Update: Read Part 2 of these predictions here.
Well gang, Oscar season is almost over. With the 86th Annual Academy Awards set to air live Sunday, March 2 I figured it’d be a good time as any to start predicting the winners in the categories.
This first part consists of the documentary, shorts and craft/technical categories that go into making a film, but don’t get as much attention as the big eight categories (i.e. picture, direction and acting).
These predictions were made by looking at the winners in precursor awards and gut instincts. Winners are in bold and italicized just because it looks fancy. Enjoy reading through them, and don’t forget, if you use any of my predictions in your Oscar betting pool, you’re obligated to give me a portion of your winnings.
Let’s start this off by lumping together all the Oscars that acclaimed space thriller Gravity is a clearly a lock to win.:
All of the nominees in this category are either first-time Oscar nominees (Nebraska’s Phedon Papamichael and The Grandmaster’s Phillipe Le Sourd) or veterans of this category who have yet to win despite multiple nominations. Gravity’s Emmanuel Lubezki, who has six nominations under his belt, will win his first Oscar for the film’s thrillingly claustrophobic camerawork.
For most of the film’s runtime, Gravity’s score by Steven Price is the only sound you hear in the film. In a movie that’s surrounded by terrifyingly immersive silence, Price’s hauntingly beautiful score guides us through such awe-inspiring imagery, ranging from the destruction of a space station and astronauts in zero gravity that we see, but cannot hear.
Sound Mixing/Sound Editing
Part of what makes Gravity such a transcendent cinematic experience is how it astonishes not just because of its visuals, but also because of its sound, or rather lack of it.
Since there’s no sound in space, the movie is surrounded by silence, save for the muffled sounds coming from the inside of Sandra Bullock’s space suit. This adds to the disorienting, but immersive, feeling of being lost in space alongside Bullock, which only serves to make her struggle feel more urgent and personal.
Gravity will win. No explanation needed.
*From here on out, there will be no more mention of Gravity in this post*
Best Animated Feature Film
Maybe the Academy will want to recognize acclaimed anime director Hayao Miyazaki for his 20th feature, The Wind Rises, a historical WWII drama which Miyazaki has said would be his last film.
However, the edge goes to the critically acclaimed Frozen, which, let’s face it, is the one that most members of the Academy are familiar with.
Dear Academy, if Frozen’s “Let it Go” doesn’t win, a riot will happen.
Sincerely, every Frozen fanatic.
12 Years a Slave could win here for its subtle, simple sets. But seeing how this category usually rewards the film with the most lavish, beautiful sets, expect The Great Gatsby to win instead.
Make-up and Hairstyling
How the heck is American Hustle not nominated here?!?! Christian Bale’s elaborate comb-over is worthy of an Oscar alone.
Anyway, how hilarious would it be if the the Jackass spinoff Bad Grandpa won this award? I doubt it’ll happen though, so I’m giving it to Best Picture nominee Dallas Buyers Club.
The most acclaimed film in this category is the Indonesian documentary The Act of Killing, which focuses on Anwar Congo- an Indonesian militant responsible for the deaths of 1,000 “communists” during a genocide in the mid-1960s. The documentary features Congo and several of his colleagues reenacting the murders they’ve committed that turned them into local heroes.
Personally, I think that The Act of Killing might be too dark for the Academy’s taste, so they’ll probably go for the “inspirational” pick 20 Feet From Stardom, a critically acclaimed documentary that explores the lives of background singers.
Foreign Language Film
The Italian drama The Great Beauty has a couple of advantages that will help it emerge victorious in this category. After all, the film won in this category at the Golden Globes last month and at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (the British Oscars) last weekend.
The closest competition it has is the Dutch romantic tragedy, The Broken Circle Breakdown, in which two musicians fall for each other due to their love for American Bluegrass music.
Documentary Short Subject
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved my Life tells the story of Alice Herz Sommer, the world’s oldest pianist and living Holocaust survivor. Admittedly, I haven’t seen any of the nominees here, but this category usually rewards the most uplifting film in the category, and Number 6 looks like it fits the bill.
Animated Short Film
Disney’s Get a Horse! has the advantage of starring Mickey Mouse, which to me is good enough to see it win.
Live Action Short Film
Another category in which I’m not familiar with any of the nominees. Going by the plot description alone though, I can see the British short The Voorman Problem, in which a psychiatrist squares off against a patient who claims to be God, winning because it sounds really cool.
What are your predictions? Comment below, follow me on Twitter, and keep an eye out for Part 2 of my predictions next Thursday!