What did Mark Friedberg (pictured left) ever do to the Art Directors branch within the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences? For years he's been one of the most distinctive, inspired and original talents working yet he never seems to come anywhere near an Oscar nomination. Even the Art Director's Guild has only bothered to recognize his often breathtaking, amusing or mood enhancing work once (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou). I bet you can conjure up images right now of his contributions to movies like The Darjeeling Limited, Across the Universe, Far From Heaven, Pollock, The Ice Storm and Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love. But I don't have a Friedberg blind spot. I haven't forgotten his rich work on Synecdoche New York. He's one of the five Art Direction nominees in my ninth annual awards (this is Friedberg's third FB nomination. He received a silver medal for Far From Heaven in 2002).
I didn't care for Synecdoche which devours itself more mercilessly than Charlie Kauffman's other projects do --there's always a bit of the oroborus in his work -- but the crucial art direction and set decoration, which dwarf or trap or reflect the characters, go a long way to realizing the film's gargantuan ambitions.
In addition to Art Direction I've also posted my ballot for Film Editing, Original Score and Original Song.
Mark Friedberg isn't the only old favorite to show up again. Other repeat FB nominees include editor Ang Lee's frequent editor Tim Sqyres, Baz Luhrmann's creative partner (and wife) Catherine Martin and composer Danny Elfman. Click away to see how Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler, The Dark Knight and the year's best documentary Trouble the Water figure in.
What art direction, editing and scoring spoke to you this year? And have you been singing "The Wrestler" in the shower every day like I have? I can't get it out of my head.