Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Oscar Predictions - Part One

More of an end to the misery of awards season than a celebration of film in 2018, the Oscars are finally here. With more uncertainty in the air than in the past few years combined, predicting the winners becomes more difficult than ever. No longer is it just the short films that can take down your Oscar pool, but all 24 categories (save for a few marginal locks) have the potential to ruin your ballot.

And here are the (likely wrong) predictions for the first 12 categories:

Live Action Short Film
The three categories that are most destined to ruin your Oscar pool remain the short film categories. Live Action Short Film remains difficult as ever to predict, but perhaps as depressing and bleak as ever before. With heaps of death and despair to go around in four of the five nominees, it’s not an easy category to get through. The best bet, if you can even call it one, is to go with one of the two English language nominees, Skin or Detainment. Due to Skin already being adapted into a full length feature, it feels like the most likely, or at least has the most in its favor, among the five nominees. If this logic of an English language short winning doesn’t hold, expect Marguerite to win instead.

Prediction: Skin – Vincent Lambe & Darren Mahon
Possible Spoiler: Marguerite – Marianne Farley & Marie-Hélène Panisset

Documentary – Short Subject
Once again, the task of predicting a winner here is not easy, however the nominees are much easier to get through than the nominees in the Live Action Short category. Everyone has a personal preference when it comes to short films, for myself, that happens to be A Night at The Garden. The shortest nominee in the category, A Night at The Garden has a lot to say with very little time, and might just be the most terrifying amongst all five for the implications it carries. However, the question of access is a big factor in these hard to predict categories, and the few that are available on Netflix almost automatically get a leg up. This year, those films are Endgame and Period. End of Sentence., and with that in mind, Period. End of Sentence. will most likely be the winner come Sunday.

Prediction: Period. End of Sentence. – Rayka Zehtabchi & Melissa Berton
Possible Spoiler: End Game – Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman

Animated Short Film
By far the easiest of the three short races to call, and by far the most entertaining as well, Animated Short Film will likely go Pixar’s way as it has so many times before. Though Bao seems like an easy favorite, the rest of the field should absolutely be seen by everyone. From the oddities of Animal Behaviour to the beautiful animation of One Small Step, each film presents an interesting style and story in a short and sweet format.

Prediction: Bao – Domee Shi & Becky Neiman-Cobb
Possible Spoiler: One Small Step – Andrew Chesworth & Bobby Pontillas

Visual Effects
In a rare instance where not a single nominee is a Best Picture contender, Best Visual Effects becomes instantly more of a question mark. Three films have a solid case to win (Avengers: Infinity War, First Man, & Ready Player One) and if any of them did, it would not be even remotely shocking. However, one has to believe that voters would recognize a $2 billion-dollar success in the only slot it has to honor it, and it helps that the film itself has some stellar visual effects. Avengers: Infinity War should take the trophy home here, but it’s not a complete lock either.

Prediction: Avengers: Infinity War – Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl & Dan Sudick
Possible Spoiler: Ready Player One – Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler & David Shirk

Makeup & Hairstyling
By having only three nominees (despite having plenty of potential nominees for five slots), the odds of predicting a winner in Best Makeup & Hairstyling improves greatly. All three films here have tremendous work on display, and again, it’s possible that any of them could take the win. In the end though, it’s much easier to see a world where the Academy recognizes the Best Picture nominee Vice and the transformative work done with Christian Bale as Dick Cheney.

Prediction: Vice – Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe, Patricia Dehaney
Possible Spoiler: Border – Göran Lundström & Pamela Goldammer

Film Editing
On nomination morning, no category was quite as baffling as Best Film Editing. In lieu of some presumed frontrunners and major contenders, the world was gifted nominations for Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book instead. And yet somehow, despite a heap of backlash and viral clips of bad editing, Bohemian Rhapsody somehow has a solid shot at winning, while the best editing of the bunch in BlacKkKlansman likely doesn’t have a prayer. When all is said and done however, the notion of more editing rather than best editing will probably take hold, and Vice will pick up its second win here.

(Anything but Bohemian Rhapsody or Green Book is acceptable though.)

Prediction: Vice – Hank Corwin
Possible Spoiler: Bohemian Rhapsody – John Ottman

Costume Design
The category of Best Costume Design has a fairly solid lineup of nominees from top to bottom, even if The Ballad of Buster Scruggs was a surprising mention on nomination morning. As it stands, it seems the Oscar will go to one of two films, Black Panther or The Favourite. On one hand, you have an Academy staple, a period drama with elegant designs from Sandy Powell that has so much in the way of tradition going for it. On the other side, is an excellent display of world building and creativity from Ruth E. Carter that takes inspiration from reality to form something brand new. From an odds perspective, the race might as well be neck and neck, and either would be a deserving win in every sense of the word.

Prediction: Black Panther – Ruth E. Carter
Possible Spoiler: The Favourite – Sandy Powell

Production Design
Again, another race that likely comes down to two films, Black Panther and The Favourite. There is slight, outside chance that a film like Roma could sneak through for a win here, but it really feels like a two-horse race. Much like Best Costume Design, it’s a race featuring two very different sides of excellent production design. The tradition side of elegance and palaces resides with The Favourite (despite much of film’s sets not actually being built) while the bolder world design lies with Black Panther. Either would be a fair winner, but the world of Wakanda is such a huge piece of the cultural milestone that Black Panther is, it would be hard to ignore for any voter.

Prediction: Black Panther – Hannah Beachler & Jay Hart
Possible Spoiler: The Favourite – Fiona Crombie & Alice Felton

Sound Mixing
In a perfect world, First Man would take home this Oscar, as the sound in that film is so vital to the high intensity moments littered throughout the film. However, Best Sound Mixing so often goes to the musical or war film that receives the nomination in any given year. There are no war films in 2018’s lineup, but there are two musical films, of varying quality. For the longest time, this seemed like a solid win for A Star Is Born, which utilizes many live performances actually utilized in the film. And then Bohemian Rhapsody happened. With more than a few precursor wins under its belt, this unfortunately seems like Rhapsody’s award to lose.

Prediction: Bohemian Rhapsody – Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin & John Casali
Possible Spoiler: A Star Is Born – Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Jason Ruder & Steve A. Morrow

Sound Editing
In a perfect world, First Man would take home this Oscar, as the sound in that film is so vital to the high intensity moments littered throughout the film. It bears repeating because the film has completely mistreated this awards season. Thankfully, it does have a shot in Best Sound Editing. It all hinges on how receptive the entire Academy is to Black Panther. If the love for the film continues, this would be an easy award to hand a critically and financially successful film another award (and play the score they’ve used for all the promos again). If First Man had received the Best Picture nomination it deserved, this would be an easy win. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and this looks like another win for Black Panther.

Prediction: Black Panther – Benjamin A. Burtt & Steve Boeddeker
Possible Spoiler: First Man – Ai-Ling Lee & Mildred Iatrou Morgan

Original Song
Let’s not waste anyone’s time.

There is no easier race to call than “Shallow” winning Best Original Song.

Prediction: “Shallow” – A Star Is Born, Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando & Andrew Wyatt
Possible Spoiler: Nothing

Original Score
There are so many narratives to look at when attempting to predict Best Original Score. Two veterans of the industry in Terence Blanchard (BlacKkKlansman) and Marc Shaiman (Mary Poppins Returns) that many would love to reward for solid work in their 2018 films. There is an Academy favorite in Alexandre Desplat (Isle of Dogs) that put out another tremendous score. Yet in the end, two composers stand above the rest. The mesmerizing work of Nicholas Britell in If Beale Street Could Talk is astounding in every way imaginable, and the unique music of Ludwig Göransson behind Black Panther sets the tone for the entire film. However, the rumors of Academy members adoring the work from Göransson are hard to ignore, and might just be enough to push it across the finish line.

Prediction: Black Panther – Ludwig Göransson
Possible Spoiler: If Beale Street Could Talk – Nicholas Britell

Part Two of the Oscar Predictions will come tomorrow and The Oscars air on ABC at 8 ET tomorrow night.

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