By Kevin Baker
Tomorrow, February 22nd, film’s most prestigious honors, the Oscars, will be hosted by entertainer Neil Patrick Harris on ABC. Academy Awards in 24 categories will be handed out to The Grand Budapest Hotel, Guardians of the Galaxy, and every film in between! The Bear Press has your exclusive analysis of each category below, but we want to hear your voice. Tweet @hhsbearpress with #HaHSOscars with all of your Oscar predictions and comments!
Best Visual Effects
Interstellar – WINNER
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Possible Spoiler
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Superhero movies usually come out in large numbers in this category, and this year is no exception. Guardians, X-Men, and Captain America all feature great and memorable sequences, but none of them have the dazzling visuals that voters in this category look for. Planet of the Apes, with its use of effects for all of the monkeys appearing in the film, could be considered a frontrunner with its precursor wins and incredible visuals, but the real contender here is Interstellar. Although the film underperformed with audiences and critics, the effects were based on real scientific equations on wormholes and time, and the cinematography by Hoyte von Hoytema is exactly the kind of visuals voters want. We’re banking on Interstellar’s planetary journey to transfix voters into the win.
Best Sound Mixing
Interstellar – WINNER
American Sniper – Possible Spoiler
Best Sound Editing
Interstellar – WINNER
American Sniper – Possible Spoiler
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar should easily win these two prizes, the most confusing awards the Academy offers every year. Voters historically have not known the differences between sound mixing (which deals with all of the sound in the movie) vs. sound editing (which deals with the production of sound in the movie), leading to double wins often. Interstellar, which masterfully mixes its soaring score with the sounds of spaceships, features the kind of sound that is often picked over war movies like Unbroken, Sniper, and Hobbit and indies like Birdman. American Sniper, with its recent buzz and box office records, might have a chance if the Academy chooses not to award Interstellar on Sunday.
Best Animated Short Film
The Bigger Picture – WINNER
Feast – Possible Spoiler
The Dam Keeper
A Single Life
Me and My Moulton
Best Live Action Short Film
The Phone Call – WINNER
Boogaloo and Graham – Possible Spoiler
Best Documentary Short Film
Joanna – WINNER
Crisis Hotline – Veterans Press 1 – Possible Spoiler
The short films have historically been the bathroom breaks of the Oscars, but there are a great crop of nominees this year. The key to these races is finding the apple in a group of oranges – which short is different from the others. The Bigger Picture features an intriguing animation style, The Phone Call is the only film to feature big-name stars, and Joanna is the only short to focus on a single subject.
Best Production Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock) – WINNER
Into the Woods (Dennis Gassner, Anna Pinnock) – Possible Spoiler
The Imitation Game (Maria Djurkovic, Tatiana Macdonald)
Interstellar (Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis)
Mr. Turner (Suzie Davies, Charlotte Watts)
Best Costume Design
Into the Woods (Colleen Atwood) – WINNER
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Milena Canonero) – Possible Spoiler
Inherent Vice (Mark Bridges)
Maleficent (Anna B. Sheppard)
Mr. Turner (Jacqueline Durran)
These production categories usually go to the most flamboyant films, and this year will be no exception. The Grand Budapest Hotel and Into the Woods are the main contenders because of their fantasy settings. Budapest follows in the tradition of past Wes Anderson hotels with elaborate production design, but this one would be the first win for one of his films. Woods is adapted from the Stephen Sondheim musical of the same name, and features dresses galore and a creative interpretation of Johnny Depp’s wolf costume.
Best Original Score
Hans Zimmer; Interstellar – WINNER
Jóhann Jóhannsson; The Theory of Everything – Possible Spoiler
Alexandre Desplat; The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alexandre Desplat; The Imitation Game
Gary Yershon; Mr. Turner
Best Original Song
“Glory”; Selma – WINNER
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You”; Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me – Possible Spoiler
“Grateful”; Beyond the Lights
“Everything Is Awesome!!!”; The Lego Movie
“Lost Stars”; Begin Again
The music categories are usually the easiest to judge at home, but the music branch doesn’t mind going against the popular opinion. The Best Original Score race has been between Zimmer and Jóhannsson all year, but double nominations by Desplat changed the conversation. However, without one of the two nominations distinguishing themselves as the frontrunner, the vote will likely be split between Budapest and Imitation. Zimmer has the more orchestral side with his soaring Interstellar soundtrack, but Jóhannson could easily prove the victor with his more simplistic score. Best Original Song, however, seems to be leaning towards Selma, the film that engendered controversy after it was only nominated for two Oscars – this award and Best Picture. The song, written and sung by John Legend and Common, is used well in the film, and could be seen by the Academy to try to fix their mistakes by referencing the importance of the film to current events. “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” the last song by Alzheimer’s-striken country star Glen Campbell, also has a chance, but John Legend and Common will probably be seeing “Glory” tomorrow night.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Guardians of the Galaxy – WINNER
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Possible Spoiler
This is the best opportunity to award something to Guardians, possibly the best Marvel superhero film ever. The makeup and hairstyling is masterful and quite obvious in the film, something that Budapest and Foxcatcher both lack (besides Tilda Swinton’s old woman and Steve Carell’s huge nose).
Best Documentary Feature
Citizenfour – WINNER
Virunga – Possible Spoiler
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Citizenfour, which centers on Edward Snowden (the exposer of the NSA’s wiretapping secrets), seems like the clear victor in this race, seeing as it received the most exposure and has a former Oscar winner – Laura Poitras – in the director chair. However, Virunga, distributed by Netflix, has had the most advertisements directed to Oscar voters of any documentary in recent memory, meaning that it could well swoop in and take the award. Executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio of Virunga has also made many appearances for the film, which could be all it takes for a category where most voters neglect seeing the nominees.
Best Film Editing
Boyhood – WINNER
Whiplash – Possible Spoiler
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Boyhood, filmed over twelve years by director Richard Linklater, should easily take this prize. The runner-up is Whiplash, which centers on a jazz drummer and features extended sequences of that drumming, edited gorgeously by Tom Cross. The other films have great sequences, but only these films can call their editing good enough to be frontrunners for the Oscar.
Emmanuel Lubezki; Birdman – WINNER
Lukasz Zal, Ryszard Lenczewski; Ida – Possible Spoiler
Robert Yeoman; The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dick Pope; Mr. Turner
Roger Deakins; Unbroken
Best Foreign Language Film
Ida (Poland) – WINNER
Leviathan (Russia) – Possible Spoiler
Wild Tales (Argentina)
The perennially-nominated Deakins will lose again to the one-shot technique of Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki in Birdman. Based on the thought that the events of the film take place in a waking dream, Lubezki shot the film to make it appear all of the events happened in mostly one take, which translates into showy cinematography and Oscar gold. The incredible filming of Ida, which makes the story of a young nun seem like a work of art, could also win.
Speaking of Ida, the Foreign Language Film prize should go to the movie, which has enchanted filmgoers with its story of the main character’s journey in Nazi-occupied Poland. Leviathan, with its dark look on government and society, has taken a late surge in the race, but count on the Polish film to reign at tomorrow’s ceremony.
Best Animated Feature
How to Train Your Dragon 2 – WINNER
Big Hero 6 – Possible Spoiler
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Perhaps the biggest story of the Oscar nominations was the snubbing of The Lego Movie in this category, which had been predicted to even win prior to the ceremony. Now, most are focused on Dragon‘s chances and, given its masterful animation and emotional story, makes sense. Big Hero 6, the first Disney-Marvel major animated film, has the Disney machine behind it, so don’t be surprised if it takes the award, but Dragon should be safe.
Best Original Screenplay
Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness; The Grand Budapest Hotel – WINNER
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicólas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., Armando Bo; Birdman – Possible Spoiler
Richard Linklater; Boyhood
E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman; Foxcatcher
Dan Gilroy; Nightcrawler
Wes Anderson’s elegant portrayal of life in Europe just before the Nazis in Budapest should win the award, but Birdman‘s satiric look at actors could always come from behind. Most throughout this race credit Budapest‘s success in the awards season to Anderson’s screenplay, while Birdman‘s screenplay is usually seen as the weakest link in the film. Richard Linklater is expected to be cited for his directing, not his writing, and the other nominees don’t seem to have the kind of support films need from the Academy in order to win in this category. Anderson should have it.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Graham Moore; The Imitation Game – WINNER
Anthony McCarten; The Theory of Everything – Possible Spoiler
Paul Thomas Anderson; Inherent Vice
Damien Chazelle; Whiplash
Jason Hall; American Sniper
This may be one of the most wide-open races at the Oscars this year. Different awards shows have chosen to spotlight each of the nominees, with no clear screenplay grabbing the public’s attention. Recent controversy over the depiction of events in Sniper should take it out of the running here, which leaves the path open just enough for Graham Moore to squeeze through and take it for Imitation, which received early acclaim before seemingly dropping from the radar of Oscar voters. If Moore loses, McCarten’s look at Stephen Hawking’s life in Theory should be the victor here.
Best Supporting Actor
J.K. Simmons as Terence Fletcher; Whiplash – WINNER
Ethan Hawke as Mason Evans, Sr.; Boyhood – Possible Spoiler
Robert Duvall as Judge Joseph “Joe” Palmer; The Judge
Edward Norton as Mike Shiner; Birdman
Mark Ruffalo as Dave Schultz; Foxcatcher
Simmons has been cruising easy throughout awards season, seeming to pick up awards everywhere he goes for his role as the terrorizing teacher in Whiplash. He should easily get the Oscar, if only because no other nominee in this category has had the ability to garner an award in his place. Simmons’ long career in film and television has also been frequently cited at awards ceremonies, giving the actor a long resumé for voters to look at when they cast their vote.
Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette as Olivia Evans; Boyhood – WINNER
Meryl Streep as The Witch; Into the Woods – Possible Spoiler
Laura Dern as Barbara “Bobbi” Gray; Wild
Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke; The Imitation Game
Emma Stone as Samantha “Sam” Thomson; Birdman
Arquette has similarly dominated all through awards season for her Boyhood role, playing a fearless single mother who voters can easily sympathize with and root for. With her closest competition being three-time Oscar winner and perennial nominee Meryl Streep, Arquette should be the easiest look for tomorrow night’s ceremony.
Julianne Moore as Dr. Alice Howland; Still Alice – WINNER
Rosamund Pike as Amy Elliott-Dunne; Gone Girl – Possible Spoiler
Marion Cotillard as Sandra Bya; Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones as Jane Hawking; The Theory of Everything
Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed; Wild
Moore is another one of the sweeps all through awards season and, as a linguists professor losing her ability to think through Alzheimer’s, she deserves every award she’s getting. If anyone can snatch her overdue Oscar, it’s Rosamund Pike, whose performance as the titular “gone” girl lived up to every hope of the many readers of the source for the film.
Eddie Redmayne as Dr. Stephen Hawking; The Theory of Everything – WINNER
Michael Keaton as Riggan Thomson; Birdman – Possible Spoiler
Steve Carell as John du Pont; Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle; American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Alan Turing; The Imitation Game
This category, more than any other this year, his flipped and flopped its way to Oscar night. The race between Redmayne and Keaton has grown more and more contentious, with Redmayne seeming to take the advantage as of now. Redmayne’s Stephen Hawking has the more sympathetic arc (ALS) to Michael Keaton’s Riggan Thomson, a grouchy actor who searches for the meaning of his work on Broadway. Redmayne gets to completely transform himself when Hawking suffers from ALS, painstakingly documenting the surrender of his body to the disease. Keaton has the more nuanced portrayal, but Redmayne shows off his acting for all to see. That’s the only reason I’m predicting Redmayne over Keaton at this point. Bradley Cooper with Sniper could also come from behind, though his absence for the race, while acting in Broadway’s Elephant Man, has hurt his chances for this win.
Richard Linklater; Boyhood – WINNER
Alejandro G. Iñárritu; Birdman – Possible Spoiler
Wes Anderson; The Grand Budapest Hotel
Bennett Miller; Foxcatcher
Morten Tyldum; The Imitation Game
Linklater’s twelve-year crusade to produce Boyhood should give him the win over Iñárritu’s showy directing choices in Birdman, but the race is closer than most others. The key to this race is who wins Best Picture. The Academy rarely splits the winners, meaning the winning film also has the winning director. Only recently have they started to deviate from this trend. In a close race, Linklater should win with Boyhood‘s victory for Picture.
Boyhood – WINNER
Birdman – Possible Spoiler
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
Boyhood has the narrative and quality in this race to take the prize, but this is the most wide-open Picture race in a while at the Oscars. The chief race is between Boyhood, Birdman, and American Sniper – a late entry into the race which has broken box-office records and gotten both the support and ire of Hollywood. Look for the victor in the Best Director race to see who’ll win Best Picture. Since I’m predicting Linklater, I’ll predict Boyhood for now. Sniper, without a nomination for director Clint Eastwood, would be the biggest surprise win of the night.
Those are our predictions from The Bear Press! Congrats if you read all the way to the bottom (or if you just scrolled down to see what our Best Picture prediction was)! We’ll be showcasing pictures of our selected winners in a separate post, and we’ll be blogging the Oscars LIVE tomorrow night, starting at 8:00 PM EST on hhsbearpress.wordpress.com (our home page). See you then!