An Oscar for Best Title Sequence

In an op-ed for the NY Times, Emily Oberman and Bonnie Siegler argue for the creation of a Best Title Design Oscar.  If anyone has frequented The Art of Title Design, then this is a suggestion that makes sense.  Title design is an integral part of a movie – bringing the audience into the filmmakers world, setting up characters and plot, etc.  One can accomplish a great deal with either the opening or closing credits to a movie.

We would like to urge the academy to create this much-needed category. In the meantime, we’ve gone ahead and selected the title sequences that should have been nominated for 2008. During the nomination process, we happened upon an interesting trend: filmmakers, more and more, are plunging viewers right into the action and then ending with elaborate title sequences, which serve as epilogues or bonus tracks. Without further ado — or a badly scripted joke — our nominees for Best Achievement in Film Title Design:

1. “WALL-E,” Susan Bradley and Jim Capobianco/Pixar. These poignant end titles, which show humans and robots flourishing on a revived Earth, offer a quick history of art, from cave paintings to van Gogh. They then proceed to retell the entire movie, this time in the pixelated style of old video games.

2. “Tropic Thunder,” Kyle Cooper/Prologue. These titles feature Tom Cruise’s best performance in years as he dances to “Get Back” by Ludacris. They’re intercut with graphic freeze-frames of the rest of the cast.

3. “Slumdog Millionaire,” Matt Curtis. Another dance sequence, this one in grand Bollywood style. After a film full of difficult and sad struggles, this joyous, cathartic sequence, set to “Jai Ho” by A. R. Rahman, gives us hope that the main characters will actually live happily ever after.

4. “Iron Man,” Danny Yount/Prologue. Amazing in a comic-book way, these take us inside the blueprints for Tony Stark’s armor. The soundtrack, appropriately, unavoidably, is “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath.

5. “Mamma Mia!,” Matt Curtis. The end titles toss off the pretense of winding a story around the songs and give us a straight-up, super-’70s tribute, complete with glitzy rainbow prism effects and Meryl Streep singing her heart out.

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