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American Sniper (#110 of 18)

Oscar 2015 Composite Winner Predictions

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Oscar 2015 Composite Winner Predictions
Oscar 2015 Composite Winner Predictions

Below is a complete list of our predicted winners at the 2015 Academy Awards.

Picture: Birdman
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
Actor: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Original Screenplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Adapted Screenplay: Whiplash
Foreign Language: Ida
Documentary Feature: Virunga
Animated Feature Film: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Documentary Short: Our Curse
Animated Short: The Dam Keeper
Live Action Short: The Phone Call
Film Editing: Whiplash
Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Cinematography: Birdman
Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Makeup and Hairstyling: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Score: The Theory of Everything
Song: “Glory,” Selma
Sound Editing: American Sniper
Sound Mixing: Whiplash
Visual Effects: Interstellar

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Picture

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Picture
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Picture

Tempted though I might be to end an Oscar season I began so long ago quoting Into the Woods’s Witch by dropping another choice lyric from “Last Midnight” (namely the one that would allow me to blithely shrug off the Academy’s fickle tastes with the dismissal, “Oh, why bother? You’ll just do what you do!”), there’s a legitimate three-way race to call this year. Make it four if you naïvely believe the monstrous box-office success of American Sniper is enough to overcome the same partisan resistance that stymied Zero Dark Thirty two years ago. Which means that figuring out exactly what the Academy will do is an even trickier errand than collecting a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Actor

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Actor
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Actor

First, praise be to the brave Oscar pundits who have Bradley Cooper in their crosshairs. Indeed, given how close this race probably is between Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton, it’s easy to see how Cooper could benefit from a vote split, not unlike, some have argued, Adrien Brody did back in 2003 when this award was anticipated to go to either Jack Nicholson or Daniel Day-Lewis. But we don’t have the courage to rally behind Cooper, terrific as he is in American Sniper, as this and adapted screenplay seem like the two categories where the contentiousness surrounding the Clint Eastwood film’s ostensibly mythmaking depiction of Chris Kyle is most likely to hurt. Which is to say nothing of the fact that, unlike Brody, Cooper enters this race without SAG, BAFTA, and Golden Globe nominations.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Adapted Screenplay

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay

We could make this one easy on ourselves and buy the narrative that every film nominated for best picture will win at least one Oscar next Sunday and call this one for The Imitation Game. But this presupposes that AMPAS members actually fill out their ballots with the intent of “spreading the wealth around” (how many Oscars did American Hustle win again?), and that Graham Moore’s adaptation of Andrew Hodges’s Alan Turing biopic isn’t one of the dullest soft balls to be pegged as a frontrunner in this category since Jason Reitman’s screenplay for Up in the Air, which lost—shockingly, if only in retrospect—to Precious.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Sound Editing

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Sound Editing
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Sound Editing

The debate surrounding the allegedly intentional inscrutability of Interstellar’s dialogue is unquestionably more of a liability in the sound mixing category, where clarity and precision is the whole point. Christopher Nolan himself has done his share of damage control since the movie’s release, explaining away all concerns by declaring his own ostensibly “adventurous” decision as though his command of the medium and penchant for difficult, potentially alienating formal choices rivals Tarkovsky’s. Nolan’s enough of a self-inflated prig that we actually buy his retroactive excuse. But the even more powerful element working in his favor is the otherwise eardrum-massaging, brown noise-flirting cacophony covering up that dialogue. Say what you will about the film’s philosophical shortcomings, it sets off a fusillade of fireworks that assertively level the playing field between Neil deGrasse Tyson and Katy Perry. Interstellar nominee Richard King is actually going for a record-breaking fourth competitive win in this category. (His previous wins came for two other Nolan films, Inception and The Dark Knight, and before those Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.) While on paper (well, on subwoofer and tweeter), King sounds like a frontrunner, sound editing is also a category that truly can’t deny its own membership in the NRA. The films of Katherine Bigelow, James Bond, and Jason Bourne have all cold-bloodedly picked off their competition, and the last time Clint Eastwood had a war movie in the hunt (well, two), Letters from Iwo Jima won handily. Now roaring its way toward $300 million and boasting as many bullets as you or Glenn Beck please, American Sniper definitely has King in its sights.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Sound Mixing

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing

If best animated film, best documentary feature, and best director begat the year’s most conspicuous snubs (for The Lego Movie, Life Itself, and Ana DuVerny, respectively), best sound mixing boasts the most controversial nomination: Interstellar. Personally, we’d like to thank the trio of Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, and Mark Weingarten for doing all they could within their power to drown out the Nolan brothers’ pompous dialogue in favor of Hans Zimmer’s IMAX-sized music cues, but even we’d draw the line at giving them the actual trophy, and there’s little doubt that the Academy’s sizeable ear trumpet-hoisting constituency will too.

Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions Editing

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Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Editing
Oscar 2015 Winner Predictions: Editing

Last year we accurately predicted 23 out of 24 Oscar categories. And because the chances of our literally one-upping that record now that this year’s AMPAS dog and pony show has emerged, and so late in the game, as one of the wiliest to pin down in some time, we’re inclined to give less of a fuck than usual. Which is why we’re going out on a drumstick and calling this for Whiplash. Most are understandably rallying behind Boyhood, which won the Eddie for best edited dramatic feature and doesn’t have to compete in this category with our new presumptive best picture winner, Birdman. The effect of that film’s one-shot magic trick is just as dependent on its editing as it is on its cinematography, but such nuance clearly went above AMPAS’s collective toupee. To be honest, we wouldn’t have been surprised if the Richard Linklater film, given its conventional editing style, had failed to come up short here, as it did when the BAFTAs announced their own shortlist at the beginning of the year. And given the vast overlap between BAFTA and Oscar’s voting bodies, the win across the pond last Sunday for Whiplash is likely a prescient one. In the words of our own Eric Henderson: “Whiplash is basically a demonic musical—neo-Fosse attenuated to the misanthropic rhythms of homophobia. (Which is definitely NOT to say it has Fosse’s razor-sharp sense of timing. Not by a longshot. But it thinks it does, which, to quote J.K. Simmons’s character, is even worse. But certainly not a mark against its chances.)” More to the point: When in doubt, go with the film that most belligerently tests, for better and for worse, the audience’s patience.