Oscar nominations will be revealed Tuesday January 24th. As we get closer, the Grouches will be sharing some thoughts, hopes, and predictions. You can read thoughts on the so-called “major” categories all over the place, but this time around, we share our wishes for nominations in the technical categories.

John: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Oscar Nomination

For me, the technical categories are all about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I think the film has to be a front runner for Art Direction, so I’m not too worried about it getting a nomination. But it should also get a Costume nomination.

Here is a film that lives so fully in its setting and time period. Think of the detail in every room of MI6, from the library to the isolation meeting rooms. And the costumes just scream 70s. I think in particular of some of the ostentatious garb at the Christmas party, including one suspect’s garish shirt with matching bowtie made of cloth of the exact same garish pattern. A spy film could easily get away with generic costumes but Tinker Tailor always gives you something to look at.

Jared: Sucker Punch My Immortals

I’m not really a visual person, but I’ve been in the tank for everything that appears on screen in  Tarsem Singh’s movies since The Fall.  It would be a big mistake to overlook the art direction and costumes in Immortals just because the movie didn’t really live up to expectations.  I saw the film months ago and I still have a relatively vivid recollection of most of the sets.  The movie had a flair far surpassing the typical sword and sandals film.  It was big and bold and flashy, but in a way that served to the enhance the movie, not overshadow it.

Speaking of disappointing over the top action movies, I’d also like to stump for Sucker Punch.  We can have all sorts of debates over the gender politics and artistic merits of the film.  But speaking on a strictly technical basis, I think it would be very difficult to argue against the film’s images being incredibly evocative.  Indeed, primarily fueling all the talk of the film being Zack Snyder’s wet dream, or whatever, are the stark images of the ladies of the film dressed how they were, in the crazy environments Snyder dreamed up.  Regardless of whether you think the film is misogynistic or empowering, the visuals sure left a lasting memory.

Brian: Loves movies about movies and America

I was going to go with Captain America for Hugo Weaving’s makeup, but I forgot that the Academy hates America, so its not even on the shortlist vetted by the Makeup Branch, meaning there’s no chance it shows up as a nominee. I would have said that the Weaving’s menacing take as Red Skull kept the rollicking “ripped from the comic pages” tone going while also being just incredibly kickass.

Instead I’ll offer two hopes in this post for a technical award I’d love to see — one which will likely happen, the other not so much. This is the first of what will be a series of posts where I talk glowingly of Hugo and the rest of the Grouches ignore or denigrate me for that opinion. Not since Avatar came out has a movie used 3-D so beautifully. The falling snow and the swooping shots through the clocks of the Parisian train station sucked me in from the start and the movie didn’t let go of me until the final credits.

Maybe the art directors for Super 8 just raided the warehoused archives of The Goonies and E.T., but the sets, props, location shots — everything was just perfect at recreating that early ’80s atmosphere. J.J. Abrahms 80%-good-film relied heavily on that nostalgia for both a “simpler” era and childhood nostalgia — so much that he forgot to complete a good story (that’d be the 20% not-so-good part). He owes his art direction team for that.

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