Marvel’s “Black Panther” is being called the X-factor in the Oscar craft races, and could dominate on Tuesday, grabbing somewhere between four and eight nominations. That’s due primarily because of Wakanda and its imaginative and opulent depiction of African culture and black identity.
It’s world building at its finest, thanks to director Ryan Coogler’s social consciousness and detailed collaboration with production designer Hannah Beachler, costume designer Ruth Carter, and cinematographer Rachel Morrison. Together, they created a powerful force of Afrofuturism that elevated the MCU.
As a result, Beachler and Carter should definitely secure nominations. In fact, for Beachler it would mark the first in her craft for an African-American. However, Morrison (who made history last year as the first female Oscar nominee in cinematography for “Mudbound”) is more of a long shot after failing to make the ASC list of nominees. She was clearly at a disadvantage because of the confusion surrounding where cinematography ends and VFX begins.
Speaking of VFX, “Black Panther” is being heavily talked up in that race (despite being ignored by the prestigious VES). So a VFX nom seems likely. It also looks good for makeup and hairstyling, maybe even song (“All the Stars”). But it’s more of a long shot when it comes to Ludwig Göransson’s score and sound editing and mixing,
Meanwhile, Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” should rally support for Matthew Libatique’s naturalistic cinematography, Jay Cassidy’s deft editing, Lady Gaga’s stirring “Shallow” song, and for the intimate sound editing and mixing (driven by Dolby Atmos), which put us right there with Cooper and Gaga.
Damien Chazelle’s NASA space adventure, “First Man,” should land craft nominations for Linus Sandgren’s cinéma vérité-like cinematography (shot on film in mixed formats), Nathan Crowley’s authentic production design, Tom Cross’s propulsive editing, Justin Hurwitz’s trippy score, the efficient in-camera VFX of DNEG, and the realistic sound editing and mixing.
Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures
Yargos Lanthimos’ wicked palace comedy, “The Favourite,” should secure nominations for Robbie Ryan’s quirky cinematography (shot in Kodak 35mm), Yorgos Mavropsaridis balanced editing, Fiona Crumbie’s imaginative production design, and three-time Oscar winner Sandy Powell’s inspired black-and-white costuming.
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón’s Best Picture frontrunner about his childhood in Mexico City, should also fare well. His exquisite, large-format black-and-white cinematography is the obvious leader in that category. So too is his complex, gripping editing with Adam Gough.
Oscar-winning production designer Eugenio Caballero (“Pan’s Labyrinth”) should also snag a nomination for his incredibly detailed recreation of Cuarón’s house and period trappings throughout Mexico City. But where “Roma” might get snubbed is in the sound editing and mixing categories. It already didn’t make the cut for the CAS sound mixing nominations, ignoring its dense and detailed soundscape in Atmos.
And the rousing “Bohemian Rhapsody” biopic about Freddie Mercury (starring frontrunner Rami Malek) should snare nominations for the spot-on work in costume design (Julian Day) and makeup and hairstyling (Jan Sewell).