Meanwhile, Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” each scored five nominations, while Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” nabbed three along with James Mangold’s “Ford v Ferrari.” Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” and Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” each came away with two nominations, and Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” was singled out for Randy Newman’s romantic score.
But “1917” provided the biggest tour de force crafts event of the season, with nominations for Roger Deakins’ uniquely orchestrated cinematography, Dennis Gassner’s exacting production design, Thomas Newman’s haunting score, the unusual sound editing and sound mixing, and, surprisingly, makeup and hairstyling (Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis and Rebecca Cole) and VFX (Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, and Dominic Tuohy).
Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros.
However, the exclusion of “1917” editor Lee Smith (who won the Oscar for “Dunkirk”) was a major snub that disregarded his invaluable contribution in stitching together all of the sequences to look like continuous action (more so on the front-end obviously than in post because of the meticulous planning). A similar snubbing occurred with Best Picture winner “Birdman” as a result of its prominent use of continuous shots.
“Joker,” though, did better than expected, with its gritty, late ’70s New York vibe. Nominations were spread around for Lawrence Sher’s large-format embrace of Oscar-nominated Joaquin Phoenix’s idiosyncratic performance, Oscar winner Mark Bridge’s inside-out costume design, Hildur Guðnadóttir off-kilter score, which inspired Phoenix’s choreographed dance, and the essential work of the makeup and hairstyling team (Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou) in transforming Phoenix’s troubled Arthur Fleck into the maniacal Joker. Interestingly, while sound editing (Alan Robert Murray, a record-breaking 10th nomination) and sound mixing (Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic and Tod Maitland) were also nominated for their sonic contributions to the New York-inspired Gotham City, the integral world building of production designer Mark Friedberg was left out.
Tarantino’s love letter to Tinseltown circa 1969, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” was rewarded for Robert Richardson’s colorful yet timeless cinematography (fittingly shot on Kodak 35mm film), Barbara Ling’s Hollywood face lift, Arianne Phillips’ eclectic costume design, and the creative integration of LA’s iconic radio station KHJ from the sound editing and sound mixing teams. Missing out, however, was editor Fred Raskin’s genre-hopping rhythm.
Scorsese’s intricately woven, melancholy mob epic, “The Irishman,” was nominated for Rodrigo Prieto’s multi-faceted, hybrid cinematography, three-time Oscar winner Thelma Schoonmaker’s strategically slow editing, Bob Shaw’s deft production design, three-time Oscar winner Sandy Powell’s evocative costume design (in collaboration with co-designer Christopher Peterson), and Industrial Light & Magic’s innovative de-aging VFX for screen legends Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci.
Waititi’s anti-hate, Nazi satire “Jojo Rabbit” was singled out for Ra Vincent’s elegant production design of the central house, Mayes C. Rubeo’s flashy costume design, and, surprisingly, editor Tom Eagles’ alternating tones for this fairy tale-like story.
Mangold’s visceral and immersive “Ford v Ferrari” racing biopic earned nominations for the crucial areas of editing (Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland), sound editing (Donald Sylvester) and sound mixing (Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Steven A. Morrow).
Ho’s acclaimed class warfare, thriller, “Parasite,” was honored for its two key craft areas: Lee Ha Jun’s ingenious production design in transforming the mansion into a central character, and editor Yang Jinmo’s escalating tension and unpredictable rhythm.
Gerwig’s non-linear, re-imagining of “Little Women” was nominated for Oscar-winner Jacqueline Durran’s gender-bending costume design and two-time Oscar winner Alexandre Desplat’s frenetic score.
One of the most surprising craft races was makeup and hairstyling. While “Bombshell’s” frontrunning team received a nomination for special makeup effects wiz Kazu Hiro and artists Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker, who amazingly transformed John Lithgow as the late, disgraced Fox News head Roger Ailes, Charlize Theron as anchor Megyn Kelly, and Nicole Kidman as news personality Gretchen Carlson, Jeremy Woodhead was also nominated for the remarkable transformation of Oscar-nominated Renée Zellweger’s as the struggling Judy Garland in “Judy.”
But the surprise nominations of “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” (Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuiten, and David White) and “1917” meant that “Black Panther” Oscar winner Ruth Carter was left out of the running for her outrageous work with Eddie Murphy on “Dolemite Is My Name.” “Rocketman” was also snubbed for both makeup and hairstyling and costume design in transforming Taron Egerton as the flamboyant Elton John. “Rocketman’s” lone nomination came for the Best Song: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from John and lyricist partner Bernie Taupin.
However, the biggest surprise was cinematographer Jarin Blaschke getting nominated for his Gothic, black-and-white work on Robert Eggers’ psychological horror film, “The Lighthouse.” This departed from the ASC’s nomination of Phedon Papamichael for “Ford v Ferrari.”
And, with the exception of surprise entry of “1917” (for MPC Film’s supporting role in stitching together the continuous-shot sequences and reliance on practical effects), the VFX race went pretty much as anticipated. Disney dominated with “The Lion King” (MPC’s photoreal innovation), Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame,” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (ILM doing its hybrid best with CG and practical character work). Even the inclusion of “The Irishman” and its de-aging had a Disney tie-in via the ownership of ILM.
Yet Disney didn’t fare quite as well in the animated feature race as predicted. While Pixar’s frontrunning “Toy Story 4” made the cut, “Frozen 2,” the highest-grossing animated movie in history, did not. The other nominees were DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” Laika’s stop-motion “Missing Link,” and Netflix’s first two entries: “Klaus” (the Santa Claus origin story with innovative 2D from director Sergio Pablos) and the acclaimed French existential mystery, “I Lost My Body” (from director Jérémy Clapin).
And the best animated short nominees went to the inclusive “Hair Love” (directed by Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver) and “Kitbull” (from Pixar’s experimental SparkShorts program, directed by Rosana Sullivan and Kathryn Hendrickson); and three acclaimed stop-motion works from the Czech Republic, France, and China: “Dcera (Daughter)” (directed by Daria Kashcheeva), “Memorable” (directed by Bruno Collet and Jean-François Le Corre), and “Sister” (directed by Siqi Song).