[18 OUT OF 46 FILMS REMAINING]-[15 DAYS TO OSCARS]
After five years, Steven Spielberg is back on the Oscar map, with a Best Picture nomination. Spielberg has previously had six films nominated for Best Picture and has only won a single Best Picture Academy Award for “Schindler’s List”. He’s also been nominated six times for Best Director, winning for “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan”.
Despite it’s poor marketing, “War Horse” is truly a Steven Spielberg adventure. Yet through the family-oriented, Black Beauty-esque advertisements, people started to question Spielberg on this latest directing venture. I was in that category, unsure even as the film began. But as the film progresses, the film’s tone grows dark and it picks up wonderfully. But the damage has already been done and for that, the film will probably miss a ton of audiences including members of the Academy, leaving “War Horse” passed up for most, if not all, of its nominations.
The Best Picture category will definitely not see a “War Horse” win.
I always lean towards the “sound heavy” films to win these awards because of the unique challenges that these films face. With so many sounds present, remixing, re-recording, and remastering becomes much more of a challenge than in the quiet, everyday life films. Looking at the list in both categories, I immediately am drawn to films like “Transformers: Dark Of The Moon”, seeing as so much sound must be created to make that world feel authentic.
The same goes for “War Horse”. With most of the film taking place during a war, the sound is pivotal in capturing that sense of battle. Yet, the sound mixers and editors must beware of controlling their sound as to not overwhelm or overbear the other aspects of the film. “War Horse” (in relation to its sound) is never distracting and only adds a depth to the chaotic world playing throughout. As always, this category is tough to peg, but if “Transformers: Dark Of The Moon”, “Drive”, or “Hugo” don’t grab these awards, “War Horse” will definitely find itself some wins.
By far my favorite score in the race, “War Horse” marks John Williams’ 46th Oscar nomination (47th being his second nomination this year for the Score from “The Adventures of Tintin”). Williams has a huge history with the Academy Awards, holding the record for most nominations than any other living person and is only topped by Walt Disney as most nominated of all-time. In the Best Original Score category, Williams has been nominated 42 times, winning only 5 times (“Fiddler on the Roof”, “Jaws”, “Star Wars”, “E.T.”, and “Schindler’s List”).
Long story short, John Williams is no stranger to the Academy Awards or to Steven Spielberg films. And having scored two of Spielberg’s films this year, Williams finds himself nominated twice in the same category, helping his odds. The only problems? “Hugo” and “The Artist” will be raking in so many awards that they could easily sweep this category as well. “The Artist” focuses heavily on its score and if it were to win Best Picture, a strong case could be made for it winning Best Original Score. Also, with two nominations for Williams, his potential votes could get split, making it difficult for one of his films to accumulate enough votes to beat out its fellow competitors. So whereas, together Williams could have enough votes to win, split among two different films, Williams will probably not be seeing his sixth Academy Award this year.
Best Cinematography would be one of the film’s best chances at winning an Oscar, with the high profile chases involving the horses, the front-line war sequences, and even the sweeping, open country scenes. But with competition like “Hugo”, “The Artist”, and especially “The Tree Of Life”, there is little chance that “War Horse” will even register come Oscar night.
If “The Artist” weren’t such a strong contender this year, “War Horse” would probably be able to sneak away with a few awards. Personally, I thought “War Horse” to be the stronger film in the art department. Never distracting and continuously absorbing the viewer into this period piece, everything about “War Horse” succeeds in engulfing you in that era. “The Artist” was often distracting, relying too much on the Art Direction to keep you absorbed, instead of being a well-rounded piece that could stand on its own. “The Artist” will probably take this award (if not “Hugo”), but one could definitely make a strong case for “War Horse”.