Craft Guild Noms, Oscar Tallies Reveal Interesting Contrasts

The year's top industry award contenders — 'Mad Max' and 'The Revenant' — turned out strong Academy showings as well.

The Differences between Craft Guild Nominations
Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

The Revenant” with 12 nominations, and “Mad Max: Fury Road” with 10, rang up the largest number of Oscar notices this year, largely due to success across the Academy’s various artisan categories. It was a trend signaled in early January, as both films led the way on the industry awards circuit.

And while films like “Bridge of Spies,” “The Martian” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” also performed well among artisan groups, the Academy’s corresponding branches represent smaller voting bodies, which makes for some interesting comparisons.

For instance, the art directors and costume designers guilds honor achievement in three categories (period, fantasy and contemporary). Films such as “Crimson Peak,” “Joy,” “Star Wars” and “Trumbo” fared well among voters in both orgs, yet couldn’t secure Oscar nominations in those fields.

To compare, “The Revenant” was passed over by the Costume Designers Guild, but Jacqueline West’s fur-trapper chic still managed an Oscar bid. Meanwhile, the Academy’s designers branch plucked three selections from the Art Directors Guild’s period category (“Bridge of Spies,” “The Danish Girl” and “The Revenant”), one from fantasy (“Mad Max”) and one from contemporary (“The Martian”).

The American Society of Cinematographers shockingly left off Robert Richardson’s 70mm lensing of “The Hateful Eight,” even after much ballyhoo over the film’s resurrection of Ultra Panavision lenses. (Richardson is pictured above.) The British Academy did the same, but Richardson rallied in the end (just as he had with “Django Unchained”), bumping “Bridge of Spies” lenser Janusz Kaminski for a spot on the Oscar list.

“The American Society of Cinematographers shockingly left off Robert Richardson’s 70mm lensing of ‘The Hateful Eight’ … but the d.p. rallied for a spot on the Oscar list.”

Two films recognized by the Make-up and Hair Stylists Guild managed Oscar noms: “Mad Max” and “The Revenant.” The third player — “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” — was a surprise on the shortlist, and doubly so as a nominee. (The only guild nominee that made it to the bake-off stage and still missed out on an Oscar nom was “Black Mass.”)

The American Cinema Editors hand out awards in four categories: drama, comedy, animation and documentary. Their surprise omission this year was Tom McArdle’s cutting of “Spotlight,” opting instead for “Sicario” in the drama field. The Academy’s editors branch, however, brought him back into the fold, leaving off two-time Oscar winner Pietro Scalia’s work on “The Martian” in the process.

Speaking of which, Ridley Scott’s Mars epic was also a surprise exclusion from the Cinema Audio Society’s list of sound mixing nominees.

Yet the film still managed both sound mixing and sound editing Oscar noms, as the Academy’s sound branch bumped CAS nominee “The Hateful Eight” from each. “Hateful” also was ignored by the Motion Picture Sound Editors group.

Finally, the Visual Effects Society did little to clear up that race in the Oscar run-up. Two films that didn’t even make the Academy’s bake-off stage (“Furious 7” and “San Andreas”) were nominated in the group’s top category, while eventual Oscar nominee “Ex Machina” failed to receive a single notice from the org.

Only 14 films were nominated across these seven Oscar categories. Many deserving movies were passed over entirely, including “Brooklyn,” “Love & Mercy” and “Son of Saul.” The most adventurous Academy branches remain the costume designers (which singled out “Cinderella,” in the film’s only nomination) and the makeup artists (which nominated a little-known Swedish comedy).

In the end, however, most of these races are certain to come down to the two artisan-heavy opuses that boast the double-digit nomination counts.