The short film categories are some of the hardest to predict. These films don’t receive traditional Oscar campaigns, which would act to suss out front-runners. In lieu of that, one must look at general trends, distributors, aesthetic qualities, and word of mouth.
What is often the operative question with the two sound categories is whether or not they will go to the same film. More often than not, if a film stands out for either editing or mixing, it also stands out in the other.
This year, I think there is a case to be made for both the split and the sweep.
The Nominees – Best Sound Editing:
The Oscar for Best Makeup & Hairstyling is sometimes more of an award for most makeup and hairstyling. The nominees in the category this year don’t prove to be an exception to this trend, which is not to say there isn’t quality work in the makeup, hair, and prosthetic work in the three films. It is simply to say that these aspects of mise en scene are quite noticeable.
The costume design in the 2019 race is, all around, very good. And the nominees run the gamut of generic representation. Fantastical period piece musical. Western pastiche. Semi-futurist science fiction. 18th century British period piece. A 16th century British/Scottish period piece, as well.
It is a varied field with a lot of talent.
The Oscar short categories are never easy to predict. For one, they are often hard to see. Most of the time, they are from lesser-known companies and animators. And the Academy likes the lesser-knowns in these categories, so when Pixar pops up in the Best Animated Short category they aren’t a guaranteed win.
But this year…
With the notable absence of presumed front-runner Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Best Documentary is suddenly up in the air. What film will rise to take its place as the “Best Documentary” of 2018?
I may not have been as high on the film as the general film-lover audience, but Annihilation deserved an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects. Or at least sound editing, for that bear-monster foley…
Instead we have Ready Player One getting a nomination for Most CGI Effects.