Let's celebrate last year's best cinematic achievement in technical categories, including six subjects: editing, visual effects, cinematography, art direction, score, and songs. I'm picking five films which I consider as the best for each subject. Here we go.
|Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill|
Rush is powerful and dynamic, but at the same time never tried to be too much an adrenaline pumper—thanks to solid editing team behind it. That is the reason why I choose it over Captain Phillips or 12 Years A Slave which, although from the editing itself look quite similar, had a lot more tension. Meanwhile, flashbacks in Saving Mr. Banks was effective and less distracting than what many people described about, and interchanging scenes of dream and conscious state in Trance is smooth and straight.
|Christopher Rouse||Joe Walker|
|Mark Livolsi||Jon Harris|
|BEST VISUAL EFFECTS|
|Richard McBride, Tim Webber, et al.|
No one has ever imagined seeing both sunrise and aurora in one big frame captured from outer space, before they saw Gravity. It’s a wonderful, wonderful piece of art meets technology. Meanwhile, it’s easy to be impressed by Smaug’s flawless 3D CGI modelling in The Desolation of Smaug, the beautiful space station in Oblivion, or Jaeger/Kaiju visualization in Pacific Rim. I also give Walter Mitty a recognition for its effort in blending the beautiful scenery of Iceland and Mitty’s vast imagination.
|Jeff Capogreco, Joe Letteri, et al.||Eric Barba, Björn Mayer, et al.|
|John Knoll, James E. Price, et al.||Guillaume Rocheron, Mark Casey, et al.|
How chic cinematography meets advanced visual technology in Gravity reminds me of how it occurs back when I watched Life of Pi. Would you rather be told about the story of a film and be transferred with its emotions from visual images or from dialogues? I prefer visual languages to textual ones. That’s the power of cinematography. Blooming white and strong bleakness in Inside Llewyn Davis, and the image composition, color setting, and focus play in Stoker, Her, and Prisoners are achievements that made me believe people would appreciate the art side of a film better in the future.
|Bruno Delbonnel||Chung-hoon Chung|
|Hoyte van Hoytemma||Roger Deakins|
|BEST ART DIRECTION|
This is a last-minute decision; I wasn’t really prepared for Best Art Direction category. But suddenly when I was listing my choices for Best Cinematography, I couldn’t help wondering how art direction has become an important key for cinematography. So, here it is. Palette coloring increased the sweetness and warmth of Her, while Gatsby’s bayside castle party is glamorous with lots of fireworks and stuffs. Beside Iceland, Walter Mitty’s setting in LIFE magazine office is also interesting. Les Miserables and The Wolf of Wall Street came up next after it.
|Damien Drew, Ian Gracie, Michael Turner||David Swayze|
|Grant Armstrong, Gary Jopling,
Hannah Moseley, Su Whitaker
You might agree that Hans Zimmer’s chant for Man of Steel is a memorable one, but you should see how he made a more traditional, simpler arrangement for every continuous despair in 12 Years A Slave. And I’m not sure if I really prefer simple music for films until finally I listened to those Thai songs in Only God Forgives, and fell for them. However, I wouldn’t easily forget the impassioned score by Explosions In The Sky in Prince Avalanche and all the melancholy composition Arcade Fire produced for Her. Love them all.
Explosions in the Sky, David Wingo
|ONLY GOD FORGIVES|
|12 YEARS A SLAVE
|MAN OF STEEL|
|BEST SONG USED IN A FILM|
|FIVE HUNDRED MILES|
from INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
(music by Hedy West;
performed by Justin Timberlake,
Carey Mulligan, Stark Sands)
This is the most exciting category. I love this year’s songs in films. I just love them. But finally my choices were split into songs from only three films. To be honest I prefer Her’s score than songs, but the Oscar-nominated The Moon Song and Breeder’s Off You are the two I can’t skip away from my playlist. Ed Sheeran’s I See Fire is too. But, you know, all songs in Inside Llewyn Davis are undeniably unforgettable—especially the comedic Please Mr. Kennedy and the mildly traditional rhythm of Five Hundred Miles.
2. Captain Phillips
3. 12 Years A Slave
4. Saving Mr. Banks
Best Visual Effects:
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
4. Pacific Rim
5. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
2. Inside Llewyn Davis
Best Art Direction:
2. The Great Gatsby
3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
4. Les Miserables
5. The Wolf of Wall Street
2. Prince Avalanche
3. Only God Forgives
4. 12 Years A Slave
5. Man of Steel
Best Song Used in A Film:
1. Five Hundred Miles (from Inside Llewyn Davis)
2. Please Mr. Kennedy (from Inside Llewyn Davis)
3. I See Fire (from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)
4. Off You (from Her)
5. The Moon Song (from Her)
So far Her is leading with 2 wins and 3 runner-ups. Coming up next, Writing & Directing categories.