MovieMuse Academy Awards 2017 – Part 1/3

Every year we challenge ourselves to watch all of the films nominated in the major categories at the top awards ceremonies. This year that has given us a massive 55 films to munch our way through…

2017 Awards Nominated Films

…and as the final bows have been taken, the final thanks given and the final congratulatory smiles faked, 2016’s year in film is officially over. So it is now time for us to look at the eventual winners and losers, compare them against our own informed choices and to give the respective Academies some feedback on their performance as self proclaimed movie savants.

We will rank all of the films later on in this piece, but a simple ‘out of 5’ score doesn’t necessarily mean a film should have won one of the 14 awards that are up for grabs. So using the combined nominations from the British and American Academies, here are the official MovieMuse Academy choices from our 3rd annual awards.

First up, we bring you our choices for the music, technical and ‘craft’ awards…

Best Original Score

Winner: Lion (Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka)

Nominees: Arrival, La La Land, Nocturnal Animals, Lion, Jackie, Moonlight, Passengers

What we said: For a film that relies heavily on its aesthetic and dramatic theming for its first hour, a strong score was an absolute must. O’Halloran’s piano work has been heard in many films prior to Lion, but never in a film so big or in a more impactful way, capturing the isolation, loneliness, fear and wonder of an eight year old child lost in an alien world. Hauschka is better known for his work for the ‘prepared’ piano (which basically means tampering with the strings to create new sounds) but his input seems far more tempered here. The OST also includes a hit single for Sia (Never Give Up) and revives an Indian favourite from A R Rahman (Urvasi Urvasi).


Runner Up: Jackie


Oscar Winner: La La Land

BAFTA Winner: La La Land

Special Visual Effects

Winner: The Jungle Book

Nominees: Arrival, Fantastic Beasts, Kubo and the Two Strings, Deepwater Horizon, Doctor Strange, The Jungle Book, Rogue One.

What we said: Director Jon Favrau has made much of the huge advances in film technology that have made his film possible, even to the point of admitting that the only ‘live action’ in the film is the performance from 11 year old newcomer Neel Sethi. Every tree, every animal, every river and every vista is computer generated. While this does make you marvel at how photo-real animation has now become, it also kind of kills the magic a little for me. For the most part however, the animation is flawless and you would not believe that you were anywhere but the Indian Jungle. There are a small number of exceptions, CGI stills has a problem with giving characters weight, so jumping often looks odd and some of the animals have been caricatured which juxtaposes the hyper-realism elsewhere. But pickiness aside and especially when watched in 3D, The Jungle Book is a visual treat.”


Runner Up: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story


Oscar Winner: The Jungle Book

BAFTA Winner: The Jungle Book

Best Cinematography

Winner: Lion

Nominees: La La Land, Arrival, Nocturnal Animals, Lion, Hell or High Water, Moonlight, Silence.

What we said: The colours of India are so bright and vibrant that a film should struggle not to look wondrous and alive, but it is in the squalor and and the empty expanses that the cinematographers excel by giving us a magical but foreboding filter to the amazing views. India has been displayed well in many films prior (Slum Dog Millionaire and The Darjeeling Ltd to name but two), but Lion stands out by it’s rounded portrayal. We don’t just see colour and garlands, nor do we just see slums and depravation. We get the glory and the horror in beautiful focus.


Runner Up: Hell or High Water


Oscar Winner: La La Land

BAFTA Winner: La La Land

Best Production Design

Winner: Jackie

Nominees: Arrival, Fantastic Beasts, La La Land, Nocturnal Animals, Jackie, Doctor Strange, Hail Caesar!, Passengers.

What we said: “The impact of a production designer can be so obvious that accolades are thrown at them, just look at Mad Max: Fury Road last year. But the wonder of some productions is that you don’t notice any design at all. For this period First Lady biopic many will assume that it is easy to take photos of the White House in the 60s and produce a direct copy of its fixtures and fittings. But the joy of Jackie is that everything is so believable in a 360 degree view. The sets don’t just look like The White House in Kennedy’s time, they FEEL like it. The grandeur and majesty of the presidential palace is displayed, but also the confines, where only small areas of huge rooms are serviceable and even less is private. Jackie, like the person who’s story it tells, is a film designed to perfection with not a hair out of place up front, but not scared to show the cracks nehind.”


Runner Up: Hail, Caesar!


Oscar Winner: La La Land

BAFTA Winner: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Best Costume Design

Winner: Jackie

Nominees: Arrival, Fantastic Beasts, La La Land, Nocturnal Animals, Jackie, Doctor Strange, Hail Caesar!, Passengers.

What we said: “It is easy to give costume design to big and brash productions with fantastical garments dazzling the eye. But just as with production design, the subtleties of the art are often displayed far better when the are understated and elegantly quiet. Jackie Kennedy was a fashion icon so it is no surprise that the costumes used in the film are striking. But there are many more than just Jackie in this film and the period feel and presidential atmosphere would be easily lost had the quality of the costumes been understated. Throughout the film both the costumes and production are sublimely regal, but it is when the cracks start to show that both shine. Jackie’s iconic pink Chanel pillbox hat and suit are such an important character in the film that I was almost surprised not to see them given a listing in the performer credits.”


Runner Up: La La Land


Oscar Winner: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

BAFTA Winner: Jackie

In part two we will share the winners in the writing and supporting categories.




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