Thursday, February 21, 2013

Final Oscar Predictions 1/3 (Music; Shorts; Misc.)

Best Original Score:

“Anna Karenina”
“Life of Pi”

Prediction: “Life of Pi”
My preference: “Life of Pi”

Mychael Danna has done better work in the past, but in a fairly weak year for the category (they should have nominated “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Cloud Atlas!”) I find myself rooting for “Life of Pi” here. It feels as if John Williams’ next win will have to be on the coat-tails of a sweeping Best Picture winner, and Thomas Newman’s “Skyfall” is hardly a revelation deserving of recognition. If the Academy really take to “Argo” then Desplat may finally get an Oscar, but I feel very comfortable about predicting Danna to take this one home.

Best Original Song:

“Chasing Ice”
“Les Miserables”
“Life of Pi”

Prediction: “Skyfall”
My preference: “Chasing Ice”

Yes, that’s right; If I had a ballot I wouldn’t be voting for Adele, despite liking the song a ton. I am continually moved by “Before My Time” but I concede that it doesn’t have a hope of snagging this Oscar, the only possible challenger to global superstar Adele’s Bond hit the mopey, uninspiring “Suddenly,” from” Les Miserables,” which contributes little to the film overall. This one’s going to the Londoner.
Best Animated Feature:

“Pirates: Band of Misfits”
“Wreck-It Ralph”

Prediction: “Wreck-It Ralph”
My preference: “Frankenweenie”

This is looking like a three-horse race, with ‘Ralph’ and “Brave” duking it out at the front of the pack, and the hugely-respected Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” clinging onto hope of an upset. I have been concerned that the video game aspects of ‘Ralph’ will put some voters off, its commerciality and often garish animation making it the less graceful counterpart to the accomplished palette of Pixar’s “Brave.” The problem for Pixar is that nobody thinks that “Brave” even comes close to its finer achievements in the past decade, and – considering the gender balance of the Academy – I don’t think it helps that this particular film focuses on the issues of a teenage girl.

Best Documentary Feature:

“5 Broken Cameras”
“The Gatekeepers”
“How to Survive a Plague”
“The Invisible War”
“Searching for Sugar Man”

Prediction: “Searching for Sugar Man”
My preference: “5 Broken Cameras”

Having altered voting for this category to encompass the whole of the academy, it’s unclear whether voters will see all of the films, and it sadly feels as if they’d be more inclined to watch ‘Sugar Man’ than any of the others. I rather liked the film, but it’s a more personal story without a heavy issue to burden the audience, and feels like somewhat of a trifle having seen its competition. I don’t think “How to Survive a Plague” is out of it yet, and “The Invisible War” packs a serious punch, too, but will enough folks rally behind one of them to cause an upset? It seems unlikely.

Best Documentary (Short Film):

“Kings Point”
“Mondays at Racine”
“Open Heart”

Prediction: “Inocente”
My preference: N/A

Best Foreign Language Film:

“Amour” (Austria)
“Kon-Tiki” (Norway)
“No” (Chile)
“A Royal Affair” (Denmark)
“War Witch” (Canada)

Prediction: “Amour”
My preference: “War Witch”

It appears as if this prize is all sewn up, although I don’t think that “Amour” is traditionally the kind of film that wins in this category. The lack of a clear contender among the other four seals the deal, but will it be the film’s only prize?

Best Short Film (Animation):

“Adam and Dog”
“Fresh Guacamole”
“Head Over Heels”
“Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare”

Prediction: “Paperman”
My preference: “Fresh Guacamole”

While it’s true that voters have the tendency to surprise when filling out their ballot for the shorts, this is the first time that voting has been opened up to all branches. “Paperman” is surely the most widely viewed of the nominees (everybody who saw “Wreck-It Ralph” at the cinema will have seen this too) and the film does have a sweeping, cutesy charm about it. I’d be very surprised if the Academy chose to give this to one of the other, generally uninspiring nominees.

Best Short Film (Live Action):

“Buzkashi Boys”
“Death of a Shadow”

Prediction: “Curfew”
My preference: N/A

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