In some years, I have trouble determining who will win in the Best Production Design category. There are so many different ways to design a film’s story-world, that I can get bogged down in the minutiae and get confused as to what the voters will actually like.
But this year I am much more confident. Who knows, maybe I’m getting better at this unnecessary skill of Oscar predictions.
Generally speaking, when it comes to Best Makeup and Hairstyling the Academy likes excess. The more present the makeup and hairstyling is, the better. My go-to recent example is always Darkest Hour, because, well, that prosthetic and makeup design is a lot.
We don’t have to get into it. Not really. But did the Academy not see the dresses in Portrait of a Lady on Fire? Or Jamie Lee Curtis’ outfits in Knives Out? I mean…c’mon. Usually, I will put a still from one of the relevant nominated films here as a means of priming the conversation. Instead:
There is this idea in Oscar predicting that the Best Editing category is a strong predictor of Best Picture. Netting a nomination in this category is a good sign for any Best Picture hopeful. There isn’t any rhyme or reason to this correlation, as far as I know. But the numbers bear it out. Since 1980, only one film has won Best Picture without being nominated for Best Editing. That film was Birdman, a film notable for its hidden edits in an attempt to appear as though it were one shot. This sounds similar to a recent Best Picture nominee who didn’t receive a Best Editing nomination…huh. Interesting.
I’m going to admit it right up top: I am not confident in my picks in these two sound categories. I will elaborate further as we go, but just know that there are two potential winners in each category. That makes four possible combinations, and any of those four outcomes could come to pass.
But let’s go more in-depth on Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
The Best Visual Effects Oscar has flourished over the past decade, growing into a full-fledged category with five nominees. Prior to that, the category would generally be three nominees. Given the industry’s increasing reliance on visual effects, it is a surprise that it took until 2010 to expand the category to a guaranteed five nominees per year.
2020 is a prime example of this reliance. The category is not reserved for the blockbuster films that are, more and more, composed of VFX. This year, the dramas The Irishman and 1917 use extensive VFX, and the films would be very different without those effects. Then, of course, there’s The Lion King…not all visual effects are a good choice.