NOTE: View the most recent update to this post here.
February 7, 2015 — The Academy Awards are upon us yet again. Just three short weeks from now, fancy envelopes will tell us what movies old white men in Hollywood liked the most from last year. And as is tradition for this site, I will share my predictions for the big show with you, and if you really feel like taking a risk, I’ll let you use them for your own Oscar pools (that is, if you’re prepared to lose potentially large sums of money.) This year, we’re doing something a little different. Instead of spilling my whole set of picks at once, I’ve decided to spread this out over the next few Saturdays, until we get to February 21, the day before the show.
For this first installment, let’s have a look at the technical categories. I will be offering predictions in all 24 categories, a first for this site (I typically ignore the short film prizes, and going into this Oscar season, that was my initial plan before an inexplicable change of heart.) However, predictions for the shorts will be brief, presented without commentary. As my knowledge of these three categories is very limited, I’m going with all the safe picks, although upsets frequently happen with the short film races, so I’m likely to get at least one wrong:
Best Animated Short Film: Feast
Best Documentary Short Film: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Best Live-Action Short Film: The Phone Call (I actually have seen this one – it’s quite good.)
And now, onto today’s topic: the so-called technical categories.
Best Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Grand Budapest Hotel has the same striking set design and visual quality of all of the films of its director Wes Anderson. And because this is by far Anderson’s most honored film yet, that gives it the room to claim an easy prize for its sets and production design.
Best Costume Design: Into the Woods
I don’t have a very strong feeling for this category. I have it going to Into the Woods largely because that film’s costumes were designed by eleven time nominee and three time winner Colleen Atwood. A titan of her craft, it wouldn’t be surprising if this turned out to be win number four.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: The Grand Budapest Hotel
With Guardians of the Galaxy right behind it. Truth be told, Budapest could win all three of the awards we discussed so far, via the magic of sweep voting — checking off its name in category after category on the ballot if it shows up often enough.
Best Cinematography: Birdman
This is an easy win. Birdman’s biggest technical gimmick is that the film looks like it was captured in one long take. In reality, it was a set of well-edited shorter, but still long takes, framed by acclaimed DP Emmanuel Lubezki. He just won last year for Gravity, and he’d better clear another spot on his shelf.
Best Editing: Boyhood
With what was seen as her main competitors (Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione for Birdman) out of the race, the 12 years of footage Sandra Adair cut together for Richard Linklater’s film should be more than enough for her to collect the requisite number of votes for a clear walk up to the podium.
Best Sound Mixing: Whiplash
The movie with the most music usually has an advantage in Mixing, and Whiplash, a film where music and musicians are a focus of the film’s content, should have a win cleared out. Although watch out for Interstellar, because enough Academy members may not have realized how hideous that film’s sound mix can be at times.
Best Sound Editing: American Sniper
The high-grossing blockbuster doesn’t have a lot of easy wins carved out for it, so this is a sufficient place for AMPAS to say they at least gave it something. Also, big, loud movies can do well in the Sound Editing category, and what bigger, louder movie can there be than a war film?
Best Visual Effects: Interstellar
Because if the Academy doesn’t give Interstellar at least one award, there will be a fanboy riot on the streets outside the Dolby Theatre. However, I do foresee one scenario of such an uprising occurring, and that’s under the hand of a possible Dawn of the Planet of the Apes upset.
Totals (so far):
The Grand Budapest Hotel – 2
Into the Woods, Boyhood, Birdman, Whiplash , American Sniper, Interstellar – 1
Tune in next Saturday (February 14) for my predictions on Best Animated Feature, Foreign Language Film, Documentary Feature, Original Score, and Original Song.
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