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Dune blew through this year's Academy Awards like a mighty Arrakis sandstorm with six major victories — the most of the evening.
The big screen adaptation of the seminal sci-fi novel written by Frank Herbert bagged golden statues for its cinematography (Greig Fraser), editing (Joe Walker), score (Hans Zimmer, who hadn't won a scoring Oscar since 1994's The Lion King), production design (Patrice Vermette and Zsuzsanna Sipos), sound (Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill, and Ron Bartlett), and visual effects (Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor, and Gerd Nefzer).
Funnily enough, this is not the first translation of the epic source material to be nominated for an Oscar. Despite negative reviews at the time, David Lynch's cinematic translation of the dense novel from 1984 managed to score a nod for Best Sound, though it did not end up winning the award.
"That man is the most humble, talented person I've ever met in my entire life," Fraser said of director Denis Villeneuve shortly after his win. "[He] is a man who trusts his collaborators, feels that he has the right instinct to pursue an achievement like this. Dune is a tough story to make ... Denis is the man. Every article or everything that gets written about Dune must start with the words 'Denis Villeneuve.'"
The director of photography, whose work also includes Rogue One and The Batman, said something similar during an exclusive phone call with SYFY WIRE back in 2020. "[Denis] is one of the best working directors on the planet with some of the best IP on the planet," Fraser told us. "The idea of doing a sci-fi [movie] itself wasn’t the interesting part, it was doing something that I knew Denis would hit out of the park and that I could help him absolutely hit it out of the park."
Dune — which will receive a sequel (an adaptation of the second half of the very large source material) next fall — lost out on prizes for costume design, makeup and hairstyling, adapted screenplay, and even Best Picture. Apple's CODA ended up taking home the top honor of the evening, making it the first streamer-produced title to win Best Picture in Oscars history.
While not up for any of the usual prizes, the recent films of Zack Snyder nabbed a pair of newly-christened honors voted on by Twitter users. The new system was implemented as a way to allow general audiences to have a say in the traditionally exclusive ceremony. Army of the Dead, for instance, was crowned the fan favorite movie of 2021 (beating out blockbuster juggernauts like Spider-Man: No Way Home), while the "Speed Force" scene in the director's 4-hour cut of Justice League became the top #OscarsCheerMoment.
"Literally best fans ever!!!" Snyder wrote on his Vero page.
Disney's Encanto managed to come away victorious in the Best Animated Feature category (besting Luca, Raya and the Last Dragon, Flee, and The Mitchells vs. The Machines), but lost out on Best Original Song to No Time to Die (marking the first Oscar win for Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell). Daniel Craig's final outing as 007 was also up for Best Sound and Best Visual Effects. Spider-Man: No Way Home, Shang-Chi, and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Free Guy lost out on the VFX honor as well.
Another Mouse House production, Cruella, fittingly sewed up the win for Best Costume Design (Jenny Beavan).
Click here for the full list of this year's Oscar winners.