Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Surveying The Oscar Field: The 2017 Below The Line Categories (Part 2)

By Will Mavity

​As we enter October, the leaves change at a mindboggling rate, and so too does the awards field. TIFF has concluded. The New York Film Festival is revving up. The last unknown Oscar contenders are receiving release dates. And every week, something shifts. Since we last explored the ‘below-the-line’ contenders (AKA the techs), “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri” shocked many by snagging the coveted TIFF Audience Award over more obvious contenders like “Call Me By Your Name” and “The Shape of Water.” Historically, this award has served as an accurate harbinger of a Best Picture nomination (8 of the last 10 winners were Best Picture nominees). Meaning it’s time we take the film seriously as a contender. 

​Meanwhile, “I, Tonya” has officially entered the race with a release date and a distributor and the trailer for Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World” dropped, showcasing an unrecognizable Kevin Spacey. Before you pass through my updated predictions, be sure to check out the previous, more in-depth exploration of each tech category here


Baby Driver

​As we mentioned in the previous edition of this piece, 38 of the last 40 Best Editing nominees have also been Best Picture nominees. Which means when in doubt, predict Best Picture contenders here. As “Three Billboards” rises in its Oscar chances, looking more and more like a Best Picture nominee, it becomes a film we must also consider as a contender here. Recent “I, Tonya” reviews have singled out the film’s editing, indicating that it may be a player here as well, particularly if it ultimately contends for a Picture nomination. Reviews for “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” have dropped since the previous tech check-in, and they were mixed to negative. Although Dan Gilroy’s previous film, “Nightcrawler,” nearly snagged a Best Editing nomination (It received BAFTA and ACE nominations), the Denzel Washington legal drama is unlikely to follow in similar footsteps. Finally, although we did not predict the film to make the Top 5 anyway, Lynne Ramsay’s “You Were Never Really Here” has been delayed until 2018, meaning it will not factor into this race. 

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Dunkirk
2. “The Post”
3. “Darkest Hour”
4. “The Shape of Water”
5. “Baby Driver

6. “Blade Runner 2049”
7. “Wonderstruck”
8. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
9. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri”
10. “I, Tonya”

Don’t Count Out:

11. “The 15:17 To Paris”
12. “Molly’s Game”
13. “The Florida Project
14. “Get Out
15. “Call Me By Your Name



​Unless “Blade Runner 2049” receives horrendous reviews next week, then nothing has changed since the previous ‘below the line check-in.’ Roger Deakins is still in a position to demolish the competition for his overdue Oscar. For the time being, it really just seems like a question of who are the other four nominees? “Wonderstruck” continues to maintain its spot in predictions, having released a new visually stunning trailer. “The Post” is due for a trailer release any day now. One we have a look at Kaminski’s work, we may well move the film into the top 5. For the time being, the largely indoor-set film will remain outside the Top 5. 

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Blade Runner 2049”
2. “Darkest Hour”
3. “Dunkirk
4. “The Shape Of Water”
5. “Wonderstruck”

6. “Phantom Thread”
7. “Call Me By Your Name
8. “The Post”
9. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
10. “Wonder Wheel”

Don’t Count Out:

11. “The Florida Project
12. “Mudbound”
13. “The Greatest Showman”
14. “The Lost City Of Z
15. “First They Killed My Father


The Last Jedi

​The Best Original Score race has remained relatively static since our last check-in. “Mother!” turned out not to utilize Johann Johannsson’s score, so feel free to remove it from your predictions. Meanwhile, as “Three Billboards” becomes a larger contender, it is worth noting that several reviews have singled out Carter Burwell’s score. Burwell now stands as one of three composers who stand a chance at double nominations this year. Burwell stands a chance at nominations for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri” and “Wonderstruck,” while John Williams could potentially receive nominations for both “The Post” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” and Hans Zimmer stands a chance for both “Blade Runner 2049” and “Dunkirk” (Assuming neither is ruled ineligible). 

Of those three, should Burwell, who has never won, receive a double nomination a la Alexandre Desplat in 2014, he likely would win. Or Desplat could come back for #2 for his acclaimed work in “The Shape of Water.” 

Predicted Nominees:

1. “The Shape Of Water”
2. “Dunkirk
3. “Wonderstruck”
4. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
4. “Darkest Hour”

6. “Blade Runner 2049”
7. “The Post”
8. “Coco”
9. “Phantom Thread”
10. “The Greatest Showman”

Don’t Count Out:

11. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri”
12. “Battle Of The Sexes
13. “Victoria & Abdul
14. “Ferdinand”
15. “Wonder Woman


Get Out

​Still as difficult to predict as ever (It’s hard when you haven’t you know….heard the songs), the field of Original Song contenders is gradually growing. Just this week, we learned that Joe Jonas has composed an Original Song for Fox Animation’s “Ferdinand.” So yes…there is a world where a Jonas Brother becomes an Oscar nominee. And yes, there is a world where Taylor Swift becomes an Oscar nominee as well, courtesy of her “Fifty Shades Darker” song. Excitingly, Diane Warren, an 8-time nominee with no wins (She should have had one for “The Hunting Ground”) has composed not one but two potential nominees this year for “Cries From Syria” (Sung by Cher) and “Marshall” (Performed by Oscar winner Common and Andra Day). And when predicting, don’t forget, we could get two nominations for films with multiple songs like “The Greatest Showman,” “Beauty And The Beast,” and “Call Me By Your Name.” 

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Coco”
2. “Call Me By Your Name
3. “Beauty And The Beast
4. “Cries From Syria”
5. “The Greatest Showman”

6. “Detroit
7. “Marshall”
8. “Get Out
9 “Chasing Coral”
10. “Fifty Shades Darker

Don’t Count Out:

11. “Battle Of The Sexes
12. “Ferdinand”
13. “The Lego Batman Movie
14. “An Inconvenient Sequel
15. “The Promise


All The Money In The World

​Did you see Kevin Spacey in the “All The Money in the World” trailer? If so, did you recognize him at first? The astonishing transformation of Kevin Spacey into John Paul Getty evokes memories of Oscar-nominated work in “Foxcatcher” and ensures that regardless of whether or not the film even turns out to be good, it has at least one category it can contend for. But always remember…we truly know nothing when it comes to this category until the day nominations are announced. The Makeup branch has a truly bizarre mind of its own. 

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Darkest Hour”
2. “The Shape Of Water”
3. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

4. “All The Money in the World”
5. “The Greatest Showman”
6. “Logan

Don’t Count Out:

7. “Blade Runner 2049”
8. “IT
8. “I, Tonya”


Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2

​The VFX race has remained largely static through the last two weeks. “Blade Runner 2049’s” upcoming reviews will give us more guidance before long. As “The Shape of Water’s” buzz continues to grow, as with any creature feature, we need to at least consider the possibility that it may contend in the Visual Effects race. The film’s small budget may impress voters, but its sheer number of practical FX may convince them that this is a film that warrants consideration more in the Makeup & Hairstyling category. 

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Blade Runner 2049”
2. “War For The Planet Of The Apes
3. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
4. “Dunkirk
5. “Logan

6. “Beauty And The Beast
7. “The Shape Of Water”
8. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
9. “Thor: Ragnarok”
9. “Kong: Skull Island
10. “Justice League”

Don’t Count Out:

11. “Wonder Woman
12. “Transformers: The Last Knight
13. “Okja
14. “Spiderman: Homecoming
15. “Alien: Covenant



​As with Visual Effects, the sound categories have remained relatively static. Although “Mother!” received tepid reviews, and a disappointing box office, many singled out its sound design. If it shows up anywhere, it will be in the sound categories. Voters have not proved friendly to Aronofsky films (Always sound showcases) in the past, however, so I hesitate to predict the film, especially when it lacks “Black Swan’s” reviews. 

1. “Dunkirk
2. “Baby Driver
3. “Blade Runner 2049”
4. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
5. “The Shape Of Water”

6. “Darkest Hour”
7. “Mother!
8. “Coco”
9. “The Greatest Showman”
10. “The Post”

Don’t Count Out:

11. “Get Out
12. “Detroit
13. “The 15:17 to Paris”
14. “Wonder Woman
15. “Beauty And The Beast



​As with Sound Mixing, the only major change is the attention called to “Mother!’s” sound design. 

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Dunkirk
2. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
3. “The Shape Of Water”
4. “Blade Runner 2049”
5. “Detroit

6. “Mother!
7. “Get Out
8. “War For The Planet Of The Apes
9. “Wonder Woman
10. “The 15:17 to Paris”

Don’t Count Out:

11. “Baby Driver
12. “Kong: Skull Island
13. “Logan
14. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
15. “Spiderman: Homecoming


The Shape of Water

​”Victoria & Abdul’s” Production Designer should be singled out, not only because his work in the film was acclaimed, but because he recently passed away. “Victoria & Abdul” was his final film. Overdue/posthumous narratives are difficult to come by, but the never-nominated Production Designer warrants consideration at the very least. Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel” will remain a wild card for the time being (At least until we have a trailer), but recent production stills suggest that the film is a veritable feast of lavish Production Design. 

Predicted Nominees:

1. “The Shape Of Water”
2. “Blade Runner 2049”
3. “Wonderstruck”
4. “The Greatest Showman”
5. “Darkest Hour”

6. “Beauty And The Beast” 
7. “Wonder Wheel”
8. “Murder On The Orient Express”
9. “Phantom Thread”
10. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Don’t Count Out:

11. “The Post”
12. “Victoria & Abdul
13. “Dunkirk
14. “Mudbound”
15. “Suburbicon”


Darkest Hour

​”Battle Of The Sexes” proved that its bright costumes, courtesy of “La La Land’s” Mary Zophres were a standout factor in the film. Though the film itself, will likely not become a major below the line contender, they warrant a mention. “The Shape of Water’s” costumes have been receiving acclaim as of late, meaning the film bumps up a few rungs among our predictions. 

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Phantom Thread”
2. “Beauty And The Beast” 
3. “Wonderstruck” 
4. “Murder on the Orient Express”
5. “Darkest Hour”

6. “The Greatest Showman”
7. “Victoria & Abdul
8. “The Shape Of Water”
9. “Thor: Ragnarok”
10. “Blade Runner 2049”

Don’t Count Out:

11. “The Beguiled
12. “Battle Of The Sexes
13. “I, Tonya”
14. “Suburbicon”
15. “Lady Macbeth

Well that will about do it for this bi-weekly check in on the tech categories. I’ll be back in two more weeks when we should know a lot more about “Blade Runner 2049,” some titles debuting at NYFF and more. In the mean time, check out our updated predictions for these categories below.











You can follow Will and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @mavericksmovies

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Will Mavity
Will Mavityhttps://nextbestpicture.com
Loves Awards Season, analyzing stats & conducting interviews. Hollywood Critics Association Member.

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