beach at Night Alone Review

Berlinale

Berlinale 2017: On the Beach at Night Alone Review

A melancholy air blows through every haunted frame of Hong Sang-soo's On the Beach at Night Alone, and it's a feeling wholly appropriate to evoking the headspace of its main character, Young-hee (Kim Min-hee). A former actress currently taking a professional break after an affair with a married filmmaker ended badly, Young-hee is seen in the film's first part wandering around Hamburg with an older friend, Jee-young (Seo Young-hwa), talking about their romantic desires and regrets with remarkable frankness. And the second part sees Young-hee meeting with various friends back in her home city of Gangneung, in a series of scenes which reveal the character's volatile mix of burning resentment and brutal self-awareness.

Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions Production Design

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Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Production Design

Lionsgate

Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Production Design

We're at that point in our rolling Oscar prediction coverage when fatigue inevitably turns to exasperation. It certainly doesn't help that the near-clean sweep that La La Land looks to achieve on Oscar night is difficult to have to rationalize in one tech category after another without beating a dead horse. It's why, two days ago, Eric Henderson tried to get away with a two-line assessment of the best editing race that consisted of an obscure reference to an interlude from Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation that prominently features the word “edit” in it (a remnant of said reference remains in yesterday's published piece). It's also why I wanted to roll with nothing more than “LOL, La La Land” for today's column. But that would've been as lazy as the likely outcome of this race. As such, see below for a still from Hail, Caesar!

Berlinale 2017: The Other Side of Hope Review

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Berlinale 2017: The Other Side of Hope Review

Berlinale

Berlinale 2017: The Other Side of Hope Review

The elaborate visual gags. The sharply ironic one-liners. The astutely poised compositions. The willfully undemonstrative acting. Those have been the familiar signposts of Aki Kaurismäki's style since the Finnish auteur burst onto the world-cinema scene in the 1980s. And if his latest, The Other Side of Hope, feels as fresh as it does, it's because of the memorable set pieces, gags (like a restaurant employee wiping what turns out to be a nonexistent window), and grace notes that spring forth from within the confines of a familiar aesthetic template. The wry and wistful are intertwined throughout the film, as in a scene where a Syrian asylum seeker says, “I don't understand humor,” when a fake-ID creator asks him if he's a man or a woman.

Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions Editing

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Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Editing

Lionsgate

Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Editing

We could do this as fast as Janet Jackson saying “Edit” by swiftly calling another La La Land win. Which, to be clear, we are because it will. Just not in anything resembling a walk. In the not-too-distant past, the film that won best picture would traditionally also win this category, with nearly the same hit-to-miss ratio as best director. But these aren't your father's tech categories anymore, thanks to the growing schism between yesterday's tradition-of-quality filmmaking and today's prestige-blockbuster product: Spotlight versus Mad Max: Fury Road; 12 Years a Slave versus Gravity; No Country for Old Men versus The Bourne Ultimatum. The picture-editing correlation only happened once in the last six Oscar ceremonies, and arguably residual sympathy for Argo's Ben Affleck not getting a nomination for best director could have been a factor in that film's triumph over Life of Pi.

Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions Supporting Actor

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Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actor

A24

Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Supporting Actor

Back in December, around the time that the New York Film Critics Circle awarded its supporting actor prize to Moonlight's Mahershala Ali, I had a conversation with a fellow member of the group that's nagged at me ever since. It began with a question: Why Ali and not Trevante Rhodes? Critics seemed to be struggling to figure out how to reward all of Moonlight's fine male performances, and they didn't know what category Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, and Alex Hibbert belonged in. There was a sense that it was easiest to honor Ali because his character, Juan, like Janelle Monáe's Teresa, has the closest thing to a constant in the life of Little, the boy who would become Chiron, the teenager who would become Black. I made a comparison to Patricia Arquette and what her character represents in Boyhood, and my colleague saw Ali performing a hat trick all the way to the Oscar stage.

Berlinale 2017: Call Me by Your Name Review

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Berlinale 2017: Call Me by Your Name Review

Sony Pictures Classics

Berlinale 2017: Call Me by Your Name Review

Those put off by the aesthetic flashiness of Luca Guadagnino's prior two features, I Am Love and A Bigger Splash, may be surprised by Call Me by Your Name's relative stylistic restraint. The film, based on a 2007 novel of the same name by André Aciman, traces the maturation of Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), but the story's coming-of-age arc is so delicately rendered that audiences may not even realize the growth Elio has made until they've had time to reflect on his behavior after the credits have rolled.

Romantic desire, both acted-on or sublimated through gestures, was the subject of I Am Love and A Bigger Splash, one that Guadagnino reflected through his impulsive filmmaking style. The roving camerawork, the lurid colors, and the operatic soundtracks all served to viscerally evoke passion, so much so that the characters at times barely needed to say any words to each other for us to grasp how they felt at any given moment.