Lincoln (#110 of 46)

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Production Design

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Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Production Design
Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Production Design

In 2010, we asked, “How do you solve a problem like Avatar? How do you hold a fluorescent, floating anemone in your hand? Well, you can't. Because it exists in hexadecimal code on a hard drive somewhere in Silicon (or is it Uncanny?) Valley.” So we threw our vote to Sherlock Holmes and shook our heads on Oscar night when James Cameron's Epcot Center diorama was awarded. The lesson? That Gravity, even though it's the Mission: SPACE to Avatar's more elaborately designed Universe of Energy: Ellen's Energy Adventure, shouldn't be too quickly discounted. Two years earlier, we thought the category would break toward Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood's Wild West City attraction only to see it (rightfully) lose to Tim Burton's Broadway-ed Dickens funhouse Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Meaning that the benefits of being a Best Picture frontrunner in this category are negligible. And so we put our money on Joe Wright's Anna Karenina last year only to see it toppled by the Lincoln Logs of Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. Meaning that being a politely revered or disliked Best Picture nominee is also negligible.

Review: The Glass Menagerie at the Booth Theatre

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Review: <em>The Glass Menagerie</em> at the Booth Theatre
Review: <em>The Glass Menagerie</em> at the Booth Theatre

It takes courage to bring the lights down on Amanda Wingfield. The deluded but powerful matriarch at the center of Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie is such a force that directors would be forgiven for bathing her in permanent spotlight, to allow Amanda's hysterical monologues to soar like ballads from a Broadway musical. But early in the first act, while Amanda holds court at the dinner table recounting her past, director John Tiffany slowly but conspicuously dims the lights around the table. This Glass Menagerie, imported to the Booth Theatre after its premiere at Boston's American Repertory Theater, refuses to cede the point of view to its most theatrical character, and the result is a production that gives her and her family more dignity than they may have experienced before.

Wingfield, of course, is the faded and abandoned Southern belle who dominates the dank apartment she inhabits with her adult son, Tom, and daughter, Laura. The plot, framed as a “memory play” by Tom, follows Amanda's vain attempt to find a suitor for Laura, who's been rendered weak and irredeemably shy by a long illness.

Oscar 2013 Composite Winner Predictions

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Oscar 2013 Composite Winner Predictions
Oscar 2013 Composite Winner Predictions

Below is a complete list of our predicted winners at the 2013 Academy Awards.

Picture: Argo
Director: Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Original Screenplay: Amour
Adapted Screenplay: Lincoln
Foreign Language: Amour
Documentary Feature: Searching for Sugar Man
Animated Feature Film: Wreck-It Ralph
Documentary Short: Open Heart
Animated Short: Head Over Heels
Live Action Short: Curfew
Film Editing: Argo
Production Design: Anna Karenina
Cinematography: Life of Pi
Costume Design: Anna Karenina
Makeup: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Score: Life of Pi
Song: “Skyfall,” Skyfall
Sound Editing: Life of Pi
Sound Mixing: Les Misérables
Visual Effects: Life of Pi

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Picture

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Picture
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Picture

Despite the hysteria, it may not be appropriate yet to call a time of death on the decades and decades' worth of precedent that will be shattered when Argo wins Best Picture despite very conspicuously not being nominated for its director, not having even remotely close to the year's highest nomination tally (it trails behind four other films), and not having even a halfway plausible shot at winning more than two other categories aside from this one. After all, there's still one tradition working in the movie's favor. It's going to win the all-important Oscar for Best Editing, some would say for how exhilaratingly it crosscuts between a grim interrogation at a Mehrabad Airport checkpoint, Walter White barking out commands in D.C., and Alan Arkin and John Goodman being humorously cockblocked from answering their telephone by archetypal union (i.e. guild) workers, whereas others would say for how ruthlessly it edits out any historical perspective that doesn't turn the Iranian populace into swarthy pod people.

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Editing

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Editing
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Editing

As you might have noticed from our previous Oscar posts, one of the hottest topics among we Slant prognosticators is just how many trophies Argo is capable of collecting. Certain races (like Adapted Screenplay) have stirred up debate, but we all agree that Picture and Editing are surely Argo's to lose, the latter thanks to the sharp, tension-mounting cuts of William Goldenberg, and, of course, that undying surge of support for “wronged” helmer Ben Affleck (natch, the film's ACE triumph doesn't hurt either). History has long proven that the Editing and Picture victor are often one and the same, and if there's anything normal about Argo's steady rise to the top, it's the probable furthering of that time-tested tradition. Of course, it's conceivable that Life of Pi's likely tech-awards mini-sweep could reach this category, too, yielding a win for Tim Squyres, the man who spliced together all those bioluminescent set pieces. Squyres has a stronger shot than, say, Michael Kahn, who's on par with all the other creatives who made Lincoln soar, but is also set to join them in the Corner of Ignored Subtlety. Silver Linings Playbook was an ACE winner as well, taking the top prize in the comedy/musical field, but like The Descendants, it's a knee-jerky, head-scratcher of a nominee. Our favorite? Oh, it's Goldenberg all right, but we prefer his ace (sorry) work on Zero Dark Thirty, which he also cut, along with Dylan Tichenor.

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing

It's at this point we had to ask ourselves, “Is Argo really going to end up a two-Oscar Best Picture winner?” Because while it seems almost certain to buck all sorts of precedent and take Best Picture, which of its six other nominations will be there to back it up? Honestly, the way things have been developing among the guild awards, the only nod that seems entirely out of reach is Alan Arkin's bid for supporting actor. We'll cover Best Editing in the next few days, but the movie still seems more of a spoiler than a frontrunner for original score and adapted screenplay*. In theory, that leaves Argo's two sound bids to prevent the movie from achieving a dubious feat not achieved since Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth. Some of us are going to hedge on our Oscar-pool ballots and give Argo one or both of them, but unless the topsy-turviness of the race infects every category, both it and Lincoln seem to lack the “bigness” this category seems to require.

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Director

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Director
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Director

After Argo collected nearly every major industry award in the lead-up to the Academy Awards, in the process emerging as this year's Best Picture frontrunner, it came as a shock to everyone to see Ben Affleck shut out of the running here given how often Best Director and Picture coincide. It's with some irony, then, that two filmmakers who've emerged as the main contenders in Affleck's absence are also among the very few previous winners here whose films were denied Best Picture trophies: Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg. But let's try to rid our minds of the deplorable notion that Spielberg and Lee are contending for an award that belongs to Affleck. Stripped of this context, an Affleck-less battle for Best Director has all the makings of otherwise good Oscar drama.

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Costume Design

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Costume Design
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Costume Design

Okay, so, this isn't a tough one exactly, but it bears mentioning that one of the two times we've gotten this category wrong was when we disregarded the almost always reliable frilliest-always-wins rule and allowed ourselves to be stupidly blinded by Keira Knightley's emerald green dress from Atonement. (Our only other faux pas—not calling it for The Artist last year—is perhaps more easily explained, as the Best Picture winner clearly benefited from every other nominee's ostentatious yards of silk drowning each other out.) Now, here we are calling it for more Knightley-donned couture by Jacqueline Durran, this time from Joe Wright's uneven but oft-deliciously unhinged Anna Karenina, whose four tech nods more than suggest that feelings for this most purple of cinematic adaptations of Leo Tolstoy's classic tome are more amorous than the Academy's regard for Anonymous, W.E., and Jane Eyre, each of which received their sole Oscar nominations in this category last year. If the showy grime of Hugo's Silent Film Era Street Urchin Collection couldn't seal the deal last year, as we thought it would, we have to rule out Les Misérables and Lincoln's infinitely grayer lines. Charlize Theron truly rocks Colleen Atwood's trannie-fierce gowns for Snow White and the Huntsman, but it's the other Snow White movie in the category, Tarsem's Mirror Mirror, that could steamroll over Anna Karenina, and not just because its costumes are as gorgeously elaborate, but also because they were designed by the deceased Eiko Ishioka, a previous Oscar winner for Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Will Win: Anna Karenina

Could Win: Mirror Mirror

Should Win: Anna Karenina

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Score

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Score
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Score

Typically, there's at least one Oscar-nominated score that stands out as unique, with memorable flourishes that push it ahead as the frontrunner (think Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's tech-heavy Social Network compositions, and Dario Marianelli's typewriter-clicky work for Atonement—two scores that sent their makers home with naked gold men). This year, though, there's no real shortlisted soundtrack that lingers firmly in the ear, give or take the occasional segment that bolsters a pivotal scene. Marianelli is back in the ring for his score for Anna Karenina, another Joe Wright confection that employs the composer's baroque talents. Matching Wright's stagey conceit with an almost circus-like aural melodrama, Marianelli is responsible for a good chunk of the film's intoxicating powers. But far more noteworthy are the lush costumes, sets, and lensing—arenas in which this remix of the Tolstoy classic are bound to fare better.

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Cinematography

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Cinematography
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Cinematography

Just as we'd expect from the Academy, there's no shortage of lushness on display in this year's nominees for Best Cinematography, ranging from Seamus McGarvey's dense visual palette for Joe Wright's Anna Karenina to Roger Deakins's colorful shadow plays for Skyfall. Both films boast stunning cinematographic depth and are brashly expressive enough to make them contenders, but Skyfall has the added benefit of Deakins's Randy Newman-like winless streak as a potential story for voters to latch onto. On the other hand, Robert Richardson's impeccable melding of naturalistic tones and the warmer oranges and reds of spaghetti westerns' past for Django Unchained might not play as well with voters who lean toward less subtle visions.