What it’s up for: Best Picture, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, Director (Martin Scorsese), Film Editing, Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, Best Adapted Screenplay
Based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, Hugo tells the story of an orphaned boy living in Paris in the 1930s. His father died, leaving him an automaton (the robot in the picture) which Hugo has been trying to rebuild, believing that once its fixed, it will reveal a secret message from his father.
Something I didn’t know going in is that the book is historical fiction, and one of the important characters in the movie was real. That brings a depth to the movie that wasn’t there while I was watching. I thought it was ominous that this movie was nominated for EVERY category except the acting categories (and makeup). The acting wasn’t great. It was good enough, but not great. The kid who plays Hugo is kind of awkward the whole time…but that might’ve just been his character…I’m not sure.
The visual effects are phenomenal. They looked so real and were well-integrated into the live action. This movie actually worked pretty well in 3D (which was surprising for a live action movie). There were also a bunch of “one shot” shots (at least they seemed like they were one shot…the film editing and cinematography were awesome as a whole). The set design was beyond belief. They actually shot part of it in Paris and didn’t spare any effort when taking care of all the details of each shot. The art direction as a whole was awesome! It made it feel like the movie was set in a strange, somewhat dystopian version of the 1930s. The costume design was also eye-catching.
I feel like Martin Scorsese was trying to break out of his typical projects with this movie. What’s funny though is that his style is still so distinctive that I kept expecting a HUGE twist to happen during the whole movie – even though I’d forgotten that it was Scorsese who’d directed the movie. Ha! Scorsese combined with Johnny Depp as a producer led to a REALLY interesting, but not quite complete, atmosphere for the movie. It was definitely artsy and creative, but something was…off. Maybe it was just the acting, but the movie felt unnecessarily drawn-out and jumpy.
The writing was….ok. It wasn’t stand-out terrible but I think it also contributed to the jumpiness of the film. I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know if it was a better adaptation than the adaptation of Harry Potter. If this is the best adapted script, then I’m not looking forward to the writing in the other nominated films.
The score was great, but not particularly memorable. Howard Shore is such a master (he did LOTR) but this wasn’t his greatest, I think. Even his score for Mrs. Doubtfire is more distinctive. Considering he’s up against John Williams TWICE, I’d say his chances are slim.
Best Picture: unlikely. I haven’t seen all the other films yet, but there has got to be a better directed/written/acted film than this out of that set. I mean, The Help alone stands above this movie just for the directing and acting.
Art Direction, Cinematography, Film Editing, Visual Effect: Highly possible
Costume design: Possible. But I need to see Anonymous before I could give it to Hugo.
Director: I certainly hope not and doubt it. Shouldn’t a director be held accountable for the quality of his actors?
Sound editing: Doubtful since it’s up against Transformers.
Sound mixing: Very doubtful because I heard at least one distracting, low quality moment where the background noise and actors weren’t meshed well together.
Score: Possible but doubtful.
Adapted screenplay: Maybe…but I need to see the other movies first to be sure.