Happy Oscar Weekend Everyone!
I know you all have been waiting for this all this time and months for my Oscars predictions, which, as many, many of you know, since I started this blog, I'm the only prognosticator that has correctly predicted every Academy category correct, each and every year.
Thank you, thank you. I appreciate the applause.
Here's the evidence of the last three years btw, to show, that indeed, my 100% accurate Oscar predictions over the years.
Yes, it's-eh, very difficult to be blessed with this impressive combination of knowledge and psychic ability. It's- really-eh, I don't necessarily wish this kind of power on anybody, but it is a burden for me, and a pleasure for all of you. I have gone through every single category, analyzed each one thoroughly, considered the voting trends of the Academy membership, payed attention to all the precursor awards and we, as always present to you a complete breakdown and analysis of every Oscar category and how and why we've determined what will win.
Well, that's enough oohing and awing, and being impressed at my immaculate record and abilities, let's get to what you all came here for, my OFFICIAL 2014 ACADEMY AWARD PREDICTIONS!
(LAWYER'S NOTE: David Baruffi's Oscar Predictions are in no way "Official", nor are they "Predictions", nor do they have any particular association or relevance with the Academy Awards, the Oscars or the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. David Baruffi reserves all rights to alter and/or change any/all predictions at any point prior to, during and/of after "The Oscars" telecast from now until the end of known time, or until the aliens from planet Uliherzner come and enslave the human race, and test new makeup and cosmetics products on us and give us a lifetime supply of free Starbucks with a coupon. David Baruffi's Entertainment Views and Reviews does not endorse, condone, any selections that any David Baruffi may or may not select regarding Academy Award predictions that a David Baruffi may predict. David Baruffi is in no way affiliated with David Baruffi's Entertainment Views and Reviews. David Baruffi's Entertainment Views and Reviews does not condone or encourage gambling of any kind, illegal or otherwise including but not limited to sports, casino games, office pools for the Academy Awards or other award shows, underground catfish fighting, midget punching, or student body president election results. David Baruffi and all those affiliate with David Baruffi's Entertainment Views and Reviews (Which, again, David Baruffi is not apart of and never has been) have in no way used any undue or otherwise illegal actions to sway, influence or fix the results of The Academy Awards or any past or present award shows through use of bribery, chicanery, ballot box stuffing, terrorism practices including eco-terrorism, computer hacking, waterboarding, blackmail, or through selective random acts of writing out citizens arrest tickets for illegal jaywalking in the Twenty Mile Zone.)
American Sniper-Pro: Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)-Pro.: Alejandro G. Inarritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole
Boyhood-Pro.: Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sullivan
The Grand Budapest Hotel-Pro.: Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson
The Imitation Game-Pro.: Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman
Selma-Pro.: Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner
The Theory of Everything-Pro.: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten
Whiplash-Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, and David Lancaster
The eight nominees instead of nine I noted as suspicious as it seemed to insinuate that, more than usual, the Academy seems to be assured and consistent of their picks of the best films. Although, that said, "Selma"'s lone nomination in this category and only Best Song, is peculiar. Now, here's where it gets tricky, most of the awards have, in some been split amongst the awards. "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" seems to be winning the Guilds, upset wins at PGA and DGA, while "Boyhood" however has been consistent with Golden Globes, Critics Choice, BAFTA, etc. It seems to be a split between these two, and a very close race, but because of the preferential ballot, and this splitting, there's a possibility of an upset. The most likely candidate for that is "The Grand Budapest Hotel", which surprisingly defeated "Birdman..." at the Globes, and is projected to pick up a good portion of technical awards. It seems to be everybody's third choice. "Birdman..."'s lack of an Editing nomination is very curious however, no film has won Best Picture without at least a nomination for Editing since "Ordinary People", that was over 30 years ago. However, it seems to be winning, everything else, especially amongst the Guilds. It's a little unlikely that any other scenario would get in, although "The Imitation Game", "American Sniper" and "Whiplash" can't completely be counted out, but they're paths to victory are small at best, and a few things like "The Imitation Game"'s lack of any wins at BAFTA of all award shows is very peculiar, especially for a British film. I'd almost say flip a coin, this will be close.
Wes Anderson-"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Alejandro G. Inarritu-"Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)"
Morten Tyldum-"The Imitation Game"
Here's what's holding this up, and it's gonna probably be either Inarritu or Linklater, presuming Wes Anderson is probably most likely gonna win for Screenplay, and we'll get to that category later. These are two films that are really considered director accomplishments, and despite Inarritu winning the DGA, the year has been so strange, even the normal prognosticators have been unusually unreliable this year. Linklater won the Critics Choice, won the Golden Globe in an upset, and the BAFTA in an upset, and Inarritu won the DGA, also in an upset, this is what's really bizarre, everywhere we thought the other was gonna win, the other would win. So this is just seeming tricky and unpredictable. Bennett Miller's nomination is unusual considering "Foxcatcher" didn't get into Best Picture, first time that's happened since they increased the Best Picture nominees; I think "Foxcatcher" was probably the ninth nominee, but what I really think through was the first place votes for Best Picture; I suspect that film got screwed by a lot of 3rd, 4th and 5th place votes, 'cause the Best Picture category is front-loaded towards first place votes, hence a lot of people liking it, liking the skill to get nominated for Directing, but then didn't get first place votes. Anyway, Miller's no shot at winning, Tyldum's got no shot at winning, and- after that, I think when all else fails you gotta trust the Guild, but this has been a strange year. There's been a Director/Picture split at the Oscars, for the last two years, there's no reason to think it couldn't happen again.
PREDICTION: Alejandro G. Inarritu-"Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)"
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Bradley Cooper-"American Sniper"
Benedict Cumberbatch-"The Imitation Game"
Michael Keaton-"Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)"
Eddie Redmayne-"The Theory of Everything"
This is the only race that's really somewhat competitive and it's mostly between Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne. Keaton, most thought was the heavy favorite going in, won the Globe, won the Critics Choice, but then the turn hit when the Guilds came up and Eddie Redmayne took the SAG and then followed it up at BAFTA, although the latter wasn't an upset too much, that win at SAG, when everybody figured Keaton would have a statistical advantage with the Screen Actors Guild, just really screwed a lot. Curiously though, "Birdman..."'s success everywhere else, means that hypothetically "Birdman..." caught on at the right time for the movie, but somehow Michael Keaton didn't get in on that, which is just bizarre. It's not unusual for a Best Picture winner to not have an acting award, but it is rare, so the thinking is that, if "Birdman..." does what it's been doing everywhere, except BAFTA and win Best Picture and possibly Director, and other awards, then Keaton might have enough votes to pull off the win, similar to Adrien Brody's upset with "The Pianist" for instance as that film caught on late and pulled off three major award upsets and probably was a week of voting away from winning Best Picture that year. Now the other scenario is a split vote leading to someone else winning. Most project Bradley Cooper being the most likely to pull that off, but I wouldn't rule out Steve Carell either. He got into Lead Actor, probably through Lead and Supporting Actor votes, so there's support for his performance, but then, the question becomes, how much support comparatively. It's not impossible for a performance like that to win, Nicole Kidman in "The Hours" for instance, or Anthony Hopkins in "The Silence of the Lambs"; the only problem is that those two were favorites going in. I think it's too hard to overlook Redmayne's win at SAG, and "The Theory of Everything could be a real spoiler overall, especially after it overachieved at the BAFTAs.
PREDICTION: Eddie Redmayne-"The Theory of Everything"
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"
This is Julianne Moore's Oscar. Everyone else is also-ran, she's won literally everything up 'til now and they want to give it to her anyway. The only scenario that I was worried about going in was Marion Cotillard's surprise nomination for "Two Days, One Night" being as spoiler and I still think that's the only nomination that has any possibility of an upset, but that nomination has not been combined with any upset wins or any real upswell of support. Granted, Cotillard has done this before, with a foreign film performance, sneaking in and getting the Oscar, which she did with "La Vie en Rose", but at this point, as hard as that nomination had to be, that went through a lot of hoops to get in, Cotillard was up for two different films, one was in English and streaming on Netflix, it's a foreign film that wasn't on the Oscar shortlist, 'cause they clearly something against the Dardenne Brothers, but at this point, it need some other upswell or odd win to really get the momentum, and it's not there. (Note: I do suspect a late upswell for Felicity Jones, but I'm sticking with Julianne Moore unless I hear it's become more present than we suspect.)
PREDICTION: Julianne Moore-"Still Alice"
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Robert Duvall-"The Judge"
Edward Norton-"Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)"
Again, this one, J.K. Simmons is winning it. I don't even really see where an upset might come, maybe Edward Norton or Ethan Hawke is somehow "Birdman..." or "Boyhood" starts to pull away, but if anything, "Whiplash" might actually have more momentum that both of those films overall, comparatively. Robert Duvall might get a sentimental vote; he's 84; he'd be the oldest winner if he won, but nobody liked "The Judge" and he won before for "Tender Mercies". Eh, we're trying to pull out scenarios, but it's Simmons. They love the film, they love the performance, again, longtime character actor who everybody in Hollywood knows just how talented he actually is, and now that he finally has a role with enough heft to give him an Oscar, they want to give it to him. I don't really see how that can be topped.
PREDICTION: J.K. Simmons-"Whiplash"
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Keira Knightley-"The Imitation Game"
Emma Stone-"Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)"
Meryl Streep-"Into the Woods"
For those keeping track btw, Meryl Streep, this is nomination number, nineteen; the record was 13, so, again unbelievable. Just to give you an idea, Emma Stone has only been alive to witness ten of Meryl Streep's Oscar nominations, just over half. (Keira Knightley, btw, not much more than that.) Uh, that said, she's filling out the category this time. Um, that said, Patricia Arquette is the favorite and all signs are pointing to her winning. No real upset scenario out there, even if there was say a "Birdman..." push, or a push for "The Imitation Game", (Which there hasn't been at all), um, it doesn't look like anybody else can win. Laura Dern, might have the best possible show, it's a little unclear how much they like "Wild"; I actually suspect that's a film that members might like more than the nominations indicate, but it's really not enough.
PREDICTION: Patricia Arquette-"Boyhood"
American Sniper-Jason Hall
The Imitation Game-Graham Moore
Inherent Vice-Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything-Anthony McCarten
The Writers Guild is the one major Guild Award that's strangely not an accurate award predictor. They have strict rules and often times films aren't even eligible in the categories, so these awards are slightly. "The Imitation Game" won the WGA, and I've heard from some insiders this was a better script than it was a film, it won the Scripter award, BAFTA went to "The Theory of Everything", that was an upset as "The Imitation Game" got killed at BAFTA going 0 for 9, very unexpectedly, and that was probably the award they were most likely to win, but on top of that, there's three nominees here that weren't up for WGA's including "The Theory of Everything", P.T. Anderson's "Inherent Vice", also snuck into what most thought would be "Gone Girl"'s nomination, but the real kicker is "Whiplash", because that was nominated for WGA but in Original Screenplay, not Adapted Screenplay. The Oscars made, somewhat of a strange ruling and it's not particularly that's consistent in their history. Chazelle had written/directed "Whiplash" as a short film a couple years earlier before turning into a feature, now that's actually a fairly common practice, especially for a young filmmaker. "Short Term 12", "Martha Marcy May Marlene", just a couple examples off-the-top-of-my-head, of features films that were originally made as shorts and then, we're elaborated on when a bigger budget became available and it was remade as a feature by the same filmmakers. It's actually a common practice, you know, to pitch a feature is to make a short to sorta, show the tone of what the feature would be. Previously, especially when it was the same filmmakers making the film, that was considered an Original Screenplay, but somehow the Academy for reasons that haven't been made clear, decided to put "Whiplash" into Adapted Screenplay. It's a very bizarre ruling, considering the way similar situations have been ruled in the past, and I can see both sides of this, (I imagine the film was first conceived as a short instead of a feature film turned to a short, so when Chazelle expanded the script, they're calling that Adapted) but it's actually a lucky break for the film, 'cause Original Screenplay is loaded this year, with the Top 3 films that most think are the clear-cut Best Picture favorites, so it had little shot as an Original, but with a decidedly weak Adapted Screenplay field, and assuming it probably got a combination of early votes and late votes from before and after the ruling, "Whiplash" is in an unusually good position here to pull off an upset. "American Sniper", also got a WGA nod, and has shown up in other Screenplay awards, this might be a spot it could win if they really want to honor the film with a major award, but with the split votes between the British films, the more I look at the category, I think it's either "The Imitation Game" or "Whiplash", and I suspect "Whiplash" is the one that most of Hollywood wants to honor more.
PREDICTION: "Whiplash"-Damian Chazelle
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)-Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
Foxcatcher-E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
The Grand Budapest Hotel-Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guiness
Tough category to predict this year. My gut tells me "The Grand Budapest Hotel", yet, I know there's a strong anti-Wes Anderson in parts of Hollywood. It doesn't extend to the Writers, 'cause he the WGA award this year, he's been nominated in this category a few times, and this is the most likely position in which he'd win and that they'd want to honor him. "Nightcrawler", lucky to get in, "Foxcatcher" could pull off an upset here, but very unlikely, it's really between "Birdman...", "Boyhood" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel". Strangely, I actually think "Boyhood" has the most trouble, 'cause Linklater has also been nominated twice here, with no wins, and I typically think of Linklater as a great writer, even before I think of him as a great director, "Boyhood"'s script is really, not the strongest part of the movie, curiously, it's much more of a directing accomplishment. Although, some could say the same for "Birdman..." directing more than writing, however, does that mean that the script is weaker than the others? Either or those can win if something pulls away, but...- again, not seeing it, seeing write for Writing for each of those films over Awards season.
PREDICTION-"The Grand Budapest Hotel"-Wes Anderson, Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guiness
Big Hero 6-Dir: Don Hall and Chris Williams; Pro.: Roy Conti
The Boxtrolls-Dir.: Antonin Scacchi and Graham Annable; Pro.: Travis Knight
How to Train Your Dragon 2-Dir.: Dean Dubois; Pro.: Bonnie Arnold
Song of the Sea-Dir.: Tomm Moore; Pro.: Paul Young
The Tale of Princess Kaguya-Dir.: Isao Takahata; Pro.: Yoshiaki Nishimura
The lack of "The LEGO Movie" really is strange when you think back on it; there was a decent shot the movie had an outside shot at Best Picture. Still though, I think the animation branch likes to seek out the "animation" aspect moreso than other aspects sometimes, and that's led to a few curious nominations over the years. That said, when "The LEGO Movie" has lost, it's usually to "How to Train Your Dragon 2", and I actually think there's just as much support for that film. I suspect that that film, might have shown up on Production Design ballots and maybe in one or two other weird categories. The other really likely possibility is "The Tale of Princess Kaguya" winning. This could be one of the last times the Academy gets to honor Studio Ghibli, and Isao Takahata, is a legendary animator, most known for "Grave of the Fireflies". Um, could be "Big Hero 6", that one seems to be getting some praise as well, and "Song of the Sea" as well, that's the Irish animator Tomm Moore, they nominated his film "The Secret of the Kells" once before, (although personally I never understood that nomination myself, but they do seem to like him. That's a possibility too, I think. I'm a little worried that there is starting to become, too much of honoring your friends in this category though, lately. Animators honoring some of the more personal favorite animators around though, (And I think there's a thought not to nominate people who didn't come from animation, typically, that's a bit of a trend as well) that might be some trends to look at in the future. For now though,...
PREDICTION: "How to Train Your Dragon 2"
Citizenfour-Dir./Pro.: Laura Poitras, Pro.: Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky
Finding Vivian Maier-John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Last Days in Vietnam-Dir.: Rory Kennedy; Pro.: Kevin McAlester
The Salt of the Earth-Dir.: Julian Ribiero Salgado and Wim Wenders; Pro.: David Rosier
Virunga-Dir.: Orlando von Eisiedel; Pro.: Joanna Natasegara
Okay, we're just gonna let go of the biggest snub on Oscar Sunday for now, but it would sure be interesting to see "Finding Vivian Maier" or "The Salt of the Earth" win, what Charlie Siskel (Gene Siskel's nephew) or Wim Wenders (Who was close to Roger Ebert) might say if they went up. Personally, I'd love to finally see Wim Wenders win an Oscar, but I strongly suspect that those two films are the longest shots in the bunch. "Last Days in Vietnam" and "Virunga" have been campaigning like crazy in Hollywood, so I suspect this might be closer than we think, and I wouldn't eliminate the possibility either that there could be an upset, but even before the nominations were announced, many suspected this was a two-film race, and "Citizenfour" has beaten almost of these nominees when they've been up against each other. Hard to bet against that.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FEATURE
Ida (Poland)-Pawel Pawlikowska
Leviathan (Russia)- Andrey Zvyagintsev
Tangerines (Estonia)-Zaza Urushadze
Timbuktu (Mauritania)-Abderrahmane Sissako
Wild Tales (Argentina)-Damian Szifon
Boy is this a tough category. I've heard from a few sources that this is really close, and somebody at Goldderby, I think it was Pete Hammond, I might be wrong on who I'm crediting, but somebody said that this is a four-film race, and that the voting is really coming down to the wire here. This is the Estonia and Mauritania's first nominations btw (And yes, the country is technically the nominee, not the directors of the films; they only accept the award, which is stupid btw). If I have to guess, well- I think we know two of them, the favorites are "Ida" and "Leviathan". "Ida" got into Cinematography, some think that's a clue, but that's actually deceiving, there's only about a fifty percent correlation between whether a Foreign Language film nominees gets nominated for something else and it then winning for Foreign Language Film. (And Cinematography is not a good predictor award in this regard) but "Ida" is a favorite, "Leviathan" from Russia, is coming on strong and it's pulled off a couple unexpected upsets here and there. That said, so has "Wild Tales" and that's the one with the most buzz right now, the Argentinean film that's borrowing a bit of Tarantino's plot structure with multiple narrative storylines, that's getting some late buzz as the screeners are coming out. And I suspect, although I'm not 100%, I suspect it's "Timbuktu" that's probably the 4th film in the running. Abderrahamane Sissako directed, "Bamako" a few years back, which is really strong film, among others; he's very well-respected, and I've heard nothing but good things about "Timbuktu". (And you should be wary of a country like Mauritania, which doesn't have a film history tradition getting into this category). "Tangerines"'s nomination is actually interesting, they took credit for a film from a Georgian filmmaker, a combined effort between those two countries, in a bit of a surprise move from the country, and Georgia's submission "Corn Island" also made the Oscar shortlist, so I suspect people like that one as well, and "Tangerines", it does look like the apple in the box of oranges, or the tangerine, I should say. It's also a fairly uniquely-visioned film as well, I've heard. The only one I've seen is "Ida", and I'll be honest, I thought it was overrated, but I've also always with Pawelikowska's work in the past, but if we're going by the name that maybe most of the Academy members know, Pawelikowska's been directing in England most of his career, with films like "My Summer of Love" and "Last Resort", and his previous one, "The Woman in the Fifth", which I really hated btw, but, "Ida" is one of his better films. Also, Poland, believe it or not, has never won an Oscar for Foreign Language Film, and that's actually bizarre considering how many great films and filmmakers have come from Poland, but they're 0 for 9, and that includes some great films like "Katyn" and going all the back to Polanski's "Knife in the Water". So if there's a sentimental vote, that might be it, but I've never gotten the sense that Foreign Language committee has ever thought that way in their lives. Hmm. Well, this is as good a category to predict an upset as any, especially since the category's unpredictable anyway.
PREDICTION: "Wild Tales"
The Grand Budapest Hotel-Milena Canonero
Inherent Vice-Mark Bridges
Into the Woods-Colleen Atwood
Maleficent-Anna B. Shepperd
Mr. Turner-Jacqueline Durran
The Costume Designers Guild have a tendency to be a little bit sporatic as they give out mutliple awards for the kind of film that's made, for instance "Birdman..." won their prize for contemporary film but they weren't up against anybody. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" won for period piece, but "Into the Woods" won the prize for Fantasy Film. That's a little help, both of them fellow nominees, "...Budapest..." beat "Inherent Vice" and "Into the Woods" beat "Maleficent" that should narrow it down a bit. (BTW, Anna B. Shepperd is the only credited nominee for "Maleficent" but Jane Clive was also nominated with Shepperd from the Guilds, and I'm not sure why her name's not listed on the Oscar website or if, for some reason her name's not there. I've contacted the Academy about that, I'll let you know if I hear anything) "Mr. Turner" was not nominated for a Costume Designers Guild, and that's a bit of a mystery in a few categories. Mike Leigh is beloved, but his films usually, even when it doesn't look like it will, will sneak into at least one major category, but that didn't happen this time. The problem is, this category and costume designers in general has a tendency to go their own way at times, sometimes picking the most obscure and unexpected choices as winners. Upset wins in recent years from "La Vie En Rose" or "Marie Antoinette" for instance were huge upsets that few predicted. Still though, there's sentimental value this year to consider. Both Canonero and Atwood are legends in Costume Design, and both have three Oscars on their mantle; this would be the tiebreaker. Durran and Bridges have also won as well, but very recently. I don't see "Inherent Vice" really pulling an upset here, but Mr. Turner could pull ahead if there's enough vote-splitting, but I also think, this being an Academy-wide vote, that the love for "The Grand Budapest Hotel" seems a little bit too much for all these other films to overcome in this category.
PREDICTION-"The Grand Budapest Hotel"-Milena Canonero
American Sniper-Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
The Grand Budapest Hotel-Barney Pilling
The Imitation Game-William Goldenberg
Maybe we shouldn't be too surprised by the "Birdman..." snub, since, while the editing was intricate, it was necessarily the most complex editing jobs. That said, it is strange it's lack of nomination, although it didn't win at the Eddies either, with the ACEs going with "The Grand Budapest Hotel" in the Comedy/Musical category, and there is a lot of editing in that film; we might be missing something there. "Boyhood" won the Eddie Award for Drama though, although a lot of people are wondering about a "Whiplash" upset here, and I tend to think there's something to that as well. This is a strange year where all five nominees are also Best Picture nominees, usually some kind of action movie comes into play as a nominee, and editors will tell you, by far, the toughest thing to edit are chase sequences. (Actually, that bodes well for "The Grand Budapest Hotel" now that I think about it.) However, without a really obvious "The Bourne Ultimatum"-type nominee here, the next thing editors might think about as being difficult are films with music, and having to make sure that the sounds matches up, (That's not a Sound Editing or Mixing skill, that's a Film Editors skill, remember) and in that case, "Whiplash" has momentum and capability for an upset here. "Boyhood", also has some tricky editing, because of the combination of footage, over periods of time and bring them together, but I'm not as sold that was as difficult as it seems myself. The comparisons, would be more like a found footage documentary or perhaps, something like "Hoop Dreams" or the "Seven Up" films, and the Editors occasionally have nominated something that out there, but they rarely win. "American Sniper" probably has the most traditional kind of editing to win in this category, but I'm not sure how well-liked it is. "The Imitation Game"'s nomination here is odd. There are a few tense moments where the editing is important, but maybe an "Edge of Tomorrow" would've been more fun to put there and really make this interesting. With this category extended to the entire Academy, I think this is a more wide open category than we think. I really think it's between "...Budapest..." and "Whiplash", and the more I think about it, the more I'm talking myself "The Grand Budapest Hotel", The only thing is, I can't remember the last time a comedy won Editing. (I looked it up, not counting "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" because of the technical accomplishment that was, you got all the way back to 1960 with "The Apartment".) Even "Annie Hall", won Best Picture and Director, and is often regarded as being saved in the Editing room, wasn't even nominated for Editing, and that's a real rarity. The last time a Best Picture winner didn't get an Editing nomination, was 1981, with "Ordinary People". That doesn't serve well for "Birdman..." fans,
PREDICTION: "Whiplash"-Tom Cross
MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
Foxcatcher-Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard
The Grand Budapest Hotel-Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
Guardians of the Galaxy-Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White
Oh, those crazy, unpredictable and hairstylists. I still don't know why they only nominate three films, there easily could've been five, but no matter. Let's start with the obvious, Rick Baker, is not nominated, so there goes that. Eh, Bill Corso, probably the biggest makeup name here, he won for "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" years ago. Mark Coulier is Meryl Streep's longtime hairstylist, he won for "The Iron Lady" a few years back, other than them, mostly new nominees here. This category has a recent history of unpredictability; I famously flopped on all three nominations last here, which just doesn't happen in general, but this year, I think they did well. The makeup for "Foxcatcher" is impressive, and not just Steve Carell's lauded nose, there's subtle work on Ruffalo and a few other actors that's quite impressive, but usually this category means most, and that's where this category becomes a toss-up. Both "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Guardians of the Galaxy", both won two Awards from the Make-Up and Hairstyling Guild, and they've also split other awards elsewhere. It's definitely between those two. The only thing I really have to go on, if you dig into the Guild award is that "Guardians..." did lose the Contemporary Hairstyling category to "Birdman..." while it won for Special Effects Makeup and Contemporary Makeup. "The Grand Budapest Hotel", went 2 for 2, taking Period Makeup and Period Hairstyling, and I think that's the key, 'cause while there's really impressive makeup in "Guardians..." it's such a special effects movie that I think it's difficult to tell, what was makeup and what was special effects added later sometimes. The Drax character played by Dave Bautista for instance; I thought that was a special effect when I first saw it; I didn't realize that he was mostly makeup, and while that's impressive, they like to pick a film where the makeup is more showcased and obvious, even if it's subtle. (Or in the case of last year's nomination for "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa", when it's very obvious) "The Grand Budapest Hotel", it's subtle but it's also quite that there is a striking amount of really good makeup work, numerous different characters and time periods. It's also the most beloved/nominated film of the three, so even if you aren't going by that, it's got too many other things going for it.
PREDICTION: "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
The Grand Budapest Hotel-Alexandre Desplat
The Imitation Game-Alexandre Desplat
Mr. Turner-Gary Yershon
The Theory of Everything-Johann Johannson
You know, when the nominations came out, I had Hans Zimmer winning this, fairly easily, despite Alexandre Desplat getting two nominations and Johann Johannson's win at the Golden Globes, which btw, is one of the very few things we have to go on. "Birdman..." almost assuredly would've won for Antonio Sanchez had he been eligible; he certainly would've been nominated, probably knocking out "Mr. Turner", which, I'm not sure who had that one in their predictions, but that's probably the only one that I think is out of the running. I've heard people who hate Hans Zimmer say they love the score from Hans Zimmer this time, so I'm shocked that he's become a longshot. Desplat's in a weird position too; and I think there's enough people who want him to vote for Alexandre Desplat, who by the way, this is his 8th nomination and has never won, amazingly, and he easily could've ran this category this year, he had about eight scores that easily could've been nominated this year, but now, they're split between two films, and two very different kinds of scores as well; that hasn't even been brought up that part. A more traditional film score in "The Imitation Game" and then a more unconventional score in "The Grand Budapest Hotel". I think both music awards are a bit of a crapshoot this year, and I frankly just don't know, here, so I'm just going with the last one of these that won, and that was BAFTA, so I'm going with the momentum, 'cause I really don't have another tea leaf to go on. Desplat won there for "TGBH", and frankly, that's the one I'd probably vote for anyway, I can't see why other Oscar voters wouldn't think the same way.
PREDICTION: "The Grand Budapest Hotel"-Alexandre Desplat
"Everything is Awesome"-The LEGO Movie-Music/Lyric: Shawn Patterson
"Glory"-Selma-Music/Lyric: John Stevens and Lonnie Lynn
"Grateful"-Beyond the Lights-Music/Lyric: Diane Warren
"I'm Not Gonna Miss You"-Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me-Music/Lyric: Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
"Lost Stars"-Begin Again-Music/Lyric: Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisbois
Another tricky category with no real Guild Awards attached, and frankly unlike some years, there's enough good songs here where it's not a runaway for anybody. I won't say great job to the much deservedly maligned music branch this year, but, I'll give them a good job on this one. That said, despite Diane Warren's seventh nomination, I have a hard time imagining she'll pull off her first win here; I know she's campaigning, but "Greatful"'s not one of her best songs. The two biggest favorites are "Everything is Awesome" and "Glory" from "The LEGO Movie" and "Selma" respectively. Well, if somebody wants to pick the film that got snubbed elsewhere, well to most that's both of them, so that doesn't work. If they're voting on, best use of the song, in the film, then "Everything is Awesome" probably has the advantage, but if it's the most important song, then it's probably "Glory". If were talking most emotional use in a movie of the song...- actually that's where the third choice, "I'm Not Gonna Miss You", has been coming in and some have predicted that for an upset. Frankly, if they want to honor Glen Campbell, this is pretty much it as he's devolving into the effects of Alzheimer's, and that is actually quite a beautiful song. Personally, I think I might vote for "Lost Stars" out of this bunch, but they honored a John Carney film here last time with "Falling Slowly" from "Once", and that was a better movie and a better song, (Although use of the song in a movie, it's right up there with "Everything is Awesome" actually) And I'd like to see Danielle Brisbois get an Oscar. The only thing that troubles me, is exactly how often has a comedy song won this category? Not a comedy movie, a comedy song, and the answer is not often. "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets" in 2011 was the last one, and there was only two nominees that year and even though it deserved the win, they still ended up changing the rules afterwards (And the Muppets were overdue to win, and I'm actually really stretching comedy song with myself with that song). Before that, you can go down the list, "Blame Canada", "Hakuna Matata", "Be Our Guest", "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow",... stretching the definition of a comedy song as far as possible, you'd have to go back to Stephen Sondheim's song from "Dick Tracy", "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)" and then, good luck after that. Probably "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" from "Butch Cassidy..." or "Talk to the Animals" from "Doctor Dolittle". So, based on what few predictors and trends I can find, hmm, don't be too surprised by a Glen Campbell upset here, but I think Common and John Legend are gonna give "Selma" something.
PREDICTION: "Glory"-"Selma"-John Stevens aka John Legend and Lonnie Lynn aka Common
The Grand Budapest Hotel-Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
The Imitation Game-Production Design: Maria Djurkovic; Set Decoration: Tatiana McDonald
Interstellar-Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
Into the Woods-Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
Mr. Turner-Production Design: Suzie Davies: Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts
This is quite a good category this year. Any other year, "Mr. Turner" might be an upset here, considering just how difficult some of that was to replicate. "Interstellar" I'm pretty much eliminating 'cause a lot of the voters try not to go with films here where the production design looks mostly like it was special effects. Also, both "Interstellar" and "Into the Woods" lost the Art Directors Guild Award for Fantasy Film to "Guardians of the Galaxy", which isn't even nominated. "Mr. Turner" didn't get a ADG nomination, but "The Grand Budapest Hotel", did win the Period Film category against "The Imitation Game", and it's won most every award up 'til now, and frankly this is an easy pick. I'm more amazed that this is the first time a Wed Anderson film has ever been nominated in this category. Production Design is so critical to his films, especially his scripts; it's bizarre that it's only now being honored.
PREDICTION-"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
American Sniper-Alan Robert Murray and Bob Asman
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)-Martin Hernandez and Aaron Glascock
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies-Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
Unbroken-Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro
We go through this every year, but it's easy to forget, Sound Editors are the people who are creating the sounds, while Sound Mixing is the use of those sounds, the distribution of them on the screen. So these people, create the sounds. Now, traditionally, we look around for, the most sounds, as opposed to the truly new inventions of sounds or recording of them. This is why most are looking at "American Sniper", especially since, this is the most popular film in the category in the category, one of only two Best Picture nominees along with "Birdman...." although I don't know if people will notice the sounds from that film. That said, Richard King, the great Sound Editor for "Interstellar", he's won three of these Oscars already, and I have to think that, that movie probably had the most innovative sounds created of the bunch, and if there's any momentum for that film at all in the Academy, it would probably be here. It was an underperformer all year across all awards, but there is some who might be fans, and the difficult thing is trying to figure out is how much the Academy really like "American Sniper". It was a late-comer and it seems like they like it, but it's probably the film that I suspect has fallen the most since the nominations came out, and while it's breaking records at the box office, I don't suspect it's as well-liked as some thing. I gotta trust the Guilds though, and they split Foley for "American Sniper", "Birdman..." won the Feature Music award and "Unbroken" won the Dialogue/ADR category, but I suspect that the Foley award is the big one.
PREDICTION: "American Sniper"
American Sniper-John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, and Walt Martin
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)-Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano and Thomas Varga
Interstellar-Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten
Unbroken-Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano and David Lee
Whiplash-Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley
Okay, this is where the Sound Mixing and Sound Editing does make a difference. Now, yes, mostly even though it is the Branches of the Academy that determine nominees, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing and very similar and that often means the nominations between the categories are very similar, however, something that does distinguish Sound Mixing and Sound Editing is when a film has a distinct amount of music involved. Usually, this means a musical, but "Whiplash"'s nomination here, is a clue. combining those numerous sounds of drums and into this orchestral note, makes "Whiplash", not an anomaly here, but a very distinct contender. Usually these two awards almost always go together, but when there's a difference, like "Chicago", "Les Miserables" recently, it's usually when music is involved. Since, under my predictions, they'll honor "American Sniper" in Editing, they don't need to honor it in Mixing and frankly, the majority of the Academy prefers "Whiplash" anyway. Also, it doesn't help "American Sniper" that it didn't win the Guild Award here, which actually went to "Birdman..." and if there's a "Birdman..." run, in could be an upset in a category like this or Sound Editing that propels it later. However, "Whiplash" wasn't nominated by the CAS, Cinema Audio Society, normally a bad sign, but I think the movie has picked up momentum since, and the fact that it did get into the Oscars is also a clue. "Whiplash" also won the BAFTA for Sound, so people are noticing it. This looks like an upset at first, but this is actually an easy call.
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-Richar Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer
One of the Gold Derby editors looked up this bizarre statistic that no superhero movie, and no "Planet of the Apes" movie, of any kind, has ever won the Oscar for Visual Effects. Well, that's- if that stays true, then "Interstellar"'s got this. No Best picture nominee here to fall back on, although "Interstellar" probably got a good number of votes for us to presume it's the favorite going in, although I guess you can argue "Guardians of the Galaxy" but, I'm either way, I'm not so positive in that presumption. Anyway, it's between "Interstellar" and "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes", the rest are also-rans, and the VES Awards gave their big prize to "Dawn..." although "Interstellar" did win one or two things here and there, but I think the vote is split, and I think there's some who would like to make up the award to "Dawn..." because they didn't give the award to "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" a couples years back, some thought that was a mistake. It could happen, that lost to "Hugo" which was a 3-D movie, and that was part of a run where 3-D films kept winning here, "Hugo", "Life of Pi" and "Gravity" last year, but there's no 3-D nominee this time, there isn't that to fall back on. I'm not sure a lot of people liked "Interstellar" in the Academy; I know I liked "Dawn..." much more than I like "Rise..." even, and I think there could be people looking for an excuse to go against it, and they've got a good one here. I think this is really is a toss-up. "Interstellar" won at BAFTA and Critics, Joe Letteri is a legend is special effects, but he's won like five times, maybe they'd rather spread the wealth. Some don't like Motion-Capture performances, there's good and bad reasons on both sides. This is really down to a coin flip.
PREDICTION: "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"
ANIMATED SHORT FILM
The Bigger Picture-Dir.: Daisy Jacobs; Pro.: Christopher Hees
The Dam Keeper-Robert Kondo & Dice Tsusumi
Feast-Dir.: Patricia Osborne; Pro.: Kristina Reed
Me and My Moulton-Torill Kove
A Single Life-Joris Oprins
This is always a fun category, but not always a predictable one. Last year, the biggest upset came out of this category when "Hublot" upset "Get a Horse". Disney's got a new one in here with "Feast", that's projected as the favorite, although "The Dam Keeper" and "The Bigger Picture" are also getting a lot of support and votes as well, particularly "The Dam Keeper"; that's the most likely one for the upset. The only past winner here is Torill Kove, the Danish animator, she won for "The Danish Poet" back in '06; I think she's a bit of a longshot here. "A Single Life" is the one I hear almost as much praise about as any, that's a Canadian filmmaker, didn't look like much to me, when I looked at a trailer, but I'm hearing that this is a really inventive short, but most don't have it in the running, and I think it's because of the short running time. It's like four minutes long, and while this is a short category, one that short can get nominated if it's good, but usually a winner in this category has some heft, (Short films, btw, Oscar rules, 40 minutes or less) and some of the more prominent winners, "Peter & the Wolf" for instance from Suzie Templeton, was over half an hour, which is very long for animation btw, that's a little longer than the average, but six minutes, minimum, 6-10 for a cartoon, maybe fifteen, something that really feels like a full story. I think that's why "The Dam Keeper", which at eighteen minutes is the longest of these nominees, has been pushed up as a favorite; not just story, but technical animation skill, including most animation is also sometimes considered. And it's a close race here, between "Feast" and "The Dam Keeper", and I'm looking around for an upset, but I'm gonna stick with "Feast", because it seems to also have a similar emotional of the last Disney short that won in this category, "Paperman", which won a couple years ago, and Hollywood in general, is really thrilled that Disney is really devoted to re-establishing their animated shorts division, and frankly, they've been doing a really tremendous job with that with these last couple shorts, and I think they'd want to reward that.
Aya-Oded Binnum and Mihal Brezis
Boogaloo and Graham-Dir.: Michael Lennox; Pro.: Ronan Blaney
Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Buerre de Yak)-Dir.: Wei Lu; Pro.: Julien Feret
Parvaneh-Dir.: Talkhon Hamzavi; Pro.: Stefan Eichenberger
The Phone Call-Dir.: Mat Kirby; Pro.: James Lucas
Oh. I'm been staring at this category for a few days now. There's always some kind of pattern to how to pick this category, but somebody that can fly out the window. "The Phone Call" right now is the favorite, although"Boogaloo and Graham" won the BAFTA award although, take that with a grain of salt, 'cause in general there's very littel correlation between what short films are eligible for awards, anywhere, including the Oscars; there's a whole process you need to go through and- I don't even want to get into that, but this isn't as much, they went through every short film that was made or released in a given year and these were the best five; you have to submit your film for each short. (And frankly, there's so many short films made every year the Academy couldn't do that, honestly, there's just way too many too sort through.) I think we can eliminate "Butter Lamp..." 'cause it's a bit more avant-garde than the rest of the titles. "Parvaneh" is also getting a few votes that's probably the one that might be the more-eh, important-feeling film of the bunch. Personally, I'm tempted to pick "Aya", which is the one that looks the most interesting to me but I think based on, the projections and the few things I've been hearing, I think "The Phone Call," which I thought initially was the favorite because it has the biggest stars in it, Sally Hawkins and Jim Broadbent was parts in it; that's not always a guarantee sign, but it also seems to be the popular choice anyway. There's a few upsets out there, I'd be wary of "Boogaloo..." and "Aya", but it looks like "The Phone Call", pretty much. I'm not 100% on this by any means, but I just have trouble with visualizing the other scenarios. Too much trouble to ignore.
PREDICTION: "The Phone Call"
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1-Dir.: Ellen Goosenberg Kent; Pro.: Dirk Wilutzky
Our Curse-Dir.: Tomasz Sliwenski; Pro.: Maciej Slesicki
The Reaper (La Parka)-Gabriel Serra Arguello
White Earth-J. Christian Jenson
And finally the category for Who Can Depress the Hell Out of Us the Quickest, better known as the Documentary Short category this year. Jesus Christ, suicidal veterans, a terminally mother writing a blog to her kids a family who's son suffers from Ondine's Disease and has to breathe with a breathing machine, a man who works as the slaughterer in a slaughterhouse, and the joyous one of the bunch, an immigrant family who's spending the winter in North Dakota and work on the oil pipeline in the middle of literally nowhere. That's the five nominees this year; no wonder nobody pays attention to this category. This category's unpredictable in general, um, in general, it's looking like "Crisis Hotline..." is the favorite at the moment; that seems to be the one picking up the steam; HBO is behind that one, so it's probably the one that's being pushed the most. "Joanna" and "Our Curse" are the two that most sorta suspect are second choices; I suspect "White Earth" is probably the real sleeper here, but most suspect it's between "Crisis...", "Joanna" and "Our Curse". I think the HBO machine gonna pull this one out though and frankly, "Crisis Hotline..." happens to be the only one of the nominees I've heard universal acclaim for anyway. If "White Earth" wins, I'll be pissed that I didn't take those odds though, but I know better than to just play a hunch.
PREDICTION: "Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1"