"Miscellaneous" sounds so dismissive. This batch of categories covers the most prestigious of the techs, and a trio of categories that I'd love to see the Oscars embrace. Particularly Ensemble and a more general Music category (for those occasions when a Jonnny Greenwood gets DQ'd from Original Score for bullshitty reasons).
The nomination tallies remain led by Atonement, Sweeney Todd, and The Darjeeling Limited, with 5 apiece.
Roger Deakins - The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford
Roger Deakins - No Country For Old Men
Robert Elswit - There Will Be Blood
Seamus McGarvey - Atonement
Harris Savides - Zodiac
Matches with Oscar: 4/5, as I swapped out The Diving Bell and the Butterfly's Janusz Kaminski (a close sixth on my list) for Savides. Honestly, it's the best cinematography lineup I've ever seen the Oscars acknowledge. Good for them.
Past Rezzie Winners: 2006: Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men); 2005: Rodrigo Prieto (Brokeback Mountain); 2004: Robert Richardson (The Aviator); 2003: Anthony Dod Mantle (28 Days Later); 2002: Conrad L. Hall (Road to Perdition); 2001: Roger Deakins (The Man Who Wasn't There); 2000: Matthew Libatique (Requiem For A Dream); Conrad L. Hall (American Beauty); 1998: John Lindley (Pleasantville).
Why These Five? In this uncommonly fantastic year for visually transcendent films, these five lensers stood out from the pack. Savides alternated between foggy uncertainty and obsessive precision; Elswit painted in the genuine terror of American grandeur; McGarvey displayed the show-offy tendencies that the self-conscious narrative required, and when you're this good at showing off, all the better; and finaly, Roger Deakins has done so much great work in his career, I start to feel like my praise is getting repetitive. And then I see something like Jesse James, the world's most precise and fascinating shadow puppet theatre, and realize I haven't sung his praises nearly enough.
Who Wins? Deakins, certainly. And in a lesser year, he's take it for No Country and no one would complain. Not this year. The Cinematographer of The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, the Genius Roger Deakins.
Nathan Baesel - Behind the Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon
Michael Cera - Superbad / Juno
Nick D'Agosto - Rocket Science
Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone
Michael Shannon - Bug
Past Rezzie Winners: 2006: Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada); 2005: Amy Adams (Junebug); 2004: Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria, Full of Grace); 2003: Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) and Shoreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog); 2002: Alison Lohman (White Oleander); 2001: Naomi Watts (Mulholland Dr.).
Why These Five? Cera for cashing in his Arrested Development chips and becoming the year's most unlikely teen romantic hero; D'Agosto for imbuing an insufferable character with the slightest flashes of humor, transforming him almost entirely; Baesel went and created an instantly iconic horror character for whoever bothered to see it; Shannon gave a performance of quiet menace...or is it tortured madness...or desperate shouting at the moon; Amy Ryan gets white-trash defensiveness and entitlement exactly, infuriatingly right.
Who Wins? Amy Ryan, who has probably filled out her dance card for the next couple years off of this one film.
BEST ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE
The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Away From Her
No Country For Old Men
Past Rezzie Winners: 2006: Little Miss Sunshine; 2005: Happy Endings; 2004: I ♥ Huckabees; 2003: 21 Grams; 2002: The Hours; 2001: The Royal Tenenbaums; 2000: Traffic; 1999: American Beauty; 1998: Saving Private Ryan.
Why These Five? For Assassination: the modulations and variations in the members of the James gang, plus a smidgen (a seriously tiny smidgen) of Mary-Louise Parker and Zooey Deschanel on those rare occasions the film wants to hear from a woman. For Away From Her: the incredibly powerful leads and the unexpected interior lives found in Olympia Dukakis and Kristen Thomson's characters. For Juno: film-saving work by old pros and up-and-comers alike. For No Country: four (mostly) solo acts, yes, but the sum of those parts is intimidating. For Zodiac: each of the principals shoulders his share of the weight, while the villains, victims, and red herrings simmer on the margins.
Who Wins? The cast of Juno, every one of whom should be called to accept any and all awards it may receive in the real world: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner, Allison Janney, JK Simmons, and Olivia Thirlby.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC*
The Darjeeling Limited
Into The Wild
*Covers original songs, nonoriginal compilation scores, and the integration of both with the original score.
Past Rezzie Winners: 2006: Little Miss Sunshine; 2005: Walk The Line; 2004: Ray; 2003: A Mighty Wind; 2002: Chicago; 2001: Hedwig and the Angry Inch; 2000: Almost Famous; 1999: Go; 1998: The Big Lebowski.
Why These Five? Darjeeling for the Kinks and the Stones' "Play With Fire"; Into The Wild for Eddie Vedder's stirring songs; Once for everything that made Once fantastic; Southland for the Moby score and JT lip-synching The Killers; and Sweeney for Johnny Depp growling him some Sondheim.
Who Wins? Once. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's time to shine.