Did '1917' just enter the best-picture battle? The war film could take the most trophies at the Academy Awards.

The best-picture race is currently dominated by Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese, two Oscar-friendly auteurs with big-budget , male-led ensemble movies.
It looks like they'll have to make room for one more.

One of the season's final films just crashed the race in a major way : The war spectacle : ''1917.'' directed by Sam Mendes [ ''American Beauty'' ], ws unveiled in preview screenings in the United States this past weekend and immediately announced itself a significant Oscar player.

The movie, which will be widely released in January, follows two British soldiers during World War I [George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman] as they're given a seemingly impossible mission :

Rush through dangerous territory to deliver a message that could save another battalion on the verge of annihilation.

Though ''1917'' recalls other Oscar winning war movies like ''Saving Private Ryan'' and ''Dunkirk.'' Mendes distinguishes his efforts by presenting the story as though ''1917'' were filmed all in one single take.

It isn't - Mendes and the cinematographer Roger Deakins employ all manner of clever methods to stitch together a great many different shots - but the average moviegoer won't be able to spot the tells, and the you-are-there verisimilitude is potent.

[Admittedly, your Carpetbagger proved a bot harder to deceive: Though much is made in -- ''1917'' about the futility of earning medals, I still kind of wanted one for notching each and every invisible cut in the movie.

Listen, I was raised on Alfred Hitchcock's ''Rope'' and Janet Jackson's ''When I Think Of You'' video. You can't put one over on me!]

The sheer audaciousness of that ''one-take'' technical achievement makes ''1917'' an immediate front-runner for several below -the-line Academy rewards, and the film seems almost certain to take home the most trophies on Oscar night.

But will that bounty include either of the top two awards for director and picture?

First, let's start with the slam-dunk races. After Deakens spent much of his storied career as an Oscar also-ran, the veteran cinematographer finally took his first Academy Award in 2018 for ''Blade Runner 2049.''

Well, consider the Deakins lid to be officially loosened : He seems destined to pick up his second Oscar for ''1917'', since the visual scope of the film is immense and, as in striking mid-movie interlude licked by fire and shadows quite artful.

The emphasis on the perilous landscape traversed by two soldiers should put production designer Dennis Gassner at the top of very competitive race, while war movies prove hard to beat in the sound categories, which gives ''1917'' an immediate advantage over the vroom-vroom suspense of ''Ford v Ferrari'' and the musical sound mixing of ''Rocketman'' and ''Cats''.

Speaking of music 14-time nominee Thomas Newman could finally notch a win for best score, given how omnipresent his compositions are during long stretches of ''1917'' that play out with no dialogue.

In a twist, one of his likely competitors in a close relative : Cousin Randy Newman's empathetic ''Marriage Story'' score is one of the year's best, and this race may be kept all in the family.

The World Students Society thanks author Kyle Buchanan.


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