So to continue with the predictions, we’ve already covered all the safe ground. Now we verge out into The Complete Unknown. We’ll break them into two categories for this post; they’re all pretty equally up in the air, but there are pretty clearly the ones that people care about, and… everything else.
American Sniper Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
Boyhood Sandra Adair
The Grand Budapest Hotel Barney Pilling
The Imitation Game William Goldenberg
Whiplash Tom Cross
Whiplash looks like the frontrunner here, but come on, Boyhood took 12 years of footage and made a movie out of it. That’s hard to count out. So, one of those, I guess. I hated Whiplash and didn’t hate Boyhood, but for some reason they don’t give me a vote. This is going to be tough, because whichever one I pick will make me mad when the other wins.
The Grand Budapest Hotel Alexandre Desplat
The Imitation Game Alexandre Desplat
Interstellar Hans Zimmer
Mr. Turner Gary Yershon
The Theory of Everything Jóhann Jóhannsson
The problem with being good and getting nominated more than once is that you kind of split your own vote, almost by definition. While Interstellar is being underawarded, I don’t think it’s going to stop here, unfortunately. The frontrunner appears to be Johann Johannsson. I don’t think that Grand Budapest Hotel‘s power extends beyond the visual categories.
Winner: Johann Johnnsson
American Sniper Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
Interstellar Richard King
Unbroken Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro
Confession that would be more of a confession if I weren’t so completely out of this Oscar season: I still don’t know what the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing is. I know one is usually war and one is usually music, so my guess since The Hobbit is in this one and Whiplash is in the other one that that’s the difference. Apparently this category used to be “Sound Effects Editing”, which makes its purpose more clear, but god help me if I can then explain what Sound Mixing is. So… American Sniper. War, and the sounds thereof.
Winner: American Sniper
American Sniper John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga
Interstellar Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten
Unbroken Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee
Whiplash Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley
See above, except we’ll go ahead and go with Whiplash, because music.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
Guardians of the Galaxy Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
Interstellar Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher
X-Men: Days of Future Past Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer
I’ve seen… one of these movies. Wait, no! Two! And they’re the only ones without a franchise associated, which was not intentional, but I will embrace anyway as the snob I am. My instinct is that this is Interstellar‘s category to lose, because it is by far the most Oscarsy movie in the category, but because it’s the only Oscarsy movie that could also mean it’s kind of out of its element. None of the others stands out as a competitor; it could be that lacking serious partisans among the comic book crowd (since, uh, they’re all comic book franchises), it goes to the Attempt At Real Art by default.
Big Hero 6 Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli
The Boxtrolls Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight
How to Train Your Dragon 2 Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold
Song of the Sea Tomm Moore and Paul Young
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura
This might have gone in the next category if The LEGO Movie had made it, but lacking that as an obvious frontrunner, I guess Dragon? Song of the Sea and The Tale of Princess Kaguya are both classic small movies that are honored just to be nominated, and neither Big Hero 6 nor The Boxtrolls seems to have the same kind of broad appeal that Dragon does. Broad appeal isn’t always the answer, but I don’t see a better one here.
Winner: How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Big Guns
American Sniper Written by Jason Hall
The Imitation Game Written by Graham Moore
Inherent Vice Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything Screenplay by Anthony McCarten
Whiplash Written by Damien Chazelle
Having two screenplay categories is stupid. Okay, fine, it’s not stupid, I am just reticient to have to figure out what counts in which category every year, which is why I just wait for the nominations to come out and then pick them over after that.
This feels like an entire category of also-rans. In my heart, at least. I accept, begrudgingly, that The Imitation Game have a bunch of nominations; it is terrible and I hated it. I thought The Theory of Everything was lovely, but the writing stands out less than the acting. I’ve heard a certain notion of “Bradley Cooper really elevated the source material!” which doesn’t speak highly of the source material, and Inherent Vice didn’t get anything else, so that’s not it. So, ugh, Whiplash, I guess.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
Boyhood Written by Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
The Grand Budapest Hotel Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
Nightcrawler Written by Dan Gilroy
NIGHTCRAWLER! While I will hold it bitterly in my heart forever that Jake Gyllenhaal didn’t get nominated for Nightcrawler, I would forgive everything if it won here. It won’t, so I don’t have to worry about accidentally appearing magnanimous in public. There’s a consistent narrative (perhaps erroneously) that the Academy likes to reward movies that make it look good (see also: Argo, Hugo, The Artist, etc), and Birdman certainly is a film about Acting and Actors and The Craft. It’s the frontrunner? But it feels like a serious three-way race between Birdman, Boyhood, and Grand Budapest Hotel. I’m going to steal Mark Harris’ logic and point out that if you look at the most recent winners, this has been the place to reward a good movie that doesn’t stand a chance of winning Best Director or Picture, so I’ll predict that this is the last stop on Wes Anderson express.
Winner: Grand Budapest Hotel
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Boyhood Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher Bennett Miller
The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson
The Imitation Game Morten Tyldum
It’s really exciting in years when Oscar races are close, particularly at the very top, but for some reason, that also makes it really hard to choose. Between Director and Picture the consensus seems to be that Boyhood and Birdman are the two options, but whether either one takes both or it splits in either direction are all apparently equally likely. In these instances, I pick the option where I’m going to be the least frustrated if I’m wrong. So working through that logic, if I pick Birdman and Boyhood wins, I’m going to smacking my leg and saying “I knew I should have picked that! It was filmed over 12 years! ARGH!” whereas if the opposite happens, I’ll shrug and say “you know, everyone was picking it, it was probably going to win, but still.” I mean, I’ll be annoyed either way to be wrong, but I’ve got to think that Boyhood gets recognized at the top. To split my vote, then, I’ll say Iñárritu gets director here. But argh, I will not be at all surprised if that’s completely the opposite.
Winner: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
See above analysis, since it all kind of ran together.