Oscar Breakdown: Predictions for the 2015 Academy Awards

The technical awards is where people win or lose their Oscar bracket. Usually everyone has a fairly good idea who will win the “big” awards. But the technical awards take a little more finesse in observation. I would like to point out that last year, I was only one away from perfection, guessing 23 out of 24 correctly. I have a feeling I will not be as close this year as a lot of these categories is still anyone’s game. Plus, as anyone will tell you, it is nearly impossible to guess the shorts. If you missed my other predictions you can read them at Michael Keaton vs. Eddie Redmayne and the 2015 Oscar Predictions for Acting and Boyhood vs. Birdman and the 2015 Oscar Predictions for Best Picture. If you are curious where I stand on last year’s films, you can get a more thorough look by checking out my 2014 Top Ten List. Since we have so many to go through, I’m going to run through these breakdowns and predictions a little quicker.

Writing – Adapted Screenplay
Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”
Damien Chazelle, “Whiplash”
Anthony McCarten, “The Theory of Everything”
Jason Hall, “American Sniper”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “Inherent Vice”

Personally, I don’t believe THE IMITATION GAME, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING or INHERENT VICE deserve to be in this category. While the life of Alan Turing is a fascinating one, THE IMITATION GAME failed in delivering his story properly. The movie was OK, but I believe is getting more attention just because people are first learning of his incredible story, which will help propel it to a victory. I’ll be rooting for WHIPLASH.

Winner: THE IMITATION GAME

Writing – Original Screenplay
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo, “Birdman”
Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Dan Gilroy, “Nightcrawler”
E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, “Foxcatcher”

I like seeing a little love for NIGHTCRAWLER in this category, but I think BIRDMAN’s ambitiously inclusive script should win out. It is original in every sense of the word, utilizing every possible element in one beautiful dance.

Winner: BIRDMAN

Birdman

Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman”
Roger Deakins, “Unbroken”
Robert D. Yeoman, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Dick Pope, “Mr. Turner”
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lynzewski, “Ida”

Emmanuel Lubezki is on a role, providing striking cinematography in two of my recent favorite films, THE TREE OF LIFE and GRAVITY. He has just added a third to that list and should runaway with this one, which will be his second consecutive win after last year’s.

Winner: BIRDMAN

Film Editing
Sandra Adair, “Boyhood”
Tom Cross, “Whiplash”
William Goldenberg, “The Imitation Game”
Joel Cox and Gary Roach, “American Sniper”
Barney Pilling, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

It’s a shame that BIRDMAN wasn’t nominated because the appearance of one continued take through the entire course of the film takes some truly masterful editing. However, the magic that BOYHOOD was able to achieve by piecing together a cohesive story over twelve years of filming is unbeatable.

Winner: BOYHOOD

Production Design
“Into the Woods”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Interstellar”
“The Imitation Game”
“Mr. Turner”

Thankfully, the Academy usually rewards the unique in this category. If there is one area where a Wes Anderson films excel, it’s production design.

Winner: THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

Makeup and Hairstyling
“Foxcatcher”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”

History has shown an appreciation for the more subtle makeup work. I think they will stick with that tradition by rewarding a film they clearly loved, that was based on reality rather than fantasy. Steve Carell was unrecognizable in FOXCATCHER and the makeup is a big reason he was able to pull out a nomination. But THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL has a strong chance too.

Winner: FOXCATCHER

Costume Design

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

Since THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL is the only film here worth seeing, I have to think it’s the front runner. But the Academy has occasionally given this reward to period pieces like MR. TURNER, so look for a possible upset.

Winner: THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

Music – Original Score
Hans Zimmer, “Interstellar”
Alexandre Desplat, “The Imitation Game”
Johann Johannsson, “The Theory of Everything”
Alexandre Desplat, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Gary Yershon, “Mr Turner”

This is always a tough category and this year is no exception. While THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING seems to be the overwhelming favorite, Alexandre Desplat was working overtime this past year and earned two nominations for thee of the year’s biggest films (He also scored UNBROKEN). While THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING could sneak a win due to Desplat splitting voters for THE IMITATION GAME and THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, I believe those voters who are on the fence will honor the guy nominated twice. Personally, I’m partial to Hans Zimmer for INTERSTELLAR.

Winner: THE IMITATION GAME

Music – Original Song
“Glory” by Common and John Legend, “Selma”
“Lost Stars” by Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois, Nick Lashley and Nick Southwood, “Begin Again”
“Everything Is Awesome” by Shawn Patterson, “The LEGO Movie”
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” by Glen Campbell, “Glenn Campbell: I’ll Be Me”
“Grateful,” “Beyond the lights”

There has been far too much complaining about the lack of nominations for SELMA, which will help propel it to a win. The truly snubbed film of the Oscars also happens to be in this category, THE LEGO MOVIE. While, “Everything Is Awesome” is… well, awesome, “Glory” is a fantastic song and SELMA deserves this one win, which it should be very proud of as that is more than most movies can say.

Winner: SELMA – “Glory” by Common and John Legend

Visual Effects
“Interstellar”
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
“Captain America: Winter Soldier”
“X-Men: Days of Future Past”

This also happens to be the list of the only great big budget movies of the year. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES was absolutely impressive with its lifelike transition of Andy Serkis as Caeser. But it didn’t win the first time around either, so I’m looking for one of my underrated favorites to hopefully pull out a win here.

Winner: INTERSTELLAR

Sound Editing
“Interstellar”
“Unbroken”
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”

This category tends to follow war films more often than not. I liked INTERSTELLAR but it ruffled a lot of feathers. BIRDMAN is another possibility after its absence in the Best Score category.

Winner: AMERICAN SNIPER

Bradley Cooper in American Sniper

Sound Mixing
“Interstellar”
”Whiplash”
“Unbroken”
“American Sniper”
“Birdman”

This category tends to lean in favor of the most musical, but I like all the nominees. The same possibilities from Sound Editing apply here and AMERICAN SNIPER could make a sweep.

Winner: WHIPLASH

Foreign Language Film
“Ida”
“Leviathan”
“Tangerines”
“Wild Tales”
“Timbuktu”

IDA is the only one with multiple nominations. While sometimes that doesn’t pan out (AMELIE), I think it should work in its favor. Plus, it’s a pretty compelling story. As long as LEVIATHAN doesn’t win, I’ll be fine.

Winner: IDA

Animated Feature Film
“Big Hero 6”
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
“The Boxtrolls”
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”
“Song of the Sea”

This is the category that had the biggest snub oversight. After winning nearly every animated award leading up to the Oscars, THE LEGO MOVIE did not even get a nomination. It actually made my top ten list so its exclusion in this category depressed me. Personally, I don’t think anyone here is even deserving. I didn’t get to see SONG OF THE SEA, so I can’t properly judge it. I think it looks magical though and a perfect type to possibly pull out a surprise win.

Winner: BIG HERO 6

Documentary Feature
“Citizenfour”
“Last Days in Vietnam”
“Virunga”
“The Salt of the Earth”
“Finding Vivian Maier”

If there is one category that I notoriously get wrong it is Documentary. In fact, it was the only category I missed last year, because I failed to go with my gut. I’m picking what I believed to be the best and most thrilling about a savvy whistleblower releasing government documents about privacy violations through the public’s everyday electronics.

Winner: CITIZENFOUR

Documentary Short Subject
“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”
“Joanna”
“Our Curse”
“White Earth”
“The Reaper”

Winner: OUR CURSE

Short Film – Live Action
“Boogaloo and Graham”
“Aya”
“Butterlamp”
“Parvenah”
“The Phone Call”

Winner: PARVENAH

Short Film – Animated
“Feast”
“The Bigger Picture”
“A Single Life”
“The Dam Keeper”
“Me and My Moulton”

Winner: THE DAM KEEPER

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