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‘Hugo’ sets tech pace with five wins

Wins cinematography, art direction, fx nods

Martin Scorsese’s 3D “Hugo” has scored a quintet of technical wins for cinematography, art direction, visual effects, sound editing and sound mixing.

It was the third Oscar for Robert Richardson in cinematography and the third in art direction for the team of Dante Ferretti’s production design and Francesca Lo Schiavo’s set decoration. It was the first Oscar win for the “Hugo” sound teams — Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom in sound editing, and Tom Fleischman and John Midgley for sound mixing.

The team of Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann and Alex Henning won for visual effects. Legato previously won for “Titanic.”

“Hugo” came into the race with a leading 11 nominations Sunday. While the Paramount film was not considered the favorite for best picture, its strong early haul is in line with the Academy’s occasional practice of giving below-the-line recognition to a widely admired underdog; last year, “Inception” took four Oscars, as many as big winner “The King’s Speech.”

Scorsese’s imprimatur as ringmaster of an already heavily Oscar-laureled craft team no doubt helped “Hugo’s” sway with voters.

“Marty, you’re a genius as usual,” said Richardson. Lo Schiavo kept her speech short, saying “This is for Martin and Italy.”

Richardson, who previously won for “JFK” and “The Aviator.” He topped Guillaume Schiffman for “The Artist,” Jeff Chenoweth for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” Emmanuel Lubezki for “The Tree of Life” and Janusz Kaminski for “War Horse.”

Lubezki had been favored by many to win after dominating the lensing precursors, including the American Society of Cinematographers’ top award earlier this month.

Ferretti and Lo Schiavo, who won previously for “Sweeney Todd” and “The Aviator.” “Hugo” topped “The Artist,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” “Midnight in Paris” and “War Horse.”

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