2nd Annual Wonder Awards Winners

Zoe Saldana is the Wonder Awards choice for Best Actress, in the Best Pic winner, AVATAR.
Zoe Saldana is the Wonder Awards choice for Best Actress, in the Best Pic winner, AVATAR.

It’s Sunday, March 7, and everyone is wondering what the winners will be. Well, wonder no more, because here are the official winners of this year’s Cinefantastique Wonder Awards. Oh sure, other people are tuning into the Oscar telecast to see whether Sandra Bullock takes home an Academy Award, but for aficionados of horror, fantasy, and science fiction cinema, the Wonders are the awards that really matter, because they offer a chance to recognize great films that are often denied Academy Award nominations because of their genre affiliation.
Of course, this year is a bit of an exception, because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has nominated two science fiction films for Best Picture, AVATAR and DISTRICT 9, along with one animated fantasy, UP. With several other Oscar nominations in technical categories, the genre has at least a fighting chance of winning some recognition from Academy voters.
Nevertheless, the Wonders are the true measure of achievement in the genre, voted on by experts with a life-long love of horror, fantasy, and science fiction – and more important, voted on by those imbued with that all-important Sense of Wonder.
BEST HORROR, FANTASY, OR SCIENCE FILM

  • AVATAR

BEST DIRECTION IN A HORROR, FANTASY, OR SCIENCE FILM

  • James Cameron for AVATAR

BEST SCREENPLAY FOR A HORROR, FANTASY, OR SCIENCE FILM

  • Neil Blomkamp & Terri Tatchll for DISTRICT 9
  • Pete Docter, Bob Peterson (story by Docter, Peterson & Thomas McCarthy) for UP

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE IN A HORROR, FANTASY, OR SCIENCE FILM

  • Saoirse Ronan in THE LOVELY BONES

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE IN A HORROR, FANTASY, OR SCIENCE FILM

  •  Robert Downey Jr in SHERLOCK HOLMES
  • Sam Rockwell in MOON

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A HORROR, FANTASY, OR SCIENCE FILM

  • Vera Farmiga in ORPHAN

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN HORROR, FANTASY, OR SCIENCE FILM

  • Jackie Earle Haley in WATCHMEN

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS IN A HORROR, FANTASY, OR SCIENCE FILM

  • AVATAR

BEST MAKEUP IN A HORROR, FANTASY, OR SCIENCE FILM

  • MY BLOODY VALENTINE

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN IN A HORROR, FANTASY, OR SCIENCE FILM

  •  Henry Selick for CORALINE

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY IN A HORROR, FANTASY, OR SCIENCE FILM

  • Mauro Fiore for AVATAR

BEST EDITING IN A HORROR, FANTASY, OR SCIENCE FILM

  • James Cameron, John Refoua, Stephen E. Rivki for AVATAR

BEST MUSIC IN HORROR, FANTASY, OR SCIENCE FILM

  • Michael Giacchino for STAR TREK

EDGAR G. ULMER AWARD FOR ACHIEVEMENT BY A HORROR, FANTASY, OR SCIENCE FILM

  • MOON

[serialposts]

2nd Annual Wonder Awards Nominations

What were the best horror, fantasy, and science fiction films of 2009? Well, we’re here to tell you, with this year’s nominations Cinefantastique’s second annual Wonder Awards. In a year when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science broke with tradition by nomination two science fiction films (AVATAR and DISTRICT 9) in multiple categories (including Best Picture), it might seem that the essential brief of the Wonder Awards – shining a light on worthy genre films – is less necessary. However, as pleasing as it is to see the Oscars inching toward recognition of cinefantastique, there are still many titles that go overlooked. Hence, we present this year’s list of nominations.
The big favorites for Best Horror, Fantasy, or Science Fiction Film of 2009 are STAR TREK (11 nominations), AVATAR (9 nominations), DISTRICT 9 (7 nominations), CORALINE (4 nominations), UP (4 nominations).
Other multiple nominees include MOON (4 nominations), SHERLOCK HOLMES (4 nominations), ZOMBIELAND (3 nominations), THE LOVELY BONES (3 nominations), PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2 nominations), ORPHAN (2 nominations), THE ROAD (2 nominations), and TERMINATOR SALVATION (2 nominations).
2012, DRAG ME TO HELL, JENNIFER’S BODY, MY BLOODY VALENTINE, WATCHMEN, and WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE received one nomination each.
This year’s nominees for the Edgar G. Ulmer Award are DEAD GIRL, GRACE, THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS, MOON, and PONYO. This award is dedicated to high-quality horror, fantasy, and science fiction films that would otherwise be overlooked because their limited theatrical release prevents them from being seen by enough voters to qualify in the Best Film category.
Not only were several films nominated in multiple categories; a few people also pulled off the trick: Henry Selick (Screenplay and Production Design for CORALINE); Pete Docter (Direction and Screenplay for UP); AND Neil Blomkamp (Direction and Screenplay for DISTRICT 9). The most notable multiple nominee is composer Michael Giacchino, who was nominated in the same category for two different films: STAR TREK and UP.
In general, Cinefantastique’s contributors spread their votes around. Although there is a great degree of consistency between picks for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, there is some variation, and the strength of support ranges widely from category to category. Also, dark horse candidates several nabbed nominations, especially in the acting categories.  In general, there seems to be a broad consensus about which films deserve major consideration, but there is a also an attempt to recognize  less obvious contestants who did good work in films that did not reach the critical mass of popularity necessary to galvanize voters into awarding major nominations across the board. Overall, in a year that saw a fairly wide range of enjoyable cinefantastique, this list represents a solid consensus on the best in horror, fantasy, and science fiction cinema. 
BEST HORROR, FANTASY, OR SCIENCE FILM

  • AVATAR
  • CORALINE
  • DISTRICT 9
  • STAR TREK
  • UP

BEST DIRECTION

  • James Cameron for AVATAR
  • Neill Blomkamp for DISTRICT 9
  • Duncan Jones for MOON
  • J. J. Abrams for STAR TREK
  • Pete Docter, Bob Peterson (co-director) for UP

BEST SCREENPLAY

  • Henry Selick for CORALINE
  • Neil Blomkamp & Terri Tatchll for DISTRICT 9
  • Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman for STAR TREK
  • Pete Docter, Bob Peterson (story by Docter, Peterson & Thomas McCarthy) for UP
  • Ruben Fleischer for ZOMBIELAND

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Katie Featherston in PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
  • Isabelle Fuhrman in ORPHAN
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg in ANTICHRIST
  • Saoirse Ronan in THE LOVELY BONES
  • Zoe Saldana in AVATAR

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Sharlto Copley in DISTRICT 9
  • Robert Downey Jr in SHERLOCK HOLMES
  • Viggo Mortensen in THE ROAD
  • Chris Pine in STAR TREK
  • Sam Rockwell in MOON

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Vera Farmiga in ORPHAN 
  • Zoe Saldana in STAR TREK 
  • Susan Sarandon in THE LOVELY BONES
  • Amanda Seyfried in JENNIFER’S BODY
  • Sigourney Weaver in AVATAR 

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Jackie Earle Haley in WATCHMEN 
  • Woody Harrelson in ZOMBIELAND
  • Jude Law in SHERLOCK HOLMES 
  • Stanley Tucci in THE LOVELY BONES 
  • Karl Urban in STAR TREK

SPECIAL EFFECTS

  • 2012
  • AVATAR
  • DISTRICT 9
  • STAR TREK
  • TERMINATOR SALVATION

MAKEUP

  • MY BLOODY VALENTINE
  • STAR TREK
  • TERMINATOR SALVATION
  • WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
  • ZOMBIELAND

PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg for AVATAR
  • Henry Selick for CORALINE
  • Tony Noble for MOON
  • Sarah Greenwood for SHERLOCK HOLMES
  • Scott Chambliss for STAR TREK

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Anthony Dod Mantle for ANTICHRIST
  • Mauro Fiore for AVATAR
  • Trent Opaloch for DISTRICT 9
  • Javier Aguirresarobe for THE ROAD
  • Daniel Mindel for STAR TREK

BEST EDITING

  • James Cameron, John Refoua, Stephen E. Rivki for AVATAR
  • Julian Clarke for DISTRICT 9
  • Oren Peli for PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
  • James Herbert for SHERLOCK HOLMES
  • Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey for STAR TREK

MUSIC

  • James Horner for AVATAR
  • Bruno Coulais for CORALINE
  • Christopher Young for DRAG ME TO HELL
  • Michael Giacchino for STAR TREK
  • Michael Giacchino for UP

EDGAR G. ULMER AWARD

  • DEAD GIRL
  • GRACE
  • THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR PARNASSUS
  • MOON
  • PONYO

A NOTE ABOUT VOTING PROCEDURES:

Voters consist of regular contributors to Cinefantastique Online (found listed under the “Authors” tab in the right-hand navigation bar), plus outside contributors from some of our favorite websites and blogs (listed under “Recommended Websites,” also in our right-hand navigation bar).
Each contributor was allowed to vote for five titles in each category. Votes are weighted so that a vote for #1 in a category outweighs a vote for #2; a vote for #2 outweighs a vote for #3, etc. Consequently, if two films received the same number of votes, one could earn a nomination while the other was left off, depending on how high voters place each title on their lists.
In cases where there is disagreement about which category a nominee should be slotted into (Lead Role versus Supporting role, for example), all votes are moved to the category in which the majority cast their votes.
[serialposts]

The Wonder Awards Post-Mortem: Dissecting the Best Achievements in Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Horror from 2008

Now that Cinefantastique’s 2009 Wonder Award Winners have been posted, it seems like a good time to do a little post-mortem, offering some of the voters a chance to explain their choices and voice their agreement or disagreement with the final results. After all, as interesting as the list of winners is, it is still only a list; the real meat of the matter resides in the reasons why certain films were favored over others.

BEST PICTURE

This category resulted in a tie between a Hollywood blockbuster and a foreign art house film: THE DARK KNIGHT and LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, respectively. How did these two prevail over IRON MAN, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, and WALL-E?
For myself, I thought all the nominees were worthy, but DARK KNIGHT provided the most meat to chew on; it’s a rich, engaging, thought-provoking film – so much so that any weaknesses are virtually eclipsed. I enjoyed LET THE RIGHT ONE IN almost as much, but I was not so overwhelmed by it that I was blinded to its few minor flaws. For that reason, I had to vote for DARK KNIGHT.
How, then, did LET THE RIGHT ON IN become the Little Film That Could? John T. Stanhope explains why he cast his ballot for this title:

I loved every one of the nominees, though I did have a few little quibbles with THE DARK KNIGHT, BENJAMIN BUTTON and the final, big confrontation at the end of IRON MAN. But the film that truly made me sit up and take notice and which took me somewhere I felt I hadn’t been before at all was LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. I have for years been lamenting the direction that most of the Hollywood efforts have been taking the Vampire film. In my opinion there are completely untapped veins (oops, sorry for that one) related to that story concept. This little Swedish film, based on a novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, managed to find one of those veins. It shows TWILIGHT for the little teeny-bopper movie that it is. And although LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is about children, it certainly wasn’t written for those with the mentality of children (no offense, kids, but a person does gain something with age). It delves deftly into the realm of the sweet awkwardness of young friendship, love and loyalty. It also explores the acceptance that youth can allow in. Yes, this one was perhaps my biggest pleasant surprise of 2008 and I’m giving it a lot of points for its originality and its subtle, overall execution.

Not everyone voted for one of these two films.  In rationale of a Conflicted Contrarian, John W. Morehead of Theofantastique offers an argument for why WALL-E should have taken the Best Picture crown:

WALL-E was the best overall cinematic experience of the fantastic for 2009. This film took computer animation to new heights, from the height of its realism and the detail of its opening scenes as it depicted a dystopian vision of a planet decimated by pollution, to the depth of emotion the animators were able to invest in its leading characters, Wall-E and Eve. In addition to its visual beauty, the film also told a very human story through its robotic characters as well as the humans adrift in space and in need of a healthy reconnection with the Earth, their own bodies, and community.

BEST DIRECTOR

Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan

This was a bit of an odd case. Although voting in the Best Picture Category was evenly split between DARK KNIGHT and LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, Christopher Nolan easily won in this category for helming the former film. Brian Collins, of Horror Movie a Day, explains why he split his votes between Best Picture and Best Director:

I voted Nolan because he did an amazing job in every aspect of the film. Choices that seemed odd at first (not just Heath) – shooting some of it in IMAX, grounding Gotham in reality – all of it paid off, and then some. You can really tell that he’s a guy who puts time into creating and designing every last detail in his head, and it’s almost a guarantee that even with the same script, the finished product would be nothing like the movie we pretty much all love, had another director been behind it. I didn’t quite get that sense from Tomas Alfredson on LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. I wouldn’t compare the two; they are not in the same genre, and both are incredible in their own way. I had to pick one or the other for best film; I went with LTROI not because it was “better”, but because it was more original and daring, and it’s nice to have a horror movie get nearly universal acclaim for once. But for direction, it was no contest – Nolan made that film great.

Offering a contrary opinion, John T. Stanhope felt that odd-man out David Fincher should have gotten the nod for his work onr BENJAMIN BUTTON:

All I can say is that this was a very charming and commanding turn for Fincher within a genre he does not normally work. A most thoughtful effort. I was also very impressed with how he handled the various periods in which the film takes place.

BEST SCREENPLAY

Voting favored Jonathan & Christopher Nolan’s script for DARK KNIGHT even more than Christopher Nolan for directing the film. Stanhope, who selected LET THE RIGHT ON IN for Best Picture, explains why he split his votes, selecting DARK KNIGHT in the script category:

This was a tough call. I felt I had good reason to select any one of the contenders. However, in the end I decided to go with THE DARK KNIGHT. I have to take my hat off to anyone who can take what had turned into a horrible, laborious, campy franchise and turn it into something hard-hitting, thought provoking, emotionally engaging and… well, respectable, which is something I felt the material had long deserved. I only wish it could have surpassed the over bloated soap opera that was TITANIC as the highest grossing film of all time.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett

This category offered up another tie, this time between Cate Blanchett in BENJAMIN BUTTON and Lina Leandersson for LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. In this category, the contenders were not particularly strong this year. Not that the performances were in any way weak; there simply were not many roles that were clearly full-blown leads. Blanchett is strong, but her character is clearly secondary and comparative limited in screen time. Leandersson comes much closer to playing a true leading role, but even there, the story is told from the point of a view of a neighbor boy who gradually discovers that her character is a vampire.
In a relative toss-up, I voted for the younger actress because she had to manage the difficult trick to seducing the audience into sympathizing with an amoral predator. As much as it is a horror film, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is also an intimate drama about two lost and lonely characters who find each other; by the end, I felt moved just as much as I was by the more obvious tear-jerker moments in BENJAMIN BUTTON.
Stanhope also liked both performances but ultimately came down on the other side of the fence in making his selections:

I wasn’t hugely drawn to Blanchett’s character in BUTTON, but Blanchett showed tremendous range throughout the film. My heart kinda roots for Lina Leandersson–and she was very good–but in the end I had to go with Blanchett’s solid range. BUTTON was a perfect vehicle for one to show her strengths as an actress and Blanchett seemed to manage it effortlessly.

Of course, not even these two choices cornered the market on all the votes. John Cozzoli of Zombo’s Closet of Horror, voted for a non-horror contender, Gwenyth Paltrow in IRON MAN.

First, let me say all three are excellent in their roles and it was a difficult decision. The key element that made Paltrow stand out for me is the chemistry she created with Robert Downey Jr. Yes, they all excelled in their respective roles, but when you can generate chemistry when another actor is flying at mach speed with his or her role, it takes experience and skill to blend your acting well enough to fly along while maintaining your own identity.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

This was a no-brainer for me. IRON MAN is a great film across the board, but in the final analysis it was slightly outclass in all categories but this one. Robert Downey Jr.’s role is so central to the success of this film that all the action and special effects cannot eclipse the fact that this is virtual a showcase vehicle for his talents. The other nominees were all great, but Downey is the one who sticks in my memory months later; I simply cannot imagine that the film would be nearly so good without him.
Stanhope, conversely, beliefs that Brad Pitt’s star turn in BENJAMIN BUTTON was the year’s greatest achievement by an actor:

I’ve never been Pitt’s biggest fan, but he made two films in 2008 in which he knocked my socks off. One was BURN AFTER READING and the other was BUTTON. Frankly, I thought he was superb in BUTTON. Again, my heart kinda wanted to go with Daniel Craig in QUANTUM OF SOLACE, because he’s pretty much untouchable as 007, but realistically I had to admit that Pitt took me to places I never thought he would, or perhaps even could.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Judi Dench
Judi Dench

This category offered our third split decision, between Tilda Swinton in THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON and Judi Dench in QUANTUM OF SOLACE. My vote went for Dench because she has always been strong as M, but only the recent Craig films have done full justice to the character. M is no longer a plot device – the mouthpiece handing out Bond’ assignment each film – but a fully realized character, and Dench makes you believe her as a character who is both impressed with and exasperated by 007’s methods. Swinton is great, too, in a completely different way, engaging the emotions on a more overt level in her role as a middle-aged woman who has an affair with Benjamin.
This is one of those categories that makes you sad you have to pick a winner; even with two winners, thanks to the tie, there is still a sense that some worthy nominees were short-changed. Stanhope makes the case for Taraji Henson in BENJAMIN BUTTON:

Another excellent demonstration of range here. Henson understood the periods in which her character lived. Nothing hacks me off more than actors who don’t get, or care about, the period in which they’re supposed to be. Henson was just right.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Even more than for Lead Actor, this was a no-brainer category, thanks to Heath Ledger’s stunning turn as the Joker in THE DARK KNIGHT. I could go on from now till Doomsday trying to second guess my choice – debating whether the actor’s untimely death affected my judgment, wondering if perhaps the role and the performance were just too obvious, looking for some more subtle, trickier performance that deserved my vote instead – but there is no reasonable way I can see for avoiding the obvious acknowledgement that this was not merely a great performance but a once-in-a-lifetime piece of magic, the proverbial lightening captured in a bottle.
That’s not to say that no one else deserved consideration, and Stanhope argues a valid case in favor of Jared Harris in BENJAMIN BUTTON:

Harris was one of my early picks in the nomination process and I’m going with him for the award. Yes, Ledger was spot-on, but scenery chewing is showy, and in a sense, Ledger was lucky enough to get a part in which he was allowed to let it all hang out. I loved him in the role, but Harris was perhaps more genuine in his showiness and had more of an opportunity to demonstrate different sides of his character. I pretty much enjoyed every moment he was on screen.

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS

The easy winner in this category was HELLBOY2: THE GOLDEN ARMY. This is perhaps understandable, considering the depth, breadth, and imagination of the work on display, but I found myself voting against the film because I seldom found the work convincing. The fairy tale quality has a certain charm, but it seems out of place in the world of Hellboy, who is (despite his his devilish appearance) basically a working-class stiff doing a dirty job. The key to his character is that his method of transportation is not a super-duper batmobile but a gargage truck. In this context, the more realistic and down-to-earth the monster and effects are, the better.
As for the other contenders, the work in BENJAMIN BUTTON was thoroughly convincing, and IRON MAN was colorful and spectacular. But THE DARK KNIGHT is the one film that I don’t think of as a special effects film; to me it looked like something that was filmed entirely live. Such seamless work deserved the honor, in my opinion.
The spectacular imagery of SPEED RACER might have seemed as if it had the potential to pull an upset victory in this category, but Brian Collins explains why the film did not get his vote:

I am glad to see Speed Racer get shut out of the technical things. While they were certainly impressive, they represent the exact wrong way to use CGI in a film. CGI should be used to help tell a story; a story shouldn’t be told around CGI. The only time in the film I thought they were doing it “right” was, ironically, the intentionally crude effects in the scene with young Speed in the classroom, with the hand-drawn racetrack around him. I never root “against” a movie, but in Speed‘s case, I was happy to see it fail.

BEST MAKEUP


Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt

This was a very close call between BENJAMIN BUTTON and HELLBOY 2. Ultimately I opted for the former because the aging process of Brad Pitt’s character is essential to the film; if it doesn’t work, the film doesn’t work. Also, it is a more difficult challenge to pull off this fakery convincingly in a film that asks audiences to believe the story as if it were really happening. HELLBOY 2, on the other hand, was the sort of movie that relied more heavly on willing suspension of disbelief.
Maybe so, but John Morehead argues that HELLBOY 2’s makeup was simply too good to be swept under the rug:

Yes, the makeup effects of THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON are impressive as Brad Pitt’s character ages in reverse. They certainly compliment this great fantasy story, but in my view they do not make an overall contribution to the film as HELLBOY 2’s makeup effects do or to the depth at which we see them in the latter’s makeup efforts. In the case of BENJAMIN BUTTON the makeup effects must be believable and are certainly integral to the storytelling as we experience the strange journey of a man who moves forward through time and yet grows biologically younger. But the makeup effects in this case are not as broad or as central as in HELLBOY 2. In Hellboy’s world we shift from a fantasy story within the real world as in the case of BUTTON, to the portrayal of a fantasy world involving elves and fairies who inhabit realms closer to ancient mythologies and fantasy stories like Tolkien’s Middle Earth. The makeup effects created for HELLBOY 2 are thus more broad, rich in expression, and central to the storytelling, and for these reasons HELLBOY 2 is the clear winner

 BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Even if HELLBOY 2 got stiffed in the makeup department, its beautiful look was more than enough to make it the favorite in this category. I was not a particular fan of this film, but most of my objections relate to the script and the special effects; in terms of production design, no one can deny the visual splendor of Stephen Scott’s work.
This is a category in which one of 2008’s most derided films seemed to have a chance for an upset victory. That did not happen, but Stanhope makes the case for Owen Patterson’s production design in SPEED RACER.

Again, all of the films in this category looked great, but I’m gonna do with one that no one else would most likely go with. As good as all of the other designs were–and they really were–to my way of thinking it was easier to wrap one’s mind around and understand and work with their requirements. I believe one genuinely had to think ‘out of the box’ on SPEED RACER. I understand that it was too much for a lot of folks. Still, I kept thinking that the production design department really had to be on its toes to pull off the Japanese anime in live action form. This I thought they legitimately did. Paterson and team nailed the look and overall mood from the goofy ’60s cartoon. That took a lot of hard, detailed effort.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY & BEST EDITING

It was inevitable that THE DARK KNIGHT had to win some technical awards in recognition of its monumental achievement. Although based on a comic book character, the film has the look of a modern film noir, sleek and utterly convincing. It also has a complex story that seems to fly along like a rocket despite a running time of well over two hours. So it’s easy to see why our voters would favor it in these categories.
Even here, there is room for reasoned debate, and Stanhope lists the virtues of two other nominees:

BENJAMIN BUTTON had sublime cinematography by Claudio Miranda. It was one of the points that had me entranced throughout the entire film. It was rich, full of depth and true where it needed to be true, and offered a touch of fantasy in just the right places. Just exquisite. Although LET THE RIGHT ONE IN was on a much smaller scale than the rest of the nominees, Hoyte Van Hoytema matched the intended environment and mood of his subject matter with subtle simplicity and in almost a painterly fashion.

As he did in the Production Design category, Stanhope champions SPEED RACER’s editing: 

Yes, yes, I know, people said SPEED RACER was dizzying, but still I have to ask, wouldn’t it be if it were to capture the hyper mood of the TV show? And I know that I’ll be lambasted for choosing a film that seemed “over edited” to most, though again I point out that Andrew Barton and Zach Staenberg put on screen what was true to their source material. They had to work their tales off to put out the effort they did (the weak, repetitive racing effects were not their fault). They literally gave us the cartoon in live action form. Go, SPEED editors!

BEST MUSIC

I suspect also that voters were eager to give WALL-E, a crowd-pleasing favorite that was pushed out of the winner’s circle in all the other categories, a win in at least one category, but that is not to suggest that the win was undeserved. A big chunk of this movie is essentially a “silent” (or, more accurately, non-dialogue) film – the sort of pure cinema where character and action are conveyed through a combination visuals, sound effects, and music. This is a great film on many levels; one of its many strengths is that it is a “feel good” movie that never feels phony or saccharine. Much of the credit for that goes to composer Thomas Newman for conveying the emotions of the inarticulate robotic title character without lapsing into John Williams-type overstatement.
Stanhope, on the other hand, thinks that Johan Soderqvist should have edged out his worthy competitors with his score for LET THE RIGHT ONE IN:

Here’s another category filled with good choices. I’d like to pick ’em all. However, Howard & Zimmer were traversing familiar territory and already had a sense of what was needed and what to do. The same can be said for William’s take on Indiana Jones. Powell did a stand up job on BOLT and I’ve got a soft spot for what he acheived with it. Frankly, up until a few days ago I would have selected WALL-E (I think the score is near perfect and I’ve listened to it a good 50 times already), but then I saw LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. And although it’s not a score I would probably listen to as many times as some of the others, it absolutely captures every nuance of the entire film. Who would have thought that a vampire movie could be so full of bitter sweetness and genuine pathos and heart? Well, I’m here to tell you that it is, and Johan Soderqvist understood every minute of that film, every minute. Much of its heart belongs to him.

THE EDGAR G. ULMER AWARD

Perhaps DIARY OF THE DEAD, coming from old pro George Romero, was a “sentimental” favorite (if that word can be used in relation to a movie about flesh-eating zombies), but the movie was also an impressive achievement that rebooted the living dead franchise for the Internet generation. Made on a low-budget and released in only limited engagements, the film still managed to earn back more than its small production budget ($4-million) from ticket sales before going on to DVD. In this sense, it was the perfect candidate for an award named after a director remembered for making memorable films with virtually no resources. The Ulmer Award casts the spotlight of recognition on this type of achievement, which might otherwise go unnoticed, and Romero’s film certainly made something new and exciting out of the same old material.
Though not taking issue with Romero’s achievement, Brian Collins thinks that another contender merited the Ulmer Award even more, REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA. He states his case thus:

Not only was it far more original than any of the other nominees; it pulled it off on a very limited budget. It may have been higher than that of Teeth or Diary, but let’s look at it ‘bang for your buck’ style – Teeth was more or less about a girl in a house or classroom, and Diary was a bunch of no-name actors running around with video cameras, occasionally fighting zombies. Repo, on the other hand, presented an entirely constructed world, some name actors that probably dont come cheap (Paris Hilton, Paul Sorvino, Anthony Head), 60 songs – all for a reported $8-million, less than that of the Saw sequels. In a time with so many lousy independent horror movies blaming lack of money for their shortcomings, it was nice to see a film that, for once, had every penny up on the screen, and telling an original story to boot. Now, don’t get me wrong: I enjoy both Diary and Teeth; both are deserving of recognition as well. I just felt Repo did more to help the overall world of low-budget horror.

And there you have it: a glimpse behind the scenes at the often agonizing, frequently fun process of measuring last year’s greatest achievements in fantasy films, horror movies, and science fiction cinema. You may not agree with all our choices, but they were not selected lightly. Some were clear winners; others were close calls or outright ties. Whatever the final results, 2008 offered many worthy contenders, and at the very least, an exercise like this provides an opportunity to look and rekindle our appreciation for films that aimed high and hit the target.

Wonder Awards 2009: Rationale of a Conflicted Contrarian

As cinema buffs and Hollywood’s elite await the Academy Awards this weekend, Cinefantastique Online has addressed the unfortunate lack of critical appreciation for films of the fantastic through its 2009 Wonder Awards. As in any other subjective human endeavor those of us who voted on the nominations disagreed at times with the selections of others. While that is to be expected, some of us took it a step further and split our votes in certain areas in ways that might seem in conflict. For my own part, I voted for WALL-E as the Best Film, and also selected THE DARK KNIGHT for Best Screenplay (by Jonathan and Christopher Nolan). In what follows I will explain the rationale for my voting process, and also comment on why, in my view, HELLBOY 2 should have won for Best Makeup over BENJAMIN BUTTON.
I must admit that voting for this year’s Wonder Awards was difficult. Films of the fantastic are now both plentiful and produced with great quality, and in a way I was thankful to be placed on the horns of a dilemma as I voted from the list of nominees. When it came to my selection for Best Film I immediately experienced great personal angst, being torn between WALL-E and THE DARK KNIGHT as two exemplary films for the year. I decided early on to skip this part of the voting process and to make my other selections before coming back to my deliberations in this category. This tactic was partially successful in that it delayed the inevitable in the Best Film Category, but as I scrolled through the categories and nominees I faced similar dilemmas and a developing conflict over not only individual films, but the best way in which to acknowledge their contribution to fantastic cinema in differing categories. I wondered, was it necessary to vote holistically for a given film throughout each of the different categories, or if not, what about the possibility of more diversity in voting that recognizes the strengths of both films in differing ways?
The way I resolved my conundrum, as I mentioned at the beginning, was to select WALL-E as Best Film, and THE DARK KNIGHT for Best Screenplay. How then to explain my conflicting choice? In my thinking WALL-E was the best overall cinematic experience of the fantastic for 2009. This film took computer animation to new heights, from the height of its realism and the detail of its opening scenes as it depicted a dystopian vision of a planet decimated by pollution, to the depth of emotion the animators were able to invest in its leading characters, Wall-E and Eve. In addition to its visual beauty, the film also told a very human story through its robotic characters as well as the humans adrift in space and in need of a healthy reconnection with the Earth, their own bodies, and community. Surely the screenplay was a part of this great film, but in my view it is possible to recognize the overall value of this film as Best Picture, and yet to leave room to acknowledge the value of another strong nominee as a great candidate in another category but which fell short of Best Picture.
This brings me to my selection of THE DARK KNIGHT for Best Screenplay. This film took the box office by storm last summer, which is intriguing in that it was inspired by Frank Miller’s depiction of the character in his graphic novel BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (1986). As I have commented on my blog, the box office success of THE DARK KNIGHT is somewhat surprising in that it addresses issues related to the Bush Administration’s “war on terror” and, like Frank Miller in the graphic novel, seems to do so in ways that approve of vigilantism on issues like the wiretapping of private citizens and violent means of prisoner interrogation. Through such vigilante actions, the heroes presented in THE DARK KNIGHT, both Batman and Commissioner Gordon, are late modern characters reflecting the ambiguity of our times and a recognition that there isn’t always a clear line between good and evil, no good guys dressed in white and bad guys in black with clear demarcations between them.
This most recent depiction of Batman moves him from the realm of the cardboard comic book characters of the past and places him in a scenario closer to our muddied world where, following Nietzsche’s dictum, the hero has looked into the abyss and the abyss has looked into him. As a result, the hero becomes a little darker, and as Heather Duda notes in The Monster Hunter in Modern Popular Culture (McFarland, 2008), the heroic monster hunter must also be acknowledged as being a little monstrous himself (and now herself with figures like Ripley and Buffy in the ALIEN films and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, respectively).
I grant that many viewers may not have taken such depth of social commentary away from their viewing of THE DARK KNIGHT, but it is there as some have acknowledged. The more complex and ambiguous Batman may be attributed to the screenplay writers who took the various conceptions and expressions of Batman in the past and then updated him in light of Miller’s graphic novel and contemporary cultural considerations so that he could be a hero for our time responding to our fears and foes. For rising to such a difficult challenge through their writing I believe that THE DARK KNIGHT should be the recipient of the Best Screenplay award, even while the film falls short overall in my estimation as Best Film.
Ron Perlman in waist-up makeup for Hellboy 2In the area of Best Makeup the clear winner in my opinion is HELLBOY 2. Yes, the makeup effects of THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON are impressive as Brad Pitt’s character ages in reverse. They certainly compliment this great fantasy story, but in my view they do not make an overall contribution to the film as HELLBOY 2’s makeup effects do or to the depth at which we see them in the latter’s makeup efforts. In the case of BENJAMIN BUTTON the makeup effects must be believable and are certainly integral to the storytelling as we experience the strange journey of a man who moves forward through time and yet grows biologically younger. But the makeup effects in this case are not as broad or as central as in HELLBOY 2. In Hellboy’s world we shift from a fantasy story within the real world as in the case of BUTTON, to the portrayal of a fantasy world involving elves and fairies who inhabit realms closer to ancient mythologies and fantasy stories like Tolkien’s Middle Earth. The makeup effects created for HELLBOY 2 are thus more broad, rich in expression, and central to the storytelling, and for these reasons HELLBOY 2 is the clear winner over THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON in my thinking.
Surely we can agree to disagree over these issues. I know that my view many times is in the minority. Personally I didn’t find THE EXORCIST scary, and I have no idea how Bravo could include scenes from WILLIE WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and THE WIZARD OF OZ in their “100 Scariest Movie Moments,” or choose JAWS as the number one film of fright. But heck, they didn’t include me in the talking heads commentary or ask my opinions in the matter. I recognize that at times my views are outside the mainstream, even among fans of the fantastic. But at least with my selections for the 2009 Wonder Awards readers have a glimpse into my conflict as a contrarian.

Cinefantastique selects winners of the first annual Wonder Awards

The votes are counted. At times it was a knock-down, drag-out fight to the finish – resulting in several ties – but now we have announced the results for Cinefantstique Online’s first ever Wonder Awards. The winners include a satisfying mix of worthy titles; each nominee for Best Picture prevailed in at least one category. Although there were some clear favorites, voters made a conscientious effort to spread the wealth around instead of simply block-voting for their favorite film in each and every category. You may not agree with every decision, but you can rest assured that we bested the Academy Awards in terms of honoring the best science fiction, fantasy, and horror films of 2008 – which in this case often represents the best films period, easily matching or even surpassing the Oscar noms for Best Picture of the Year.
The resuls are eccentric in some ways, indicating that voters (consisting of Cinefantastique Online’s staff and the webmasters of several blogs listed under our Bookmarks) wrestled both with bestowing honors upon films regardless of how widely seen they were and with the question of whom to reward for a film’s quality.

Let the Right One In
Lina Leandersson in LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

This is highlighted most clearly in the case of the Best Picture category, which was a tie between the mega-blockbuster THE DARK KNIGHT and the the small art house effort from Sweden, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. DARK KNIGHT dominated in most of the categories in which it won, while support for LET THE RIGHT ONE was spread thing over the six categories in which it was nominated, resulting in only one other win, a tie for Lina Leandersson in the Best Actress category. Yet when it came to an overall assessment of which was the Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror film from 2008, voters split the difference between the superhero hit and the little horror film that could.
Overall, DARK KNIGHT was big favorite, with six wins to its credit. Besides Best Picture, it also took home awards for direction, screenplay , supporting actor, cinematography, and editing. Not unexpectedly, the Heath Ledger’s win for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role was a complete blow-out, so much so that it was barely worth counting the votes; a quick eyeball-scan immediately showed what the results would be. It is worth noting, however, that even here voting was not unanimous, with some support expressed for Jeff Bridges in IRON MAN and Jared Harris in THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON.
Benjamin Button: the Wonder Awards choice for best makeup

Best Picture nominee BENJAMIN BUTTON, which like THE DARK KNIGHT had scored thirteen nominations, fared less well when it came to tallying up the winners. The film took home the gold only three times, all with close votes, including two ties. It was recognized in the two Best Actress categories: Cate Blanchett tied with LET THE RIGHT ONE IN’s Lina Leandersson in the Lead category; Tilda Swinton tied with QUANTUM OF SOLACE’s Judie Dench in the Supporting category. The makeup effects that took Brad Pitt through the lifetime aging process in reverse barely edged out HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY in the makeup category.
The only other multiple winner was HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY, which topped the voting in the categories for Best Special Effects and Best Production Design.
Best Picture nominee IRON MAN entered the winner’s circle only once, with an expected victory by Robert Downey Jr for his Leading Role as Tony Stark. There was also strong support for Brad Pitt in BENJAMIN BUTTON and Ron Perlman in HELLBOY 2, but ultimately the voting favored Downey by a clear margin.
Cinefantastique’s final nominee for the Best Picture from last year was WALL-E, which triumphed in a single category. Thomas Newman’s soundtrack music barely edged out Johan Soderqvist’s dramatic score for LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.
As mentioned above, QUANTUM OF SOLACE earned a tie for Judi Dench in the Supporting Actress category – the film’s only win.
Multiple nominees SPEED RACER (with three) and INDIANA JONES (with two)were shut out of the winner’s circle. Although SPEED RACER did receive some support in several technical areas, it was outvoted by fans of the more popular DARK KNIGHT and HELLBOY 2.
Finally, this year’s Ulmer Award (named after director Edgar G. Ulmer, who excelled at low-budget, independent film-making) goes to George A. Romero’s DIARY OF THE DEAD, which  comfortably outdistanced the runner-up, TEETH. Like all the films nominated in this category, DIARY received a release far too small for it to compete head-to-head with the more high-profile nominees  in the Best Picture category (not enough people saw it). That’s why we give out the Ulmer Award: to shine light on little movies that would be otherwise overlooked, and Romero’s latest zombie opus certainly deserves the honor.*

Read the complete list of winners here.

FOOTNOTE:

  • Had LET THE RIGHT ONE IN been consigned to this category, it would have been the easy winner, but its release, although small by Hollywood standards, was more than wide enough to earn it the votes it needed in the Best Picture category. All the nominees in the Ulmer category received limited platform theatrical distribution intended to boost DVD sales.

2009 Wonder Award Winners – The Complete List

What are the Wonder Awards? They are Cinefantastique Online’s answer to the Oscars – a chance to recognize the great science fiction, fantasy, and horror films that are denied Academy Award nominations because of their genre affiliation. Below is a complete list of the 2009 Wonder Award Winnerss. You can find the nominations listed here. For a little perspective on the winners and the losers, read, “Cinefantastique selects winners of the first annual Wonder Awards.”  For my Top Ten of 2008 list, go here: Sense of Wonder: The Best Fantasy Films, Horror Movies & Science Fiction Cinema of 2008.
BEST PICTURE:

BEST DIRECTOR:

  • Christopher Nolan for THE DARK KNIGHT

BEST SCREENPLAY:

  • Jonathan & Christopher Nolan for THE DARK KNIGHT

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:

  • Cate Blanchett for THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
  • Lina Leandersson for LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (tie)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:

  • Tilda Swinton in THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
  • Judi Dench in QUANTUM OF SOLACE (tie)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:

  • Heath Ledger in THE DARK KNIGHT

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS:

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP:

  • THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DESIGN:

  • Stephen Scott for HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY:

  • Wally Pfister for THE DARK KNIGHT

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN EDITING:

  • Lee Smith for THE DARK KNIGHT

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC:

THE EDGAR G. ULMER AWARD:

Cinefantastique nominates 1st Annual Wonder Awards

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - an early favorite with voters
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - an early favorite with voters

Looking for an alternative to the Academy Awards? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, who reveal their annual Oscar nominations this morning, are notorious for overlooking fantasy films, horror movies, and science fiction cinema. Therefore, Cinefantastique Online has decided to presents its nominations for the first annual Wonder Awards. The name, of course, is taken from “Sense of Wonder,” the phrase that best encapsulates the joy and excitement inspired by the best of what the genre has to offer.
To come up with our nominations, we solicited input from our writers and colleagues, including webmasters at several of the more discriminating websites devoted to the genres.Typically, the results represents a consensus, wherein some of the quirkier choices are left out, but we have tried to address that issue with the Ulmer Award (see below). The consensus emerged most clearly in terms of the Top 5 nominees for Best Picture (THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, THE DARK KNIGHT, IRON MAN, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, WALL-E), all of which were also nominated in the categories for Best Direction and Best Screenplay.
We also ran into the familiar problem of categorization, which may have prevented a few titles from being nominated in certain areas (e.g., does an animated film qualify for Best Special Effects or Best Cinematography?). And there were the usual disagreements about which performances qualified as Lead Roles versus Supporting Roles; we solved this one by awarding each nomination in the category where it received the most support.
The two heavy favorites were BENJAMIN BUTTON and DARK KNIGHT, both of which scored thirteen nominations – quite an achievement when each was eligible in thirteen categories.The level of support for both films seems very strong, and the final voting for the winners could go either way, depending on whether voters fully embrace the metaphorical BUTTON as a fantasy film.
For the record, neither BENJAMIN BUTTON nor DARK KNIGHT was nominated in every single category for which it was eligible; each reached lucky number 13 by scoring a multiple nomination in a supporting acting category. Both Tilda Swinton and Taraji Henson were nominated in the Supporting Actress category for BENJAMIN BUTTON, which was left out of the Best Music category. Both Heath Ledger and Morgan Freeman were nominated in the Supporting Actor category for DARK KNIGHT, which was omitted from the Lead Actress category.
Heath Ledger, as expected, is the heavy favorite to win for Best Supporting Actor. In fact, several voters felt his peformance so dominated DARK KNIGHT that they nominated him in the Lead Actor category; the majority of support, however, placed the nomination in the Supporting category.
Also popular with voters was IRON MAN with ten nominations. This one seems an odds-on favorite for the Lead Actor category, thanks to Robert Downey Jr’s winning performance as Tony Stark.
WALL-E, the wonderful computer-generated science fiction film from Pixar, earned four nominations, including one for Best Music. Support for this film is also high, but being animated, it was difficult if not impossible for the film to earn recognition in categories that favor live-action films (acting, cinematography, production design), even though some maverick voters listed it in those categories.
It was not all Hollywood blockbusters, however. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, the wonderful Swedish horror film, was recognized in six categories, including Lead Actress, Music, and Photography. This is another well-loved film; although not as widely seen as the other Best Picture nominees, voters embraced it just as strongly, and it has a solid shot and winning in several categories.
Ron Perlman nominated for Best Actor in Hellboy 2
Ron Perlman nominated for Best Actor in Hellboy 2

Also receiving multiple nominations were HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY, INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, QUANTUM OF SOLACE, and SPEED RACER.

  • HELLBOY II earned five nominations, for Lead Actor (Ron Perlman), makeup, special effects, production design, and cinematography.
  • SPEED RACER was nominated in three technical categories: Editing, Production Design, and Special Effects.
  • INDIANA JONES earned two nominations for Supporting Actress (Karen Allen) and Music (John Williams).
  • QUANTUM OF SOLACE earned two acting nominations, Daniel Craig for Lead Actor and Judi Dench for Supporting Actress.

Some may quibble with slotting Karen Allen (a sentimental favorite for her returning role as Marion Crane in the fourth INDIANA JONES movie) into the Supporting Actress category, but she was crowded out of the Lead Actress arena by two performances in little seen films that scored only a single nomination: Julianne Moore in BLINDNESS and Naomi Watts in FUNNY GAMES.

MOTHER OF TEARS - nominated for makeup
MOTHER OF TEARS - nominated for makeup

Other films to score a single nomination were BOLT (John Powell for Music); THE INCREDIBLE HULK (Tim Roth for Supporting Actor); KUNG FU PANDA (Clare Knight [a.k.a. Clare De Chenu] for Editing), and MOTHER OF TEARS (for makeup).
Finally, Cinefantastique nominated five films for the Ulmer Award, which requires a bit of explanation. Decades ago, Myron Meisel, film critic for the now-defunct L.A. Reader, would select a film each year for the Edgar G. Ulmer Award. The name was taken from the late film director: though he worked on some major studio films (like 1934’s THE BLACK CAT, starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi), Ulmer seemed to prefer toiling away in low-budget independent cinema. Ulmer’s most famous film is probably the moody film noir DETOUR, a movie that has earned critical accolades even though it seems to have been made with virtually no resources at all.
The Ulmer Award is bestowed in honor of films that maintain this tradition, achieving much with very little. The definition is also elastic enough to encompass films that are ignored by mainstream critics and awards societies for whatever reason; consequently, even adequately funded movies may qualify if their release was so limited that no one saw them, limiting their chances of being nominated in other categories. In effect, this is our equivalent of the Oscar Academy’s Foreign Language and Animation categories, which were invented to open up slots for films that seldom if ever get into the Best Picture Category.
Diary of the Dead
Diary of the Dead

With all of that in mind, here are five films that received low-profile platform theatrical releases in 2008, often of the contractual-obligation variety. All of them earned support and admiration from those lucky enough to see them, but none were seen by enough voters to have a chance in the major categories.

  • DIARY OF THE DEAD
  • MOTHER OF TEARS
  • REPO, THE GENETIC OPERA
  • ROGUE
  • TEETH

Read a complete list of the Wonder Awards nominations here.

Cinefantastique's 2009 Wonder Awards Nominations Complete List

Here is a complete list of the nominations for the best achievements in fantasy films, horror movies, and science fiction cinema released last year.
BEST FILM

BEST DIRECTOR

  • David Fincher for BENJAMIN BUTTON
  • Christopher Nolan for DARK KNIGHT
  • Jon Favreau for IRON MAN
  • Tomas Alfredson for LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
  • Andrew Stanton WALL-E

BEST SCREENPLAY

  • Eric Roth for BENJAMIN BUTTON
  • Jonathan & Christopher Nolan DARK KNIGHT
  • Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, IRON MAN
  • John Ajvide Lindqvist, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
  • Andrew Stanton WALL-E

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Cate Blanchett in BENJAMIN BUTTON
  • Julianne Moore in BLINDNESS
  • Naomi Watts in FUNNY GAMES
  • Dwyneth Paltrow in IRON MAN
  • Lina Leandersson in LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Jared Harris in BENJAMIN BUTTON
  • Morgan Freeman in DARK KNIGHT
  • Heath Ledger in DARK KNIGHT
  • Tim Roth in THE INCREDIBLE HULK
  • Jeff Bridges in IRON MAN

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS

  • BENJAMIN BUTTON
  • DARK KNIGHT
  • HELLBOY II
  • IRON MAN
  • SPEED RACER

BEST MAKEUP

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Donald Graham Burt for BENJAMIN BUTTON
  • Nathan Crowley for DARK KNIGHT
  • Stephen Scott for HELLBOY II
  • J. Michael Riva for IRON MAN
  • Owen Paterson for SPEED RACER

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Claudio Miranda for BENJAMIN BUTTON
  • Wally Pfister for THE DARK KNIGHT
  • Guillermo Navarro HELL BOY II
  • Matthew Libatque for IRON MAN
  • Hoyte Van Hoytema for LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

BEST EDITING

  • Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall for BENJAMIN BUTTON
  • Lee Smith for DARK KNIGHT
  • Dan Lebental for IRON MAN
  • Clare Knight (a.k.a. Clare De Chenu) for KUNG FU PANDA
  • Andrew Barton, Zach Staenberg, SPEED RACER

BEST MUSIC

  • John Powell for BOLT
  • James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer for DARK KNIGHT
  • John Williams for INDIANA JONES
  • Johan Soderqvist for LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
  • Thomas Newman for WALL-E

ULMER AWARD