Oscar Blitz 2: Sight

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Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.

—William Butler Yeats

Previously on the Oscar Blitz, I looked at what we hear at the movies. For Valentine’s Day, I take on what we see.

Of the nominees below, the only films I haven’t seen are Kong: Skull Island and Wonder. I don’t really have an interest in either one and don’t think they are likely to win, but please feel free to indicate what you think of their look and/or their chances in the comments.

With that said, let’s examine the technical categories involved in making a movie look and feel “right”—of its time and place, accurate for its context, or simply really, really cool.

The nominees are…

Best Cinematography
Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049
Bruno Delbonnel for Darkest Hour
Hoyte van Hoytema for Dunkirk
Rachel Morrison for Mudbound
Dan Laustsen for The Shape of Water

As I said in my Oscar nominations post, this is one category that the Oscars got right. This is a great list and I could make an argument for any of these films winning. To start with, the cinematography of Blade Runner 2049 was absolutely stunning. Even critics that didn’t like the movie pretty much agree with that assessment. The Darkest Hour had me wondering how much they storyboarded it because there were so many interesting and creative framing choices throughout. I found the “air” scenes in Dunkirk to be extraordinary in IMAX and I applaud the technical ambition of it, but I actually would have preferred a wider image for the rest. The entirety of Mudbound looked like a living, breathing Wyeth painting. Gorgeous light. This is the type of movie that would have been a shoe-in in this category fifteen or twenty years ago. The Shape of Water is probably the least impressive to me. I saw someone on Twitter call the movie mediocre Jean-Pierre Jeunet and, yeah, that’s about right.

One quirk of this particular list of cinematographers is that no matter who wins it will be for the first time—love that. Roger Deakins is a long-time favorite and fourteen-time nominee who is basically known for never winning. Bruno Delbonnel has been nominated five times in this category including for Amélie and Inside Llewyn Davis. Hoyte van Hoytema, Dan Laustsen, and Rachel Morrison are first-time nominees (except for Morrison, whose win would be the first win by a woman in this category, that probably works against them). The bookmakers heavily favor Blade Runner 2049, with Dunkirk next in line.

Will Win: Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049

Should Win: Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049

Should Have Been Nominated: Andrew Droz Palermo for A Ghost Story. From a story perspective, this was a hard movie to make work visually—and to further complicate things, it is shot in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. But it works beautifully. This is one of the few categories I even see one of my favorite movies of 2017 fitting in. And since, per my own rules, I have to replace something on this list to do so, I’d replace The Shape of Water.

Best Production Design
Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer, Beauty and the Beast
Dennis Gassner and Alessandra Querzola, Blade Runner 2049
Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer, Darkest Hour
Nathan Crowley and Gary Fettis, Dunkirk
Paul Denham Austerberry, Jeff Melvin, and Shane Vieau, The Shape of Water

Production design rewards the art direction and set decoration, which is why there are usually at least two people for each film nominated. In general, this category rewards films with stunning interiors, often period dramas, or sometimes fantasy films with elaborate sets. However, the last two winners have been Mad Max: Fury Road and La La Land, so who the hell knows anymore.

Including both nominations here, Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer have been nominated six times, mostly for their work with Joe Wright, the director of Darkest Hour. Dennis Gassner also has six nominations to his credit; Alessandra Querzola is a first-time nominee. Nathan Crowley and Gary Fettis have each been nominated four times, but for different films. Paul Denham Austerberry, Jeff Melvin, and Shane Vieau are all first-time nominees.

I really don’t love this list. Beauty and the Beast just looked cheesy and fake to me. Blade Runner 2049 seemed a little inconsistent in this regard. Darkest Hour was believable but a bit dull, while I don’t even see how Dunkirk gets on here, except due to the fact that Crowley and Fettis both have great reputations and have been nominated separately multiple times before. The Shape of Water does not deserve thirteen nominations, but this is one of the few awards I would give it, and it is justifiably favored here, with Blade Runner 2049 running a close-ish second.

Will Win: The Shape of Water

Should Win: The Shape of Water

Should Have Been Nominated: Their Finest. I mean, if you are going to nominate a period film about Dunkirk, why not this one, where there were actually sets within sets! To replace Dunkirk, obviously.

Best Costume Design
Jacqueline Durran, Beauty and the Beast
Jacqueline Durran, Darkest Hour
Mark Bridges, Phantom Thread
Luis Sequeira, The Shape of Water
Consolata Boyle, Victoria & Abdul

As was the case with Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer above, including both nominations here, Jacqueline Durran has been nominated six times, mostly for her work with Joe Wright. This is the third nomination for both Consolata Boyle and Mark Bridges. Luis Sequeira is a first-time nominee.

Beyond Phantom Thread, which is heavily favored to win, this is another list that I don’t love, but looking at the 2017 movies I’ve seen, there are not many other obvious choices out there. I’m surprised something like The Greatest Showman or Murder on the Orient Express isn’t here, but I haven’t seen either of them so I can’t really speak to those absences. I just didn’t watch any of these films and think “Great costumes!” Sure, the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast had incredible ball gowns, but the rest was sort of meh. [Side note: That movie did not have one scene that elevated it above the original animated version, so I’d be a bit bummed if it got any Oscar validation. Let it be content with simply earning a bajillion dollars.]

Will Win: Phantom Thread

Should Win: Phantom Thread

Should Have Been Nominated: [Insert your egregious snub here]

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Kazuhiro Tsuji, Darkest Hour
Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard, Victoria & Abdul
Arjen Tuiten, Wonder

I know there is some reason this category only ever has three nominations but I always forget what it is. Still it annoys me every year. What annoys me more is that I can never quite figure out how these films get chosen. I mean, I just watched Victoria & Abdul and I still don’t get why it’s here. [Side note: That movie was funnier than it had any right to be. It is not the staid period drama you might expect.] Of course, it doesn’t really matter because Darkest Hour is apparently a sure thing since Gary Oldman is practically unrecognizable as Churchill. Kazuhiro Tsuji is the only one of these nominees who has previously been nominated and all of them would be first-time winners. That’s about as exciting as this category gets for me.

Will Win: Darkest Hour

Should Win: Darkest Hour

Should Have Been Nominated: Two more films?

Best Visual Effects
Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

I’m generally not super interested in the Visual Effects category, though for once I’ve seen almost all the films. Still, this one is hard for me to pick since I really have no idea what “best visual effects” actually means. Coolest tricks? Most seamless? I just don’t know. Even the oddsmakers are split here, with two going for Blade Runner 2049 and one going for War for the Planet of the Apes. If you’d like to try to judge for yourself, watch the video mash-up of all the nominees located above.

Will Win: Blade Runner 2049. Apes may be “together strong” but I think the momentum behind Roger Deakins in Cinematography will somehow carry over to this category.

Should Win: War for the Planet of the Apes. I would probably vote for War in order to recognize the whole trilogy as well as the fact that this one had the fewest human scenes and therefore the most motion-capture work.

Should Have Been Nominated: Thor: Ragnarok and Wonder Woman. If only because I don’t think Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 or Kong: Skull Island were very good, and if we are doomed to have this type of film fill out this category I’d rather have ones I liked more.

Which artists and films would you like to see take home one of these golden boys?

2018 Oscar Series
Oscar Nominations: 90 Degree Angle
Oscar Nominations: Breakfast of Champions
Oscar Blitz 1: Sound

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Opera 101—The Gondoliers Redux

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In enterprise of martial kind,
When there was any fighting,
He led his regiment from behind —
He found it less exciting.
But when away his regiment ran,
His place was at the fore, O —
That celebrated,
Cultivated,
Underrated
Nobleman,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro!
—“In enterprise of martial kind,” The Gondoliers

 

Search in and out and round about,
And you’ll discover never
A tale so free from every doubt —
All probable, possible shadow of doubt —
All possible doubt whatever
—“I stole the Prince” The Gondoliers

 

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Michael Desnoyers as Marco and Samuel Rabinowitz as Giuseppe in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers. Photo by David Allen.

After what seemed a whirlwind week of social activity—including multiple outings to the Noir City festival at the Castro Theatre, hearing the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Gautier Capuçon at Davies Symphony Hall,* and attending the San Francisco Ballet—I was somewhat worried I wouldn’t have the energy for yet another one. And on Super Bowl Sunday no less! However, I should never have doubted that the seemingly boundless energy of my faithful Lamplighters would boost me up (no possible doubt whatever). Of course, my delicious brunch ahead of time at Trace also contributed to my excellent mood. [Side note: le croque-madame est à tomber!]

It also helped that the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta I was seeing was The Gondoliers, which is swiftly becoming one of my favorites. For this isn’t the first time I have seen the Lamplighters perform this piece, I also saw their 2012 production and you can see my summary of the topsy-turvy plot here.

While the cast for that production was fantastic, I think this one was even better. Familiar faces included Amy Foote and Charles Martin, who returned in their respective roles of Gianetta and the Grand Inquisitor. Michael Desnoyers was also a returning player from the 2012 cast, although this time as Marco, one of the gondoliers in question, rather than Luiz, the Duke of Plaza-Toro’s attendant. Speaking of the Duke of Plaza-Toro, that role was filled by long-time favorite F. Lawrence Ewing, who I have seen previously in H.M.S. Pinafore, The Mikado, and twice in The Yeoman of the Guard. Patricia Westley, last seen as Elsie Maynard in Yeomen, played the Duke’s daughter, Casilda. I don’t remember this character making very much of an impression on me last time, but Westley really shone in the role, as did Cary Ann Rosko as her mother and Patrick Hagen as Luiz, her secret beau. Samuel Rabinowitz, who played Giuseppe, is not someone I’ve seen before, but he was a great match for his “brother from another mother” Marco. Finally, I was rather impressed with two newcomers to the Lamplighters stage: Whitney Steele, who played Tessa, and Dian S. Meechai, who played Giulia. I look forward to seeing them again.

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F. Lawrence Ewing and Cary Ann Rosko as the Duke and Duchess of Plaza Toro (left) and Patricia Westley as Casilda (right). Photo by David Allen.

And really, I think that is the great lesson from this production. I need to make more of an effort to get out and see the Lamplighters and maybe even subscribe again to the next season or two.

Note: The Gondoliers is the Lamplighters’ second production of the 2017–2018 season. They will close out the season with a singalong Iolanthe in March.


*You may remember that the last (and first!) time I heard Capuçon play I did not love the piece selected. This time around, he was part of an all-around excellent program including Debussy’s Petite Suite, Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major, and Stravinsky’s The Firebird.

Ballet 101—Sleeping Beauty

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The christening scene from the prologue of San Francisco Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Chris Hardy.

Tchaikovsky, The Sleeping Beauty (1890)
Based on: La Belle au bois dormant, a fairy tale by Charles Perrault
Notable Cultural Reference: Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Setting: Russia in the 17th and 18th centuries

Plot in 101 words or less: At Aurora’s christening the uninvited Fairy of Darkness brings the weirdest present ever and Glinda the Good (aka the Lilac Fairy) finds herself in damage control mode. Flash forward to Aurora’s sweet sixteen and four rose-bearing suitors. In a surprising twist, the most dangerous prick turns out to be from a spindle—not thorns—and everybody settles down for a long winter’s nap. Flash forward again 100 years to Prince Desiré’s forest hunting expedition where Glinda, who I guess has just been chillin’ all this time, leads him to the sleeping Aurora. Every kiss begins with ‘kay. Wedding bells.

Memorable Choreography: Grand pas d’action: Grand adage à la rose, aka the Rose Adagio

Two princes? That’s nothing. The princes of Mongolia, Siberia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan make their case. Photo by Erik Tomasson.

Last weekend, I went with La Chinoise to the first program of the San Francisco Ballet’s 2018 season. It seems like I have been waiting forever for them to do Sleeping Beauty—and I basically have, since they have not produced this Tchaikovsky classic since 2007, just before I moved here. I know I have ranted about this before, but I will never understand why this company performs such a limited number of full-length story ballets: Not only do they generally max out at three per season, but they seem to only program new ballets I have little interest in or endless repetitions of Swan Lake, Giselle, and Romeo & Juliet.

Actually, there is no “seems” about it. As far as I can tell, of the twenty-eight times they have programmed full-length classics* in the last fourteen seasons (2005–2018), half have been one of these three staples. After these three, Cinderella, Don Quixote, and Onegin have each been programmed three times (which, okay, I don’t love the choreography of either of the first two, but they are beautiful-looking productions at least—and I really love Onegin). Shocked that I haven’t mentioned Coppélia yet? Me too, but that ballet, like Sleeping Beauty, has only been programmed twice in all that time. What is even more surprising, given the above, they have actually programmed Sylvia once, way back in 2006. Wish I had been here for that one. [Side note: I almost missed getting tickets for Sleeping Beauty because I had essentially given up on following the San Francisco Ballet’s programming; however, while in New England over the holidays I attended Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker for a change and that made me check the schedule. A Christmas miracle!]

The Fairy of Darkness captures so well how I feel when I think about my limited story ballet options in San Francisco. Photo by Erik Tomasson.

Sorry, I just had to get that out there. I mean who wouldn’t want to see San Francisco Ballet take on stories like La Bayadère (Indian dancers!), Le Corsaire (pirates!), or La Dame aux Camélias (Manon and La traviata in one!)?

After all, if the glorious Sleeping Beauty is any indication, they would be fabulous. Because, folks, this production was beautiful.

Of course, the story of Sleeping Beauty lends itself to high production values, but another key feature of the ballet is that it provides for numerous smaller solos so that, if a company has any depth, it can really shine. And shine San Francisco Ballet did. I didn’t even see any of my favorite principals and I still loved it. God I hope they bring this back next year.

The Lilac Fairy is just one of eleven fairies who appear in Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Erik Tomasson.

One reason I love Sleeping Beauty so much and have been anticipating it for so long is the music (and here I’d like to give a shoutout to Natalie Parker on clarinet). While not as showy as Swan Lake, it is more consistent, and lends itself to dancing with the simple, clean lines of classical technique. Plus, the tone painting in this work is extraordinary, especially in the fairy-tale dances at the wedding—the Pas de caractère for Puss in Boots and the White Cat as well as the Bluebird Pas de deux. In fact, I think the only thing I fault this production for is not including the Pas de caractère with Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf. I feel like there should have been at least one more set of fairy-tale characters rather than more variations with the same two.

An odd but delightful guest at the wedding. Photo by Erik Tomasson.

Speaking of Act III, La Chinoise and I were slightly baffled by the set design and how we seemed to move from a Russian palace to the court of Versailles. Had we read the program notes beforehand, we might have been less confused since they explain that the change reflects the hundred-year shift and the fact that in that time the Imperial court moved “from Byzantine manners and fashion… to the influence of European styles and cultures.” Makes sense to me, especially given the nod to Charles Perrault’s other fairy tales in this final act.

Prince Desiré and Aurora at their wedding. Photo by Erik Tomasson.

Sleeping Beauty has ended its run at the War Memorial Opera House; however, I’m sincerely hoping they will repeat this beautiful production next season.


*The primary full-length story ballets that use classical music are as follows: La Bayadère, Cinderella, Coppélia, Le Corsaire, La Dame aux Camélias, Don Quixote, La Fille mal gardée, Giselle, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Nutcracker, Onegin, Raymonda, Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, La Source, Swan Lake, La Sylphide, and Sylvia. I did not include The Nutcracker in my counts since it is performed every December before the official start of the season.

Oscar Nominations: Breakfast of Champions

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And the nominees for Best Breakfast are…

As I started to watch the last of the Best Picture nominees that I hadn’t yet seen (The Post), I made a startling realization: All of this year’s nominees feature breakfast scenes and/or breakfast foods. Perhaps this is par for the course with Oscar nominees and I’ve just never noticed it before. Still, it struck me forcefully as I watched Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep have a breakfast meeting over coffee and (sadly) empty plates and I found myself thinking of all the delicious breakfast food I had seen recently, notably Winston Churchill’s daily breakfast of bacon and eggs, scotch and soda, and white wine (!) in Darkest Hour and Reynolds Woodcock’s ridiculously long and specific breakfast order in Phantom Thread, which included Welsh rarebit, poached eggs, scones, and sausages, among other things. Of course, then I got swept up in all the Pentagon Papers drama and thankfully stopped thinking about it for the rest of the film.

After exiting the theater, I ran my mind through the remaining nominees and, sure enough, breakfast food, especially eggs, are everywhere. Call Me By Your Name features soft-boiled eggs, apricot juice, and, of course, peaches. Dunkirk has mugs of tea with bread and jam. Get Out has its infamous Fruit Loops and milk scene. Lady Bird fights with her mother about cooking eggs while her newly vegan brother and his girlfriend make sure to note they are using soy milk on their cereal. Elisa in The Shape of Water makes hard-boiled eggs every morning and uses her egg timer to… well… time other things. Even Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri manages to get in a minor breakfast food fight.

And, just like that, an Oscar night menu was born.

Breakfast of Champions

Beverages
The Oliver and Elio
(apricot nectar and prosecco)
The Dunkirk, aka Blood and Sand
(scotch, Cherry Heering, sweet vermouth, orange juice)
The Post
(Vietnamese coffee)
The Cyril
(English Breakfast tea)

Main Menu
Welsh Rarebit
Eggs Three Ways
Bacon
Sausages
Toast à la Alma
Bread and Jam
Scones and Clotted Cream

Desserts
The Elio and Oliver
(peaches with homemade yogurt)
Sugar Shock and Outrage
(Rice Krispies Treats and Fruit Loops Marshmallow Bars)

May the best breakfast (and film) win!

Oscar Blitz 1: Sound

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Since there is so much overlap among the feature film categories in this year’s Oscar nominations, and I’ve already seen most of the major films under consideration, I am trying to make more of an effort this year to actually see all the nominees in each category before posting my reactions and predictions. I have divided the twenty-four categories into five groups (sight, sound, stars, stories, and shorts) and will be posting my thoughts as well as bookmaker odds each week or so as I get through them. As always, if I suggest a person or film that should have been nominated instead of one of the nominees, I will state who I would replace on the list.

As I try to fill in the last few remaining spots on my Oscar dance card, it looks like the first set of categories I’ve completed has to do with sound. So, let’s check in on the score, song, and sound categories, shall we?

The nominees are…

Best Original Score
Hans Zimmer for Dunkirk
Jonny Greenwood for Phantom Thread
Alexandre Desplat for The Shape of Water
John Williams for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Carter Burwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I have to say I don’t think it was a great year for scores. Of course, I often don’t notice the score in a film so I am perhaps not the best one to ask. Still, of the six movies where I thought about the quality of the score while watching, three are on this list. That is not necessarily a good thing, I thought about Dunkirk‘s score mostly because it was so overbearing and Blade Runner 2049‘s score, also by Zimmer, just reminded me of it. The other four scores I actually liked and thought added to their respective films were Greenwood’s and Burwell’s work, recognized here, as well as Daniel Hart’s score for A Ghost Story and Michael Giacchino’s score for War for the Planet of the Apes.

If you want to get a flavor of each nominated score, watch this video:

As for predictions, score is a category where people seem to vote based on the nominated people despite their names not being on the ballot (as far as I know), so you do have to take careers as well as other nominations and wins into account in any choices you make for your Oscar pool. Of the nominees, John Williams has been nominated for an Oscar fifty-one times and won five, Hans Zimmer has been nominated eleven times and won once, Alexandre Desplat has been nominated nine times and won once, Carter Burwell has been nominated once, and Jonny Greenwood is a first-time nominee.

Will Win: Alexandre Desplat for The Shape of Water. The odds-on favorite in this category right now is The Shape of Water. It is hard to know how accurate that prediction will be. I think for the moment it may be due to the sheer number of nominations for the film. Playing against an actual win is the fact that Desplat recently won for Grand Budapest Hotel. If The Shape of Water doesn’t win, I think this Oscar may go to Hans Zimmer for Dunkirk. Dunkirk is a love it or hate it score, but even I have to admit it was fairly creative. Normally, I might say Carter Burwell’s tremendous body of work (notably with the Coen brothers) and lack of nominations would be an asset here, but I think that the controversial nature of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri may preclude him from winning.

Should Win: Jonny Greenwood for Phantom Thread. In my opinion, this is the best score of the five by far. The odds are not in its favor right now, but Greenwood has been shut out from this category before on a technicality regarding pre-existing music and that may work in his favor. Also, many people are just now seeing this film since I don’t think they sent out screeners. My next favorite score is Carter Burwell’s western-flavored score for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. If you are a long-time reader, you may remember I adored his opening theme for Carol.

Should Have Been Nominated: Daniel Hart for A Ghost Story. This is one of my favorite movies from last year and it is a crime it wasn’t nominated for anything. Of course, I must admit that, by its very nature, it doesn’t fit well into many of the traditional Oscar categories; however, music is one that seemed a no-brainer to me. Who should Hart replace? Well, I really think John Williams should be satisfied with only fifty nominations.

I do love a well-placed cello:

Best Original Song
“Mighty River,” Mudbound
“Mystery of Love,” Call Me By Your Name
“Remember Me,” Coco
“Stand Up For Something,” Marshall
“This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman

I am on record multiple times stating that I wish they would do away with this farce of a category altogether, especially the performance numbers during the ceremony, but I include it here for completion’s sake (even though I haven’t seen all these films). Two of the nominees here would produce a second Oscar for their songwriters: “Remember Me” being from the writers of “Let It Go” from Frozen and “This Is Me” being from the authors of last year’s “City of Stars” from La La Land. “Stand Up for Something” is by the team of Diane Warren (nine nominations without a win) and Common (one nomination and win for “Glory” from Selma). Mary J. Blige and Sufjan Stevens are first-time nominees.

Will Win: “Remember Me” from Coco. When in doubt, go with Disney.

Should Win: “Mystery of Love” from Call Me By Your Name. Despite not liking either Sufjan Stevens or Call Me By Your Name very much, I thought “Mystery of Love” fit very well with the film.

Should Have Been Nominated: Honestly, once I learned that “I Get Overwhelmed” from A Ghost Story couldn’t be nominated because of a technicality, I stopped caring about this category.

Best Sound Editing
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The two sound categories seem to confuse people a bit, so let me give you a tip: Think “E” for Effects to distinguish them. Of course, sound editing is more than just sound effects, it actually means assembling and/or creating all the sound elements you hear on screen (dialogue, incidental sounds, sound effects, etc.), but you get the idea. Sometimes the two sound categories overlap, as they do this year but, as general rule, the films in the Sound Editing category are usually more effects-driven than other films.

Will Win/Should Win: Dunkirk. As much as I hated the mixing of this film (see below), I think the effects work does deserve to be rewarded. Apparently, so does everyone else. Dunkirk is a heavy favorite over the next in line, Baby Driver.

Should Have Been Nominated: Darkest Hour. I’m no expert to be sure, but I thought Darkest Hour had some very creative sound work. At least, it is the only film besides Dunkirk where I really thought about the sound as I was watching, and so I thought it might sneak in here. I also thought that this might be one spot where Wonder Woman picked up a nomination. I could see replacing any of the above nominees except Dunkirk with either of these films.

Best Sound Mixing
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

If the “E” in Sound Editing should make you think of “Effects” then the “M” in Sound Mixing should make you think of “Melody” or “Music,” that is, various sounds coming together in a satisfying way. Sound Mixing means balancing all the sound elements assembled for the film by the sound editor along with the score. In essence, the sound mixer decides what and how much of each element the audience hears in the overall soundscape of a film. As Sound Editing nominations are often effects driven, the Sound Mixing category often contains musicals. Some directors are notorious for their difficult-to-understand dialogue and setting levels badly (*cough* Nolan *cough*) and really should not find themselves here.

Will Win: Dunkirk. I just can’t believe this assault on my ears could be rewarded by the academy but I guess life is just not fair.

Should Win: Anything but Dunkirk, but my vote would probably go to Baby Driver for the incredible sound synchronization work done in the film.

Should Have Been Nominated: Anything but Dunkirk. I would have liked to see Darkest Hour or War for the Planet of the Apes here. In fact, I really thought the final installment of the Apes trilogy would be more rewarded by the Academy (it only received one nomination for Visual Effects) as I thought the overall craftsmanship on display throughout the trilogy was extraordinarily high.

Which soundscapes would you like to see take home one of these golden boys?