Thursday, February 19, 2015

Oscar Predictions 2015: The Techs (Sound and Vision)

We'll kick off the predictions this year by doing the limbo and going below the line with the craft categories. And this year, I'll list the dark horse if I think there is one. That way, I look a lot more savvy than I actually am.

“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


This is a frighteningly easy call. Birdman's "One-take" camerawork dominated ever since it was first seen. Perennial beloved nominee Deakins will just have to keep waiting.

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

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

WILL/SHOULD WIN: Grand Budapest Hotel
DARK HORSE: Into the Woods (costumes)

There's a reason I lumped Costume and Production Design together. Grand Budapest Hotel is easily going to win both. Wes Anderson's movies are always designed to the Nth degre, and Budapest boasts some of the most intricate designs of all.

Film Editing
“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


This one is a fairly close race between Whiplash and Boyhood. Boyhood's elegant weaving of a 12-year story filmed piecemeal is truly impressive for the way it shows the passage of time without any obvious signposts. But when in doubt, go the Best Picture nominee with the most visible editing: That's Whiplash, which so expertly builds tension that watching the movie jangles the nerves, even without J.K. Simmons' formidable presence. 

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

WILL WIN: Grand Budpest
SHOULD WIN/DARK HORSE: Guardians of the Galaxy.

This award often goes to the Most Makeup, which would be Guardians of the Galaxy. On the other hand, that didn't exactly help the Hobbit and Harry Potter films when they made this race. So I'm betting Budapest gets this win to go along with its Set and Costume Awards. Again, designed to the Nth degree.

Original Score
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Alexandre Desplat
“The Imitation Game” Alexandre Desplat
“Interstellar” Hans Zimmer
“Mr. Turner” Gary Yershon
“The Theory of Everything” Jóhann Jóhannsson

WILL WIN: Theory of Everything
SHOULD WIN: Grand Budapest Hotel

Conventional wisdom may have it that the prolific Desplat will finally get his due, but lush and melodramatic often tends to win the day here. That's Theory of Everything.

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

SHOULD WIN/DARK HORSE:   Everything is Awesome

It's not inconceivable that Everything is Awesome could win here, since many people were aghast that The LEGO Movie didn't score an animated film nomination. And it IS the best use of a song within the actual movie. (I grow weary of slapping a song on the end credits and having that be the nominee, as is the case with Selma's admittedly stirring song.) But since Selma missed out on a lot of big nominations, and because Glory has picked up some precursor awards, that wins.

Sound Editing
“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

Sound Mixing
“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

WILL WIN: American Sniper takes both of these, as war films often do. Helps that the film is a tremendous hit. I imagine most voters will look at their ballots and say, "Sound? American Sniper for both."
SHOULD WIN: Interstellar. I don't buy into the line of a muddled mix drowning out the dialogue. I thought it was an artful mix that amplified the emotions of the scene, and sometimes that entails disorientation and not being quite sure of what you heard.

Visual Effects
“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

WILL/SHOULD WIN: Interstellar is a movie that has gone severely underappreciated in its time - but not when it comes to its effects.

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