5 Surprises from the Oscars Craft Nominations and What They Say About Filmmaking Now

The 10 craft categories of the Oscars should be somewhat predictable: Branches vote on their own kind, and guild nominations traditionally serve as a trusted barometer. However, sometimes the Academy doesn’t agree — and when that happens, it’s worth diving into the reasons why.

Joker”: What’s Bizarre About Its 11 Nominations

To say “Joker” overperformed is an understatement, which makes snubbing its production design — its most effective storytelling element — that much more bizarre. What does production designer Mark Friedberg — invaluable for the films of Ang Lee, Barry Jenkins, Todd Haynes, Wes Anderson, Jim Jarmusch, along with “Selma” and “Across the Universe” — need to do to earn his first nomination?

With “Joker,” Friedberg bridged the gap between the historically accurate down-and-out, garbage-strike days of New York City in 1981 and Gotham. Virtually every frame visualized a world in which you could feel how Gotham weighs on Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix). While
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