Oscars Predictions 2014: The Easy Ones

grandbudapesthotelLast year, I had a whole week of predictions in every category, and it was awesome. This year, the ceremony is in two days and I still haven’t seen two of the freaking Best Picture nominees. You win some, you lose some. It’s obviously not stopping me from blogging anyway, since as we all know, actual quality has a vague and inconsistent correlation with the Oscar winners anyway.

There will be three total posts: this one, with the first half of the annotated picks, then the rest of the annotated picks, and then on Sunday I’ll post my actual picks list so you have it in one convenient place to mock me with.

We’ll go easy to hard, so to start with the easiest.

Mortal Locks

Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall in The Judge
Ethan Hawke in Boyhood
Edward Norton in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

I don’t know why this is so locked up, but it sure is. It’s an excellent lineup four deep, at least (I haven’t seen The Judge, and nothing I’ve heard about it has convinced me I’ve made the wrong decision yet). I think my preference would be either Mark Ruffalo, who is the single best thing in his movie, or Edward Norton, who is just a generally great thing anyway. It’s going to JK Simmons, though.

Winner: JK Simmons

Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette in Boyhood
Laura Dern in Wild
Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game
Emma Stone in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Meryl Streep in Into the Woods

This is just as cut and dry, though I don’t know why either. In Supporting Actor there’s at least a little bit of a career acheivement award going on, because JK Simmons has been a fantastic character actor forever. I don’t get the same vibe from this category, but it’s true that I’m apparently out of the loop this season. In any case, it’s Patricia Arquette’s to lose. But hooray for Laura Dern! Wild is so good and I hope more people see it.

Winner: Patricia Arquette

Documentary Feature

CitizenFour Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky
Finding Vivian Maier John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Last Days in Vietnam Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester
The Salt of the Earth Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier
Virunga Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

I’ve heard that many of these are quite good. I am happy for them. It’s going to CitizenFour.

Winner: CitizenFour


Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore in Still Alice
Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon in Wild

How great is it that Marion Cotillard got nominated? While I will never truly be over Rust and Bone not getting a foreign language nomination in its year, Marion Cotillard is super awesome and should be nominated more often. And in a non-English-languge role! Woohoo! That said, Alzheimer’s.

Winner: Julianne Moore

Who knows, but who would ever?

I’m doing the shorts as a separate category here, because they’re always such a crapshoot anyway.

Documentary Short Subject

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
Joanna Aneta Kopacz
Our Curse Tomasz Sliwinski and Maciej Slesicki
The Reaper (La Parka) Gabriel Serra Arguello
White Earth J. Christian Jensen

So just reading the titles, I thought to myself, “Self, that first title sure seems loaded. And the doc shorts are often full of feels.” And then the various sites I look to on the internet seem to indicate the same thing. So, uh, that?

Winner: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Animated Short Film

The Bigger Picture Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees
The Dam Keeper Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
Feast Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed
Me and My Moulton Torill Kove
A Single Life Joris Oprins

Not a freaking clue, especially since no one on the internet seems to have a strong idea either. Also, they all seem really sad. So let’s say Feast, I guess?

Winner: Feast

Live Action Short Film

Aya Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis
Boogaloo and Graham Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney
Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak) Hu Wei and Julien Féret
Parvaneh Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger
The Phone Call Mat Kirkby and James Lucas

The internet seems more settled on this one. Apparently The Phone Call has famous people in it (instead of no-names trying to make Important Art, which is often also the case), and also, it’s listed last alphabetically, so it’s the last one you get to on the Oscar Screener. Or so says Mark Harris, and I’m nowhere near not cynical enough to take that into account.

Winner: The Phone Call

I Might Have A Clue

(or I might not)


Steve Carell in Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper in American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

This category strikes me as so weird, because three of the people in it have appeared to be locks to win in the past year, and none of them are the person I’m ultimately picking. When Foxcatcher debuted at Cannes last year, there was this whole wave of Ooohhh, Steve Carell! Serious! Dark! Nose! It’s his to lose! Then Birdman came out wherever Birdman came out, and it was like Hey look! Michael Keaton! Career achievement! Raw! Etc! Then American Sniper came out and people went meh, but then the Oscar nominations got announced and Bradley Cooper got his third nomination in three years, and everyone was like Wow! He’s unstoppable! It’s his!

But, throughout all of that, the “playing someone with a progressive, debilitating disease” narrative has never ceased. While I wouldn’t ultimately be surprised if Bradley Cooper (whose moment of being the fad was most recent) got it, it feels like a slim enough chance I can’t not pick Mr. Redmayne.

Winner: Eddie Redmayne

Foreign Language Film

Ida Poland
Leviathan Russia
Tangerines Estonia
Timbuktu Mauritania
Wild Tales Argentina

So one of these films has played in theaters here, been pretty widely reviewed, and very much loved by the people who have seen it. Another one has existed in the US (Leviathan), but didn’t get anywhere near the same play. I can’t help but pick the popular one.

Winner: Ida

Production Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
The Imitation Game Production Design: Maria Djurkovic; Set Decoration: Tatiana Macdonald
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 seems to be going to Grand Budapest Hotel pretty consistently. So, yay! Wes Anderson!

Winner: Grand Budapest Hotel

Costume Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel Milena Canonero
Inherent Vice Mark Bridges
Into the Woods Colleen Atwood
Maleficent Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive
Mr. Turner Jacqueline Durran

Speaking of, from everything I can tell, this is setting up to be a minor sweep for Grand Budapest Hotel, which is just fine with me, since it doesn’t have a chance to get anything above the line, so to speak. It isn’t my favorite Wes Anderson film, but it wasn’t bad and I

Winner: Grand Budapest Hotel

Makeup and 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

A sweep which may well continue here. Giving three awards for designy things to any Wes Anderson movie is just fine with me. Also, not giving any awards to Steve Carrell’s giant nose is even more fine by me.

Winner: Grand Budapest Hotel


Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Emmanuel Lubezki
The Grand Budapest Hotel Robert Yeoman
Ida Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
Mr. Turner Dick Pope
Unbroken Roger Deakins

Something something crass Dick Poop joke something. Roger Deakins has been nominated a zillion times, by conservative estimate, but it appears that Emmanuel Lubezki is going to repeat. I can’t blame him, Birdman is a pretty spectacular spectacle.

Winner: Emmanuel Lubezki

Original Song

Everything Is Awesome from The Lego Movie Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
Glory from Selma
Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
Grateful from Beyond the Lights
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
I’m Not Gonna Miss You from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
Lost Stars from Begin Again
Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois

With the other films in this category, there’s one frontrunner and I just don’t feel comfortable enough saying they’re a lock. In this category, there are only two options and still a probable frontrunner, and I’m still not sure. This is the Opportunity to Give Selma an Award category, since it’s only nominated here and in Best Picture and it’s not winning that. At the same time, this is the only nomination for The LEGO Movie, which was beloved, particularly for its song. But that’s probably too young to stand much of a real chance. The internet is handing it right to “Glory,” so why not.

Winner: “Glory”

That neatly caps off things I have half a clue about, so I’ll cut this post off here. Coming next: All The Bafflement!

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