Oscar Picks 2016

Oscar Picks 2016

This year, as I did in 2015, I am again compiling a list of which films I think will win during the Academy Awards.

Best Visual Effects

2015 seemed to be the Year of the Bear when it came to visual effects, but the Star Wars: The Force Awakens team at ILM created a wide range of fantastic and believable effects that are sure to win out. After snatching 4 trophies at the VES awards, there seems to be little doubt as to the outcome of this category.

Best Animated Feature Film

There is a strong showing of animated feature nominees this year, but sadly, Inside Out is the only film from the major U.S. studios to be nominated. And previous years have shown that mainstream appeal weighs heavily with Academy voters. Besides that, the film is wonderfully endearing and original and has already received accolades, including a Golden Globe and 10 Annies.

Best Sound Editing

After already having received a BAFTA, Lon Blender and Martin Hernandez are promising candidates for picking up an Oscar in this category for The Revenant. Beyond that, however, their work is excellent. The Soundworks Collection has some good interviews on The Revenant and other Oscar-nominated films for sound here.

Best Sound Mixing

The broader Academy typically lumps sound editing and sound mixing together, so I am also naming The Revenant here.

Best Cinematography

Emmanuel Lubezki, the Oscar-winning DP for Gravity, gets my vote for his outstanding camera work on The Revenant. I have yet to see the film, but the clips I have seen display excellent work by Mr. Lubezki.

See the full list of nominees here: http://oscar.go.com/nominees/animated-feature-film.


2015 Oscar Picks

Once again the Academy Awards are around the corner, so here I am presenting my picks of who will win tomorrow. As listing all the categories here would make this post much too lengthy, I will restrict myself to just those areas that I am most familiar with. So to start off with, here is my pick for Best Visual Effects.
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2013 Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts

With the recent Academy Awards ceremony last weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to list some of the nominations in the ‘Best Animated Short Film’ category. There were some good shorts this year and certainly deserving of the recognition given to them.

1. The first short that I feel should be mentioned, and the one that I feel most strongly about, is “Paperman” by Disney Animation. This wonderful, stylized short about a chance meeting of an office worker and a woman is a clear winner in my opinion. Not only does it have great animation, story, and charm, but it also uses new technical developments to give it its hybrid 2D/3D look. A brief history of other winners in this category will show that technology does play a part in the consideration for a film.

2. The next film in this list is “Adam and Dog.” A great short about the world’s first man and his first best friend, rendered in traditional 2D animation. The style of this film is perhaps my favorite out of all the nominees, and the story is also quite interesting. Further, I would be remiss if I did not mention the involvement of legendary Disney animator Glen Keane.

3. This past year has certainly seemed to be the year for stop-motion animation, and “Head Over Heels” is a fantastic example of the genre. It centers on an elderly couple  who are living in the same house, but separated from each other, one living on the floor and the other on the ceiling. For being a student film, I find this film to be full of quirky charm, good storytelling, and solid animation. Also, there is just something memorable about the story points, whether it’s the man giving his wife a gift or him hanging upside down from his chair.

4. Fresh Guacamole is another stop-motion film from the studio PES. This short has a really unique concept, a person preparing a bowl of food. The animation uses pixilation for the person (who we only see his or her arms) who chops up various objects, turning them into other objects, such as dice. One of the most original animations that I have seen in some time.

5. The final film in this list is Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare.” I can’t say that I have ever been a Simpsons fan and do not appreciate the crude humor in the show. However, I was rather pleased with this short overall.

The film is about toddler Maggie Simpson who is dropped off at a miserable-looking daycare center and has to avoid a bully intent on crushing the one beautiful thing in the daycare, a blue butterfly. The pacing is good and has solid story points. “The Longest Daycare” is well-done and a fine animation.