ENVELOPE

'Mad Max: Fury Road' may roll through the Oscars' crafts categories

When a movie shows up repeatedly in the crafts categories, its path to a best picture nomination is usually assured. That's good news for "Mad Max: Fury Road," a film I see landing nods for cinematography, production design, film editing, makeup and hair, costume design, visual effects, sound editing and sound mixing. That's eight nominations. Add in two for picture and director George Miller and you're looking at one of the more unlikely hauls in Oscar history. Here's a full look at my predictions in the crafts categories:

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Emmanuel Lubezki, "The Revenant"

Roger Deakins, "Sicario"

John Seale, "Mad Max: Fury Road"

Robert Richardson, "The Hateful Eight"

Edward Lachman, "Carol"

Prime contenders: Dariusz Wolski, "The Martian"; Janusz Kaminski, "Bridge of Spies"; Cary Fukunaga, "Beasts of No Nation"; Danny Cohen, "The Danish Girl"

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Analysis: No cinematographer has won three consecutive Oscars, but Lubezki could accomplish that feat this year for "The Revenant" (following wins for "Birdman" and "Gravity"). Deakins has been nominated 12 times, for movies as varied as "Skyfall" and "Fargo," without a win. He'll likely run his nomination count up to 13 for the soulful bent he brings to his naturalistic work on "Sicario," but the absence of a picture nod for that film probably sinks his chances yet again. Two other likely nominees — Seale and Richardson — have Oscars, making them strong contenders, while Lachman should earn his second nomination for the gorgeous "Carol."

PRODUCTION DESIGN

"Mad Max: Fury Road"

"Carol"

"Bridge of Spies"

"The Danish Girl"

"Cinderella"

Prime contenders: "The Martian," "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Brooklyn," "Crimson Peak," "The Hateful Eight," "The Revenant," "Room"

Analysis: "'Cinderella'?," you ask. Dante Ferretti is an academy favorite, having won Oscars the last three times he was nominated. (The movies: "Hugo," "Sweeney Todd" and "The Aviator.") Ferretti gave the fairy tale's magical palace a fresh coat of bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, creating a set that combined the real and fantastic in eye-popping ways. And while we're on the subject of past Oscar winners, don't discount Rick Carter who, with Darren Gilford and Lee Sandales, created some memorable new worlds for the latest "Star Wars" movie.

FILM EDITING

"Spotlight"

"Mad Max: Fury Road"

"The Revenant"

"The Martian"

"The Big Short"

Prime contenders: "Steve Jobs," "Bridge of Spies," "Creed," "The Hateful Eight," "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Carol," "Room"

Analysis: Subtlety doesn't count for much with awards voters in this category. "Mad Max: Fury Road" and "The Big Short" have vacuumed up most of the early critics prizes. I'm partial to the way "Fury Road's" Margaret Sixel took 480 hours of footage ("a massive Rubik's Cube," George Miller describes it) and turned it into an opera big enough to contain feminist ambitions, chainsaw-wielding polecats and barking mad humor.

COSTUME DESIGN

"Carol"

"Cinderella"

"The Danish Girl"

"Brooklyn"

"Crimson Peak"

Prime contenders: "Mad Max: Fury Road," "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Trumbo," "Bridge of Spies"

Analysis: Sandy Powell has earned 10 Oscar nominations, winning for "The Young Victoria," "The Aviator" and "Shakespeare in Love." This year, she's likely to bring her nominations total to an even dozen for her work on "Carol" and "Cinderella." And once in, she'll probably collect her fourth Oscar for the striking, character-enhancing elegance she brought to "Carol."

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

"Mad Max: Fury Road"

"Black Mass"

"The Revenant"

Prime contenders: "Mr. Holmes," "The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window," "Legend," "Concussion"

Analysis: Just three nominees in a category that has already been short-listed to seven. The trio of contenders with the highest profiles also contain the year's best work. Lock them in.

VISUAL EFFECTS

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

"Mad Max: Fury Road"

"The Martian"

"Jurassic World"

"The Walk"

Prime contenders: "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "The Revenant," "Ex Machina," "Ant-Man," "Tomorrowland"

Analysis: The visual effects branch loves Marvel, so it's easy to see "Age of Ultron" making it in ahead of "The Walk." That really shouldn't happen, given the amazing way Robert Zemeckis' team re-created Philippe Petit's high-wire act between the World Trade Center towers. "The Revenant" will likely win a few votes, just for that ferocious CG mama bear.

SOUND EDITING

"Mad Max: Fury Road"

"The Revenant"

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

"The Martian"

"The Hateful Eight"

Prime contenders: "Inside Out," "Spectre," "Straight Outta Compton," "Sicario," "Jurassic World," "Everest," "Creed," "In the Heart of the Sea"

Analysis: The sound editing category perennially tilts toward nominees from war, action and sci-fi genres. Between its barrage of bullets and deafening engine roar, "Mad Max: Fury Road" stands as the early favorite to win this Oscar.

SOUND MIXING

"Mad Max: Fury Road"

"The Revenant"

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

"The Martian"

"Straight Outta Compton"

Prime contenders: "The Hateful Eight," "Inside Out," "Creed," "Son of Saul," "Jurassic World," "Spectre," "Everest," "In the Heart of the Sea"

Analysis: Same as sound editing but subbing "Compton" for "Hateful Eight." Voters like music-heavy movies here.

glenn.whipp@latimes.com

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
A version of this article appeared in print on January 05, 2016, in the Entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "`MAD MAX' MAY DOMINATE - THE GOLD STANDARD | GLENN WHIPP" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
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