Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #985: Can Theatres Survive?

Despite a recent uptick in movie-going over the past year things still aren't all sunshine and unicorns for the movie business. Middle age movie going is dropping and the young people who do go to movies usually spend their time using social network apps on their phones talking about everything and nothing at the same time. Meanwhile, the major studios continue to slash their own costs, chiefly by tossing producers out of their cushy in-house deals and into the wilderness, while giving the precious green light to fewer and fewer projects, with the trend being for having bigger and bigger budgets per project.

When those big budget projects are released they're usually given a 2,000-3,000+ screen saturation release, which means that if they tank, then theatre owners are stuck with empty seats, and thin odds of getting something to replace it with any due speed.

This isn't good for the theatres. Especially the loss of the mature-adult audience, since they're the only people likely to have any real amounts of disposable income for the next 20+ years. Here are the reasons why the older people aren't going to the movies...

1. THE MOVIES: This is not just the fault of the big dumb movies being targeted to teenagers and kids, the so called "mature" and "intelligent" fare bears some of the blame. Most films geared towards adults aren't really marketed to adults in the general populace, but to awards voters. The average adult moviegoers sees all the campaigning and think that's it's really not worth all the...

2. INCONVENIENCE & EXPENSE:  Back during the Golden Age of movies most people lived within walking distance of their local movie theatre, and you could buy tickets and snacks for two for less than the cost of a can of soda today.

Now things are totally different. Most people live in suburban communities. They need to burn expensive gas driving to the nearest multiplex, pay for parking, buy tickets, buy snacks, and find a seat where the glare from the phone-screens of the texting teenagers won't disturb them and then have to sit through not just previews, which can be entertaining in their own right, but goddamn commercials before they can see the damn movie.

Why bother when you can stay home and enjoy...

3. COMFORT, CONVENIENCE, & PRICE: Face it, big screen TVs, and modern sound systems can match theatres very well these days, and they come with the extra bonus that they can be set to levels you're comfortable with, you're sitting on your own comfy couch in your pyjamas, and the popcorn and sodas didn't involve getting a mortgage to pay for them.

Then you can watch movies on specialty cable channels, buy or rent DVDs and/or Blu-Rays, or use a streaming video service like Netflix or Amazon, both of whom are developing their own original content. All can be obtained with just a fraction of the cost, and none of the hassle of going to a movie theatre.

Can theatres turn around these trends and somehow save going to the movies as a social experience?

I honestly don't know.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #984: Jeff Berg's Resolution for 2013.

Jeff Berg has long been considered more than just another talent agent. For a long time he was the grand high poobah of International Creative Management one of the biggest of the big time talent agencies. Now a man of his age and status in the industry is expected to sit on his laurels and soak in the adulations and obeisances of the Hollywood community.

Mr. Berg has decided that isn't good enough for him. He's leaving his luxurious and lucrative comfort zone at ICM, and starting Resolution a brand new agency from the ground up. He's already moved into his offices, and is currently hanging his new shingle on his new door, with over $200 million in capital financing to help pay the bills.

Now some may wonder why he would be going to all this hassle at his age, which is a time when most would consider retirement.

I think it has to do with the thrill.

From what I've been able to gather Berg had been an important player at ICM since it was created in 1975 by the merger of two agencies (Creative Management Associates and International Famous Agency) and its growth into one of the biggest talent agents in the world.

There's a thrill to building a business like that. Making connections, making deals, and watching the whole thing grow and spread before your eyes, provide a rush not seen outside of illegal narcotics.

However, there's a time when you reach the top of the mountain, and you have a choice. You can sit on top of that mountain, doing nothing constructive because you're too busy battling all comers to stay on top until the day comes when you're finally pushed off, because as long as you sit there, everyone else's opportunities for advancement is frozen while you're there. Or you can have the wisdom to climb off the mountain by your own choice and go create new opportunities for others by either finding or building a new mountain because it's more fun and exciting than watching your back 24/7.

I'm no mind reader, so I can't say that my theory about Mr. Berg's decision process is anything more than just a theory with absolute certainty, but I have seen it before.

Canada's biggest movie producer and distributor during the 80s and 90s was Alliance Films which had been run almost since the beginning by co-founder Robert Lantos. In 1998 Alliance merged with TV prodco Atlantis Communications, and Lantos went from being a CEO back to being just a film and television producer.

As an industry watcher I was amazed by the transformation Lantos had. He lost weight, and looked 10 years younger almost overnight. This wasn't the sort of grimacing Botox induced death mask type of 10 years younger, he looked sincerely rejuvenated. It looked like being back in the organizational and deal making trenches of being a street level producer building a new business from scratch re-invigorated him. (Having the comfort of the money and connections earned through his past success no doubt making things a lot easier.)

So good luck to Mr. Berg, I like to see lots of competition, it's better for the industry as a whole.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Basics: Making A TV Series...

The networks are picking up pilots all over the place for the next TV season, and since I explained the Basics of TV Pilots a while back, I'll take a moment to hop us to the next level.

Let's put on our imagination hats and imagine that you just sold a pilot to a major network, and now have the greenlight to take it to series.

What next?

That's a pretty big question, and the short answer is "a hell of a lot!" but I'll go into a little more detail here, so let's get started in no particular order...

1. CASTING: Most of the casting of the series regulars is done during the making of the pilot. However, when you're going to series, you have to make any changes that are necessary, and lock down the ones you want to keep with standard seven season network TV contracts.

2. STAFFING: It literally takes an army to put together a television series. In the technical department it's usually the department heads that hire their own crews, but when you're the executive producer/show-runner you have to hire the writers.

TV is a writer-dominant medium. In television directors are more or less disposable, since they usually have to imitate the visual and dramatic style established in the pilot*. However, it's the writers who give the show its voice, and narrative style. Since the show-runner also acts as the show's head-writer this part has to be very carefully done to get the best people for the type and style of show they're working on.

3. PLOTTING: While most new shows fail, some do succeed, and the networks fully expect your show to last at least seven years whether it does or not.

That means you need to know what the hell will be happening so that you don't fire all your best shots in season one. Having a great first season, followed by a formless, aimless, second season that drives viewers away. Remember, the key to success in television is to get enough seasons under your belt to have residuals coming in from the reruns into infinity.

This also goes hand in hand with a lot of...

4. PLANNING: As I've explained before being a producer is essentially a job planning and coordinating dozens, if not hundreds of factors. Budgets need to be  calculated, schedules worked out, actors, extras, facilities and equipment all have to be booked. Of course, all the planning in the world won't save you from lots of...

5. FIGHTING: Networks are large, bureaucratic institutions where there are only a handful of real decision makers, but dozens of people who think they know your vision better than you do, and they can make your life a living hell.

You have to do battle with them, or watch your hard-boiled procedural detective series get reworked into a sitcom about a sass talking robot living in suburbia. However, you need some strategy. You need to know who not only pulls the strings at the network, but who can cut them as well. You need to make allies in positions of influence, and you need the knowledge to pick your battles.

Not even success can protect you, just ask the show-runners for The Walking Dead.

You see, television is inherently risky. Every year the networks spend hundreds of millions of dollars on pilots, the bulk of which go nowhere. That means they need the shows that do make it to air, to really connect with an audience, and even that's a crap-shoot. Gold can sink, and shit can float, despite what the marketing people say.

And that optimistic note ends the basics of starting a TV series.

*If you direct the pilot of a successful & long running show, you get royalties & residuals from that show for as long as it's on the air somewhere.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #893: Miramax Loses A Partner

Construction magnate Ron Tutor has obviously tired of his run as a Hollywood mogul and sold his piece of moribund one-time indie mega-player Miramax.

If you're not familiar with the saga Tutor, investment fund Colony Capital, and the Qatar Investment Authority purchased Miramax for $663 million from Disney, beating former owners the Weinstein Brothers, back in 2010 with what could be considered a novel business plan.

Miramax was going to be a movie company that didn't make movies.

Seems sort of odd, but I can explain.

You see, Miramax has a lot of movies in its library. Some of those movies were big hits, and some were big award winners. The plan for the new owners was to license out the home video, TV and possible remake rights to those movies, and pocket the money with a minimum amount of effort and money invested.

That's exactly what they did, making deals with Netflix, and for DVD and Blu-Ray releases.

Well, now that it's all done and dusted, Tutor is cashing out, because there's literally nothing left for them to do that doesn't involve making movies.

Their library-only strategy has two very strong limitations...


I'm sure when the sales pitches for the licensing rights were made there was much hullaballoo made about Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare In Love,  The Crying Game, and other award winning hits, however, there's a catch, and it's a big one. For every big award winner and box office hit, there's about half a dozen films that were either complete and total stinkers, or were completely forgotten.

It's hard to license the rights to films that people either can't remember, or know for a fact that they stink to high heaven.


Even if a movie company has nothing but classics and big hits on their roster, they're going to hit a wall eventually. That's because you can only license a movie, even a classic, so many times before the outlets that buy those license look and ask: "Hmmm... what else ya got?"

This is because every film, no matter how great, goes through periods where it fades from the zeitgeist. People get kind of sick of it, especially if it gets repeated plays on television.

There are only 2 ways to keep a film library company going.

1. Make more movies, so you have a fresh stock to sell.

2. Buy up other film libraries.

Both require lots of effort, money, and risk, and that's probably not something Mr. Tutor is interested in.

Monday, 21 January 2013

An Appreciation: The Sandbaggers

When I was a kid we had a local TV station with a bizarre notion of "after-school" programming.

The first thing I remember them showing were silent short comedies with Charlie Chaplin and others. Then came the anarchic comedy of the British trio The Goodies, and after that came The Sandbaggers.

The Sandbaggers was a radical shift from the other afternoon time wasters, something obvious from its opening credits...

As you can tell, it's not a comedy or a kid's show. It is, in fact, probably the best TV show you have never seen.

It was a spy drama from ITV conceived and written by  Ian Mackintosh, a British naval officer turned TV writer that ran for three series from 1978-1980. It was the anti-matter response to the James Bond movies, turning away from fantasy to cold and often cruel realism.

It centres on Neil Burnside the director of operations for MI6. Unlike 007, Burnside isn't classically handsome, he doesn't drink martinis, or any alcohol, his love life is pretty well dead since his divorce, and judging by the freakish size of his shirt collars he doesn't have 007's high end fashion sense. He commands a team of three agents called "Sandbaggers" who handle ultra sensitive "special operations" all over the world.

Often the biggest problems didn't come from the KGB but from the internal fights between MI6 and MI5, and the political machinations of Burnside's ex-father-in-law who is the government's most senior bureaucrat.

The show was never a big hit, earning just enough in the ratings to justify another series. However that all came to an end when its creator/writer Ian Mackintosh mysteriously disappeared in a small plane somewhere in or near British Columbia, Canada.

ITV decided that no one could take over the reins, and let the show end after 20 episodes.

A handful of stations in North America, mostly PBS and CBC ran the reruns, usually as filler, where it developed a small cult following. Aside from me the most famous member of this cult was writer Greg Rucka who says his comic series Queen & Country was inspired by The Sandbaggers.

I was recently able to revive my membership in the cult when I splurged over $100 for the Sandbaggers DVD box set.

Some may say that I spent too much for a box set containing fewer episodes than a single season of an average American network show. But after I've seen some of the episodes, I must say that it's a case of quality over quantity.

The show's gritty realism gives it an almost documentary feel as it explores the world of Cold War era espionage. You can't watch it without thinking that must be what it was really like.

It also shows you the power of good writing.

You see the show had a low budget, even by British TV standards, and the production values are minimal. Interiors were shot on 2  inch analog videotape and exteriors were shot on grainy 16 mm film, creating a visually jarring effect to those not used to British TV of that era.

There's also very little action in the show. The number of shots fired in a season of The Sandbagger is probably less than the average episode of an American TV show. Possibly because they couldn't afford the blanks.

Yet despite the low budget and thin production values, it's a compelling show. It commands that you concentrate on what's going on, and you can't help but follow that command because it's so damn intriguing. 

So if you have the money, and want a spy drama without fantasy I say get yourself The Sandbaggers from Amazon. In my opinion, it's well worth it.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #982: Ben Hur Rides Again!

After decades nearly moribund and being passed from owner to owner like a doobie at a hippy party MGM is starting to feel their oats agains. Buoyed by the success of co-productions like Skyfall and The Hobbit they're looking into doing another big budget project.

Okay, technically, it's not a remake. For it to be a proper remake MGM would have to own the rights to the 1959 movie, which itself was a remake of a 1925 film, which itself was a remake of a 1907 production. They don't, having sold it to Ted Turner back in the 1980s, so it's now property of Time-Warner.

But the original novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ, by author, general and politician Lew Wallace, is public domain, and this new script supposedly follows the novel's religious themes more closely than the 1959 version.

This has me concerned.

Right now Hollywood is rushing to put out biblical themed pictures in the hopes that they'll get some of the sweet greenbacks the small scale Christian films have been making. Their plan seems to be to get big stars and big production/marketing budgets and overwhelm the market. They are currently developing a film with Brad Pitt as Pontius Pilate, two Moses pics, one from Spielberg, another from Ridley Scott, and Darren Aronofsky made the upcoming Noah, with Russell Crowe.

And this is where the danger lies.

Nobody trusts Hollywood to handle religious themes with any sort of class or grace, after decades of open hostility to organized western religion and religious people. Mention to your average audience member that Hollywood is going to make a movie about religion, and they're going to assume it's going to be about pervert priests, hypocritical evangelists, deranged killers who think they know the will of God, or hate spewing Westboro cultists.

That's how those tiny films made by folks like Kirk Cameron and company can make good bank, and how Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ hit the cash jackpot.  They were marketed as being from outside Hollywood, and by being from outside the Hollywood machine they would not be insulting to the audience or their beliefs.

And that' s all before the other traps that lie in wait for remakes. First thing is casting: Who can match, or exceed Charlton Heston's sincere machismo without looking kind of ridiculous? I mean the one actor from the 1959 version who could be easily replaced is the one played by the oaken Stephen Boyd.

Then there's the budget, which could easily explode into the $250 million + range to match 1959's level of spectacle. That's a hell of a lot of risk for a film that has Hollywood's religious baggage weighing it down.

I'd bet you that the current owner of the 1959 movie, Warner Bros., could probably make some good money using new technology to create a remastered digital version for a big screen/Imax re-release during Easter.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #981: Pros & Cons: Back From The Dead Edition

Indie film entrepreneurs Bob and Jeanne Berney are reviving the Picturehouse company, and their first release with be a new movie featuring the rock band Metallica.

The original incarnation of Picturehouse was both the product and victim of the ultimately destructive consumption of the indie film business by the major studios.

The saga of Picturehouse began when New Line Cinema and HBO (Both subsidiaries of Time-Warner) acquired the distribution arm of Newmarket Films, and Bob Berney the man who ran it. The new owners renamed it Picturehouse, New Line folded its Fine Line specialty film division into it, and its home video releases were divided between New Line's home video, and HBO home video.

Sadly the whole big studio playing indie thing began to collapse in on itself. Because what made indie films appealing in the 90s and early 2000s was that they capitalized on the arrival of new people with new ideas that attracted audiences looking for something different. However, most of the major studio-owned "indies" changed that business model to being one all about getting "street cred" with their neighbours in Beverly Hills, and winning awards. 

The audience was left out of that equation, and you can't have a viable movie business without an audience.

So when New Line shot itself in the foot, parent conglomerate Time-Warner folded it into the main Warner Bros. studio, and at first promised to merge it with their other specialty division Warner Independent, but decided that it was better to just shut both down completely.

Meanwhile Bob and Jeanne Berney went on to set up other independent film companies before acquiring the name and logo for Picturehouse from Warner Bros. for a rebirth of the company.

Enough of the past, let's take a moment to discuss the future, specifically the PROS & CONS!


1. The major studios are cutting their output in both quantity and variety. This means that huge gaps exist in the marketplace that a well run indie producer/distributor can exploit.

2. The means of production and distribution have never been cheaper.

3. The more indie producers and distributors out in the wild means more independent films get made and released, and the odds of making a vital connection with the audience go up.


1. While the means of making and releasing films have never been cheaper, the means of marketing films at a level that can be heard above the noise made by the major media conglomerates has never been so expensive. Picturehouse will need to develop ways to get around this, possibly via the burgeoning online communities.

2. They're going to have to wade through a lot of shit to get their hands on the occasional indie movie diamond. The few companies that survived the great implosion guard their turf militantly and there's at least one rival willing to spend big money just to keep films out of other people's hands.

I wish them good luck, the fight won't be easy, but I think it could be worth it in the long run.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #980: Good Idea/Bad Idea


Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the deviant geniuses behind the long running animated hit South Park are starting Important Studios. The job of Important Studios to consolidate all of their creative holdings and to use the money they're making from South Park and The Book of Mormon as well as outside investors to produce future movie, TV, and stage productions.

Personally, I'm all for artists taking serious control of their work, and forging their own destiny. It's something Parker and Stone probably need to do since their usual home Paramount Pictures is not only producing fewer and fewer movies, signing off home video management of over 600 Paramount titles to Warner Home Video, and recently had to settle a lawsuit filed by one of their big financial partners. That's the behaviour of a movie company that doesn't seem to have all that much interest in movies these day.

So good luck to Parker and Stone, and a little advice, just because you're calling it a studio, doesn't mean you have to run it like a studio.


Magazine mega-publisher Conde Nast has seen several articles they've published go on to become successful books, and movies, and have cried out "ME TOO!"

They're now offering a new contract where the writers who research and write the stories they publish now have to option the film/TV rights to Conde Nast, for essentially a spoonful of peanuts, and if Conde Nast gets a studio to make the movie, the writer gets another spoonful of peanuts.

This means that the big name journalists with track records will most likely be taking their pieces to other publishers who won't include the taking of movie rights for ridiculously low pricing. Thus Conde Nast has to face the loss of the people who can attract readers in an already hard magazine market, and only attract the unknown and the desperate.

Who came up with this brain-fart? James Frey?

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #979: Here Come The Oscars!

Here are the nominees for the 85th Academy Awards. Look over the list and let me know what you think in the comments!

Actor in a Leading Role
  • Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook"
  • Daniel Day-Lewis in "Lincoln" (Not to say that he was a little too "Method" in the part, but he emancipated the interns. He's the guy who makes everyone else a long shot.)
  • Hugh Jackman in "Les Misérables"
  • Joaquin Phoenix in "The Master"
  • Denzel Washington in "Flight"

Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Alan Arkin in "Argo" 
  • Robert De Niro in "Silver Linings Playbook"
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in "The Master" (Will be the only winner from The Master as a sop to the filmmakers.)
  • Tommy Lee Jones in "Lincoln"
  • Christoph Waltz in "Django Unchained"

Actress in a Leading Role
  • Jessica Chastain in "Zero Dark Thirty"
  • Jennifer Lawrence in "Silver Linings Playbook" 
  • Emmanuelle Riva in "Amour"
  • Quvenzhané Wallis in "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
  • Naomi Watts in "The Impossible"

Actress in a Supporting Role

Hollywood loves a comeback, so I think it's between Field and Hunt with Field having the edge in actual viewers.
  • Amy Adams in "The Master"
  • Sally Field in "Lincoln"
  • Anne Hathaway in "Les Misérables"
  • Helen Hunt in "The Sessions"
  • Jacki Weaver in "Silver Linings Playbook"

Animated Feature Film
  • "Brave" Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
  • "Frankenweenie" Tim Burton
  • "ParaNorman" Sam Fell and Chris Butler
  • "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" Peter Lord
  • "Wreck-It Ralph" Rich Moore

  • "Anna Karenina" Seamus McGarvey
  • "Django Unchained" Robert Richardson
  • "Life of Pi" Claudio Miranda
  • "Lincoln" Janusz Kaminski
  • "Skyfall" Roger Deakins (Might win as a nod to the 50th anniversary of the Bond series.)

Costume Design
  • "Anna Karenina" Jacqueline Durran
  • "Les Misérables" Paco Delgado (Most likely the winner)
  • "Lincoln" Joanna Johnston
  • "Mirror Mirror" Eiko Ishioka
  • "Snow White and the Huntsman" Colleen Atwood

  • "Amour" Michael Haneke (Hollywood loves a foreigner.)
  • "Beasts of the Southern Wild" Benh Zeitlin
  • "Life of Pi" Ang Lee
  • "Lincoln" Steven Spielberg
  • "Silver Linings Playbook" David O. Russell
Kathryn Bigelow was shut out, possibly because of allegations of the film being "pro-torture." Ben Affleck was also shut out because the Academy still resents him for Gigli.

Documentary Feature
  • "5 Broken Cameras" 
    Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi
  • "The Gatekeepers" 
    Nominees to be determined
  • "How to Survive a Plague" 
    Nominees to be determined
  • "The Invisible War" 
    Nominees to be determined
  • "Searching for Sugar Man" 
    Nominees to be determined

Documentary Short Subject
  • "Inocente" 
    Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine
  • "Kings Point" 
    Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider
  • "Mondays at Racine" 
    Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan
  • "Open Heart" 
    Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern
  • "Redemption" 
    Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill

Film Editing
  • "Argo" William Goldenberg
  • "Life of Pi" Tim Squyres
  • "Lincoln" Michael Kahn
  • "Silver Linings Playbook" Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
  • "Zero Dark Thirty" Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

Foreign Language Film
  • "Amour" Austria
  • "Kon-Tiki" Norway
  • "No" Chile
  • "A Royal Affair" Denmark
  • "War Witch" Canada

Makeup and Hairstyling
  • "Hitchcock"
    Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel
  • "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
    Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane
  • "Les Misérables" 
    Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell

Music (Original Score)
  • "Anna Karenina" Dario Marianelli
  • "Argo" Alexandre Desplat
  • "Life of Pi" Mychael Danna
  • "Lincoln" John Williams
  • "Skyfall" Thomas Newman

Music (Original Song)
  • "Before My Time" from "Chasing Ice"
    Music and Lyric by J. Ralph
  • "Everybody Needs A Best Friend" from "Ted"
    Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane
  • "Pi's Lullaby" from "Life of Pi"
    Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri
  • "Skyfall" from "Skyfall"
    Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
  • "Suddenly" from "Les Misérables"
    Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Best Picture
  • "Amour" Nominees to be determined
  • "Argo" Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, Producers
  • "Beasts of the Southern Wild" Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, Producers
  • "Django Unchained" Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone, Producers
  • "Les Misérables" Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, Producers
  • "Life of Pi" Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark, Producers
  • "Lincoln" Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers
  • "Silver Linings Playbook" Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
  • "Zero Dark Thirty" Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison, Producers

Production Design
  • "Anna Karenina"
    Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
  • "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
    Production Design: Dan Hennah; Set Decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright
  • "Les Misérables" 
    Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson
  • "Life of Pi" 
    Production Design: David Gropman; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
  • "Lincoln" 
    Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson 

Short Film (Animated)
  • "Adam and Dog" Minkyu Lee
  • "Fresh Guacamole" PES
  • "Head over Heels" Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly
  • "Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare"" David Silverman
  • "Paperman" John Kahrs

Short Film (Live Action)
  • "Asad" Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura
  • "Buzkashi Boys" Sam French and Ariel Nasr
  • "Curfew" Shawn Christensen
  • "Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)" Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele
  • "Henry" Yan England

Sound Editing
  • "Argo" Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn
  • "Django Unchained" Wylie Stateman
  • "Life of Pi" Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton
  • "Skyfall" Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers
  • "Zero Dark Thirty" Paul N.J. Ottosson

Sound Mixing
  • "Argo"
    John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia
  • "Les Misérables" 
    Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes
  • "Life of Pi"
    Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin
  • "Lincoln" 
    Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins
  • "Skyfall" 
    Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson

Visual Effects
  • "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" 
    Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White
  • "Life of Pi" 
    Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
  • "Marvel's The Avengers" 
    Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick
  • "Prometheus" 
    Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill
  • "Snow White and the Huntsman"
    Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
  • "Argo" Screenplay by Chris Terrio
  • "Beasts of the Southern Wild" Screenplay by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
  • "Life of Pi" Screenplay by David Magee
  • "Lincoln" Screenplay by Tony Kushner (The most likely winner in my book, they love a historical epic.)
  • "Silver Linings Playbook" Screenplay by David O. Russell

Writing (Original Screenplay)
  • "Amour" Written by Michael Haneke
  • "Django Unchained" Written by Quentin Tarantino (They'll nominate him but I don't think they'll let him win, because people find Tarantino personally annoying.)
  • "Flight" Written by John Gatins
  • "Moonrise Kingdom" Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola (Most likely winner)
  • "Zero Dark Thirty" Written by Mark Boal