Roger Deakins, John Williams and Ruth E. Carter Could Dominate Artisans Oscars Race

With Oscar season fully underway following the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals, buzz is building for the latest offerings from marquee filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, Darren Aronofsky,
Sarah Polley and Alejandro G. Iñárritu. But behind the scenes, look for leading artisans to also be recognized for their work on high-profile contenders; within the film community, these names have become as renowned as the directors and A-listers with whom they work.

Here are some titans of the crafts who could add a nomination and even an Oscar win to their résumés when the Academy Awards are dispensed in March.

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Elivs Unchained Melody
Elivs Unchained Melody

Catherine Martin
Production designer

Martin straddles the worlds of costume design and production design. Teaming up with her husband, Baz Luhrmann, on “Elvis,” she recreated the iconic American world of the King — Beale Street in Memphis, Presley’s Graceland mansion and Las Vegas — on soundstages in Australia. While audiences buzz about Austin Butler’s portrayal of Elvis, awards watchers have also had their eyes on Martin’s
production design for this film.

Oscar nominations: 6
Wins: 4

The Whale Movie
The Whale Movie

Adrien Morot
“The Whale”

Morot earned his sole Oscar nomination for 2010’s “Barney’s Version,” but with more than 138 credits, audiences know his work. This season, people are talking about the transformation of Brendan Fraser in “The Whale.” The character designer and prosthetics artist was responsible for building 3D scans, rendering and making a mold; his efforts required the actor to be in the makeup chair for hours. But it looks like Fraser won’t be t he only one riding the Brenaissance train this awards season.

Oscar nominations: 1
Wins: none so far

Empire of Light
Empire of Light

Roger Deakins
“Empire of Light”

It took 14 Oscar nominations before respected cinematographer Deakins finally won in 2018 for “Blade Runner 2049” and he triumphed again in 2020 for “1917.” Deakins is the go-to cinematographer for filmmakers Denis Villeneuve and Sam Mendes. This season, he reunites with Mendes for “Empire of Light.” The ode to cinemas is exquisitely lit, all the better to highlight the acting of Olivia Colman.

Oscar nominations: 15
Wins: 2

black panther wakanda forever
black panther wakanda forever

Ruth E. Carter
Costume designer
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Carter made Oscar history in 2019 when she became the first African American woman to win the
costume design award, for “Black Panther.” She returned for the highly anticipated sequel, which debuts in November; expect elaborate costumes and jewels for queens and warriors of Wakanda. Her designs
will not only celebrate African history but showcase power and futuristic innovation.

Oscar nominations: 3
Wins: 1

The Fabelmans
The Fabelmans

John Williams
“The Fabelmans”

Williams became a front-runner as soon as the trailer was released for Steven Spielberg’s semiautobiographical film, about an aspiring young filmmaker and his family. The maestro, who has already won five Oscar statuettes, has been working with Spielberg for nearly 50 years, and their latest collaboration again features the lush, symphonic sounds that have put him at the very top of the field for decades.

Oscar nominations: 52
Wins: 5

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