Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oscar Predictions: all the other categories

Originally posted on 25 Jan 2011:


Editing is one of the more ‘important’ technical awards, because it is so closely tied to story-telling & therefore to Bes t Director, which – in turn – is closely linked to Best Picture.
How did we know for sure that The Hurt Locker was definitely beating the odds to win Best Picture (besides that nomination for Best Score)? When it beat Avatar in Best Editing.

With my frontrunner – Inception – out of the race, the most obviously well directed film is The Social Network. In fact, it likely deserves to win even if Inception was in this race. Brilliantly intercutting multiple timelines & thereby allowing character conversations in one scene to become narration in another, without being flashy, the editing enables David Fincher to tell a seemingly straight-forward story with a distinct and changing rhythm. 

Although the other nominees are all strong, I don’t see how The Social Network can miss here, unless The King’s Speech does a proper sweep and steals editing. In my opinion, The King’s Speech is the weakest of the editing nominees, and it is the only category where it did not win the Guild Award (The Social Network did).

If The King’s Speech wins editing, we know it’s taking everything, including Director, Picture (and Supporting Actor?). If The Social Network takes editing, and there is every reason why it should, David Fincher’s chances at Best Director increase exponentially, but Best Picture still belongs to The King’s Speech.


Being the latest nomination for unawarded genius & legend Roger Deakins, True Grit must win.

True Grit Poster

Set Design:

Anything other than Inception would be laughable. The sets are sensational & integral to the concept & plot.
But if The King’s Speech sweeps... it does have gorgeous sets... I think they’ll have the smarts to go with Inception, though.

(Interestingly, if Alice in Wonderland loses this one, it will be the first Tim Burton film to be nominated for Best Set Design without winning).

Inception Poster


Trent Reznor / Atticus Ross’s score for The Social Network is perfect for the film & an atmospherically loaded score in its own right, but I don’t think the Academy is ready to award the electronic beats of TSN with more than a nomination, so bet on the classic strains of The King’s Speech to take this.

A very moving, restrained score that soars in the pivotal speech of the title, & a long overdue win for the always excellent Alexandre Desplat.

Sound Editing:

Inception should have this in the bag, and has the Guild Award to back itself up.

Inception Poster

Sound Mixing:

Inception should have this in the bag as well, but it’s rare for the same film to win both Sound categories. Musicals usually fare well in Sound Mixing.

True Grit has gotten some recognition in this category, but with sound being such an integral part of The King’s Speech, I’d bet on the royal epic to take this one as well.


Can The King’s Speech lose? Alice in Wonderland deserves it, probably a bit more, but you never bet against royalty when it comes to Best Costumes (although it is usually the Queens – Marie Antoinette in 2006 (deserving), Elizabeth: The Golden Age in 2007, The Duchess in 2008 & most disappointingly, even The Young Victoria in 2009). Also, Tim Burton costumes have never won. Oh, but the mad hatter’s outfit was one of the cinematic highlights of the year...

The King’s Speech does have quality period costuming, though, so it won’t be a painful win.

Make Up:

The Wolfman. Bad movie, but credit where credit is due. The most flashy make up work, and Rick Baker is by far the most celebrated of the nominees.

Visual Effects:

I think it has to be Inception.

Inception Poster

Foreign Language Film:

Susan Brier’s In a Better World has the Golden Globe & much love, but Biutiful has a previously Oscar-nominated Director (Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu) & a Best Actor nomination for Javier Bardem.

Foreign Language film often serves up surprises, because voters are forced to view each of the 5 nominees before voting. Consequently, popularity plays less of a role.

Biutiful feels quite certain, but I’m going to be bold & go with In a  Better World.

Animated Film:

How to Train Your Dragon was the early favourite, but then Toy Story 3 came out and the rest was history. Dragon may have won the Annie, but that thing is rigged. Sorry Dreamworks, but it is a Pixar fest again – with Best Picture, Best Screeplay & Best Original Song nominations, Toy Story 3 can’t miss. Better luck next year – Pixar has no new film lined up...

Best Original Song:

‘We belong together’ – Toy Story 3. This can be such a random category, but I’m putting my money on Randy Newman & Pixar.



Inside Job. Topical, popular & critically lauded.  Exit Through the Gift Shop is the most talked-about, but politics beats art at the Oscars, so this one belongs to Inside Job.


Live Action Short:

Your guess is as good as mine, as I haven't seen any . It seems to be between God of LoveWish 143 & The Confession. Wish 143 is about cancer, God of Love seems the most stylish & The Confession is the most well-made. I'll go with The Confession. Why not?

(A nice roundup of all the Short Film nominees here)


Animated Short:

Day & Night is the only one I’ve seen (I should make more effort – I’m sure these are actually fairly easy to obtain), but I think it’s the best Pixar short ever. Clever, original & poignant, even slightly profound. Would certainly deserve it if it won.

Madagascar: A Journey Diary seems to be the most innovatively animated, while The Gruffalo is based on a short story & features big names like Helena Bonham Carter & Tom Wilkinson in the voice cast. 

I'm betting on Pixar again for this one, though.

Documentary Short:

Hmmm... Once again, going with what jumps out at me, and that’s Poster Girl. It seems to be about war, amongst other things. That's my pick, so good luck to the other nominees! This category can be a bit random,  cause hardly anyone’s actually seen the films, but can you imagine how much it means to the nominees?

Effective short form story telling is really tricky. I vow to take this category seriously from now on.