February 14, 2015 —Here are my predictions for the next five categories, which I dub the “minor majors”.
Best Animated Film: How to Train Your Dragon 2
How To Train Your Dragon 2 is a perfectly fine film – the screenplay is solid, the voice talent is good, and the visuals are stunning. But if you ask me, it’s nowhere near as strong as The Lego Movie, which is the year’s most high profile omission from the list of Oscar contenders. In any case, Dragon has an advantage over its competitors in this category – a Golden Globe win, and a sweep at the Annie Awards (animation prizes), although hearing Big Hero 6 called out when the envelope is opened wouldn’t be a huge shock.
Best Foreign Language Film: Ida
When people first started spitballing the Oscars last year, one of the few ideas that stuck was Ida winning Best Foreign Language Film. While other frontrunners, like Xavier Dolan’s Mommy (Canada) and Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure (Sweden) came and went (with Dolan’s film missing the crucial shortlist in December and Force Majeure failing to be nominated the next month), Ida has held steady for the entire race, and remains my pick now. As odd as this may seem after mentioning its months long reign in first place, it’s not a sure thing. Russia’s submission, Leviathan, a more political picture than a Polish black-and-white historical drama about a soon-to-be-nun, could carry the added “current events” impact while conflict in Eastern Europe rages on. Additionally, Argentina’s entry Wild Tales might be able to muster up some last minute ground support with favorable comparisons to films like Pulp Fiction floating around, but I doubt enough votes will come in time.
Best Documentary Feature: Virunga
I like to do one bet every year that’s so crazy I can see it happening. In 2014, it was Captain Phillipsfor Best Editing. In 2013, it was… a lot of things, but largely due to rookie mistakes. Note that none of these off-the-wall calls have panned out, so my 2015 “huh?” prediction of Virunga in Best Documentary is likely foolhardy. However, I think it’s been received as a lot more emotional of a movie than strong frontrunner Citizenfour, and since the documentary category’s voting process has opened up to the entire Academy membership, such picks often win. (For those of you reading this when it is first posted, expect a review of Virunga in the coming days).
Best Original Score: The Theory of Everything
Jóhann Jóhannson’s score for The Theory of Everything, like the movie it is featured in, skews towards the dangerously melodramatic, but I think it’s still the strongest nominee in terms of potential to win. In second and third place, we can place duel-nominee Alexandre Desplat’s scores for The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game, respectively. Hans Zimmer’s compositions for Interstellar may be the personal favorite of many (myself included), but his chances are slim to nonexistent. Expect Iceland’s own to win the Oscar next Sunday.
Best Original Song: “Glory” – Selma
Last February, a friend and I had a running joke about “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie winning Best Original Song in 2015 and the absurdity of such a tongue-in-cheek composition taking home award, being the earworm it was written as. Well, “Everything is Awesome” might have made the Academy’s final five, but it’s probably not winning. “Glory” from Selma, a swelling, moving protest anthem, will be AMPAS compensating for their eyebrow-raising ignorance in regards to the film’s showing with them. If not “Glory”, then look for “Everything is Awesome”, “Lost Stars” from Begin Again, or even “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, which could be a proxy lifetime achievement award for the ailing icon.
Totals (so far):
The Grand Budapest Hotel – 2
Into the Woods, Boyhood, Birdman, Whiplash , American Sniper, Interstellar, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Ida, Virunga, The Theory of Everything, Selma – 1
OSCAR PREDICTIONS NAVIGATOR:
PART 1: Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Animated Short Film, Best Documentary Short Film, Best Live Action Short Film
PART 2: Best Animated Feature, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Documentary Feature, Best Original Score, Best Original Song
PART 3: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Adapted Screenplay