Debunking the Categories, Part 1

3 Feb

In a little over 3 weeks, the Oscar statues will be handed out in 24 different categories. When it comes to the various categories, some are self explanatory, while some require a bit more information than the award name might give.

Over the next few weeks, this series will get down into the nitty-gritty of the Academy Award categories! First up, we have three awards that all deal with how a film looks, from the sets and scenery to the lighting and actual shooting of a film to the amazing special effects that make the impossible come to life on the screen!

First up, Art Direction: awarded for achievement in art direction. Well, that helps clarify things! Really, the recipients of this award come from two branches: production design and set decoration. Combined, these two are basically responsible for the entire creative process of a film, from the look and feel of the whole film, including the sets and locations used and how they are styled. This year’s nominees include The Artist, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Hugo, Midnight in Paris and Warhorse.

Next, we have Cinematography: to boil down the award of achievement in Cinematography, it’s helpful to know what exactly cinematography is. According to Wikipedia, that most reliable of sources, cinematography is the “making of lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images for cinema.” In essence, a cinematographer is responsible for “achieving artistic and technical decisions related to the image.”  Art direction and cinematography are closely linked and it’s common to see films nominated for both of these categories. Nominees this year are The Artist, The Tree of Life, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo and War Horse.

Finally, Visual Effects: these can be sometimes be thought of as a movie’s special effects, but the category encompasses a little more than that. Technically, a film’s visual effects encompasses all the different ways that “imagery is created and/or manipulated outside the context of a live action shoot. Visual effects involve integrating live-action footage and generated imagery to create environments which look realistic, but would be dangerous, costly, or simply impossible to capture on film.” (Source: Wikipedia) To imagine awesome visual effects, think of any awesome chase or shoot em up scene (James Bond, Batman) or any scene in which the impossible happens, like when Harry Potter and his crew bust a huge, fire-breathing dragon out of a magical bank. The nominees in this category are Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2, Hugo, Reel Steal, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Hopefully, this breakdown gives you a better idea of who will be winning which Oscar and what exactly they’ve done to win them! Any predictions for these categories? Leave em in the comments!

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One Response to “Debunking the Categories, Part 1”

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  1. Debunking the Categories Part 2 « Oscartini - February 22, 2012

    […] only 4 days to go until the Academy Awards, it’s time for part 2 of Debunking the Academy Awards Categories! Part 1 looked at the awards and jobs that create the look and feel of a film. This week, […]

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