While "Watchmen" opened this weekend to mixed reviews and a less-than-expected $55.7 million, it could still prevail at various movie kudofests. As not even the critically hailed "The Dark Knight" could break into the top Oscar races — with the exception of supporting actor winner Heath Ledger — "Watchmen" will be limited to contending there, if at all, in those crafts categories where "Iron Man" and other popcorn pictures get rewarded.
This graphic novel come to life was directed by Zack Snyder, who co-wrote and helmed the technically innovative "300" two years ago. For his efforts, Snyder won a Saturn Award from the sci-fi crowd, and that film won top honors there as well. In addition, "300" contended at the MTV Movie Awards, the People's Choice Awards and the Teen Choice Awards. And various craftspeople were nominated by the art directors, costumers, sound, and visual effects guilds and groups.
For "Watchmen," Snyder reassembled some of the key players from "300." Larry Fong once again handled cinematography and William Hoy edited. Costumes were by Michael Wilkinson, who earned a 2007 guild nod in fantasy film ("The Golden Compass" won). He also had a 2006 guild nod for the contemporary film "Babel" ("The Queen" won). The "Watchmen" score was composed by "300" alum Tyler Bates. And stunts were once more coordinated by Damon Caro, whose "300" crew lost the 2007 SAG race to "The Bourne Ultimatum."
New additions for "Watchmen" included the art direction team headed by Francois Audouy, a 2005 guild nominee in period/fantasy for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" ("Memoirs of a Geisha" won). Sound editing was by, among others, 2002 Oscar nominee Scott Hecker (his work on "Road to Perdition" lost to "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"). And special effects came from, among others, 2007 VES nominees Theo Vandernoot, Vincent Serritella and Pericles Michielin (their work on "Beowulf" lost to "Ratatouille").
Photo: Warner Bros.