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Monday, 3 March 2014

The Underdog Awards 2014: Part 3

The Underdog Awards

Writing and Music are through, now to head towards the actual technical parts of the technical awards. 

One thing I forgot to note earlier, the under appreciated here or the idea behind these awards as a whole isn't to attack the Academy Awards. As usual in any year, the Academy snubbed a lot of excellent movies that should have been nominated. They also have a highly flawed system. Yet I will say this, surprisingly this year many of the films/film entities that at least won the award were deserving of their wins. There were no particular winning shocks, in fact I have to give kudos to the Academy cause I suspected that they would give Lupita Nyongo the deserving golden man but they did.

So onto the technical technical awards...

Technical Awards

Basically the 'small' awards in any ceremony, much of where the background stuff occurs from the camera work to the visual effects, the way music is incorporated and how editing perfectly flows the scenes together into a film and most importantly the story that is being visually depicted.

This post will be for the technical of the technical awards basically the cinematography and VFX since most of those would have been CBM nominated, which I sadly had to exclude. Simply because I might be bias to them or more so to show off my elitist snobbish film enthusiast side. 

Underdog Award for Best Editing

Beyond the obvious how short a film it is, or/and whether it has any unnecessary material in its run-time. Editing also looks at the aspects of the flow of the film and how the scenes are brought together to create that. 

Also not to mention how well this does in establishing the tone of the film and conveying the story the director is trying to tell in the best possible way. 

Honorable Mentions: Spring Breakers, Trance, In A World, Much Ado About Nothing, Inside Llewyn Davis, Short Term 12, The Conjuring, Touchy Feely, Ain't Them Bodies Saints

And the Nominees are...

Joe Hutshing for Metallica: Through The Never

It's commendable that director Nimrod Antal decided to add in some wacky story into his film alongside the typical but stellar concert film concept. But most importantly kudos to Hutshing for taking those two elements and seamlessly blending them in such a way that the concert bit becomes intriguing while the story follows the beats of the music while being its own surreal thing. Both sides felt like they were also taking place in real time together, thanks to the editing considering that the concert bit was footage from Metallica's tour in Vancouver. 

With that, just the way Hushting brings together the different shots taken from the concert is also nothing short of brilliant. The editing here creates a thematically quirky and chaotic film with some energizing music matching even to the narrative and the narrative enhancing the concert experience miles away in story. Not to mention the brisk pace with which the film unravels, preventing it from getting self indulging in any which way. 

Daniel Hanley and Mike Hill for Rush

Nominated just on the strength of how well the film visually brings to life the racing scenes, fast and furious (weird pun intended) yet with such defined spectacle. Then there's the much more dramatic moments that move as swiftly yet add just the right amount of character. 

Of course there's no major editing needed in the confrontations between James Hunt and Niki Lauda as that's what really creates the film, it moves slow but with a sense of speeding tension just like their driving. 

Jennifer Lame for Frances Ha

As mentioned in the previous post, Frances Ha doesn't have a typically proper narrative structure and it's here where Lame's editing comes to help. She brings an elegance and frolics to the proceedings just like Frances's dancing. There's a method of madness and groviness in the way with which scenes flow from one part to another, energizing the audience into being a part of Frances's journey and learning curve. 

Nicolas De Toth for Stoker

Just like with it's score, De Toth and the editing aptly support director Park Chan Wook's bonkers vision of this Gothic fairytale thriller. The editing savagely unravels a very dark yet hilarious sort of tale, and flows its music to its characters perfectly in some deeply disturbing situation. Just watch how the nerve racking and weirdly sexual piano confrontation plays through and drifts between India (Mia Wasikowska) and Charlie (Matthew Goode). Wook has always had this technically dazzling vision and form of storytelling, that Toth here boldly supports and puts effort into. 
Matthew Newman for Only God Forgives

Newman is an important fixture for a director like Refn. He adds that zing to Refn films such that the director gets to have his cake and eat it too. Basically the way in which Newman edits is such that the film in question has a thriving drive (pun intended) too it, yet Refn can self indulge as a director whenever he wants. While Forgives might not be the best example of this, it still flows in a darkly poetic manner giving us a film that is basically stellar and earned style over substance. It's a fun little escapade into a stunningly realized world helped by how Newman paces it for the viewer. 

And the Winner is...

A tie! Nicolas De Toth for Stoker and Joe Hutshing for Metallica: Through The Never!

Underdog Award for Best Cinematography

Cinematography is the visual depiction of the film on screen. This often includes the camera work such as shots and how the lighting and angles are used to depict the directors artistic vision

Honorable Mentions: 'Rush', 'Trance', 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints', 'Metallica: Through The Never', 'Frances Ha', 'The Conjuring', 'Pain and Gain' and 'Out of The Furnace'

Special Mention: For All is Lost, whose cinematography has been widely acknowledged if not awarded and Prisoners for getting critical acclaim as well as being appropriately Oscar Nominated. Oh and though acknowledged at the Oscars, Inside Llewyn Davis cinematography was vastly under-appreciated.

And the Nominees are...

Sean Bobbitt for The Place Beyond The Pines

It's funny how you can peg Sean Bobbitt as underrated when he's been widely praised this year for his stunning capture of a dank periodic era with 12 Years A Slave, but when there's such powerful imagery than it's fairly easy to overlook his other accomplishments such as this one here (and another one on the list). 

Bobbitt just with effortlessness realizes director Derek Cianfrance's very real, very murky yet serene world of Altamont, New York. Capturing the laid back vibe of the world he adds a sense of greatness to what is a very ambitious narrative undertaking and in smaller character moments gives the camera and lighting a twirl such that were closer to the characters thoughts as we can be. 

Larry Smith for Only God Forgives

Bursting with the bright neon styles from Refn's previous venture Drive yet holding onto a bloodier grime fitting to the story, Smith produces a wonderment of dark and bright colors that make Only God Forgives an unmissable experience. 

Note that both OGF and Drive had different cinematographers, so Smith as obediently works in favor of Refn's vision and stirringly makes your jaw drop. Seeing those colors clash is just an awe inspiring moment both in the terrifying darkness and gaudy light. 

Chung Chung Hoon for Stoker

Once again I hate repeating this, but even Hoon like every other department brings to the mind the image of a larger than life oddly dark fairytale sensation with the way his color palette works. Shades of soft blacks and whites dominate in making a film so mind blowing. With his work, Hoon basically encapsulates the world which Park Chan Wook wishes to bring to life and he does so with making it as terrifyingly real as possible and as grandiosely visionary as need be. 

Benoit Debie for Spring Breakers

Korine wanted a high energy pop song he got an ecstatically creative sugar rush with the visual flair Debie brings. 

Colors, Colors, Colors is what the film is all about and the Neon just springs to the eyes, captures and mesmerizes. The party scenes are lit up with a tripy sensation that just makes the audience move with the motion of the music. Debie basically puts the rave in this brilliant party. His work is so terrific it threatens to overpower the film and the message Korine is trying to present, more than he does himself. Just that final shootout scene on the bridge makes this deserving.

Sean Bobbitt for Byzantium

Once again Bobbitt is on the list. 

He creates a chilling atmosphere with his dark yet alluring aesthetic, using the grungier setting; Bobbitt builds a place full of other worldly charm and deeply disturbing visuals that capture you're imagination. Barring the terrific vfx, just see how appealing the flowing blood waterfall from where Vampires are conceived. It's equally terrifying as it is awe inducing. 

And the Winner is...

Benoit Debie for Spring Breakers

Well that's it for the technical awards, now onto the major fun stuff

Next: Acting awards part 1 with the Underdog Ensemble and Breakthrough performer of the year

'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia    

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)