Technically Speaking... Awards Below the Line

Austin Dale

Austin Dale assesses the best of the techs today on Statuesque.

I'm sure every talented artisan in the technical categories was relieved when Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby was pushed back to Summer 2013, because if the glorious new trailer is anything to go by, it will score in every single technical category. Since, these categories have opened up, we have a very interesting year. Even though the Oscar nominations haven't been announced yet, here are our Technical Category predictions.


Last year, The Tree of Life shut this competition down in the first seconds of its Cannes premiere. This time around, the competition is a lot more interesting. First of all, technology is changing fast, and voters are likely to start change their tune about film and digital. In any other year, The Master, with its brave and forceful defense of celluloid and its 70mm prints, would be the frontrunner. (On a visual level, it is a stunning and consistently surprising package of images.) However, it doesn't seem likely up against Ang Lee's Life of Pi, a CGI fantasia, or Skyfall, this year's big surprise in this category.

Will win: Roger Deakins, Skyfall

Should win: Mihai Malaimare Jr, The Master

Overlooked: Robbie Ryan, Wuthering Heights

If it's nominated, I'll be furious: Wally Pfister, The Dark Night Rises

Costume Design

Anna Karenina could have this one in the bag. Though the film itself fell short of expectations - especially for poor Keira Knightley, who has worked so tirelessly to promote her admirable work - this is the year's marquee costume drama, and I'll be disappointed if Les Miserables adds this category to its expected count. Voters will probably want to recognize the avant-garde designer Eiko Ishioka, who passed away this year after her career-defining work on Mirror Mirror, so don't be surprised if that terrible film gets the highly deserved Norbit nod.

Will win: Paco Delgado, Les Miserables

Should win: Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina

Overlooked: Steven Noble, Wuthering Heights

If it's nominated, I'll be furious: Kym Barrett & Pierre-Yves Gayraud, Cloud Atlas


Michael Kahn is among the most recognized editors in Hollywood history, and his work on Lincoln is an example of towering excellence in the field. However, with three Oscars behind him, is he really a threat against William Goldenberg, editor of Argo? He's never had an Oscar win despite years of exemplary work and two nominations.

Will win: William Goldenberg, Argo

Should win: William Goldenberg, Argo

Overlooked: Bob Ducsay, Looper

If it's nominated, I'll be furious: Lee Smith, The Dark Knight Rises

Production Design

We predict another wide-margin win for Anna Karenina here. If there's one thing people leave Anna Karenina talking about, it's the film's bold and unexpectedly cinematic visual concept. In order for that unbelievable task to have worked out so well, it required seamless production design that caught your attention but never took away from Tolstoy's drama. No other film comes close.

Will win: Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer, Anna Karenina

Should win: Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer, Anna Karenina

Overlooked: Arthur Max and Sonja Klaus, Prometheus

If it's nominated, I'll be furious: Nathan Crowley, Kevin Kavanaugh, and Paki Smith The Dark Knight Rises

Visual Effects

Life of Pi is a richly deserving winner in this category. This year's other contenders - Snow White and the Huntsman,The Avengers, The Hobbit etc. - all used groundbreaking and efficient technology to make the action eye-catching and realistic, but for what? Life of Pi asserted its technical bravado for an emotional response, and I doubt anyone will sit through its soon-to-be-legendary celestial dream sequence and wish for another explosion.

Will win: Life of Pi

Should win: Life of Pi

Overlooked: None

If it's nominated, I'll be furious: The Amazing Spider-Man

Make-Up and Costume Design

This category has announced just seven finalists for three nominations, making this category extremely hard to predict. All seven finalists - The Hobbit, Lincoln, Les Miserables, Looper, Hitchcock, Snow White and the Huntsman and even Men In Black, (which I'd sooner eat glass than sit through) show great technical skill. Sadly, I can't imagine that Looper will make the cut, even though Joseph Gordon-Levitt's prosthetics were so subtle but effective, but I hope it and Hitchcock end up in competition. Hopkins' uncanny drag was the best thing about it.

Will win: Lincoln

Should win: Looper or Hitchcock

Overlooked: None

If it's nominated, I'll be furious: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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