Our Oscars Preview - The Technical Categories


By: Hopster & Isaac P. Ale
March 22, 2022

It's Oscars Week '22! Here is Part 2 of our preview.

encanto technical Encanto [2021]

Best Original Score


Nominees

  • Don't Look Up – Nicholas Britell
  • Dune – Hans Zimmer
  • Encanto – Germaine Franco
  • Parallel Mothers – Alberto Iglesias
  • The Power of the Dog – Jonny Greenwood

Predictions

Isaac: Dune. Hans Zimmer woke up and chose violence with this score. It's an amazing amalgamation of different cultural sounds to replicate the feel of a desert planet, and it is exquisite. Johnny Greenwood's excellent work in The Power of the Dog is a second place for me and definitely deserves some recognition as well.

Hopster: Zimmer is the most prolific composer of his generation and likely the most revered. What he pulls off in Dune is easily his most inspired work in the last decade (Interstellar, Blade Runner 2049, and Dunkirk are definitely in the conversation). This is his twelfth Oscar nomination, though he's once in his career (for The Lion King back in 1994). All that being said, I don't think he's winning here. My guess is that The Power of the Dog (and maybe West Side Story) cuts into the looming "Dune technical sweep" and steals a few categories, including this one. And who better to do so than Johnny Greenwood, who had an impressive (and prolific) year himself.

Best Original Song


Nominees

  • "Be Alive" from King Richard – Music and lyrics by DIXSON and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
  • "Dos Oruguitas" from Encanto – Music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • "Down to Joy" from Belfast – Music and lyrics by Van Morrison
  • "No Time to Die" from No Time to Die – Music and lyrics by Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell
  • "Somehow You Do" from Four Good Days – Music and lyrics by Diane Warren

Predictions

Isaac: Oh baby. A clash of titans!! What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?! In one corner we have Beyoncé and her absolute banger of a song in "Be Alive", which has a fantastic existence outside of the film King Richard. In the other corner we have the rising titan Billie Eilish, who has already begun establishing her supremacy in popular music. Toss in the often unbeatable Bond song and holy cats people, can you just smell the Oscar??? This is the most incredible "head to head" matchup Best Original Song has seen in years. Two titans of industry squaring off to win their first Oscar! I think the Academy is going to be too infatuated with the Bond song/Eilish combo and she'll win, but I'd love for Beyoncé to add to her war chest of awards and take home the Oscar. But I'd also keep an eye out for Lin-Manuel Miranda and his song "Dos Oruguitas" which might be a dark horse to win as well.

Hopster: @Isaac, you're sniffing out my strategy. Betting against Lin-Manuel Miranda is never good business, so I'm predicting that "Dos Oruguitas" comes out ahead. It currently has the second best betting odds behind "No Time to Die" with a 31% chance of winning. This song has more in common with Remember Me from Coco then it does with How Far I'll Go from Moana, the former of which won in this category back in 2017. It serves as the film's emotional centerpiece and deserves credit as one of the more subtly beautiful ballads in a Disney movie in some time. A win for Encanto here makes a lot of sense considering how successful the soundtrack has been -- I'll bet a lot of Oscar voters are parents who had this album playing in their homes and cars on repeat. It is curious why Disney didn't choose "We Don't Talk About Bruno" as its official 2022 Oscar submission, but if that was in contention, I don't think this would be much of a race.

no time to die technical No Time to Die [2021]

Best Sound


Nominees

  • Belfast – Denise Yarde, Simon Chase, James Mather and Niv Adiri
  • Dune – Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett
  • No Time to Die – Simon Hayes, Oliver Tarney, James Harrison, Paul Massey and Mark Taylor
  • The Power of the Dog – Richard Flynn, Robert Mackenzie and Tara Webb
  • West Side Story – Tod A. Maitland, Gary Rydstrom, Brian Chumney, Andy Nelson and Shawn Murphy

Predictions

Hopster: The Golden Reel Awards, which honors best film sound editing, gave out the following awards a few weeks back:

  • Outstanding Achivement in Sound Editing - Dialogue and ADR for Feature Film
    • Winner: Nightmare Alley (Dune, No Time to Die, and The Power of the Dog were all also nominated, among others)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Sound Effects and Foley for Feature Film
    • Winner: Dune (Belfast and No Time to Die were also nominated, among others)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Feature Music
    • Winner: West Side Story (Dune was also nomianted, among others)

While Dune has been pegged as the obvious favorite to win at the Oscars, I I wouldn't be completely shocked if the hard work that goes into mixing and synthesizing the music, vocals, and sound effects of a movie musical are rewarded instead. A West Side Story win here will hardly cut into Dune cleaning up in other technical categories, and it would be a chance to spread the wealth around a little bit.

Isaac: I am once again asking you to give Dune another award.

cruel technical Cruella [2021]

Best Costume Design


Nominees

  • Cruella – Jenny Beavan
  • Cyrano – Massimo Cantini Parrini and Jacqueline Durran
  • Dune – Jacqueline West and Robert Morgan
  • Nightmare Alley – Luis Sequeira
  • West Side Story – Paul Tazewell

Predictions

Hopster: This is a sneaky fun category to talk about. Jenny Beavan (Cruella) has been nominated 11 times in her career and has won twice; Jacqueline West (Dune) has been nominated 4 times and has zero wins. While Cruella is the favorite and has the more decorated designer in contention, my guess is that West (and Robert Morgan) will win for their detail-oriented work in Dune.

Isaac: Cruella definitely has the heat behind it here but, I have my full force passion backing Dune if you haven't guessed. Cruella really has some fantastic costumes but the spacing guild didn't put giant man-fish people in dope suits to not walk away with an award here.

the eyes of tammy faye technical The Eyes of Tammy Faye [2021]

Best Makeup and Hairstyling


Nominees

  • Coming 2 America – Mike Marino, Stacey Morris and Carla Farmer
  • Cruella – Nadia Stacey, Naomi Donne and Julia Vernon
  • Dune – Donald Mowat, Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
  • The Eyes of Tammy Faye – Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram and Justin Raleigh
  • House of Gucci – Göran Lundström, Anna Carin Lock and Frederic Aspiras

Predictions

Isaac: I really do love the work the team did for The Eyes of Tammy Faye -- Jessica Chastain was unrecognizable and also fantastic in it. As much as I love Dune, I think it'll be tough to top that work.

Hopster: It's hard work making the beautifully elegant Jessica Chastain look not beautifully elegant. So, I agree with Isaac that The Eyes of Tammy Faye is likely to win.

west side story technical West Side Story [2021]

Best Production Design


Nominees

  • Dune – Production Design: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Zsuzsanna Sipos
  • Nightmare Alley – Production Design: Tamara Deverell; Set Decoration: Shane Vieau
  • The Power of the Dog – Production Design: Grant Major; Set Decoration: Amber Richards
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth – Production Design: Stefan Dechant; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh
  • West Side Story – Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo

Predictions

Hopster: One of the more competitive categories we've talk about to this point. The ADG (aka, Art Directors Guild) awarded the Art Directors Guild Award for Excellence in Production Design for Feature Film (what a stupid, long name) to No Time to Die, which didn't even make its way into the mix. All five of these films are worthy contenders, but I'd be surprised if this is the first of many big wins for Dune on Oscar night.

Isaac: If this isn't Dune I'm driving my head through the wall.

Best Cinematography


Nominees

  • Dune – Greig Fraser
  • Nightmare Alley – Dan Laustsen
  • The Power of the Dog – Ari Wegner
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth – Bruno Delbonnel
  • West Side Story – Janusz Kamiński

Predictions

Isaac: Greig Fraser came to fucking play here. Dune is shot so spectacularly you really can't afford to look away at any points! But here's the real twist. I don't think he wins, nor is he my favorite to win. I'm actually throwing my hat behind Ari Wegner, who was just on the top of Mt. Everest in terms of her game with her work in The Power of the Dog. Her ability to frame the shots in the film showing the desolate emptiness of the American West, but also the subtle wants, and urges of Benedict Cumberbatch is gorgeous to see on screen. Not to mention, if Wegner wins she'll make history as the first woman to win the Best Cinematography Oscar. Winning with a film about the pitfalls of toxic masculinity would be poetic, and I'm here for it.

Hopster: For me, while this is in some ways as competitive of a category as Best Production (notice the complete overlap in nominees), I think this absolutely should go to Fraser for his work in Dune. He recently won at the the American Society of Cinematographers Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatatrical Releases (this somehow manages to be a stupider, longer name) -- and I think he'll come out victorious at the Oscars as well.

dune technical Dune [2021]

Best Film Editing


Nominees

  • Don't Look Up – Hank Corwin
  • Dune – Joe Walker
  • King Richard – Pamela Martin
  • The Power of the Dog – Peter Sciberras
  • Tick, Tick... Boom! – Myron Kerstein and Andrew Weisblum

Predictions

Isaac: Tick, Tick... Boom! actually had some impeccable editing and added a whole new dimension to the film, so I'm happy it was nominated. However, you just can't watch Dune and think "yeah this is not an Oscar winner." On the same note, you can't watch Don't Look Up and think it should be nominated for anything, so, there's that.

Hopster: I'm going to zag and say that King Richard crashes into the technical party here. Because The Power of the Dog isn't a serious contender in this category (regardless of whether or not you think it should be), we won't have the Film Editing bellwether for Best Picture that we usually do. Few films completely sweep on the technical side in a way that used to happen (think Lord of the Rings: Return of the King) -- and even fewer films manage to win more than 6 Academy Awards at all. While I think there is a good probability that Dune will still leave the ceremony with the most hardware, I think voters might be more selective. The tennis montage sequences in King Richard are highly legible and might be crafty enough to actually win.

Best Visual Effects


Nominees

  • Dune – Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor and Gerd Nefzer
  • Free Guy – Swen Gillberg, Bryan Grill, Nikos Kalaitzidis and Dan Sudick
  • No Time to Die – Charlie Noble, Joel Green, Jonathan Fawkner and Chris Corbould
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – Christopher Townsend, Joe Farrell, Sean Noel Walker and Dan Oliver
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home – Kelly Port, Chris Waegner, Scott Edelstein and Dan Sudick

Predictions

Isaac: Lol. Every other film aside from Dune actually looks like dog-shit effects wise, so it is truly mind-boggling that this is what its up against. I guess that's not totally true, No Time to Die looked great and was fantastic to see. But seriously, this is all Dune.

Hopster: It's obviously Dune. Let's move along, shall we?

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