Saturday, March 1, 2014

MY OFFICIAL 2013 OSCAR PREDICTIONS! (LAWYER'S NOTE: David Baruffi reserves all rights to change/alter any all predictions, prior to, during, and after the Awards are handed out. These predictions are in no way official, nor are they predictions.)



Happy Oscar Weekend Everybody!

As per tradition, here at David Baruffi's Entertainment Views and Reviews take time out of our normal schedule and cover all things Oscar all weekend long! First with predictions, and other thoughts and then with a point-by-point post-Oscar analysis of the awards and the show itself.

Now, before we begin the predictions, to those who are new, here's the links to my previous Oscar predictions, and you can plainly see, I plan on continuing my prediction mastery and prowess, as I stand as the only predictor to have never once gotten a prediction wrong! Thank you, thank you.

http://davidbaruffi.blogspot.com/2013/02/my-official-2012-oscar-predictions-note_23.html
http://davidbaruffi.blogspot.com/2012/02/my-official-oscar-predictions-note_24.html

Yes, this unprecedented record certainly is impressive, all the more reason to listen as I break down and analyze, EVERY CATEGORY, yes EVERY CATEGORY, to the most comprehensive and fullest detail, this side of Goldderby.com anyway.

So, let's get right to it folks, I know you want to win your Oscar poll, so let's start right at, here are my OFFICIAL PREDICTIONS for the 86TH ACADEMY  AWARDS!

(LAWYER'S NOTE: David Baruffi, and David Baruffi's Entertainment Views and Reviews are in no way "Official" nor are they "predictions", and David Baruffi reserves all rights to alter and/ot change his predictions at any point prior to, during, and/or after "The Oscars" telecast from now until the end of time. Also, David Baruffi claims no guarantees in winning "office pools" or any other Oscar or non-Oscars related gaming activity, nor does he promote any gambling or gaming activities legal or illegal, and is no way responsible for any monetary losses to any reader who makes any choices or decisions in any gaming activity based on reading this blog. )


BEST PICTURE
American Hustle-Pro.: Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison and Jonathan Gordon
Captain Phillips-Pro.: Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca
Dallas Buyers Club-Pro.: Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter
Gravity-Pro.: Alfonso Cuaron and David Heyman
Her-Pro.: Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay
Nebraska-Pro.: Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa
Philomena-Pro.: Gabrielle, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward
12 Years a Slave-Pro.: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas
The Wolf of Wall Street-Pro.: Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joey McFarland and Emma Tillinger Koskoff

So far, I've only seen three of this years nominees, "American Hustle", "Captain Phillips", and "Gravity". It's always a little tricky to figure out the preferential voting with this category, but it seems there's only three real possibilities this year for winning Best Picture, "12 Years a Slave", "American Hustle" and "Gravity". The preferential basically, you vote 1-9 for each film, and after each round, whichever film didn't get enough votes to stay in, get eliminated, and then they go down the ballots of those and say "Philomena"'s out but most of them had "Gravity" 2, so those votes go to "Gravity" or to whatever they voted for, and basically this happens until one film gets 50%+1 vote, and that's the winner. That's why it's hard to be 100% confident, but it's starting to look everywhere, like it's another split year, where "Gravity"'s gonna take most of the Oscars, but then lose Best Picture to "12 Years a Slave", but it's gonna be close. The two actually dead-even tied at the PGA Awards, which is very interesting because unlike most of the other awards, they have a very similar voting system to the Oscars Best Picture, unlike the other award show, but other than that, "Gravity"'s fallen a little short everywhere else.

PREDICTION: "12 Years a Slave"


BEST DIRECTOR
Alfonso Cuaron-"Gravity"
Steve McQueen-"12 Years a Slave"
Alexander Payne-"Nebraska"
David O. Russell-"American Hustle"
Martin Scorsese-"The Wolf of Wall Street"

This one isn't hard to predict, as I just said, "Gravity"'s gonna win most everything except Best Picture, Cuaron's won every award, including the DGA, riding up to the Oscars, he's not gonna lose here. Only, on the far, far end, do McQueen and Russell, have a chance, but they're more likely in other categories.
PREDICTION: Alfonso Cuaron-"Gravity"


BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Christian Bale-"American Hustle"
Bruce Dern-"Nebraska"
Leonardo DiCaprio-"The Wolf of Wall Street"
Chiwetel Ejiofor-"12 Years a Slave"
Matthew McConaughey-"Dallas Buyers Club"

Well, I'll start with the obvious, Christian Bale, as great as he is in "...Hustle", he's out of it, no chance at all. After that, oh boy. McConaughey seems to be the favorite going in, with Ejiofor, being a close second choice. Ejiofor won the BAFTA, no surprise there, especially since McConaughey wasn't eligible for that category that year, and that's pretty much the only time Ejiofor has won. However, there's a presumption that Bruce Dern, the supposed sentimental choice is gonna get a lot of votes as well; I'm not as sure on that myself, but DiCaprio, has been campaigning like crazy. And he's got a shot, most of the awards he hasn't gone up against McConaughey, ("TWOWS" didn't get screened to enough SAG voters in time purportedly) however he did lose BAFTA to Ejiofor. Plus, there's this bizarre undercurrent in pop culture media over the fact that DiCaprio has never won an Oscar, and some thinking that it's his time to do it now, which is something btw, that I don't understand at all. I'm sorry, I don't rank his, lack of an Oscar as such a travesty to me; although he's getting better as an actor I've never really ranked him among our very best actors, and there's always been a better performance in years where he was up for Oscars or should've been considered for nomination. So,that I don't get at all. Anyway,  Anyway, it's a 3-way race between them, McConaughey's won all the awards eligible to him so far and in scenarios I tend to see the award going to McConaughey, but DiCaprio, really wants it. He's taking every publicity interview, doing every show and award show he can, and keep in mind, this is his baby this film; he''s nominated as a producer, he's the one who brought the film to Scorsese, convinced him to do it, etc. It's gonna be a very interesting and close vote.
PREDICTION: Matthew McConaughey-"Dallas Buyers Club"


BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Amy Adams-"American Hustle"
Cate Blanchett-"Blue Jasmine"
Sandra Bullock-"Gravity"
Judi Dench-"Philomena"
Meryl Streep-"August: Osage County"

All the tea leaves are pointing to Cate Blanchett. She's practically swept all the awards so far, and yet, somehow, we're all working on finding some kind of scenario where she might not pull it off. Up until BAFTA for instance, she hadn't gone up against Amy Adams at all, who was previously picking up well-deserved momentum, but then she won there too, but still, that's the BAFTAs, and everyone else has won before, and we all know that the Academy, really wants to give it to Adams; she's already on her fifth nomination and is yet to win, and this would be the most likely spot. However, I'm still not ruling out Sandra Bullock either, especially if possibly "Gravity" were to win Best Picture, it would be exceptionally hard to explain giving the best film award to a movie that's basically a one-woman show, and not honor that woman. It doesn't hurt that that's her best performance of her career, but it does hurt that she already has one, for a not that great performance in "The Blind Side" a few years ago. Meryl Streep btw, her obligatory nomination this year is her 18th, and that record doesn't seem like it's gonna end any time soon.
PREDICTION: Cate Blanchett-"Blue Jasmine"


BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Barkhad Abdi-"Captain Phillips"
Bradley Cooper-"American Hustle"
Michael Fassbender-"12 Years a Slave"
Jonah Hill-"The Wolf of Wall Street"
Jared Leto-"Dallas Buyers Club"

I was a little surprised admittedly to see Barkhad Abdi winning at BAFTA, 'cause until then, I hadn't had him as the 2nd choice in the category. I say second choice, 'cause Leto wasn't eligible for BAFTA and he's won every award so far for his performance that he is eligible for, and there frankly too many scenarios where anybody else seems like a realistic winner here. Cooper and Hill, have co-starred that are more likely to win, and are being pushed harder, and while I think Fassbender might get a few votes, he's not interested in campaigning much, so I guess it does make sense that Abdi's the other one with a decent shot here, but this is one of the biggest locks of the Oscars, and any name other than Leto's being called would be a monumental upset.
PREDICTION: Jared Leto-"Dallas Buyers Club"


BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Sally Hawkins-
"Blue Jasmine"

Jennifer Lawrence-"American Hustle"
Lupita Nyong'o-"12 Years a Slave"
Julia Roberts-"August: Osage County"
June Squibb-"Nebraska"

For a while, I was thinking that Julia Roberts actually had an outside shot at an upset here, because it seemed like a reasonable possibility that Lawrence and Nyong'o votes could split, and especially if people didn't want to give Lawrence a second Oscar so quickly, then her votes might go to Roberts considering she only has one, and with her being the biggest star, as has remained so, about as long as Lawrence has been alive, it seemed reasonable (Plus, her role is essentially a co-lead role [It was a lead when the play was up for Tonys], so there's more of a performance than the others), but she hasn't been winning anything anywhere, and frankly what little press she has been getting; it hasn't been great for her, despite some of the personal tragedies her and her family are going through, so I'm pretty much eliminating that possibility. So, it's really between Lawrence and Nyong'o. Lawrence won the Globe and the BAFTA, the latter being really surprising, but Nyong'o has the Critics Choice Award, and the SAG, the latter being critical but "...Hustle" despite winning the SAG Casting award, still kinda came in late for the SAG voting. It's really close here, but it's looking like Nyong'o in a squeaker. June Squibb might get a few votes here and there, but Bruce Dern has a better shot at winning for "Nebraska" instead, and Sally Hawkins's nomination was a bit of a surprise to begin with, but her nomination is the prize for her, although she was great in "Blue Jasmine".
PREDICTION: Lupita Nyong'o-"12 Years a Slave"


ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Before Midnight-Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke
Captain Phillips-Billy Ray
Philomena-Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
12 Years a Slave-John Ridley
The Wolf of Wall Street-Terence Winter.

"Captain Phillips" a bit of a surprise win at the WGA Awards, but "12 Years a Slave" wasn't eligible for that award, and it's won practically every other Award going in, with only BAFTA being the exception as they went with "Philomena". Actually, I still tend to think that if any film has a shot at an upset here, it's "Before Midnight", as a career award for the whole Trilogy, but it's been a long time since a film with only a sinlge nomination won a Writing Oscar. (1957, in case you're wondering, "Designing Women" winning.) So, my hunch is that it's between "Captain Phillips" and "12 Years a Slave" still being the heavy favorite, and frankly, I'm only throwing "Captain Phillips" in there as a longshot at best.
PREDICTION: "12 Years a Slave"-John Ridley


ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
American Hustle-Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine-Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club-Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
Her-Spike Jonze
Nebraska-Bob Nelson

Despite the recent media and cultural debate and word of words involving things that happened with Woody Allen over 20+ years ago, it's very unlikely that he's even remotely considered a shot. It's pretty much a toss-up right now between "Her" and "American Hustle". "Her" seems to be the favorite. Spike Jonze was the Globe, the WGA Award, he wasn't nominated for the BAFTA, which went to "American Hustle". The only real reluctance right now, to giving it to "Her", and it's a big one, is that David O. Russell hasn't won an Oscar yet, he's had five nominations in his last three films; he's not a name up for Producer for Best Picture, and this would be the spot to honor him. Right now, Goldderby.com, literally has it dead even with both films getting 11/10 odds to win; this is basically a coin flip here.
PREDICTION: "American Hustle"-Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell


ANIMATED FEATURE
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
Frozen
The Wind Rises

I've only seen "The Croods" and "Despicable Me 2", and I'm pretty sure they're not winning. It's pretty much between "Frozen" and "The Wind Rises", and it's pretty simple from there. Despite this supposedly being Hayao Miyazaki's last film (Something he's said more often than Brett Favre) despite the respect and acclaim within the industry, "Frozen" has the momentum, and the critical acclaim behind it; it's probably gonna win. The only real, possible upset, would be if "The Wind Rises" gets the win through a split vote, presuming that "Frozen" wins Best Song, which it also a favorite for, but that's not a guaranteed lock either, so I think the "Frozen" supporters are gonna vote for them. "Ernest & Celestine" might be the other possible, but they're just lucky to get nominated. "Despicable Me 2"'s nomination is interesting also since it's the first animated sequel to get nominated, despite the original film not getting nominated. (Of course, the award didn't exist for the first two "Toy Story"'s) That's a little unusual, but not enough to be a legitimate contender this year.

PREDICTION: "Frozen"


DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
The Act of Killing-Dir.: Joshua Oppenheimer; Pro.: Signe Byrge Sorenson
Cutie and the Boxer-Dir./Pro.: Zachary Heinzerling; Pro.: Lydia Dean Pilcher
Dirty Wars-Dir.:Richard Rowley; Pro.: Jeremy Scahill
The Square-Dir.: Jehane Noujaim; Pro.: Karim Amer
20 Feet from Stardom-Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen and Caitrin Rogers

This is a bit of an intriguing year in the Documentary category, not only for what's nominated, but also for what's not as presumptive favorites "Stories We Tell" and "Blackfish" were shockingly left off the Oscar ballot. To make matters worse, nobody's a sure-fire standout favorite right now, and this category already has a history of surprise winners as it is. Basically, "Dirty Wars" is probably out, that leaves two films that are more important subject-wise, "The Act of Killing" which has won, a good deal of the major awards beforehand gives murderers and gangsters involved in the overthrow and genocide in Indonesia a chance to recreate their memories and acts on camera; that's an ambitious and unique project, but possibly a more ambitious project is "The Square" which chronicles the overthrow of the Egyptian government, which has gotten so complicated they've actually added footage to the film multiple times since it's original release. Those are two important subject matters, yet, two movies with decent chances of winning are about the art world. "20 Feet from Stardom" profiles some of the best backup singers in rock'n'roll, while "Cutie and the Boxer" is about a pair of great artists and their lifelong struggles to be together and through their art. Both have also taken some awards here and there. This is a bit of an unpredictable category, and it's seems to be more than any other category, dependent on the mood of the voters.

PREDICTION: "20 Feet from Stardom"


FOREIGN LANGUAGE FEATURE
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Omar (Palestine)

"Omar" just got a theatrical release in America, so their timing was definitely an attempt to grab the attention of the Foreign Language committee's voters. The only one of these I've seen so far is "The Hunt" and based on that I'm a little surprised that a few people think it's got a decent chance, but it does, because of director Thomas Vittenberg, one of the leaders of the Dogme '95 movement; he has a few connections and likely voters, but "The Broken Circle Breakdown" and "The Great Beauty" have been the one's winning most of the awards, and I tend to think "The Great Beauty" from Paolo Sorrentino is the favorite. It won the Globe, and swept the European Film Awards, although those typically aren't reliable. However, strangely the one I'm most worried about having an upset chance is the one that everyone seems to be disregarding and that's "The Missing Picture" the Cambodian documentary, yes documentary, that uses archive footage, narration and clay figures, yes, clay figures, to recreate the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge. The notorious group led by Pol Pot that slaughtered millions of Cambodians. The movie lost the documentary award at the European Film Festival to "The Act of Killing", but this is, as they say on goldderby.com all the time, the proverbial orange in the box of apples. I don't think a documentary has ever won the Foreign Language Film Oscar before, with "Waltz with Bashir" the animated documentary being the last one nominated. I think it's unlikely, but still, I seem to think it's a bigger possibility than people think. If I was gambling, and you could put on this, at 100-1 odds, I might take "The Missing Picture". But, for now....
PREDICTION: "The Great Beauty"


CINEMATOGRAPHY
The Grandmaster-Phillipe Le Sourd
Gravity-Emmanuel Lubezki
Inside Llewyn Davis-Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska-Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners-Roger Deakins

Some categories are easier to predict than others, and plain and simple, if any name other than Emmanuel Lubezki's gets called on Oscar night, it's gonna be considered an upset, and it won't happen. Lubezki most thought was gonna win for "The Tree of Life", he probably got some votes for "To the Wonder" as well, he's won pretty much every award he was eligible for, including the ASC Award, which isn't always accurate, but coupled with the rest of the awards, it looks inevitable to me. If there's a name I'd like to hear, it's Roger Deakins, as this is his eleventh nomination, and he's yet to win, and it doesn't look like he's gonna win now either.
PREDICTION: Emmanuel Lubezki-"Gravity"


FILM EDITING
American Hustle-Jay Cassidy, Cripin Struther and Alan Baumgarten
Captain Phillips-Christopher Rouse
Dallas Buyers Club-John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
Gravity-Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Sanger
12 Years a Slave-Joe Walker

Only three times this century has an Eddie Award winner not gone on to win the Oscar for Film Editing; it's one of the most accurate predictors of all the guild awards which is why when "Captain Phillips" and it's great cinematographer won when most everybody figured "Gravity" would win fairly easily. This started shaking this category a bit, not it's happened, but it rare. Now, typically two kinds of films win the editing Oscar, either the Best Picture winner; this category has about the same Best Picture predictor accuracy rate as Best Director, but there is a glaring exception and that's action movies. Chase sequences especially, ask any editor, they're by far the hardest kind of scenes to cut. Now there's definitely action in 'Gravity", but a lot of the skill of that movie are long takes that are well-planed out from Alfonso Cuaron, which makes the editing crucial, but there isn't as much need for editing as say "Captain Phillips", which is a dramatic action movie, where a lot of the cuts often shape and form the drama, and are apart of the dramatic arc of the movie, especially is a pair of beginning sequences that are quite good. However, there's another interesting out here. "Captain Phillips" beat "Gravity" in the dramatic category, but "American Hustle" won in the comedy or musical category, normally a category that's disregarded even when there is a nominee or two out of it, but in this case, I think it has to be considered 'cause there are parts of that movie where the editing is absolutely critical. Also, the same editing crew won the Eddie last year for "Silver Linings Playbook", so they're beloved in the editing community. Right now, "Gravity"'s still the favorite, and there's a strong chance it can sweep almost all the technical categories, and this win, could signal it as the Best Picture winner as well.

PREDICTION:  "American Hustle"


COSTUME DESIGN
American Hustle-Michael Wilkinson
The Grandmaster-William Chank Suk Ping
The Great Gatsby-Catherine Martin
The Invisible Woman-Michael O’Connor
12 Years a Slave-Patricia Norris

Only "12 Years a Slave" was a winner at the Costume Designer's Guild, however this isn't the most reliable of Awards, but it did beat out the presumptive favorite "The Great Gatsby" and "American Hustle", while the other two films weren't nominated for them. That said, no one seems to be predicting "12 Years..." in this category, which is odd, considering it's the one technical category where it's not up against "Gravity". "The Great Gatsby"'s Catherine Martin probably gonna win something for either this or Production Design, (She won both Awards for "Moulin Rouge!" one year) but it's hard to do that twice. Michael O'Connor's been popular for the Academy in recent years too, although how many have seen "The Invisible Woman"? It's not unprecedented for a foreign film to win this, although for one that didn't even get a Foreign Language Film Nomination, it's rare, especially when the film doesn't get any other nominations. I think "12 Years..." has a better shot than most think though, since Patricia Norris is on her 6 nomination, but hasn't won, while Martin's a past winner, and Wilkinson is only on his first nomination. 
PREDICTION: "12 Years a Slave"


MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
Dallas Buyers Club-Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathew
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa-Stephen Prouty
The Lone Ranger-Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny

Well, we can pretty much ignore the Guild Awards for this one, but "Dallas Buyers Club" and "...Bad Grandpa" did take home prizes there, are pretty much everybody's a little surprised that "The Lone Ranger"'s makeup even got in, and I don't think it's a likely winner here. My issue with "...Bad Grandpa"'s nomination, and I just saw the movie, so I'll be reviewing it upcoming, but- and I know it isn't entirely, but it's basically one very good, makeup job, and most of the rest of the cast, are actually real people who were, I assume, unaware they were part of the movie until afterwards, at least that what they showed us on the blooper reel at the end, along with a good before and after transformation process of Johnny Knoxville, who admittedly, I wouldn't have known was him, if I didn't know "Jackass" was involved. That said, "Dallas Buyers Club" is a film where numerous characters are dying from AIDS, and require much more makeup. I think it's a toss-up, and the Makeup people are unpredictable, but I think back Norbit's nomination a few years ago, which had a similarly great makeup job, that was more-than-one character (Granted one actor) in lots of prosthetics, and that didn't win, and that was Rick Baker, who they almost always give the Oscar to when he's nominated, and that was a lot more varieties of extensive work, so if that pattern continues....
PREDICTION: "Dallas Buyers Club"


MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
The Book Thief-John Williams
Gravity-Steven Price
Her-William Butler and Owen Pallett
Philomena-Alexandre Desplat
Saving Mr. Banks-Thomas Newman

For those keeping track, this is John Williams's 49TH Oscar nomination. Yup, 49, most of anyone alive, second all-time to Walt Disney, and he's catching up by the way. He's not gonna win here, but anyway.... There's some support for "Philomena" because Alexandre Desplat's been making great scores for awhile now, and has six nominations in the last eight years, but still no wins, however considering how critical it is to the overall film, as well as some of the technique involved, Steven Price is the favorite for "Gravity", and he probably will win. There might be a couple votes for Arcade Fire's score from "Her", but this is pretty much a lock. 
PREDICTION: "Gravity"


MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
“Alone Yet Not Alone”-Alone Yet Not Alone-Music: Bruce Broughton; Lyric: Dennis Spiegel
“Happy”-Despicable Me 2-Pharrell Williams
“Let It Go”-Frozen-Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez
“The Moon Song”-Her-Music/Lyric: Karen O; Lyric: Spike Jonze
“Ordinary Love”-Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom-Music/Lyric: Bono; Music: Dave Evans, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen

My thoughts, of course on the Best Song category, have been noted long before this latest scandal, and I'm glad to say I was right about it being an incorrect nomination, and clearly thought it was the worst song of the group, one of the worst possible songs they could've nominated among the bunch, and frankly Bruce Broughton should be forced to resign from the A.M.P.A.S. for his actions. Anyway, we're down to four now, and the controversy and rare disqualification doesn't really effect the overall look of the category though. While I certainly enjoy "Happy", (Thought "The Moon Song" was overrated personally) the category is basically between "Frozen"'s "Let It Go", and "Mandela..."'s "Ordinary Love". This is U2's second Oscar nomination, they lost to Eminem years ago when they did the song "The Hands That Built America" for "Gangs of New York", they were the favorites going into those Oscars, and usually the Academy likes to Award rock legends when they get the chance, or at least, once upon a time they used to, but the momentum seems to be towards "Frozen" right now. 
PREDICTION: "Let It Go"-"Frozen"


PRODUCTION DESIGN
American Hustle-Pro.: Judy Becker; Set: Heather Loeffler
Gravity-Pro.: Andy Nicholson; Set: Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
The Great Gatsby-Pro.: Catherine Martin; Set: Gene Serdena
Her-Pro.: K.K. Barrett; Set: Gene Serdena
12 Years a Slave-Pro.: Adam Stockhausen; Set: Alice Baker 

I think there's a decent argument that can be made for each one of these films possibly winning, and this category can surprise, so I'm not counting any possibility out completely, but the most likely winners are either "Gravity" or "The Great Gatsby". It's hard to be against "Gravity" but the tendency of the category is to give the award to more classical period pieces in recent years. That said, when it goes somewhere else, it's usually to a sci-fi or fantasy piece, but even then, those are most imaginative works like "Avatar" or "Pan's Labyrinth", and not so much for more realistic sci-fi works, so for that, since the trend says "The Great Gatsby", I'm gonna go with "The Great Gatsby". Besides, I think they want to honor Catherine Martin anyway, so if I say she loses Costume Design....
PREDICTION: "The Great Gatsby"


SOUND EDITING
All is Lost-Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns
Captain Phillips-Oliver Tarney
Gravity-Glenn Freemantle
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug-Brent Burge
Lone Survivor-Wylie Stateman

I'll refresh everyone again on the differences between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, 'cause even I get this confused once in a while, but basically, Sound editing is the creation, the sourcing and the gathering of the sounds, while Sound Mixing, is the way those sound are put together in the film. Yes, there's overlap, but they're very different skills, and yet still, we do need to discuss them separately. Now, the MPSE, gave their Golden Reels out, the Sound Editors Guild Awards, and gave one award to "Gravity" for Effects and Foley, and gave the ADR and dialogue award to "Captain Phillips". (ADR is Additional or Automated Dialogue Replacment/Recording; in other words, the dubbing in, or looping of dialogue afterwards.) That said, while that can be really important, most of the time, we talk about the creating of sound effects in this category, much more so than the dialogue recording, and if you want extra proof of that, the one film that got into Editing but not mixing this year, "All is Lost" had almost no dialogue at all, so there you go. It's always a little tricky when a war movie gets in there like "Lone Survivor," all the tea leaves say "Gravity", with a possible upset from "Captain Phillips", but that's really long. 
PREDICTION: "Gravity"


SOUND MIXING
Captain Phillips-Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro
Gravity-Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug-Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Sermanick and Tony Johnson
Inside Llewyn Davis-Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
Lone Survivor-Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow

And the kind of movies that get into Sound Mixing but not into Sound Editing, often have a musical element involved and "Inside Llewyn Davis" certainly qualifies, and it's not unprecedented that it can win, in fact it happened last year with "Les Miserables" getting the Mixing Award, without an Editing nominee, which had the rare tie last year between "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Skyfall". Another thing going for "...Llewyn Davis"'s favor, is that Skip Lievsay, is on his sixth nomination, and is yet to win; he's got the sentimental vote; however he's also nominated for "Gravity" this year. As is Chris Munro, who's also up for "Captain Phillips", so you can, in a way, award three films with one Oscar, and "Gravity" was the favorite anyway,.... You see where this is going, don't you?
PREDICTION: "Gravity"


VISUAL EFFECTS
Gravity-Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk and Neil Corbould
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug-Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
Iron Man 3-Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
The Lone Ranger-Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
Star Trek Into Darkness-Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossman and Burt Dalton

I don't want to sound flippant or dismissive of this category, especially with living legend names like Joe Letteri and John Frazier nominated, but- seriously, do we even really have to discuss this category this year? 
PREDICTION: "Gravity"


ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Feral-Dir.: Daniel Sousa; Pro.: Dan Golden
Get a Horse!-Dir./Pro.: Lauen MacMullan; Pro.: Dorothy McKim
Mr. Hublot-Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares
Possessions-Shuhei Morita
Room on the Broom-Max Lang & Jan Lachauer

I'm taking a quick second look at the short film nominees if I can before picking my choices here, but while I wouldn't be completely surprised by say "Feral" or "Mr Hublot" winning here, the popular choice, and the best choice, "Get a Horse!" is the easy favorite; it's gonna win and it's probably the most innovative Disney short film in decades so there's no reason it shouldn't. By the way, landmark for Disney, it's the first Disney film of any kind, to be solely by a woman, which is crazy of course, but there it is, and again, she's gonna win an Oscar for it, and deserves to.
PREDICTION: "Get a Horse!"


LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)-Esteban Crespo
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)-Dir.: Xavier Legrand; Pro.: Alexandre Gavras
Helium-Dir.: Anders Walter; Pro.: Kim Magnusson
Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)-Dir.: Selma Vihunen; Pro.: Kirsikka Saari
The Voorman Problem-Dir.: Mark Gill; Pro.: Baldwin Li

Well, for no other reason other than it's the only one in English, and because to has recognizable stars like Martin Freeman and Tom Hollander in it, "The Voorman Problem" is by most experts the favorites, it also won at BAFTA, but I'm not sold that it's a lock because I've seen some of the trailers for the other films. The more impressive "Aquel No Era Yo" is the one I singled out pretty early, which looks spectacular for a feature film, much less a short film; you know how much explosions like that cost? My theory is that this was probably a feature that got cut into a short in the editing, and it looks like a good decision. Still, the spectacular fantasy look of "Helium" also caught my eye; I was one of the few who predicted that it'd get nominated and now it's getting some experts votes. Actually, while 'The Voorman Problem" remains the favorite, there's seems to be votes coming in from all sides for all four of the other films, and the category has a natural unpredictability to it. I tend to think the trend towards the English Language film, is actually a trend towards American films when they get into the category, so I'm looking around for an upset here, and it's hardly ever the worse idea to take the film in the short category that looks like it was the most expensive, the most ambitious.
PREDICTION: "Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me)"


DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
CaveDigger-Jeffrey Karoff
Facing Fear-Jason Cohen
Karama Has No Walls-Sara Ishaq
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life-Dir./Pro.: Malcolm Clarke; Pro.: Nicholas Reed
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall-Edgar Barens

I'm going through these nominees again, but this is a category that's not-so up in the air. "The Lady in Number 6..." was the heavy favorite going in; it was the most highly praised film, and with it being about a legendary classical musician who also happens to be the oldest survivor of the Holocaust, it's got everything for it, including important subject matter, and by the way, this is most important subject matter, in a year where almost all the nominees have some pretty tough-to-handle hard-to-watch  subject matters. "Facing Fear" is about a neo-Nazi gaybashing, "Prison Terminal..." about a death-row inmate. "Karama Has No Rules Walls", is about the recent Yemeni uprisings. "CaveDigger" is about an artist in New Mexico who digs caves to create his art, that's the light piece in the bunch, but this is about as big as any other category out there. 
PREDICTION: "The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life"


Well, that's all the categories folks. Good luck Ellen, I know she'll be just as good as last time, just like before. As to, what I'm hoping for at the Oscars, which is a very different thing than the predictions, well, I haven't seen everything, or even most of the films yet, so it's hard to have too many hopes. I would like to see "Before Midnight" pull off the screenplay upset, but I doubt it, but it's more likely than Roger Deakins finally winning his Oscar for the mixed-reviewed "Prisoners", which is probably the thing I'd like to see most. Other than that, it's gonna be a most intriguing of Oscars, particularly at the end. This is going to be a very close Best Picture race folks, to quote one Oscar winning film, as we go head-long through the Spirit Awards, the Razzies and then the Red Carpet et. al., (Sly chuckle) "Fasten your seatbelts, it's gonna be a bumpy night."  
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