Oscar Handicap 2008: Score, Editing and Art Direction

Our annual Oscar Handicap series continues with three categories we have begun tracking last year: Best Score, Best Editing and Best Art Direction.

(For explanations as to how our scoring system works, make sure to read our first article in the series, Best Picture of the Year, linked at the bottom of this article.)

Best Score

It’s hard to say how different the numbers would be had this category not been split into Best Dramatic Score and Best Musical or Comedy Score between 1995 and 1998, but there are still some clear indicators as to how this award might turn out.

The Breakdowns

1) Winners in this category had also been nominated for the Golden Globe 27 of the last 29 ceremonies (93.10%). Advantage: Atonement, The Kite Runner

2) Scores for films that were predominantly set in the past have won 26 of 29 (89.66%). Advantage: Atonement, 3:10 to Yuma

3) Best Score has gone to a film also nominated for Best Picture 23 of 29 (79.31%). Advantages: Atonement, Michael Clayton

4) First time nominees in this category have won 18 of 29 (62.07%). Advantage: Ratatouille, 3:10 to Yuma

By The Numbers

The one-time presumed Best Picture front-runner Atonement just might have to settle for being an Oscar winner from this category.

Atonement (Dario Marianelli): +1, +2, +3, -4 (87 of 116, 75%)

The Kite Runner (Alberto Iglesias): +1, -2, -3, -4 (47 of 116, 40.52%)

Michael Clayton (James Newton Howard): -1, -2, +3, -4 (39 of 116, 33.62%)

Ratatouille (Michael Giacchino): -1, -2, -3, +4 (29 of 116, 25%)

3:10 to Yuma (Marco Beltrami): -1, +2, -3, +4 (52 of 116, 44.83%)

Personal prediction for Best Score: Atonement

Personal choice amongst these nominees: Michael Clayton

Best Editing

Editing, the cutting of sections of scenes together to make a cohesive story, is the only part of the moviemaking process unique to cinema, which defines and separates filmmaking from almost all other art forms. Editors works with the various layers of image, story and music, creating the rhythm and the pace of the work, honing the infinite possibilities of the juxtaposition of small snippets of film into a creative, coherent, cohesive whole. But how does the Academy decide whose work was the best?

The Breakdowns

1) The winner of Best Editing has been tied to a Best Picture nominee 26 of the past 29 ceremonies (89.66%). Advantage: No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood

2) Best Editor winners have also been nominated for Best Director 25 of 29 (86.21%). Advantage: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood

3) Solo editors have triumphed over their teamed nominees 24 of 29 (82.76%). Advantage: The Bourne Ultimatum, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Into the Wild, There Will Be Blood

4) Winners of the Best Editing have also won the American Cinema Editors Award (split into comedy and drama categories in 2000) 22 of 29 (75.86%). Advantage: The Bourne Ultimatum

By The Numbers

Do not mistakenly look towards this category as a possible spoiler. A win for There Will Be Blood’s here will not likely be an indicator of how the night will go for it or No Country for Old Men

The Bourne Ultimatum (Christopher Rouse): -1, -2, +3, +4 (53 of 116, 45.69%)

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Juliette Welfling): -1, +2, +3, -4 (59 of 116, 50.86%)

Into the Wild (Jay Cassidy): -1, -2, +3, -4 (38 of 116, 32.76%)

No Country for Old Men (Roderick Jaynes *): +1, +2, -3, -4 (63 of 116, 54.31%)

There Will Be Blood (Dylan Tichenor): +1, +2, +3, -4 (82 of 116, 70.69%)

(* As most everyone in Hollywood knows Jaynes is a pseudonym for directors Joel and Ethan Coen, Jaynes does not count as a solo editor in our counts.)

Personal prediction for Best Editing: There Will Be Blood

Personal choice amongst these nominees: The Bourne Ultimatum

Best Art Direction

The Art Director (who is also called the Production Designer) is the part of the team, along with the director and cinematographer, who is responsible for the overall look of the film. The Art Director directs the key personnel in costume design, hair and make-up, special effects and locations to establish a unified visual appearance to the film, as well as the overall design and look of all sets created. So it should come as little surprise that many of the winners here were also up for the cinematography award.

The Breakdowns

1) As long as you are not lowest grossing nominee in this category when the nominations are announced, you have won 27 of the last 29 times (93.10%). Advantage: American Gangster, Atonement, The Golden Compass, Sweeney Todd

2) Movies where the past needs to be recreated have won the award 25 of the last 29 ceremonies (86.21%). Advantages: All films

3) Winners of this award have also been nominated for Best Cinematography 24 of 29 times (82.76%). Advantages: Atonement, There Will Be Blood

4) Winners of one of the three Art Directors Guild awards have gone on to win here 7 of 11 since the ADG awards were created in 1997 (63.64%). Advantage: The Golden Compass, There Will Be Blood

5) Winners in this category have been previously nominated here 17 of 29 (58.62%). Advantage: American Gangster, Atonement, The Golden Compass, Sweeney Todd

By The Numbers

The numbers give Atonement a clear advantage.

American Gangster: +1, +2, -3, -4, +5 (78 of 127, 61.42%)

Atonement: +1, +2, +3, -4, +5 (97 of 127, 76.38%)

The Golden Compass: +1, +2, -3, +4, +5 (81 of 127, 63.78%)

Sweeney Todd: +1, +2, -3, -4, +5 (78 of 127, 61.42%)

There Will Be Blood: -1, +2, +3, +4, -5 (70 of 127, 55.12%)

Personal prediction for Best Art Direction: Atonement

Personal choice amongst these nominees: The Golden Compass

All articles in this series:

Best Picture of the Year
Best Director
Best Actor and Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress
Best Cinematography
Best Score, Best Editing and Best Art Direction
Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Animated Feature

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