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The Oscars are this weekend! While I think we can all agree that these awards are silly and shouldn’t be the only way we should determine the quality of a movie, they’re also really fun. So every year I make all my predictions and then yell at the world when my favorite movies or performances don’t win, or sometimes don’t even get nominated.  This year I get to share it with all you fine people.

The rules:

  • For the most part I’m going to be picking the performance I think will actually win, not the one I want to win, although I might point out both.
  • I’m going to be skipping some categories I have nothing to contribute to.  Although I wish I had an opportunity to see all the foreign language, documentary, and short films, sadly I did not.  Weighing in on these categories would be a waste of all our times.
  • I still haven’t seen all the movies in the bigger categories, but I feel confident enough in my ability to judge them regardless.  If I haven’t seen a movie, I will be sure to point that out.
  • I’m breaking this into two posts because this post would be impossibly long if I did not.  Look for the final set of predictions in a later post.

Let’s get started

Visual Effects

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

The category where all your favorite comic book movies actually get a shot at winning some awards.  This was a tough one, because I thought the visuals in all of these films were pretty incredible. The two most interesting characters in Guardians weren’t even real.  Dawn was absolutely relying on the strength of the visuals to make the movie believable and they pulled it off so well.  Interstellar stuck with impressive practical effects wherever possible and used such complicated computer systems for the black hole, that it’s actually being used by scientists to learn more about them. I’ve made my feelings towards Interstellar fairly well-known to everyone that knows me (It’s not a good movie guys) but the one thing I can’t deny is that it looked incredible.  Christopher Nolan’s love of practical effects gives something tangible to the movie that’s missing in a lot of our CG-ridden blockbusters.  I think the Academy will recognize the immense amount of work that went into making both the practical and CG effects work so well together in this movie.  Sidenote:  Apes totally deserves to win this category as well.

Winner:  Interstellar

Sound Mixing

American Sniper
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

The craziest part about this category is that Interstellar was somehow nominated.  I’m going to be honest, I’m not smart enough with sound to notice good sound mixing but I sure can notice it when its bad.  Christopher Nolan has never been really great with his dialogue/score mix.  I still can’t understand half of what Bane is saying in The Dark Knight Rises.  Interstellar is no exception with a lot of the dialogue lost under oppressively loud background music.  No way this picks up the award.  But who will?  Whiplash is one of the movies I’ve unfortunately yet to see, but my gut tells me the Academy is going to pick a music movie to honor with this category.  If not Whiplash, then I predict American Sniper.

Winner: Whiplash

Sound Editing

American Sniper
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken

This one is a toss-up between Interstellar and American Sniper, I think.  Both Nolan and Eastwood’s last two Sci-Fi and War movies respectively have won the award and those types of movies are normally perfect for this award.  It feels like American Sniper has the higher profile right now so that might bring some votes over to its side.  I’m gonna go with Interstellar on this one though.  There are a lot of problems with this movie, but the sound effects aren’t one of them.  I just wish I could hear the dialogue over them…

Winner: Interstellar

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)

Hey look, one guy was nominated twice in the same category.  And if you do a little research, Desplat has been nominated 8 times in the past 9 years and has never won.  Hans Zimmer is always going to be nominated in this category, and I do think the score of Interstellar was pretty great.  However, I think its Desplat’s year.  The Grand Budapest Hotel was an incredible movie, and the music was such a wonderfully big part of that.

Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Original Song

“Everything Is Awesome,” The Lego Movie
“Glory,” Selma
“Grateful,” Beyond the Lights
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
“Lost Stars,” Begin Again

Disclosure: the only two films in this category I’ve seen are Selma and The Lego Movie. Oh look, it’s the only other category Selma was nominated for besides best picture.  I think the general consensus is that Selma should have garnered more nominations.  Since the film will most likely not win Best Picture, this is the one shot for the movie to walk away with an Oscar.  I think the voters of the Academy will recognize that.  That aside, “Glory” is an amazing song that comes in at the end of really emotional close to the movie.

Winner: “Glory,” Selma

Cinematography

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ida
Mr. Turner
Unbroken

There’s not much to say here.  Birdman wins it.  While there were many problems with the film, the continuous take, tracking shots are so masterfully done and integral to making the movie work that none of these other films come close.  I love the Cinematophraphy in Grand Budapest and in any other year I would be pleading for it to win, but this is the year of Birdman.

Winner: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Production Design

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

I know that musicals and British period pieces normally do pretty well in this category so wins from The Imitation Game, Mr. Turner, or Into The Woods wouldn’t surprise me, but it’s hard to think of a movie with more elaborate and beautifully done sets than The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Wes Anderson has a unique vision and style in all his movies, and Grand Budapest is Wes at his most Wes Andersony.

Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Costume Design

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

Similar to the previous category, musicals and period pieces own this one.  And similar to the previous category, it’s hard for me to imagine anything other than Grand Budapest winning.  The costumes in the film are so unique and incredible.  I could see some other movies

Winner: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Film Editing

American Sniper
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Whiplash

Editing is probably the most important part of creating a movie.  Good editing can save a bad movie.  Bad editing can ruin a good movie.  But can you tell what good editing is?  Me neither.  I would have thought Birdman would have been nominated due to skillful editing making it seem like one continuous take.  But it’s not even nominated!  Apparently, I know nothing about films.    So let’s look at the last few years to see if we can notice a trend.  5 of the past 10 years Editing winners have also won Best Picture.  So on a complete guess here, I’m gonna go with the current best picture favorite.

Winner:  Boyhood???

So there’s the first set.  Up next we have all the categories you people actually care about.   Stay tuned!

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