With the Oscars just around the corner, it’s time to lay down my predictions for all 24 categories. While, as usual, most categories seem like a pretty solid lock, there’s always the possibility of a surprise or two, so let’s get right to it.
Best Animated Short Film
“The Bigger Picture” Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees
“The Dam Keeper” Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
“Feast” Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed
“Me and My Moulton” Torill Kove
“A Single Life” Joris Oprins
Best Live Action Short Film
“Aya” Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis
“Boogaloo and Graham” Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney
“Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak)” Hu Wei and Julien Féret
“Parvaneh” Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger
“The Phone Call” Mat Kirkby and James Lucas
Best Documentary Short Subject
“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
“Joanna” Aneta Kopacz
“Our Curse” Tomasz Sliwinski and Maciej Slesicki
“The Reaper (La Parka)” Gabriel Serra Arguello
“White Earth” J. Christian JensenBottom of Form
As usual, there’s nothing else to base a prediction on in these short categories except for where the buzz is, and that buzz is circling around “Feast,” “The Phone Call,” and “Crisis hotline: Veterans Press 1.” I wish there was more to say, but these are the films being predicted to win, so that’s that.
Best Visual Effects
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
“Guardians of the Galaxy” Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
“Interstellar” Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer
For the past couple of years, Visual Effects has been a locked-down category where the incredible work in Life of Pi and Gravity was not going to be beaten by anything. However, this year we have a two-horse race between Interstellar and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The former won the BAFTA, while the latter won the Critics Choice and top honors from the Visual Effects Society, making it difficult to choose which one will come out on top. The records of all three groups are really close in this category as well, so we have to take a deeper look.
For starters, the BAFTA award is a little significant because it’s a large voting body of people who work in the industry. The VES also work in the industry, but just doing visual effects, while the Critics Choice is as the name implies: Critics. It’s interesting to note that all three groups were incorrect the year Hugo managed to beat Rise of the Planet of the Apes for this particular award, which also shows us that the Academy wasn’t overly impressed with similar work that’s once again up for the Oscar. However, they could realize that it was a little silly to give it to Hugo over the impressive work on Apes, meaning that a “make up” Oscar could be coming for the sequel. That being said, from the instant I saw Interstellar, I thought it was a lock for this category (as did many others), and quite frankly, it should easily win, so that’s where my final prediction lies.
Best Sound Editing
“American Sniper” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
“Interstellar” Richard King
“Unbroken” Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro
Best Sound Mixing
“American Sniper” John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga
“Interstellar” Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten
“Unbroken” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee
“Whiplash” Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley
In recent years, these have been mostly easy to predict, with Gravity, Hugo, Inception, and The Hurt Locker having taken the pair, but this year, it’s a little more difficult. Four films are nominated for both, but will the same film take both again, like the Academy tends to do?
The Cinema Audio Society has given Best Sound Mixing to Birdman, but the Motion Picture Sound Editors have given Best Sound Editing – Foley/FX to American Sniper. I should also point out that I was incredibly shocked when Birdman got nominations in both of these categories, and even more shocked when the CAS gave it their top award, for it just didn’t seem like a movie where anyone would take note of the sound.
Also, it’s interesting to take note that when the CAS goes with a quieter film (True Grit, No Country for Old Men), the Academy tends to disagree and go with something noisier (Inception, The Bourne Ultimatum). Will Birdman be that quieter film that ends up getting replaced at the Oscars in favor of something noisier like American Sniper? I would think so. Perhaps those in the CAS understand what makes the sound in Birdman so impressive (or perhaps they were being overzealous with their support for the film), but when it comes to the thousands of Academy members who have to make a choice here, I would think they would go for something where the sound is more pronounced, like the two action films that replaced the two westerns. Therefore, I think it is much safer to predict that American Sniper will be taking both of these small awards. However, if Birdman should swoop in and take one or both, you certainly won’t hear me complain.