Classic regal movie cinematography, big in scope yet intimate when needed. Aplifies the copious beauty on offer.
Showing a keen eye for the classics of the genre and replicating them whilst not copying them to the point of exhaustion. Utterly gorgeous.
I am actually more keen on Deakins' work on the Coen Brothers' take on the western, than Andrew Dominik's, but they're both exceptional pieces of work by one of the professions modern masters.
Beguiling and interesting use of light and framing. Something deeply sinister, yet captivating and fascinating at the same time.
Obviously taking a big leaf out of Days of Heaven, but O'Loughlin's work is still stunning like visual poetry for the Australian bush.
Honourable Mentions: Martin Rufe worked black and white wonders on Control, Bruno Delbonnel did typically amazing stuff on Across the Universe, as did Oscar-winner Robert Elswit with There Will Be Blood. Harris Savides did fine and differing work on Zodiac, Margot at the Wedding and American Gangster. I wasn't as taken with Janusz Kaminski's Diving Bell and the Butterfly work as others, but it was still pretty great, as was Hagen Bogdanski's unheralded work on The Lives of Others. Peter Falk's work on The Jammed was a good demonstration for digital and I enjoyed the bizarro techniques on display in Taxidermia and Electroma by Gergely Pohárnok and Thomas Bangalter respectively.
Roger Deakins for No Country for Old Men
László Baranyai for Noise
Seamus McGarvey for Atonement
Imaginative madness from the working class of London to psychedelic New York and lots of places in between.
Perhaps a too obvious choice, what with it's large oh so British estates and cities in the grips of war, but that doesn't stop it from being exceptionally crafted work.
Kitschy and quirky, with a stylised reimagining of the 1950s. It's colourful and brash, but delightful and, at times, eccentric.
The technical aspects of this franchise just keep getting better and better with each film as they get more free reign and more artistically vibrant. The best work yet was in this past year's edition.
Stunning detail in this animated world. Every frame is filled with so much decoration that you need to watch it multiple times just to catch half of it. Breathtaking imagination.
Honourable Mentions: Veronika Merlin looked like she had a blast with Taxidermia's grotesquerie, the large team behind Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End did the best work of the series (in my eyes) yet, Lai Pan's work on Lust, Caution was immaculately designed, Juno was quirk-central (but the good kind!) thanks to Steve Saklad and the set decoration by Shane Vieau. Mark Leese somehow made This is England look like it was filmed in 1983. Donald Graham Burt did quiet but substantial work on Zodiac, while Mark Tildesley made the ship of Sunshine a character in itself. Jack Fisk did minimalist but interesting work on There Will Be Blood, while Dante Feretti did the exact opposite with Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Victor Lam did impressive low-budget high-concept work on Gabriel.
Sarah Greenwood for Atonement
David Gropman for Hairspray
Stuart Craig for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Like so many other parts of Julie Taymor's visual feast, costuming legend Wolsky's work is boldly inventive and playfully imaginative.
Justifiably attention grabbing duds for this ever gorgeous movie. The green dress would justify a nomination alone if it weren't the other stunning outfits on display throughout.
Solid work on this WWII flick that keeps it a notch above realism, but never straying into excessive overindulgence.
Fun and colourful without baring garish. The outfits actually work really well with the colours around them, whether they be in the sets or on other actors' costumes.
One of the film's best assets is that it actually looks like a movie that was made in 1983 when it's set, a lot of that has to do with the absolutely spot on costuming by predominantly TV-oriented Thompson.
Honourable Mentions: John Dunn expertly maneuvered throughout time periods and eras on I'm Not There while Patricia Norris also showed range on The Assassination of Jesse James... Ann Roth did more than just gloriously costume Nicole Kidman on The Golden Compass, Alexandre Byrne may have won the Oscar for Elizabeth: The Golden Age, but it was all so soulless. Lai Pan was understated with Lust, Caution and Colleen Atwood did her typically great job on Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Arienne Phillips's Charlie Prince jacket was amazing and Penny Rose added an Asian element into Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
Jacqueline Durran for Atonement
Jo Thompson for This is England
Rita Ryack for Hairspray
Perhaps indulging in excess, but Menke is at the top of her game with QT's grungy grindhouse experiment. That final car chase sequence is so expertly cut.
Actually showing a deft ability at cutting a musical, allowing us to see what's going on and keeping it light on it's feet with gleeful abandon.
Keeps the film moving along nicely, craftily mixing it's slowburn character moments with those more intense thriller moments. Culminating in a wonderfully put together action finale.
Expertly mixing the art of editing with that of the other crafts and creating a universe of mystery and perversion through perfectly timed cuts.
Not wasting a single scene or moment. Everything is needed so even though the movie feels excessively long, it really is not. To cut out anything would be to compromise the film.
Honourable Mentions: Roderick Jaynes (aka The Coen Bros) did excellent work, but I can't quite tell if it was the editing or the directing that really gave No Country for Old Men it's true spark - I chose the former. Dylan Tichenor's editing was one of There Will Be Blood's true standouts, Peter Christelis did surprising work on A Mighty Heart, Tim Squyres was classically slick with Lust, Caution, Nicolas Chaudeurge helped make Red Road into a terrifying nightmare while Andrew Hulme handled the music and dialogue scenes deftly on Control. Ben Lester helped Deep Water immensely, Paul Tothill's work on Atonement was astounding, but I have issues with the later half of the work and Christopher Rouse's work on The Bourne Ultimatum was thrilling, but I gave him an award for doing the same thing for The Bourne Supremacy and United 93 (see 2007 UMAs).
Geoff Hitchens for Noise
Sally Menke for Death Proof
Angus Wall for Zodiac
Not your ordinary effects. Hallucinogenic and weird, which fits in perfectly to this film and Taymor's oeuvre itself.
Yet another aspect of the film's technical side that keeps getting better and better. Top notch work.
For pure gee whiz visual pizazz, the crew here worked wonders. It's CARS THAT TURN INTO ROBOTS, people!
Honourable Mentions: The Golden Compass was other-worldly, 300 had it's style and did it well, Planet Terror's effects were hilariously ridiculous, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End was on overload, Sunshine was all fire and effects, The Host had interesting work when it used it, Rogue's croc was effective and Cashback had some intriguing practical effects going on. Zodiac had some of the better smaller effects since Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Across the Universe
Shaun Smith, Mark Rappaport & Scott Wheeler
Those six packs were not natural, plus for added dirty, sweaty, bloody combat.
From prestigeous estate beauty to the brutalities of war, always keeping the plucked I'm-Beautiful-Even-In-A-War look that the classics had.
Jodi Cooper-Sealy & Jordan Samuel
Fun with wigs and prosthetics, even Travolta doesn't look half as embarassing as he could've.
Didier Laverge & Jan Archibald
Fittingly welldone, they do most of the acting for Marion Cotillard while they're at it.
Howard Berger, Gregory Nicotero & Jake Garber
Ugly and repulsive, from zombies to puss to spurting blood and bubbling skin, this work is appropriately grindhouse.
Honourable Mentions: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street was more Tim Burton styled gothica, Stardust did old person makeup just as well as Oscar-certified stuff like A Beautiful Mind, I'm Not There was impressive if only for everybody's crazy hair, Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus is perhaps too obvious a choice for this category, but it was still good work as was the more era-defining work of This is England. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly had good work and Elizabeth: The Golden Age was filled with big hair.
La Vie en Rose
True to form, the same year one composer (see below) does something different he is hailed, yet another does it in a less loved movie (er, what with his polarizing type writer noises) and it's obnoxious. I don't get it.
If Rodriguez is trying to become the new John Carpenter (lord knows Carpenter's doing his best to make us need a new one) then this score is a good notch in the belt. Retro and synthesized, just how I like it!
Sprightly and positively beaming with light and frivolity, with just enough "frenchiness" without being overwhelmingly twee. A delight all 'round.
Beautiful and affecting. Just gorgeous to listen to and works wonderfully with the images on the screen.
There Will Be Blood
Irresistibly bonkers, yet somehow... somehow... it feels so entirely necessary and important to the film's impact.
Honourable Mentions: The finest working film composer, Alexandre Desplat made a more subtle and less hooky (but still gorgeous) score for Lust, Caution and The Golden Compass, Tamiya Terajima's work on Tales from Earthsea was that film's greatest asset. Francois Tétaz's score for Rogue was majestic while Graham Tardif's score for Dr Plonk was front and centre. I was a fan of James Newton Howard's alternative of sorts score for Michael Clayton as well as what Marco Beltrami did for 3:10 to Yuma. Electronic scores were back on Sunshine by Underworld, while Nick Cave and Warren Ellis gave The Assassination of Jesse James... a quietly lovely score.
Jonny Greenwood for There Will Be Blood
Roger Mason for September
Dario Marianelli for Atonement
"That's How You Know"
Performed by Amy Adams
A delightful song that feels authentically Disney, but knowingly silly. It actually fits into the movie without feeling tacked on.
Performed by Zac Efron
Call me confused as to why this song wasn't pushed for Oscar. It's snappy, performed well, actually integrated into the movie unlike the closing credits song that they did push. Oh well.
Performed by Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
The film's centrepiece is this absolutely stunning song. An organic and startlingly produced number that provides the emotional crux for the whole movie.
"The Girl from Byakkya"
Performed by Susumu Hirasawa
A technobabble pop song that doesn't feel out of a place at all in the mysterious and bonkers world of Paprika.
"Teen Horniness is Not a Crime"
Performed by Sarah Michelle Gellar
Hysterical and aptly silly skewering of modern day mainstream hip-hop music performed by dumb white chicks. But behind all that are some legitimately brilliant lyrics.
Honourable Mentions: "A Dream" from Freedom Writers was probably the only good thing about that movie, "Le Festin" fit sublimely into Ratatouille, "Therru's Song" from Tales from Earthsea was a lovely closing song.
"Falling Slowly" from Once
"Teen Horniness is Not a Crime" from Southland Tales
"Ladies Choice" from Hairspray
Serge Rouquairol, Germain Boulay and Yannick Boulot
For dead silences filled with menacing creaks, clacks and gusts.
David Lynch & Dean Hurley
For industrial hums and terror-enducing bass. Cacophonous.
Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff & Peter F. Kurland
For ratcheting up the intensity without a single musical cue, yet making the loudness tear through the speakers.
Emma Bortignon, Doron Kipen & Philippe Decrausaz
For buzzing, static and screaming gun shots.
Douglas MacDougall, Kahl Henderson & Chris Sinclair
Similar in vein to INLAND EMPIRE above, Red Road is lofi, but scary in execution. It gives me chills just thinking about it.
Honourable Mentions: Transformers big and bombastic, The Assassination of Jesse James... and September were just the opposite, but just as impressive. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Hairspray, Paprika, Beowulf 3D, Sunshine, Rogue were all fine too.
Scratches and loops
No Country for Old Men
Air conditioning vents
Air pressure rifles
Randy Thom & Michael Silvers
Ethan van der Ryn & Mike Hopkins
Cars that turn into robots!
Cars that turn into robots!
Cars that turn into robots!
Honourable Mentions: There Will Be Blood's texas landscape was given great authenticity by the sound editing, Red Road's many sound feeds featured some great work, as did the animated Paprika. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and American Gangster had didn't kinds of blockbuster appeal in this arena and the sound editing was one area that Southland Tales shined.