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||| Frank Capra |||
Frank Capra

It goes without saying that Capra is one of the greatest and most beloved directors of all time, especially renowned for his madcap romantic comedies. He is one of the few directors who ever managed to balance whimsy with meaningfulness without loosing the ability to entertain.

Only Frank Capra, with his light hand and good sense of allowing the actors to be their roles, could carry off this tale of a naive average American used by an unscrupulous politician through a nationwide goodwill drive. No one was ever better at having strong yet vulnerable women not only aid, but often come to the rescue, of the leading man.

Frank Capra's final film is a hilarious translation of a Damon Runyon tale set in 1930s New York, as gangster Glenn Ford repays street peddler Bette Davis for her "good luck" apples by passing her off as a well-to-do society lady for her visiting daughter (Ann-Margret in her film debut). This excellent and thoroughly enjoyable remake of his own 1933 "Lady for a Day" is a beautiful swan song to a master storyteller. Widescreen!

In this black comedy about two sweet old ladies whose basement holds a murderously funny secret, Capra utilizes star Cary Grant to his zany, patented “double take” best. Capra’s brilliance in comic casting is demonstrated with such reliable character actors as Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre and Jack Carson who manage to play their parts to the hilt without chewing up the scenery.

Recommended by CarrieSpecht

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Oscar Handicap 2007: Score, Editing and Art Direction

By EdwardHavens

February 13th, 2007

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

Oscar Handicap 2007: Score, Editing and 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 26 of the last 28 ceremonies. Advantage: Babel
2) Scores for films that were predominantly set in the past have won 26 or 28 (92.68%). Advantage: The Good German, Pan's Labyrinth, The Queen
3) Best Score has gone to a film also nominated for Best Picture 22 of 28 (78.57%). Advantages: Babel, The Queen
4) First time nominees in this category have won 18 of 28 (64.29%). Advantage: Pan's Labyrinth, The Queen

By The Numbers
The numbers say it could be a good night for the one-time French police officer who has also created memorable scores for Syriana, Birth and The Beat That My Heart Skipped
Babel (Music by Gustavo Santaolalla): +1, -2, +3, -4 (60 of 112, 53.57%)
The Good German (Music by Thomas Newman): -1, +2, -3, -4 (44 of 112, 39.29%)
Notes on a Scandal (Music by Philip Glass): -1, -2, -3, -4 (20 of 112, 17.86%)
Pan’s Labyrinth (Music by Javier Navarrete): -1, +2, -3, +4 (52 of 112, 46.43%)
The Queen (Alexandre Desplat): -1, +2, +3, +4 (68 of 112, 60.71%)

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, you have won 27 of 28 (96.43%). Advantage: Dreamgirls, The Good Shepherd, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Prestige
2) Movies where the past needs to be recreated have won the award 24 of the last 28 ceremonies (85.71%). Advantages: All
3) Winners of this award have also been nominated for Best Cinematography 23 of 28 times (82.14%). Advantages: Pan's Labyrinth, The Prestige
4) Winners in this category have been previously nominated here 17 of 28 (60.71%). Advantage: Dreamgirls, The Good Shepherd, Pirates of the Caribbean
5) Winners of one of the three Art Directors Guild awards have gone on to win here 6 of 10 since the ADG awards were created in 1997 (60%). Advantage: Pan's Labyrinth

By The Numbers

Dreamgirls (Art Director: John Myhre, Set Decorator: Nancy Haigh): +1, +2, -3, +4, -5 (77 of 122, 63.11%)
The Good Shepherd (Art Director: Jeannine Oppewall, Set Decorator: Gretchen Rau and Leslie E. Rollins): +1, +2, -3, +4, -5 (77 of 122, 63.11%)
Pan's Labyrinth (Art Director: Eugenio Caballero, Set Decorator: Pilar Revuelta): -1, +2, +3, -4, +5 (47 of 122, 38.52%)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (Art Director: Rick Heinrichs, Set Decorator: Cheryl A. Carasik): +1, +2, -3, +4, -5 (77 of 122, 63.11%)
The Prestige (Art Director: Nathan Crowley, Set Decorator: Julie Ochipinti): +1, +2, +3, -4, -5 (71 of 122, 58.20%)

Best Editing


The only part of the process unique to cinema, and 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 25 of the past 28 ceremonies (89.29%). Advantage: Babel, The Departed
2) Best Editor winners have also been nominated for Best Director 24 of 28 (85.71%). Advantage: Babel, The Departed, United 93
3) Solo editors have triumphed over their teamed nominees 23 of 28 (82.14%). Advantage: Blood Diamond, The Departed
4) Winners of the Best Editing have also won the American Cinema Editors Award (split into comedy and drama categories in 2000) 21 of 28 (75%). Advantage: Babel, The Departed

By The Numbers
The working partner of Martin Scorsese and the widow of the great English filmmaker Michael Powell should be going home with her third Oscar. (It should be noted that winners of the Best Editing Oscar have only gone on to win Best Picture 13 of the last 28 years)
Babel (Stephen Mirrione and Douglas Crise): +1, -2, -3, +4 (75 of 112, 66.96%)
Blood Diamond (Steven Rosenblum): -1, -2, +3, -4 (37 of 112, 33.04%)
Children of Men (Alex Rodríguez and Alfonso Cuarón): -1, -2, -3, -4 (19 of 112, 16.96%)
The Departed (Thelma Schoonmaker): +1, +2, +3, +4 (93 of 112, 83.04%)
United 93 (Clare Douglas, Christopher Rouse and Richard Pearson):-1, +2, -3, +4 (39 of 112, 34.82%)


Find out who wins this year's Oscars, when the Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2006 are presented on Sunday, February 25, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, televised live on ABC beginning at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST. A one-hour red carpet arrivals show will precede the telecast at 4 PM PST/7 PM EST.


Addition 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 Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Animated Feature