Oscar 2015 predictions

The year in movies for 2014 comes to (more or less) and official close this Sunday, when the 87th annual Academy Awards are given out in Hollywood. We’ve seen films rise and fall in the assumed lists of winners, with Birdman and Boyhood seeming to vie most heatedly in speculation for the top trophy. In truth, decisions about the best films from 2014 will be made as years go by and films rise and fall to find their true audience and place in culture. But for now we can only wait to see what the Academy’s voting block has chosen. Our Oscar 2015 predictions are below, with each category capped by the film we assume will win, and the pick we hope will take the prize.

The four of us — Peter, Germain, Angie and Russ — voted on these choices. We’ll begin with some of the technical awards and move towards Best Director and Best Picture.

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Best 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

Our Prediction: Despite a vote for Interstellar, the numbers say Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

We’d Like the Winner to Be: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. These films are all technical marvels, but Apes is on another level — one which is easy to recognize, and deserves to be celebrated.

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Best 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

Our Prediction: Boyhood, which is going to be the movie people think of as well-edited, if only for the sake of the way in which it was created.

We’d Like the Winner to Be: Here we’re split between Boyhood, which is certainly deserving, and Whiplash. In the case of the latter, musical performance and energy is incredibly difficult to capture on screen, and Whiplash nails it, in large part due to editing.

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Best Costume Design

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – Milena Canonero
  • Inherent Vice – Mark Bridges
  • Into the Woods – Colleen Atwood
  • Maleficent – Anna B. Sheppard
  • Mr. Turner – Jacqueline Durran

Our Prediction: There’s an outlier vote for Maleficent, but our prediction goes to Grand Budapest Hotel.

We’d Like the Winner to Be: Here’s there’s a vote for Grand Budapest Hotel, but the winner by number of votes is Inherent Vice. Indeed, the costuming in Paul Thomas Anderson’s film indicates character thanks to some very smart choices, and also recreates the time period without going overboard.

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Best 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

Our Prediction: Foxcatcher, because historical precedent suggests it possesses exactly the quality the Academy loves. (OK, we’ll just say it. Oscar loves a fake nose.)

We’d Like the Winner to Be: Guardians of the Galaxy. As Peter says, “I was on set of this film and I can’t express how detailed and incredible the make-up effects were in this film. Unfortunately some of it doesn’t read as spectacular on the screen, but the work is deserving of recognition.”

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Best Cinematography

  • 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

Our Prediction: Birdman, which owes so much of its success to a brilliant collaboration between the camera and editing departments.

We’d Like the Winner to Be: Birdman.

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Best Production Design

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)
  • The Imitation Game – Maria Djurkovic (Production Design); Tatiana Macdonald (Set Decoration)
  • Interstellar – Nathan Crowley (Production Design); Gary Fettis (Set Decoration)
  • Into the Woods – Dennis Gassner (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)
  • Mr. Turner – Suzie Davies (Production Design); Charlotte Watts (Set Decoration)

Our Prediction: There’s a vote for Mr. Turner, based on the simple concept of the staid period piece catching the Academy’s eye, but our official nod goes to The Grand Budapest Hotel.

We’d Like the Winner to Be: The Grand Budapest Hotel, which benefits enormously from the meticulously curated design for which Wes Anderson’s films are known.

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Best 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

Our Prediction: American Sniper, for the role sound plays in developing much of the film’s power.

We’d Like the Winner to Be: We’ve got a vote for Birdman, but the majority “hopeful” vote goes to Whiplash. And Interstellar, as ambitious as it may have been, gets the “anything but Interstellar” vote.

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