‘The Batman’ below-the-line craftspeople includes a slew of current Oscar nominees

Matt Reeves’s “The Batman” is finally out in theaters, and reviews have been pretty great. A lot of credit for that must go to the creative artisans who helped Reeves attain his vision for the Dark Knight. To say that the crafts of Reeves’s collaborators are fully on display in this movie would be an understatement, especially when you consider that multiple craftspeople involved with the movie are currently up for Oscars later this month.

“The Batman” was one of the many productions that famously got shut down due to COVID after it began filming in January 2020. It had to turn off cameras for six months until pandemic protocols were in place, but you’re not likely to be able to tell from watching it.

When it comes to the look of “The Batman,” we must start the conversation with cinematographer Greig Fraser, who is currently nominated and thought by many to be the favorite to win his first Oscar later this month for his work on “Dune.” (That movie actually did reshoots in August 2020, so Fraser probably had to bounce back for those before returning to work with Reeves.) Fraser previously shot Reeves’s “Let Me In,” the English-language remake of the Swedish vampire movie “Let the Right One In,” and the look for “The Batman” they’ve created is almost like a painting. Warner Bros’ production notes for “The Batman” explain that he and Reeves were inspired by the films of Wong Kar-Wai, such as “In the Mood for Love.”

It’s also impossible to overlook the work by production designer James Chinlund to create a brand new look for Gotham and so many of its locations. Audiences’ jaws are going to drop when they first eye his design for the quite cavernous Batcave. Above that lair is Wayne Tower, which mixes art deco exteriors with gothic interiors, very different from any Wayne Manor from earlier incarnations. Although this version of Gotham has elements of New York City (the elevated trains of Brooklyn, “Gotham Square Garden”) and London (the Tower Bridge, for instance), Chinlund was also inspired by the architecture of Liverpool’s Wellington Square, where they filmed, as part of his efforts to make his Gotham look unique from the city as visualized by Tim Burton, Christopher Nolan, and Zack Snyder in previous films. Chinlund also created the look for Penguin’s expansive nightclub, the Iceberg Lounge — a bit like the old happening club Limelight of New York, if set in the meat-packing district — making it a suitable hot spot where everyone who is anyone in Gotham (but mainly the criminal element) goes to party.

Chinlund has never been nominated for an Oscar – or at least not yet – but he has received numerous ADG (Art Directors Guild) nominations for his work on both of Reeves’s “Planet of the Apes” movies, and then for Jon Favreau’s “The Lion King.”

You can’t have a Batman without a suitable Batsuit, and in this case, Reeves called upon designers David Crossman and Glyn Dillon, who worked in the costume departments for the last four “Star Wars” movies. Crossman and Dillon shared a Costume Designers Guild (CDG) Awards nomination for their work on “Rogue One,” and their Batsuit is both functional and protective against bullets and blades.

For the movie’s other costumes, Reeves hired two-time Oscar winner Jacqueline Durran, whom Gold Derby’s odds have well ahead to win her third Oscar this year for Disney’s “Cruella.” For “The Batman,” she had many other outfits to design, including those for Zoë Kravitz’s Selina Kyle, both in her role as waitress at the Iceberg Lounge and as the cat burglar known and beloved as Catwoman. She also dressed Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne to the nines for his scenes outside his caped crusader attire, as well as great outfits for Colin Farrell’s Oswald Cobblepot aka the Penguin, and John Turturro’s sharp-dressed mob leader Carmine Falcone, among others.

Prosthetic make-up artist Michael Marino was also pivotal in Farrell’s transformation into the Penguin; he performed similar duties on the Oscar-nominated hair and makeup team for Eddie Murphy’s “Coming 2 America.” Anyone who doesn’t realize Farrell is even in “The Batman” can credit Marino for the weight and scar-covered face he designed that transform the Irish actor’s normally dashing looks. (Without spoiling it, there’s another character in “The Batman” that required Marino’s work with prosthetics too.)

Editor Tyler Nelson worked as an assistant editor on a few of David Fincher’s Oscar-nominated movies like “The Social Network” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” both which won the Oscar in the Film Editing category for lead editors Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall. “The Batman” is a huge opportunity for Nelson, since it’s only the third feature film he’s edited, though many have compared Reeves’s movie to earlier Fincher films, particularly “Se7en,” so maybe Reeves was a fan of Nelson’s work on Fincher’s Netflix series, “Mindhunter.”

I should also point out Michael Giacchino’s score, which is a moody and haunting piece of music from the composer who won his first Oscar for scoring Pixar’s “Up” (and was nominated before that for Pixar’s “Ratatouille”). What Giacchino has done for “The Batman” is much darker than anything else we’ve heard from him, mixing “Ave Maria” with Nirvana and probably the best two-note theme since John Williams‘ Oscar-winning score from “Jaws” in 1975. This music perfectly accompanies the gritty violence and darker images “The Batman” delivers.

Lastly, the work by visual effects supervisor Dan Lemmon is worth noting, since there are far more effects in the movie than some may even realize. Lemmon was nominated twice for his visual effects work on Reeves’s “Planet of the Apes” movies, but he won his first Oscar for Favreau’s “The Jungle Book.” He probably worked very closely with Chinlund to help enhance and expand on the locations for “The Batman,” which gives both of these artisans a leg up when it comes to possible dual Oscar nominations for the film, which is likely to be at least a below-the-line contender next year.

Mind you, we still have to get through this year’s Oscars before seeing where “The Batman” lands in next year’s race, especially considering that it’s being released six months before the 2022 Oscar season kicks off in earnest with September film festivals.

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