Oscars: Where the Crafts Guilds and the Academy Went in Different Directions

LA LA Land Observatory Still - Photofest - H 2017

The guilds and honorary associations that host their own awards in the crafts areas don’t always single out honorees that match up with the eventual Oscar winners, which are selected by the full Academy membership.

But though the guild awards are not viewed as Oscar bellwethers in the way that the DGA or PGA kudos are, this year the differences between the guild choice and the Oscar winners were dramatically different. In fact, the guild award recipients almost completely failed to match Sunday night's Oscar winners. 

The key exception was visual effects: The Visual Effects Society gave Oscar winner The Jungle Book the top VES Award for outstanding visual effects in a photoreal feature, plus four additional feature category wins.

Overall, it was a year with a lot of worthy work. Here's how the guild/associations and the Academy distributed their respective crafts awards: 

The Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards spread the wealth in its feature categories, with Suicide Squad — which won the Oscar — Star Trek Beyond, La La Land, Hail, Caesar! and Nocturnal Animals receiving one award apiece. Suicide Squad was the MUAHS winner for best period and/or character makeup in a feature, and fellow Oscar nominee Star Trek Beyond topped MUAHS’ best special makeup effects category.

The Art Directors Guild recognizes work in three motion picture categories (period, contemporary and fantasy film) and Oscar winner La La Land did win the contemporary film category, although it's more frequently been the ADG's period winner (which this year was Hidden Figures, which wasn't Oscar-nominated) that goes on to win the Oscar. Looking back over the past five years, the ADG period film category winner went on to win the Oscar three times.

The Costume Designers Guild also has three feature categories, for contemporary, period and fantasy films. Colleen Atwood — who won her fourth Oscar on Sunday for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them — was nominated in the Guild’s fantasy film category, but it was Alexandra Byrne’s work on Doctor Strange that collected the CDG trophy. (Atwood was actually a double nominee in that Guild category, for Fantastic Beasts and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.)

The American Cinema Editors’ Eddie Awards has two live-action feature categories, and neither result matched John Gilbert's work on Hacksaw Ridge, which won the Oscar (and the BAFTA). At the Eddies, Arrival won the best edited drama prize (the category in which Hacksaw Ridge was also nominated) and La La Land grabbed the best edited comedy honor. Looking back, in 12 of the last 15 years an Eddie winner also won the Oscar in film editing. In 11 of those years, it went to the winner in the dramatic category, and once (Chicago) it went to the category then known as best edited feature, comedy or musical.

The American Society of Cinematographers Awards also didn't predict the cinematography Oscar winner. The ASC feature competition mirrored the Oscar nominees, but the cinematographers chose Greig Fraser’s photography of Lion, while the Academy Award went to Linus Sandgren’s rendering of La La Land (for which he also collected the BAFTA). In six of the previous 10 years, the ASC and cinematography Oscar winner had been the same.

You would have also incorrectly predicted the Oscar winners in the sound categories, if you were basing your selections on the results of the Cinema Audio Society Awards (representing the sound mixers) and Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) Golden Reel Awards (representing the sound editors).

The big winner in MPSE’s feature competition was Hacksaw Ridge, which won Golden Reel Awards for dialogue/ADR and effects/Foley in a feature. But Arrival — which won the BAFTA in sound — walked off with the Oscar in sound editing.

And the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Hacksaw Ridge the Oscar for sound mixing, while CAS awarded its sound mixing trophy to La La Land. The CAS Award winner had matched the winner of the Oscar in sound mixing in six of the prior 10 years.