Tech Support: Final predictions in Oscar's crafts categories
Over the past three and a half months, we have previewed the races in all Oscar categories and spoken with many of the leading contenders. For the ninth year here at Tech Support, it's now time to put all of that aside and put forward final predictions. Which craftsmen and craftswomen will be cited by their peers on Thursday?
Emmanuel Lubezki looks in fantastic position to earn his second straight statuette for his very, very long takes on "Bidman." Robert Yeoman and Dick Pope have earned guild, BFCA and BAFTA nods for their gorgeous period work that blurred the line between camera work and the painted and crafted arts on "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Mr. Turner" respectively. The former will likely rack up a host of nods while this is a perfect chance to recognize Pope’s collaborations with Leigh. They’re in good shape.
Roger Deakins missed a BAFTA nod, where "Unbroken," was shut out, but I’d still be shocked if AMPAS didn’t give the living legend another citation for the sort of work that usually finds a home in this category. The guild and BFCA saw fit to include him.
This branch has affinity for foreign films and black-and-white. So in the last spot, I’m banking on Ryszard Lenczewski and Lukasz Zal for "Ida."
I realize this means betting against leading Best Picture contender "The Imitation Game," for which Óscar Faura earned an ASC nod. My gut tells me he will make it but someone cannot make it in this group so I have to leave him to the side.
I’d have "Interstellar" in seventh. Hoyte Van Hoytema has been on the cusp of a nomination for years, Christopher Nolan’s films have a great track record here, and he has BFCA and BAFTA nominations. But I think the competition will ultimately prove too stiff for him to get in for a film that many found disappointing.
PREDICTIONS: "Birdman," "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Ida," "Mr. Turner," "Unbroken"
ALTERNATE: "The Imitation Game"
Best Costume Design
Milena Canonero ("The Grand Budapest Hotel") and Colleen Atwood ("Into the Woods") are locks for nominations for threads that were inspired, have been nominated by BFCA/SAG/ADG, and, well, they’re Colleen Atwood and Milena Canonero!
Jacqueline Durran ("Mr. Turner") has BFCA and BAFTA nods for her superb work on "Mr. Turner". I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t make the final five as well.
Steven Noble ("The Theory of Everything") and Sammy Sheldon Differ ("The Imitation Game") have scored with the guild and BAFTA for their detailed period work on Best Picture nominees. I’m banking on the latter making the final five with AMPAS, as I anticipate AMPAS will quite like the film. Both are in contention, though this category isn’t the most susceptible to being swayed by the Best Picture race.
Anna B. Sheppard ("Maleficent") and Mark Bridges ("Inherent Vice") garnered BFCA and CDG nominations for inspired work. This category will think outside the box and while neither costume designer has had tremendous success outside of leading Best Picture contenders, this year could change that. In fact, I think Sheppard’s costuming of Angelina Jolie will manage to sneak into the final five. It "feels right."
But why does the "little man" inside of me tell be that Ruth E. Carter will make the final five for "Selma"? Surely she got the film’s sole guild nod for a reason…
PREDICTIONS: "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "The Imitation Game," "Into the Woods," "Maleficent," "Mr. Turner"
Best Film Editing
Talk about a stacked category! Sandra Adair ("Boyhood") and Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione ("Birdman") have cut Best Picture frontrunners with unique narratives. "Birdman" the three major precursors (BFCA, ACE, BAFTA), though "Boyhood" missed BAFTA. They’re in.
Tom Cross’s cutting of "Whiplash" has received nothing but praise, now reflected in ACE, BFCA and BAFTA nominations. It will be a tragedy if he doesn’t make it.
"The Imitation Game" is the sort of Best Picture nominee – suspenseful and jumping between time periods – that scores in this category. Billy Goldenberg is also respected, and also has ACE, BAFTA and BFCA nominations. I’d bank on him earning nomination #5.
And in the fifth spot, I simply have a very strong hunch that BAFTA/ACE nominee John Gilroy is going to get the nomination he came so close to for "Michael Clayton," leaving all three Gilroy Brothers with nominations this year (Tony for producing and Dan for writing).
The problem is that predicting this quintet leaves two seemingly "easy gets" on the outside looking in. Kirk Baxter ("Gone Girl") has been nominated three times in the past six years for Fincher collaborations. A super-suspenseful film for which he’s also earned the three major precursors, he should be back at it. But is the film fading?
"American Sniper" certainly isn’t fading, as Joel Cox and Gary Roach have peaked at just the right time. I do note that Cox has fared better with the guild than the Academy over the years, though, so I would not read too much into the current zeitgeist.
If Barney Pilling ("The Grand Budapest Hotel") or Jinx Godrey ("The Theory of Everything") make the final five, those films are in for quite the haul.
PREDICTIONS: "Birdman," "Boyhood," "The Imitation Game," "Nightcrawler", "Whiplash"
ALTERNATE: "American Sniper"
Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Whenever a film makes the bake-off, it cannot be ruled out here. Nor can anything ever be considered a lock. Having said that, now that "Guardians of the Galaxy" made it to this stage notwithstanding the CGI, I’d say a nod is likely. Hollywood seems to have joined the rest of the world in loving this movie. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" also has so much of what this branch loves – aging, battle wounds, period makeup. The esteem in which the film is held should push it over the edge. And a physical transformation usually takes a spot so I’m not going to change my "since Cannes" prediction of "Foxcatcher."
Now that leaves us with three fairly predictable nominees, which is not par for the course in this category, but I’m not sure what other approach to take. "Maleficent" and "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" seem to be treading similar ground that "Guardians" does better while "Noah" seems a tad too subtle.
The fact that "The Theory of Everything" made it this far means it’s likely in good shape – disability and subtle aging is something this category adores. But what will it knock out?
PREDICTIONS: "Foxcatcher", "The Grand Budapest Hotel", "Guardians of the Galaxy"
ALTERNATE: "The Theory of Everything"