Best Make-Up – 1982

Official Nominations: Quest For Fire. Gandhi

Quest For Fire is a deserving winner, but it’s a 1981 movie and doesn’t need to be here. My default winner therefore is Gandhi. 

My Winner: Gandhi.

The History of the Academy Awards: Best Picture – 1982 | News from the San Diego Becks

My Nominations: Basket Case. Conan The Barbarian. Creepshow. ET. Swamp Thing. The Thing.

Does an animated, puppet freak deserve a nomination? I guess so, given some of the bigger films coming later in the 80s. Basket Case is a weird movie, but Belial becomes a character through the skill and grotesque artistry of his creation. If we nominate Basket Case, then we have to have the more impressive, expressive, bigger budget ET.

Conan The Barbarian has its fair share of creature make-up too, but more impressive is the gore work and paint work, particularly seen in the stealth attacks on Thulsa Doom towards the end of the film. My final three picks are all creature-effect heavy; Swamp Thing may be a dude in a suite, but it’s several levels more impressive than what you think of when you imagine a dude in a suit, largely down to the film’s setting and the facial make-up allowing us to see the actor’s emotion. Creepshow is a smorgasbord of Make-up treats, vignettes just as the film’s stories are vignettes, with Tom Savini leading the group of expert artists letting their imagination run wild.

But lets be honest; there can only be one winner here, with Rob Bottin and his team’s ground-breaking work on The Thing remaining awe-inspiring to this day. It’s not only a movie of Visual Effects, but of make-up – the two working hand in hand in an era when practical application meant the two art forms were more intrinsically linked.

My Winner: The Thing

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Best Cinematography – 1982

Official Nominations: Gandhi. Das Boot. ET. Sophie’s Choice. Tootsie.

Gandhi is your obvious and official winner this year – none of the other candidates come close in terms of visual scope and spacing. It helps that the films it goes up against are far from the strongest of the year – Das Boot being a 1981 movie and immediately dismissed. ET would be my second pick, and while it would be unfair to compare it to Spielberg’s previous work, those comparisons nevertheless come and the film seems less impressive. Sophie’s Choice is a fine nomination, but there always seemed to me something a little too glossy, too greased lens about its appearance for the subject matter, while Tootsie feels like less of a genuine nomination for the work as much as getting another notch on the belt for the film’s resumé.

My Winner: Gandhi

The Film Sufi: “Gandhi” - Richard Attenborough (1982)

My Nominations: Gandhi. Conan The Barbarian. Blade Runner. Koyaanisqatsi. Liquid Sky. Poltergeist. Tenebrae. The Thing.

This is a much more interesting list, and one which more accurately shows the quality of 1982. Few of my films were likely going to get a genuine nomination, but out of them all Blade Runner seems like the one with the best shot. Does anyone seriously argue that Tootsie should be nominated above Blade Runner? If you drop Das Boot and Tootsie from the Official Nominations, one of those places would be picked up by Blade Runner. Jordan Cronenweth did pick up a BAFTA for his stunning work, and while influence is difficult to determine at the time of release, we now know just how influential him and the film have become.

Koyaanisqatsi had an outside shot of being nominated – every so often an indie or experimental film will grab a random nomination and while this no longer has the impact it once would have had, it still makes an impression on first time viewers. Similarly Liquid Sky will leave a lasting impression with its weird concoction of visual and audio assault techniques, but it’s far too offbeat to ever be spoken of in polite Academy circles.

I can sympathize with an argument for Poltergeist being nominated if ET is – or at least there being a 50/50 choice between the two. While ET may have the more iconic images, I think Poltergeist uses its visuals in a more impactful way on the viewer and on the story. Tenebrae is stunning – we’re at peak Argento and Tovoli here and aside from the colouring and lighting, the technical feats throughout the film exceed any of the Official Nominations.

My final picks, while unashamedly biased, are also wonderful examples of making a film’s look and feel an integral part of its overall tone. Conan The Barbarian is a gorgeous movie from start to finish with a sense of the epic to suit its tales of high adventure sensibility, while The Thing – a film almost purely about paranoia and tension – is suitably with low angles, from around corners, and from within shadows.

My Winner: Blade Runner

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!