Oscars 2015: Predictions, Predilections, and the Unjustifiably Ignored.

February 20, 2015  |  2015, Awards

OscarsPredicting Oscar winners is a fool’s errand, but never a dull one. For a gamut of reasons, I’ve absconded from much of the Oscar talk after the new year kicked in. Mainly because I lose interest once the narrative shifts into that ludicrous last stretch of the race, when months’ worth of predictions, forecasts, and desires, collide to dismantle every major participant down to their minutest details and flaws. The narrative shifts away from the actual films to the politics of the race, what it all means, why is it those two in particular, the lack of gender and race equality for the sake of gender and race equality, etc. Yawn.

That said, Andrew O’Hehir’s latest analysis on Salon.com is a must-read for Oscar fans. He gets the meaninglessness of it all, and explains how it’s that very notion the Academy Awards are now battling with, among other factors. Also, The Hollywood Reporter has been publishing some juicy insider reasoning from actual Oscar voters (who remain anonymous, partly because they can trash whatever they want, partly to secure whatever is left of their careers) all of which are no doubt meant to stir up controversy and fuel fiery debates. In other words, they’re super fun reads.

The ceremony will be aired this Sunday, on February 22nd, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris (a natural choice that I’m sincerely hoping won’t disappoint), so seeing as how Oscars are an unavoidable and fun evil, I’m throwing my predictions out there, in classic “Will Win/Should Win” fashion. Additionally, I’m including a third category for the horrendously omitted, where it applies. (Ignorance isn’t always a virtue, Bird-Man!)

SOUND EDITING

The nosebleed section of the technical awards, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing are the kind of categories where the only predictions that should matter are the ones that come from people who know what the hell they’re talking about. In reality, most people can’t tell the difference between an edit and a mix, but they’ll still take the opportunity to bash the film they want to see lose everything. So, while I’m no expert, I’ll consider the layman definition of sound editing as “the quality of the sound samples as they relate to their respective image.”

American-Sniper-Cooper-1

The Nominees

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

Who Will Win: “American Sniper”
Who Should Win: “Interstellar”
Who Was Unjustifiably Ignored:  “Fury”

SOUND MIXING

I’ll take the layman definition of sound mixing as “mixing dialogue, sound effects, ambience, and music into various channels to make a movie sound like a movie,” and go with that.

The Nominees Whiplash-4

American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

Who Will Win: “Whiplash”
Who Should Win:
“Whiplash”
Who Was Unjustifiably Ignored: “Fury”

MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

Very tough to feign interest in this category. Who cares about hair and makeup other than those who love hairstyles and makeup? Unless there’s some groundbreaking prosthetic work at hand, this category has pee break written all over it.

The Nominees 

Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Who Will Win: “Guardians of the Galaxy”
Who Should Win:
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” (purely because of how they made Tilda Swinton look)
Who Was Unjustifiably Ignored: “Snowpiercer” (purely because of how they made Tilda Swinton look)

VISUAL EFFECTS

Now we’re getting to the good stuff as far as technicals are concerned. Mainstream cinema has become a special effects visual orgy of pixels in Hollywood (O’Hehir touches on that in his Salon piece. Again, can’t recommend that article enough) so this category has become harder and harder to predict simply because the CGI has looked more life-like with each passing year. Remember “Gravity” from last year? Yeah, it looks dated already.

The Nominees Black-hole-model

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

Who Will Win: “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
Who Should Win:
“Interstellar” (call me cray, but realistic-looking black holes beat realistic-looking monkeys in my book)
Who Was Unjustifiably Ignored: A lump in my throat forms as I mouth these words, but if “Transformers: Age of Extinction” is good for anything, it’s visual effects. “Godzilla” could’ve also landed instead of one of the other three superhero flicks.

PRODUCTION DESIGN

Perhaps the most important technical category that most people give zero fucks about. If films are meant to be transportive, the Production Design team are the mechanical engineers who make sure that transportation is a success. So, for example, while “The Imitation Game” is a horribly bland, formulaic, and instantly forgettable profit-hungry film, its production design is marvellous because you literally feel like you’re in the 1940s.

The Nominees 

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

Who Will Win: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Who Should Win:
Really, any one of them would be a deserved winner. I’d vote for “Interstellar” because it did space better than last year’s “Gravity.”
Who Was Unjustifiably Ignored: Twist my arm, and I’d say take out “Into the Woods” and replace it with “Guardians of the Galaxy.” But, the justification is that there’s only room for five.

COSTUME DESIGN

I see this as going hand-in-hand with Production Design, because wardrobe is to actors what props are to sets and both work in tandem to place you into the film’s world. Period pieces are usually shoe-ins for this category, which luckily means another deserved nomination for the fantastic “Mr. Turner” (otherwise fantastically ignored in major categories) but I tend to lean toward any nominee who is the most inventive with their costumes.

The Nominees INHERENT VICE

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

Who Will Win: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Who Should Win:
“Inherent Vice” (while I love the costumes in ‘Hotel,’ what people forget is that costumes are practically production design in “Inherent Vice” because of the film’s close-ups and medium shots)
Who Was Unjustifiably Ignored: No one, really. If “Miss Julie” had more characters in it, that’d be the one. But with only three characters, it’d be unfair to call it unjustifiable.


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