FOTS Oscar Preview, Part 2: The Rest

In which our resident prognosticators attempt to help you win your Oscar pool. Today, we look at the remaining awards…

Read Part 1 of our preview here.

 

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

David: Frozen, Frozen, Frozen. Will there be a number of voters wishing to acknowledge Hayao Miyazaki for his final film? Sure. But not nearly enough. This would also be Disney’s first-ever win since the category’s been introduced (Pixar doesn’t count).

Chase: Say what you will about Cate Blanchett being the lock of the night, but I put that label on Frozen. It’s got the biggest choke hold on the animated award since Pixar was in its heyday.

Sean: Frozen is unstoppable.  It’s a return to the golden age of Disney…. blah blah blah.  Actually, I finally attempted to watch it and found it to be a colossal bore with none of the wit or imagination of the films it so desperately wants to imitate.  In fact, after “Let it Go”, I fell asleep… Perhaps I’ll try again in a few months, but I’m not holding my breath.  I’ll use this time as my bathroom break on Oscar night, unless Miyazaki pulls off an upset.  That’s a speech I’d love to see happen.

Rachel: Frozen reclaimed the princess story for Disney, and I see you Sean! No “blah blah blah” about it; this is CLASSIC Disney at play here. I enjoyed ALL of the films listed in this category as animated films upped the game this year, finally proving that you do not need adult humor to make a cartoon enjoyable. Walt would be proud (and probably happy enough to slap his secretary on the bottom…).

 

BEST FOREIGN FEATURE
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Omar (Palestinian territories)

David: I haven’t seen any of these, but current consensus gives Italy’s The Great Beauty the edge. Any of you guys have a clue?

Chase: Sadly, neither of my two beloved foreign films, Blue is the Warmest Color and The Past, were nominated this year (because the nomination process for this award is wildly complicated and nonsensical). It’s a weird award that’s technically given to the film’s submitting country and not the director or producer of the film itself. A lot of really great films have lost this award or not been nominated at all, and that leads to this category being a bit of a soapbox for me. The Great Beauty is the frontrunner after the Globes, but I’m just betting a hunch on The Hunt (Denmark). 8 1/2 already won this award for Italy once. I just don’t see what’s a very similar film from the same country winning it again. Just a hunch.

Rachel: The Hunt should have been nominated for Best Picture, and had it been released later in the year, I think that would be the case. The Great Beauty is lovely and remarkably filmed, but none of these captivated me like The Hunt, and I am willing the bet the voters will agree.

Sean: I’m guessing it’s going to be The Great Beauty, but really I’m just grasping at straws here.

 

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Happy” (Despicable Me 2) — Pharrell Williams
“Let it Go” (Frozen) — Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez
“The Moon Song” (Her) — Karen O, Spike Jonze
“Ordinary Love” (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) — U2, Paul Hewson
“Alone Yet Not Alone” (Alone Yet Not Alone) — Bruce Broughton, Dennis Spiegel

David: Thanks to “Alone Yet Not Alone” being a nominee, yet not a nominee, Oscar producers can breathe a sigh of relief about the (already awkward) performance segment of the program. It’s kind of like in Cool Runnings when the Olympic council decided only then to enforce the rules to (temporarily) knock the Jamaicans from the field. “Alone’s” inclusion was just embarrassing. For everyone. Not that it matters; it’s another easy win for Frozen, and a completed EGOT for Robert Lopez.

Chase: I’m dying to see Robert Lopez get on stage and pull Tracy Jordan’s EGOT pendant from underneath his shirt. Please, please let that happen. “Let it Go” wins here.

Sean: Lopez’s blatant rip-off of “Defying Gravity” will win the night.  So yes, “Let it Go” it is unless the Academy wants to see U2 get an Oscar.

Rachel: So, Sean, I get the feeling you are trying to say something about Frozen….“Let it Go” will win after the upset at the Globes, but “Happy” is a fine darn song! I also got this email telling me I should vote for “Alone…”

 

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

David: Will and Should: Steven Price. Not to belabor the same point I made in our Golden Globes preview, but the score is surprisingly complex and brilliant. The other composers are heavyweights, but their scores are not.

Sean: Steven Price‘s score for Gravity is the clear favorite to win and it deserves it despite a hamfisted final track (but hey, at least it’s serving Cuaron’s vision completely.  That entire final sequence is the only questionable part of the film.)

Rachel: Steven Price. Gravity‘s score aides so much in pacing and adds an entirely new level of suspense; it’s simply breathtaking. Butler and Pallett’s work played an integral role in Her but not to the extent of Gravity.

Chase: As long as I’m writing about things I’d love to see happen, I’d love to see Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist William Butler and frequent AF collaborator Owen Pallett take home this award, but I can’t see it. They don’t have the industry connections in Hollywood, and this score just isn’t as remarkable as fellow rocker Trent Reznor’s was a few years ago. I’m disappointed that Globe winner Alex Ebert didn’t get a nomination here. I thought his score for All is Lost was the best I heard this year, but the same things that will keep Butler and Pallett from winning seems to have staved off his nomination, and that’s a shame. Steven Price wins because I have to pick my battles carefully if I’m going to win any Oscar pools this year.

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Grandmaster — Phillippe Le Sourd
Gravity — Emmanuel Lubezki
Inside Llewyn Davis — Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska — Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners — Roger Deakins

David: I love Delbonnel’s evocative work, but this is another victory for Gravity — following Life of Pi’s win last year — and signaling a new, digitally-aided understanding of what “Cinematography” actually is. It’s also yet another loss for Roger Deakins, who I hope stopped putting stock in these things years ago.

Chase: Sure, it’s digitally-aided, but Gravity looks incredible. I don’t think this one is that close.

Sean: Lubezki‘s accomplishment simply can’t be denied, though I remember people saying the same thing when he was nominated for 2006’s Children of Men.  You’ve got to wonder if we are on the verge of having two separate cinematography categories – one for traditionally lensed films and one for computer aided photography.

Rachel: There are special moments in Inside Llewyn Davis, frames that stand out as old album covers, that are so delicately assembled, masterfully crafted, but I think Lubezki benefits from Cuaron’s vision and wins here.

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
The Grandmaster
The Great Gatsby
The Invisible Woman

David: Barring (ahem) support for the plunging necklines of Hustle, voters probably won’t be able to resist the period charms of The Great Gatsby.

Chase: I’m just following the tradition that whoever wins biggest at the Costume Designers Guild Awards will win the Oscar, and that points towards 12 Years a Slave. 

Sean: The Academy likes big flashy period costumes, so I don’t think 12 Years a Slave has a shot in hell, despite their authenticity.  The Great Gatsby will win this easily, and though it certainly is bold and bright that shouldn’t take away from the immaculately detailed work.  In fact, I’m predicting that Catherine Martin will have two more Oscars on her shelf after this night is over.

Rachel: If I had my way, The Great Gatsby would win several other awards, but they are going to have to stick to just two. The first being costume design. The work is so meticulous, it is almost as the dresses will flow off the screen and caress the viewer.

 

BEST FILM EDITING
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity

David: I still maintain that Thelma Schoonmaker’s absence here (for Wolf of Wall Street) is the most upsetting snub of the year, but the point is moot when Gravity is sure to continue its march through the crafts departments. It’s easy to predict that it’ll win the most total awards on the night, even if most of them come during your bathroom break. But if there’s a spoiler, it’s Captain Phillips: Paul Greengrass and his editor Christopher Rouse won for 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum, and here is this film’s best chance to win anywhere. The Academy’s technicians are well aware of that.

Chase: It’s Gravity’s award to lose. David’s said everything that needs to be said here.

Sean:  Gravity will win this and deserves to next to the rest of the competition, but watch out for Captain Phillips.  And yes, Thelma Schoonmaker’s absence here is appalling.  If she was nominated she should have won.  No other film this year was bursting with as much passion and energy as Wolf of Wall Street and much of that was owed to Schoonmaker.

Rachel: GravityAbsolutely. Imagine having that footage in front of you in a timeline?! The work is genius.

 

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Dallas Buyers Club
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger

Chase: It’s reported that the entire makeup budget for Dallas Buyers Club was just $250, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t work miracles. It’s a pretty stunning achievement that they managed to influence the look of all these AIDS victims’ dramatic weight loss on that paltry allowance. Plus, Bad Grandpa and The Lone Ranger? I mean, come on.

Sean:  Dallas Buyers Club seems to be the only credible option.  I’m not a fan of the film, but how exactly did American Hustle miss here?

David: Because nothing with “Jackass Presents” in the title can ever win an Academy Award, should be a landslide for the low-budget work on Dallas Buyers Club.

Rachel: Dallas Buyers Club. But in a land where Eminem and Three Six Mafia are Academy Award winners….who’s to say Jackass cannot win a few…in the future. Their time will come.

 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Gravity
The Great Gatsby
Her

David: Another win for Gatsby would make Sean happy, I’m sure. He’ll probably get it. Though my vote, personally, would be for the sherbet-y palette of Her.

Chase: I agree with the personal sentiment for Her, but I see American Hustle winning here. Whatever problems that film had weren’t related to how awesomely 1970s it always looked. Plus, it’s a spot for Hustle to pick up another award on what I kind of expect to be a light night for it.

Sean: And this is where Catherine Martin will pick up her second trophy for the evening.  Yes, Gatsby will win this and I will be pleased as punch.  Strikingly gorgeous work.  Say what you will about the film (we all know I adore it), but its crafts elements cannot be denied.

Rachel: This is the only other award The Great Gatsby will win, but I think the production design is owed far more to the director here. Baz knows what he wants, and really, even tough critics of that film cannot deny the sheer beauty and attention to detail presented before them.

 

BEST SOUND EDITING
All Is Lost
Captain Phillips 
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor

BEST SOUND MIXING
Captain Phillips 
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Inside Llewyn Davis 
Lone Survivor 

David: Still more Gravity, though I suppose Llewyn Davis has a fighting chance for Mixing by virtue of being kind of a musical. But, really. Gravity.

Chase: This is probably Captain Phillips‘s only other chance at a sympathy plaudit, but Gravity is going to swallow all of the technical awards like a supernova collapsing under it’s own…(wait for it)…gravitational pull.

Sean: Gravity‘s soundscape is almost as remarkable as its cinematography.  It’s the only logical choice in both categories.

Rachel: Gravity/Gravity.

 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness

David: Gravity. Duh. Not remotely close (even with the magnificent Smaug nearby), and by my own predictions that makes seven in total.

Sean:  Any other year and Smaug would take this for the creation of the dragon alone, but it would be the biggest upset of the night if Gravity lost this award.

Chase: Smaug was as incredible of an achievement as Gollum was when the Rings trilogy hit the screen, but the world has moved on. The fantasy is over for Jackson’s work. It’s Gravity.

Rachel: Gravity , if any film in the history of the this award has deserved it, it’s Gravity. I know that is a little bit of hyperbole, but it is true, nonetheless.

 

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Feral
Get a Horse! 
Mr. Hublot 
Possessions
Room on the Broom

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
CaveDigger 
Facing Fear
Karama Has No Walls
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
Helium
Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
The Voorman Problem

David: Ah, and we end on the hardest categories of all. Throw a dart, you’ll have better luck. But when I fill out my sheet, I’m picking Get a Horse! (Disney), The Lady in Number 6 (Holocaust), and Voorman Problem (Martin Freeman). Good luck to the rest of you.

Chase: Here are the categories where Oscar pools are won and lost. I have a very fond memory of beating David one year in college because I correctly predicted that The Mozart of Pickpockets would win one of these awards. Get a Horse! looks gorgeous, so I’ll go there. Karama Has No Walls is thematically similar to the full length documentary The Square which I’m not picking to win, so Karama fills that void for voters. Finally, I’ll take Helium  because its got an English title, and it sounds uplifting (ha!). But who the heck knows?

Sean: Who knows!?  On my personal ballot I’m going with Get a Horse!, The Lady in Number 6, and Helium.  Do with that what you will.  It’s a crap shoot.

Rachel: It’s called research, boys, geesh. (Kidding. I’ve seen exactly 6 of these films…so no research done.) Get a Horse!, CavediggerThe Voorman Problem.

 

Find out which of us earns bragging rights for the year on Sunday night!

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