Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

oscars

It’s that time of year again: Oscar season. While the Academy Awards haven’t been incredibly relevant for many years now (if they ever were), it’s always impossible for me to avoid the hype and excitement, no matter how hard I try. Unlike previous years, I didn’t get to sample a particularly wide swath of the nominees. That being said, I did manage to see at least one film in every category, with the exceptions of the shorts or the Animated Feature. In that spirit, here are my 2014 Oscar predictions based on my experiences, my intuition and my sense of what Tinsel Town ordains as “grade A beef.”

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Big Hero 6

How To Train Your Dragon 2

The Boxtrolls

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Song of the Sea

Who Should Win

Since I didn’t see any of the nominees this year, I’ll have to go with my gut on this one: from what I’ve seen, the most unique entries are obviously The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and Song of the Sea. Studio Ghibli’s entry looks ridiculously lush and artistic, so I’m going to give them the nod.

Who Will Win

My gut tells me this will go to Big Hero 6: it’s Disney, super-hero related and was a big money-maker…seems like an almost sure-thing.

– – –

PRODUCTION DESIGN

Into the Woods

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Interstellar

The Imitation Game

Mr. Turner

Who Should Win

Even though I only saw one of the entries, this is a no-brainer for me: The Grand Budapest Hotel was one of the most beautiful, evocative and exquisitely designed films of the last several years. I’ve heard good things about Mr. Turner’s design but I’m throwing my support behind Mr. Anderson on this one.

Who Will Win

I could see this being a toss-up between Grand Budapest and Into the Woods: Into the Woods would be the safer bet, so I’m assuming that’s what the Academy will go with.

– – –

SOUND MIXING

Mark Weingarten, Interstellar

Thomas Curley, Whiplash

Unbroken

American Sniper

Birdman

Who Should Win

Another category where I only saw one entry: I was rather impressed with Birdman’s sound design and mixing, so I have no problem giving that the nod, despite not seeing the others. That being said, I can only imagine that Interstellar and Whiplash both had a lot going on, as well.

Who Will Win

I could see Interstellar sweeping the technical awards, unless Birdman pulls a coup and takes all of its nominations. Again, not having seen (heard?) the others, it’s difficult to be sure one way or the other.

– – –

SOUND EDITING

Interstellar

Unbroken

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

American Sniper

Birdman

Who Should Win

See “Sound Mixing,” above.

Who Will Win

See “Sound Mixing,” above, with the additional caveat that The Hobbit might sneak away with one, here.

– – –

FILM EDITING

Sandra Adair, Boyhood

Tom Cross, Whiplash

William Goldenberg, The Imitation Game

Joel Cox & Gary Roach, American Sniper

Barney Pilling, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Who Should Win

I only saw two films in this categories and either one seems worthy: Boyhood’s editing was fairly subtle and understated, giving an organic flow to the story; Grand Budapest, by contrast, was much fussier and flashier, which befitted what Anderson was going for. I’m going to give the nod to Grand Budapest but wouldn’t be upset if Boyhood took the statue.

Who Will Win

I could see this going to either Grand Budapest or Whiplash: my gut tells me that Whiplash will end up standing tall when the dust clears.

– – –

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Citizenfour

Last Days in Vietnam

Virunga

The Salt of the Earth

Finding Vivian Maier

Who Should Win

I only saw two of the entries, since I chickened out on Virunga. While I though Last Days was well made and Finding Vivian Maier was quirky and interesting, neither one really blew me away. In this case, I’m going to give the nod to Virunga and its more than worthy cause.

Who Will Win

I have a feeling that Citizenfour will win this one, although I wouldn’t be surprised, in the least, to see Virunga triumph.

– – –

VISUAL EFFECTS

Interstellar

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Guardians of the Galaxy

Captain American: Winter Soldier

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Who Should Win

Talk about a tough call (for me, at least). The only SFX blockbuster I saw in 2014 was Guardians of the Galaxy and the effects in that weren’t always mind-blowing. I can only imagine that Interstellar was a real visual spectacle, despite any narrative short-comings, and the other three were mega-budget tent-pole pics: they should all have looked like a billion bucks.

Who Will Win

My gut tells me Guardians but I could see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes scoring big here, too. Again, I’m probably the worst judge of this particular category, despite being a huge genre guy: talk about different strokes, eh?

– – –

MUSIC – ORIGINAL SONG

“Glory,” Common and John Legend, Selma

“Lost Stars,” Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois, Nick Lashley, Nick Southwood, Begin Again

“Everything is Awesome,” Shawn Patterson, The LEGO Movie

“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell, Glenn Campbell: I’ll Be Me

“Grateful,” Beyond the Lights

Who Should Win

I really meant to listen to the songs, even though I hadn’t seen any of the movies, but never got around to it. As such, I can only go with Common and John Legend’s contribution since, on paper, that sounds amazing. In reality, though: no clue.

Who Will Win

Something tells me this will be the only place where The LEGO Movie gets any love, whatsoever. For a sympathy vote, Glenn Campbell, but my gut tells me “everything is awesome,” indeed.

– – –

COSTUME DESIGN

Colleen Atwood, Into the Woods

Anna B. Sheppard, Maleficent

Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Jacqueline Durran, Mr. Turner

Mark Bridges, Inherent Vice

Who Should Win

Since I only saw Grand Budapest, I don’t have much leeway here. Nonetheless, I’m going to assume that Into the Woods probably had the most unique costume design (or, at least, the greatest variety). While Grand Budapest looked amazing, I’m not sure that the costumes stuck out enough to earn special mention.

Who Will Win

I think this will either go to Into the Woods or Grand Budapest, the higher profile films of the five. It’s also possible that Maleficent will pull out a surprise upset but I rather doubt it.

– – –

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Foxcatcher

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Guardians of the Galaxy

Who Should Win

Since so much of the character design in Guardians was make-up based, this seems like the obvious and best choice. Grand Budapest looked great but there was nothing particularly memorable about the makeup and Foxcatcher’s “potato nose” should knock it out of the running by default.

Who Will Win

This seems like an easy lock for Guardians.

– – –

MUSIC – ORIGINAL SCORE

Hans Zimmer, Interstellar

Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game

Johann Johannsson, The Theory of Everything

Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Gary Yershon, Mr. Turner

Who Should Win

I actively dislike Johannsson’s score for The Theory of Everything and thought that Desplat’s score for Grand Budapest was magical, so this was an easy one, for me.

Who Will Win

With two nominations, this definitely seems like Desplat’s year. That being said, my gut tells me that Hans Zimmer will win big for Interstellar.

– – –

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman

Roger Deakins, Unbroken

Robert D. Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Dick Pope, Mr. Turner

Lukasz Zal & Ryszard Lynzewski, Ida

Who Should Win

In any other year, either Yeoman’s gorgeous work in Grand Budapest or Ida’s beautiful black-and-white cinematography would be instant locks for the trophy. This year, however, there’s only one film that “matters”: Emmanuel Lubezki’s astounding single-take work in Birdman wins this, hands down. In the immortal words of Highlander: there can be only one.

Who Will Win

I’m pretty sure this will go to Lubezki but I could see either Yeoman or Zal/Lynzewski swooping in for the upset. Far outside shot: Deakins has the name-brand recognition that could also send him home with the gold, despite Unbroken’s relative snubbing.

– – –

WRITING – ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo, Birdman

Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler

E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, Foxcatcher

Who Should Win

This is probably the hardest category to pick, for me, at least. I thought that Boyhood felt very realistic, although I assumed that much of the script was improved, based on the situations. Birdman and Grand Budapest were ingeniously plotted and paced, as was newcomer Gilroy’s Nightcrawler. The only one I can’t comment on was Foxcatcher. In a perfect world, Gilroy would have been nominated for lots of trophies: it would be great to see him snag the one he was nominated for.

Who Will Win

I honestly think this will be Anderson’s year for screenwriting. If not, I could definitely see Birdman picking this one up.

– – –

WRITING – ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Graham Moore, The Imitation Game

Damien Chazelle, Whiplash

Anthony McCarten, The Theory of Everything

Jason Hall, American Sniper

Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice

Who Should Win

I only saw The Theory of Everything and felt it was way too predictable and by the numbers. I would absolutely love for PT Anderson to take top honors for Inherent Vice.

Who Will Win

I have a feeling that either The Imitation Game or Theory of Everything will win this one, given previous trends.

– – –

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Ida

Leviathan

Tangerines

Wild Tales

Timbuktu

Who Should Win

I only saw one but Ida would have been a formidable entry in any year. I have no problem tossing my hopes and aspirations about this humble little tale of a nun on the hunt for truth.

Who Will Win

Based on scuttlebutt, I could see Leviathan winning, although Ida’s double nomination might give it an additional push.

– – –

DIRECTING

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman

Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

Who Should Win

Despite how much I loved Grand Budapest and love Wes Anderson, in general, there’s no way that anyone but Iñárritu deserves this award in this particular year. His work on Birdman is nothing short of astounding.

Who Will Win

I have a feeling that Linklater will win for his years-spanning work on Boyhood, although I could also see Anderson taking the prize. I have a (sad) feeling that Iñárritu is a long-shot, here, despite being the obvious pick.

– – –

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Laura Dern, Wild

Emma Stone, Birdman

Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game

Meryl Street, Into the Woods

Who Should Win

While Arquette did a great job in Boyhood, I was really impressed by Stone’s work in Birdman. I could go for either of them, although I prefer Stone’s performance. Without seeing it, however, I have to give some support to Laura Dern: it’s about damn time!

Who Will Win

I have a feeling that Arquette will emerge victorious once all is said and done.

– – –

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Robert Duvall, The Judge

Ethan Hawke, Boyhood

Edward Norton, Birdman

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Who Should Win

I only saw Birdman and Norton was fantastic, so why not? It’s about time ol’ Ed had some Oscar gold on his shelf.

Who Will Win

Scuttlebutt says that JK Simmons is a lock for Whiplash, so who am I to argue with scuttlebutt? While Hawke was fine in Boyhood, I seriously doubt he’ll get the nod here.

– – –

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night

Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Who Should Win

I only two of the nominated films: Felicity Jones’ performance was just fine and Pike was extremely broad and too over-the-top. Had I seen it, however, I bet that Marion Cotillard’s performance in Two Days would have been my favorite.

Who Will Win

Something tells me Julianne Moore will win big for Still Alice.

– – –

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton, Birdman

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Who Should Win

It’s a hard call: Keaton was fantastic but Redmayne did a pitch-perfect imitation of a famous person, which is usually the bar to beat. While there was nothing wrong with Redmayne whatsoever, the rebel in me really wants Keaton to win.

Who Will Win

Without a doubt, Eddie Redmayne.

– – –

BEST PICTURE

American Sniper

Birdman

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

Who Should Win

I actually managed to see half the films in this category and my choice is still clear: while Grand Budapest was Anderson’s best film in a while, Birdman was a complete work of art, easily one of the twistiest, thorniest films to come down the pike in years. Birdman is the kind of film that never seems to get nominated, so it’s exactly the kind of film that should win.

Who Will Win

What a hard call. My gut tells me that either Boyhood or The Theory of Everything will pull ahead in this category. I think Birdman is just too challenging to win and I don’t think Imitation Game and Whiplash had enough name recognition. I suppose that either Selma or American Sniper could always win but I don’t think the Academy will be showing either one much love, this year. You never know, though: Oscar history is littered with strange wins, radical upsets, outrageous losses and egregious snubs…it’s just the nature of the beast!

Advertisements