The People Behind the CameraJanuary 18, 2016
The nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were announced by directors Ang Lee and Guillermo del Toro, actor John Krasinski, and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs. Aussies have something to cheer about, as "Mad Max: Fury Road" earned ten nominations. George Miller earned his first nomination in the Best Director category. (The native of Brisbane won the Academy Award for "Happy Feet" in 2007. He was nominated twice for Best Adapted Screenplay.) Cate Blanchett earned her seventh acting nomination for the romantic drama "Carol".
This year's Oscars is an open race at this point. The National Board of Review named "Mad Max: Fury Road" as the best film of 2015. In fact, this fourth installment in the "Mad Max" franchise could be the dark horse in the Best Picture category. (And many observers and moviegoers thought "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was a sure bet.) Blanchett, a two-time Oscar winner, should be the front runner. A third Oscar seemed like a long shot, though. Not that it's impossible, but she might be the youngest to achieve a feat. (Only six actors have done it so far.)
The Academy Award is about the stars and the red carpet, but the show is incomplete without the people behind the camera. They make sure that the technical aspects of film production will exceed beyond expectations. Here's a look at some of the amazing people:
Cedric Gibbons. The Irishman was the best production designer, without a doubt. He was nominated in the Best Art Direction category thirty six times from 1929 to 1957, winning in eight occasions. Gibbons could teach the current productions designers, as the job was challenging back then. (There was no computer to aid him.) Whether it was a black or white picture (“Gaslight”) or a film set on location (“The Yearling”), he knew how to hook the moviegoers to the big screen. (He should be credited for his keen eye on details.) And they won't leave their seats until the end.
Alan Menken. The 1990s was the heyday of Disney musicals, and Alan Menken was the one who made it happened. He won eight Oscars during that decade, which would make Walt Disney proud. The New Yorker started his career in Broadway, where the musicals have catchy tunes. And Disney fans would hear it from songs like "Under the Sea". The audience wanted more.
Leon Shamroy. This New Yorker rose to prominence during the era of big-budget epics. Shamroy won an Academy Award for "Cleopatra". It was the most expensive film to make during 1963, and those who have seen it couldn't forget Cleopatra's grand entrance to Rome. (It required hundreds of extras to witness the huge sphinx gliding through the Roman temples, which Shamroy shot at different angles. One image was no less stunning than the other.) This was one of his four Oscars, but his fans would fancy his other works. Hong Kong, for instance, which was lovingly shot for a romantic drama.
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