Will ‘Snowpiercer’ break through at Oscars?

Snowpiercer” was the first screener that academy members received, way back on Sept. 3. With Oscar voting now underway until Jan. 8, will they remember this dystopian sci-fi/fantasy masterpiece by Korean helmer Bong Joon-ho?

Set in a post-apocalyptic ice age, the film follows an uprising by revolutionaries (Chris Evans, Jamie Bell) against the leaders (Ed Harris, Tilda Swinton) of the globe-circling train on which they all reside. This sci-fi action film earned a jaw-dropping 95% rating at Rotten Tomatoes and a solid 84 at MetaCritic. Can this critics’ darling and creative tour de force muscle its way into the Oscars? 

Oscars news: ‘Snowpiercer’ wins with Boston online critics, ‘Birdman’ leads D.C. nominations

BEST PICTURE: It will be tough for the film to break into the top category as academy voters don’t generally go for high-concept artsy sci-fi epics. And, this year, if they are going to go futuristic, “Interstellar” is the best-placed of such contenders. However, don’t discount “Snowpiercer” completely; after all, it did receive citations from film critics groups in Austin, Las Vegas and Boston (online).

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: As Minister Mason, 2007 Supporting Actress champ Tilda Swinton (“Michael Clayton”) is the stand-out among an impressive ensemble. She was feted by the Gotham Awards, is a Critics Choice nominee and won over both the Las Vegas critics and Boston online reviewers. She also merited honorable mentions from critics groups in Detroit, D.C.,Houston, San Francisco, Toronto and Utah. In the fascinating featurette below, the actress chronicles the creation of this captivating character.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Joon-ho and co-writer Kelly Masterson could sneak in here. 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Remember, the academy’s lensers love foreign cinematographers, which bodes well for Kyung-Pyo Hong. If he makes a showing with the ASC, then watch out.

BEST COSTUME DESIGNCatherine George shared in the “production design” nod from the Phoenix film critics. 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: The stunning, audacious and inventive sets earned production designer Ondrej Nekvasil and set decorator Beatrice Brentnerova a Critics Choice nomination along with mentions by the Chicago, D.C., Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. critics.

BEST SCORE: Marco Beltrami has surprised twice before with Oscar bids in 2008 for his score (along with Buck Sanders) for “The Hurt Locker” and in 2010 for “3:10 to Yuma.”  This one has me most intrigued.

BEST FILM EDITINGBEST SOUND EDITING/MIXING: Longshots at best, but still possibilities. In particular, Sound Editing might not be such a stretch as multiple past-nominee Anna Behlmer is on the ballot.

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