Sound Mixing - David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio, and Stuart Wilson
Visual Effects - John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel, and Neil Corbould
We have arrived at the FanGirl favorite, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Doesn't it just feel good to have Star Wars back in the mix at the Oscars? Yeah, it does. I know.
Remember that time when Luke Skywalker and the rebel fleet were able to blow up the Death Star because of a small flaw in its construction? A two meter opening that would deliver a deadly blow that Luke characterized as not much bigger than womp rats? If you remember that you're going to love this post and you most certainly already know that this film is the tale of how the Death Star got that flaw and how the rebel alliance came to know about it. This time, there's a whole new cast of characters and a whole bunch of retcon that will set any Star Wars fan's hair on fire. (RETCON: retroactive continuity, or, providing an explanation in the history of a storyline, often this serves to explain what could be perceived as holes in the originally presented story)
Rogue One doesn't begin in the usual Star Wars scrawl (which I didn't like), and in fact, the basics for this film come in the very first scrawl presented in Star Wars: A New Hope (the original film). Jyn Erso is a girl who has had to raise herself (with the help of rebel fighter Saw Gerrera) after her father was taken by the Federation to design and construct the Death Star. Flash forward fifteen years later and through a series of events, she ends up on a mission to help retrieve the plans for the rebel alliance, aided by a group of accomplished fighters and believers in the force. If you read the scrawl from Episode IV, you already know the fates of this group of heroes, and still, every moment is engaging. I expected to love it, and I loved it.
I'm frankly surprised that Rogue One didn't receive more nominations - Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound Editing, and Production Design are among the obvious choices. Perhaps the academy and especially its skilled tradespeople have come to expect the incredible work from the Star Wars franchise, and therefore are reluctant to laud their colleagues. Last year, when Ex Machina won in the Visual Effects category over Star Wars, my suspicion was confirmed. Nonetheless, both the Sound Mixing and the Visual Effects are extraordinary and certainly worthy of recognition.