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Motion Picture Sound Editors Announce 2012 Nominations

January 20, 2012 1 comment

I can’t say I’m as enthralled by the MPSE’s nominations. They just don’t have the same oomph and hutzpah that their younger brother, the Cinema Audio Society, seems to exhibit. It might have to do with their obvious indecisiveness, citing forty-seven nominees split into seven different categories. I do, in fact, understand the difference in editing both music and dialogue, yet, when you can’t narrow it down past eight nominees for ADR editing, you’re just not trying hard enough.

That brings me to the second point which is quality. When you’re nominating films like “Hop,” “Abduction” and “Priest” for actual awards, those films better have sound editing on par with “Saving Private Ryan.” Otherwise, you look just about as stupid as the Academy’s make-up branch when they nominate the latest Eddie Murphy or Adam Sandler flick. Some films just deserve to be forgotten and by nominating them for awards, you’re just not helping anyone. And “Quarantine II: Terminal”? Seriously? I have no words.

As far as what these awards mean for Oscar, one thing’s for sure. Even if the Academy’s visual effects corridor has shunned it, “Super 8” has certainly made its make in regards to its sound. After picking up a CAS nom yesterday, the film dominated the MPSE with three mentions, in other words, every category that it was eligible in. I think it would be safe to put money on Abrams’ film making it in for at least one, if not both of the AMPAS sound categories.

See the full list of nominees after the cut:

BEST SOUND EDITING: SOUND EFFECTS AND FOLEY IN A FEATURE FILM
“Drive”
“Fast Five”
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Super 8”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Read more…

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2012 Cinema Audio Society Nominations

January 19, 2012 1 comment

I’m not gonna lie. I always get truly psyched about this particular guild every year. It’s not that I have extensive experience in the field of sound mixing, nor have a particular penchant for the medium (though I certainly enjoy a great 5.1 mix on my home theater system as much as the next person). I suppose I get enthralled by the CAS just because of the massive wrench that they usually throw into the works.

This is no ordinary wrench, though. The CAS often has a tendency to name some completely unexpected sound mixes, ones that were once considered done and out of the race. A person might be immediately inclined to dismiss these nominees and say to themselves, “There’s no way the Academy will go this route.” Yet, that’s the crazy thing about the CAS is that they aren’t just a small part of the race, they really do define it. In the last ten years, the CAS has correctly forecasted at least 4/5 Oscar nominees six times. The other four years, they were 3/5. In the Society’s eighteen year existence, only once has their lineup been as low as a 2/5 matchup, and never less than that. Not a bad record.

The nominees for this year’s Cinema Audio Society are as follows:

“Hanna”

“Hugo”

“Moneyball”

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

“Super 8”

When it comes to these nominees, I just have to stop and observe a moment of unadulterated joy for the recognition paid to the sound crew of “Hanna.” In my mind, this is, and has been from 2011’s outset, one of the year’s most intricate and powerful works of audio. After viewing it again on blu ray, my opinion has not changed. Listening to this sound mix on a 5.1 system is like having God in your living room. Fabulous work that, even if it does not go beyond this point, is worthy of it’s moment of glory.

Among the rest of the nominees, the second biggest surprise was the inclusion of “Moneyball.” This might be the most easy to dismiss pick of the bunch, but there’s a lot going on in that mix. Plus, Sorkin dialogue does take a lot of post-production audio to make it work. I can’t say I’m too thrilled to see the fourth “Pirates” movie show up here. I mean, come on. Do we really need to keep awarding this franchise for beating itself to death and taking the audience down with it? And speaking of a film beating itself to death, one such flick that wholly deserved a nomination here and failed was “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” The film itself is nothing to be proud of, but every two years, this franchise astounds us with it’s insanely detailed aural accomplishments and it should have taken the “Pirates” slot.

It’s nice to see “Super 8” pick up some steam, here. I was close to considering it down and out after it got eliminated from the Visual Effects finalists. Yet, there’s some great work happening amongst all that alien ruckus that Oscar should consider. And finally there’s “Hugo,” the one name here that I don’t think anyone was surprised to see. Don’t be shocked if it goes on to pocket the award for both this and the perennial honors in February.

In closing, I leave you with this clip from the film, “Hanna.” While it’s impossible to truly appreciate the sound mix without a high quality, multi-channel playback, this scene, alone deserves all the credit in the world. My advisement: rent or buy this movie on blu ray as soon as possible, and go ahead and buy a home theater system just to watch it on.

The Visual Effects Society Nominates…

January 9, 2012 Leave a comment

I won’t spend a lot of time on this, being that we already have the Academy’s shortlist down to ten names. In case you missed the news, the following films are still in the running for the Best Visual Effects Oscar.

“Captain America: The First Avenger”

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″

“Hugo”

“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

“Real Steel”

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

“The Tree of Life”

“X-Men: First Class”

This list of nominees from the VES, doesn’t really change or sway much. The frontrunners all managed to pick up a slew of nominations. “Transformers” and “Harry Potter” led the way with five apiece. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” wasn’t far behind with four and “Hugo” picked up the rear with three. One unusual facet of these noms is the complete exclusion of “The Tree of Life,” which many believed to be that fifth slot with the Oscars. Also snubbed were “X-Men: First Class” and “Real Steel,” while “Captain America” and “Thor,” while already kicked off the Academy’s list, managed multiple nominations.

Perhaps the most notable detail that I can see is the complete snubbage of J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8”. Now I know that the film is not on the Academy’s shortlist for this award, but I can remember back to a time when many thought that this film would clean up in the tech categories. Here it doesn’t even merit a single mention. We’ll have to wait for the MPSE and the CAS, but now I’m wondering if the film might be banned from the Kodak entirely.

See the full list of nominees after the cut:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature
“Captain America: The First Avenger”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

15 Finalists for Best Visual Effects Category

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Just as it did with Best Documentary, and likely will do for Best Makeup, the Academy has shortlisted a selection of 15 finalists that will go on to compete for nominations in the Best Visual Effects category. Unlike last year, in which this category was gift-wrapped for “Inception” from the moment the flick appeared in theaters, 2011 features an assortment of talent that will likely produce some actual competition for the gold.

The following films are on the VFX shortlist:

“Captain America: The First Avenger”
“Cowboys & Aliens”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″
“Hugo”
“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”
“Real Steel”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”
“Sucker Punch”
“Super 8″
“Thor”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“The Tree of Life”
“X-Men: First Class”

While the field is more competitive this year, it’s difficult not to give frontrunner status to “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” Not only did the quality of the film itself utterly drive over everyone’s expectations, but the visual effects are quite astounding. While most buzz around this film is directed towards Andy Serkis’ fine performance, folks can’t forget that he was only half responsible for the character of Ceasar. If the VFX hadn’t been spot on, the film never would have been held in such high esteem.

Perhaps “Apes” biggest competition comes from a duo of films that I have chosen to call the attack of the “H”s, if only for my own amusement. The Harry Potter franchise has already been nominated in this category twice before (while many probably believe that number should be greater). There might be a bit of overdue status surrounding “Deathly Hollows: Part 2” and many voters may find this the best place to honor it. Mostly because the film’s other competitive category of Art Direction will likely get taken down by the other “H” that is Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo.” The 3D effect-ridden world of said film may sway voters towards a win, but people may see through the CGI and remember only the design of it all.

 

One film that I finally viewed recently and really hope makes a splash here is “X-Men: First Class” only the mutant effects, but practically everything featured in the film’s final thirty minutes is more than deserving of a nomination. It will have a tough time outing any of the category’s big guns, though.

From this list, I’d say that the field will probably look something like this:

1. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
2. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2”
3. “Hugo”
4. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
5. “Super 8”

Alt 1: “X-Men:  First Class”
Alt 2: “Real Steel”

If Posters Told the Truth….

Wow. I stumbled upon a few of these over at Sasha Stone’s Awardsdaily and then hit the motherload. These are hilarious. In some cases, they’re reaching, but in most, DEAD ON. It’s also worth noticing the great craftsmanship in some of these. They look absolutely spectacular. I’m not sure who exactly to give due credit for designing these, but props to them.

Some of the highlights definitely include “The Tree of Life” and the painfully honest “Transformers 3.” Granted, some of these films do have potential for decency or even greatness. And yet, these posters advertise what all of us are really thinking, even if we’re looking forward to them. Without a doubt, my favorite of the lot is the “Harry Potter” one, featuring a quote that I have been saying to myself for longer than I can remember.

Find your summer favorite in the selections I’ve made after the jump. If it’s not there, check out the full load at the The Shiznit. Enjoy. Read more…

NEW “Super 8” Trailer

March 12, 2011 Leave a comment

I know I’m a couple of days behind the curve on posting this, but better late than never. J.J. Abrams’ new film “Super 8” has got to be one of the most highly anticipated and secretive projects of the year. This new trailer has given the greatest amount of information and clues into the film’s plot, characters and events.

J.J. Abrams has always been kind of a question mark for me. I’ve always thought that “Mission Impossible III” was a ridiculous piece of garbage. “Lost” was a great show, but I’m not sure how much credit I actually want to give Abrams, himself, for it. “Star Trek” was definitely an exciting and satisfying piece of cinema, so that has definitely improved his image, in my mind. However, I can remember all of the talk referring to this young hotshot as the next Steven Spielberg, and I’m not sure anything could convince me of that.

Until now. Not gonna lie, this movie has me stoked. If Abrams can successfully pull off this venture, than he will in no doubt be placed in the cream of the crop of young directors working to change the face of cinema for the better. With the threads of nostalgia that I’ve felt sewn into all of the spectacular action and suspense, I wouldn’t doubt it if this film becomes the “Inception” of the year, and ending up with a Best Picture nomination from the Oscars come January.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. With this trailer, the film has a LOT to live up to. We shall find out if it, and Abrams, are all they’re cracked up to be come July. In the meantime, watch the trailer, below. There are no HD versions available on Youtube, yet. Therefore, if you’re hungry for higher resolution, click the Twitter link below the embed.

One more note: how cool is it to see Spielberg producing under the Amblin Entertainment logo, again? This trailer is the mayor of nostalgia city.

 

HD Version from Twitter

Best Super Bowl Movie Previews

February 6, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m not always a loyal Super Bowl watcher, but for this time around, I had an even greater sense of malaise towards it than normal. I live in Chicago and grew up in Cleveland. Therefore, seeing the arch rivals of both of my teams battle it out wasn’t exactly generating any huge interest in my mind. No matter who won, I would be pissed. Therefore, I found my refuge in the ads of the night, in particular, the film previews.

Aside from “Battle: Los Angeles” (which I’ve already posted quite a bit of footage for, already), there were three teasers that I had me pretty stoked. “Cowboys vs. Aliens” upped their amount of footage on display from the teaser released last year. Still looks as fun as ever. We also got our first look at J.J. Abrams incredibly secret project “Super 8.” The film literally looks like a direct crossover between “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” and “The Iron Giant,” and that’s not a bad get. Having Steven Spielberg’s name plastered on it didn’t alter that perception.

However, there was one teaser that absolutely stood above the rest. Unbelievably, and I mean UNBELIEVABLY, it is “Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon.” Let’s face it, that spot was awesome. Maybe it was the press release a few weeks back in which Michael Bay, himself, admitted that “Revenge of the Fallen” was a giant turd and he promised that this one would get it right. Maybe it’s the news that “The Dark Knight Rises” production might be pulling completely out of Chicago and it was amazing to see the second city featured so strongly in a film. Maybe it’s the fact that my girlfriend and about twenty of my friends worked on the film. Whatever it is, I have surprisingly, and possibly shamefully, become incredibly excited for this film. God help us all.

Check out the spots for all 3 films below: