Oscar Preview, Part 2: The Rest

It’s the second half of our predictions roundtable: Music, Cinematography, Effects, and more.

For Part 1, click here!

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Ida
Leviathan
Tangerines
Timbuktu
Wild Tales

DAVID: Poland’s Ida is the de facto frontrunner, simply because it also landed a nomination in another category (for its gorgeous black-and-white cinematography.) Also, you know, it’s set during World War II.

RACHEL: Again, I’ve only seen three of these — Ida seems to hit all the points Academy voters love: war, black and white, people in distress.

CHASE: Pity the soul that only saw three! Just kidding, Rachel. I saw none of these, so I’ll just have to fall in line and pick Ida.

SEAN: Ida was supposedly one of the best films of last year and it has dominated the season in this category. It’s been streaming on Netflix for a while now for anyone who wants to check it out.

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IDA
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ida
Mr. Turner
Unbroken

DAVID: You can count on Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki winning back-to-back awards, as his groundbreaking work on last year’s Gravity was even surpassed by the technical mastery of Birdman‘s “single-take” gambit. Roger Deakins (his 12th nomination with no win, this year for Unbroken) will just have to keep waiting.

RACHEL: Lubezki’s work on Birdman is not quite Rope; consequently, it really works, harkening back to Altman and other “the show must go on” films, it’s the glue that holds the whole movie together into one frantic, wakened dream.

CHASE: Among the many many great things going on in Birdman, Lubezki’s work just might be the best. He’s been behind the lens for my favorite film 3 of the last 4 years: Birdman, Gravity, and The Tree of Life. His work is unparalleled.

SEAN: Lubezki will win his second-straight Oscar for Birdman, though he should have at least 3 by now. His lensing of Children of Men remains an impressive technical accomplishment that laid the ground work for both Gravity and Birdman.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Maleficent
Mr. Turner

DAVID: You can never count out three-time winner Colleen Atwood (though the Wolf’s zoot suit should disqualify her), but it should be another three-time winner, Milena Canonero, that benefits from Grand Budapest Hotel‘s romp through the artistic categories.

RACHEL: Nothing beats Angelina Jolie in that Maleficent get-up. On the whole, however, Milena Canonero paints in the lines of the Anderson vision, weaving through alternate time periods effortlessly.

CHASE: I hate how much I’m just following the crowd this year, but my maverick nature hasn’t led me to award-predictions gold in the past, so I’ll front-run with Grand Budapest Hotel.

SEAN: I’m predicting The Grand Budapest Hotel to pick up at least 5 Oscars on Sunday. It’s a crafts showcase that is obviously well-loved by the industry. Costume design should be an easy get.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
BEST FILM EDITING

American Sniper
Boyhood
Grand Budapest
The Imitation Game
Whiplash

DAVID: My pet category is one of this year’s most intriguing, especially with no Birdman in the fold (apparently it looked a little too seamless). We can eliminate Grand Budapest and the unremarkable Imitation Game, which leaves three very different styles: Sandra Adair’s elegant, elegaic work on Boyhood, Joel Cox & Gary Roach on American Sniper (which, like Bourne Ultimatum or Black Hawk Down, could win if voters confuse “Best Editing” for “Most Editing”), and Tom Cross’s kinetic, virtuoso, masterful efforts on Whiplash.  Cross is obviously my choice, but a win here for Boyhood may signal how much support there is for the film.

RACHEL: Your choice, David, really?! Look, I think Cross aids a delightfully panicked pace in Whiplash — it’s truly marvelous work. BUT COME ON! Adair had to BLEED (like Linklater) here — working with TWELVE YEARS of footage and different mediums, culminating in an opus of a life. Her work was GENIUS!  (Overselling?)

CHASE: Wasn’t I just complaining about following the herd? I’ll go Tom Cross for his work on Whiplash to mix things up. He certainly deserves it.

SEAN: Either Adair or Cross could take this for their respective films, which have both won significant editing awards during the course of the season. I think Cross has a slight edge due to the dazzling editing showcase that is the last 20 minutes of Whiplash. Adair’s work is more subtle and considered. Many may not even realize the extent in which her editing helped craft Boyhood as a whole.

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

DAVID: Foxcatcher and Guardians both have one singular piece of makeup going for it: Steve Carell’s nose and the hulking Drax, respectively. Grand Budapest has a dozen. I’m sticking with my prediction that Wes Anderson’s masterpiece will have a very good first hour of the broadcast.

RACHEL: This is not the Oscar for most color (Guardians) — although, everyone is kind of green or blue in that movie —  or largest nose (Foxcatcher), Grand Budapest wins on the sheer amazement of Tilda Swinton’s getup.

CHASE: I’ve barely had any time to mention how much I hated Foxcatcher so far. I do. A lot. Color, style, and (fake) history add up to a win for Grand Budapest Hotel.

SEAN: The Grand Budapest Hotel will pick up another well-deserved trophy.

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THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Mr. Turner
The Theory of Everything

DAVID: If the two Desplat scores (Imitation Game and the superior Grand Budapest) cancel each other out, all the precursors point to Johann Johannsson — who, unlike the others, is given a huge, standout moment at the end of his film — taking it for Theory of EverythingI do have to say, however, that Hans Zimmer’s work in Interstellar ought to be good enough to win.

RACHEL: Again, I’m not an old, white guy, so the fact that I would have voted for Zimmer — the score is a character in Interstellar. Vegas says the mundane Johannsson manipulations in the mundane The Theory of Everything.

CHASE: Theory of Everything? I’ll pour one out for the only sound award Birdman wasn’t nominated for. Where is Antonio Sanchez’s glorious jazz drumming? It is the heartbeat of that film.

SEAN: Shoot me, but Johannsson’s work on The Theory of Everything is lush and moving and wouldn’t be a bad winner at all (good things can exist in mediocre movies, crazy I know). That being said, I fully expect Desplat to win for his playful, gonzo work in The Grand Budapest Hotel.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

“Everything is Awesome,” The Lego Movie
“Glory,” Selma
“Grateful,” Beyond the Lights
“I’m Not Going to Miss You,” Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
“Lost Stars,” Begin Again

DAVID: There are enough voters angry about Selma getting snubbed in all the other categories that they’ll use this one as a referendum. John Legend and Common’s “Glory” takes it in a walk. But this really is a much stronger category than usual!

RACHEL: Vegas says “Glory” — Common and Legend will look awesome in their tuxes. On the whole, I thought “Lost Stars” was the weakest song in Begin Again, preferring the bitterness of “Like a Fool.” And of course, I would love to see a song that emphasizes “make sure your shoes are tied!” win, but whatevs.

CHASE: Seriously. Wouldn’t it just be so much fun to be able to say that Andy Samberg is an Oscar winner? He’s already got a Grammy, so that would be some sneaky EGOT progress. “Glory” in a landslide for Selma’s only win of the night – which is a crime.

SEAN: A weak consolation prize for snubbing Selma (the best film of 2014) in most key categories. Luckily, “Glory” really is deserving of the award and its performance and win will likely be one of the emotional highlights of the ceremony.

David Oyelowow tackles King role in 'Selma'
SELMA
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

DAVID: Why stop now? Grand Budapest Hotel, in the category it most deserves to win. Even more than screenplay. The other nominees are too indistinct or fatally flawed in other ways (looking at you, Into the Woods). Can you believe a Wes Anderson film has never won this category before?

RACHEL: Apparently, David and I are agreeing on everything today. Why stop now, indeed? The Grand Budapest Hotel.

CHASE: Grand Budapest Hotel. We can all be wrong together on Oscar night when something comes out of the blue.

SEAN: Into the Woods‘s nomination is a lazy voting joke. That one continuously recycled set of trees must have really floored voters in Hollywood unaccustomed to leaving their million-dollar homes. The Grand Budapest Hotel easily wins the Oscar it most deserves.

BEST SOUND EDITING

American Sniper
Birdman
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken

DAVID: I’m expecting American Sniper’s lone win to come here; war-centric films always have an advantage, and there are enough people who want to make sure Eastwood’s doesn’t leave empty-handed.

RACHEL: WAR! Totes always wins. American Sniper.

CHASE: How I hate to agree. American Sniper because battle audio is hard, yo.

SEAN: Birdman could take both sound categories, which would somewhat make up for its lack of a best score nomination. I would love to see Interstellar take this category, or even mixing just to see the internet’s head explode. But it’s likely American Sniper will be the victor here. Bullets, shrapnel, and screaming get ’em every time.

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INTERSTELLAR
BEST SOUND MIXING

American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

DAVID: Given the uproar specifically about the film’s sound mix, a win for Interstellar would be good for a laugh — but like how war films have a leg up for Effects, music films have a leg up here. Give me Whiplash.

RACHEL: WAR! American Sniper. But I really think Interstellar SHOULD.  What a risk!

CHASE: David usually knows what he’s talking about when I don’t. Whiplash.

SEAN: Whiplash should win this, but again, watch out for Sniper.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
X-Men; Days of Future Past

DAVID: This is a stacked category, even without the final Hobbit installment — I could easily see WETA’s spectacular work on Apes take it, and Guardians has a shot even though the Academy has a comic book movie problem. But at the end of the day, ILM’s gorgeous, boundary-pushing work in Interstellar is the clear and deserving winner. AMPAS will keep spreading the wealth on Sunday night.

RACHEL: Again, risk = reward. Interstellar created new worlds — and not in a comic book way. These are scientifically possible visuals.

CHASE: Exactly, Rachel. Sci-fi or not, Interstellar is a “real world” film compared to the three nominated comic book films.

SEAN: I’m hoping the Academy at large will realize what a technical breakthrough Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was, boldly leading visual effects and motion capture technology into the future. Nothing else compares to WETA’s work this year, not even Interstellar.

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FEAST
BEST ANIMATED SHORT

The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Feast
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT

Aya
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp
Parvaneh
The Phone Call

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press One
Joanna
Our Curse
The Reaper
White Earth

DAVID: Knowing next to nothing about these categories (as always), these are the darts I’m throwing: Disney’s charmer Feast, the Sally Hawkins/Jim Broadbent-starring The Phone Call, and the incredibly depressing-sounding Crisis Hotline. Good luck to the rest of you!

RACHEL: Because I have children, I have seen exactly one of these. Thank you, Disney! Feast. Vegas says: The Phone Call and Crisis Hotline.

CHASE: Time to throw dice! Feast, Aya, and The Reaper. Those are literal dice throws by the way. Happy Oscars!

SEAN: Sure.. what they said! Have a wonderful Oscar Sunday, everyone. I’m hoping that Neil Patrick Harris absolutely kills it and that we are in for more than a few surprises.

Tune in to the Academy Awards Sunday night on ABC!

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