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The Gold Standard: Oscar forecast

December 08, 2011|By Glenn Whipp, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • "ALBERT NOBBS": Glenn Close, here with costar Janet McTeer.
"ALBERT NOBBS": Glenn Close, here with costar Janet McTeer. (Patrick Redmond / Roadside…)

If a critically championed movie earns Oscar nominations for art direction, editing, score, makeup and sound, could all that support translate into a best picture nod as well?

That's the question surrounding Martin Scorsese's beautifully crafted "Hugo," which has been generating off-the-chart reactions at various guild screenings for the past couple of weeks.

We'll get into "Hugo's" best picture chances a bit later. For now, let's burrow into the below-the-line categories, along with music and animation. We've listed potential nominees' names wherever possible, though final eligibility in some categories (makeup, sound and visual effects) has yet to be determined.


1. "Rango"

2. "The Adventures of Tintin"

3. "Puss in Boots"

4. "Cars 2"

5. "Arthur Christmas"

Bubbling under: "Rio," "Kung Fu Panda 2," "Winnie the Pooh," "Happy Feet 2," "Chico & Rita"

Analysis: Let's be blunt. This year offers a pretty meager crop, particularly when compared to 2010 ("Toy Story 3," "The Illusionist," "How to Train Your Dragon," "Despicable Me," "My Dog Tulip") or 2009 ("Fantastic Mr. Fox," "Coraline," "Up," "Ponyo"). Pixar's four-year win streak likely comes to an end, with the oddball, tongue-in-cheek western "Rango" and Steven Spielberg's manic "Tintin" leading the field. "Tintin" would be the first performance-capture animated film to be nominated. It'll make the cut, but the well-liked "Rango" should win.


1. "The Artist," Laurence Bennett

2. "Hugo," Dante Ferretti

3. "War Horse," Rick Carter

4. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2," Stuart Craig

5. "The Tree of Life," Jack Fisk

Bubbling under: "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," Maria Djurkovic; "J. Edgar," James J. Murakami; "A Dangerous Method," James McAteer; "Jane Eyre," Wil Hughes-Jones

Analysis: We're confident about the top four slots, but putting the chronically overlooked Fisk among the nominees might be wishful thinking. That fifth spot could go in any direction, including to three-time nominee Rick Heinrichs for his sci-fi/history mash-up work in "Captain America" or even Bo Welch's spectacular take on Valhalla for "Thor."


1. "The Artist," Mark Bridges

2. "Hugo," Sandy Powell

3. "The Help," Sharen Davis

4. "Jane Eyre," Michael O'Connor

5. "War Horse," Joanna Johnston

Bubbling under: "W.E.," Arianne Phillips; "J. Edgar," Deborah Hopper; "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," Jacqueline Durran; "The Tree of Life," Jacqueline West; "A Dangerous Method," Denise Cronenberg; "Anonymous," Lisy Christl

Analysis: Bridges has never been nominated, despite being the go-to guy for the likes of Paul Thomas Anderson and David O. Russell. (C'mon … Mark Wahlberg's brushed denim tuxedo in "Boogie Nights" deserved some kind of honorary award.) This should be Bridges' year since his glamorous work in "The Artist" hews to the more conventional tone that voters reward. His main competition: Three-time winner Powell and two-time nominee Davis. O'Connor won three years ago for another period film, "The Duchess."


1. "The Artist," Anne Sophie-Bion

2. "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," Claire Simpson

3. "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

4. "War Horse," Michael Kahn

5. "Hugo," Thelma Schoonmaker

Bubbling under: "The Tree of Life," Hank Corwin, Jay Rabinowitz, Daniel Rezende, Billy Weber and Mark Yoshikawa; "The Descendants," Kevin Tent; "Moneyball," Christopher Tellefsen; "The Help," Hughes Winbourne; "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," Dino Jonsater

Analysis: This is the category that dovetails most closely with the best picture nominees, though we're more confident forecasting a nom for Baxter and Wall (last year's winners) here than for their movie. With its intricate, interlocking images, "The Tree of Life" should absolutely be a nominee. More understated, though no less deserving, is the masterful storytelling inherent in Tent's work on likely best picture nominee, "The Descendants."


1. "The Iron Lady"

2. "The Artist"

3. "J. Edgar"

Bubbling under: "Albert Nobbs," "Green Lantern," "Captain America: The First Avenger," "Hugo," "War Horse"

Analysis: A category that's almost always about the transformation, be it taking characters from young to old, normal to freaky or back to another place and time. The gender-bending "Albert Nobbs" could certainly slip in here, as could "Green Lantern" for seamlessly super-sizing Peter Sarsgard's cranium.


1. "War Horse," John Williams

2. "Hugo," Howard Shore

3. "The Artist," Ludovic Bource

4. "The Adventures of Tintin," John Williams

5. "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," Alexandre Desplat

Bubbling under: "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," Alberto Iglesias; "The Help," Thomas Newman; "The Ides of March," Alexandre Desplat; "Moneyball," Mychael Danna; "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

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