Red carpets are being rolled out, female stars are deciding which fashion giants to promote, and big Oscar statues outside the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles are getting their last golden polish. The 87th Academy Awards will take place this Sunday and I feel confident that host Neil Patrick Harris will do an excellent job. After all, he’s been elevating Tony and Emmy shows for years now. Still not convinced? Just take a look above at how effortlessly he played around with the whole awards show thing together with Hugh Jackman at the 2011 Tonys.
The time has come for Oscar predictions, and it’s not a job for cowards. Several of this year’s categories are tricky. Let’s go through all of them, one by one.
* Live Action Short – The Phone Call. Starring Sally Hawkins and Jim Broadbent; watch the trailer above.
* Animated Short – Feast. This Disney production might be in better luck than last year’s Get a Horse!, which failed to win the Oscar.
* Documentary Short – Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1. Watch the trailer for this HBO film above.
* Sound Editing – American Sniper.
* Sound Mixing – Whiplash. In the sound categories, the race is down to these two films. Really, it’s anyone’s guess how the Oscars might be divided between them since there are so few who understand the difference between the categories. The Dolby blog explains it – the art of sound editing is creating the sounds; the art of sound mixing is taking those sounds and the music and make all of it gel as a whole.
* Visual Effects – Definitely belongs to Interstellar, which made us believe that we were traveling far away from Earth.
* Song – “Glory” by Common and John Legend in Selma.
* Production Design – The Grand Budapest Hotel.
* Costume Design – The Grand Budapest Hotel.
* Foreign Language Film – Ida. Far from a safe bet, and I was wrong when I predicted it for the Golden Globes; Leviathan and Wild Tales are fierce competitors.
* Documentary Feature – Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’s film about Edward Snowden, looks likely to win.
* Animated Feature – How to Train Your Dragon 2.
* Film Editing – This is a tough one. Yes, Sandra Adair of Boyhood deserves recognition for creating a rhythm and balance out of 12 years worth of material, but it could be argued that Tom Scott’s work on Whiplash is what really made that movie. So I’m going with Scott.
* Original Screenplay – Wes Anderson looks more than likely to win for The Grand Budapest Hotel.
* Supporting Actor – J.K. Simmons for Whiplash.
* Supporting Actress – Patricia Arquette for Boyhood.
* Actress – Julianne Moore, Still Alice.
* Actor – This has suddenly become a very difficult category. I believe now that Eddie Redmayne will win for The Theory of Everything, but it pisses me off. This is exactly the kind of performance that always wins the Oscar. Michael Keaton created a rich, full character out of the script for Birdman and his achievement is great; he’s the one who deserves to win.
* Director – Another very hard category to predict now. Richard Linklater looked like a shoo-in for Boyhood a month ago; now he’s facing fierce competition from Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman. In the end I believe that Linklater will win and he deserves it; this 12-year-long odyssey has been masterfully engineered by him.
* Picture – The fun thing about the Oscars this year is that we have no clue which film will win the top prize. It’s either Boyhood or Birdman. The former looked certain to win for several months, but the race is so tight now. I’m still going to go with Boyhood.