Best Animated Short. Editing. Costume Design. Original Score. These aren’t the sexy categories, but if you’re going to win you’re Oscars bracket, you’re going to have to take some of these down. Here’s where I think how some of (what some people consider) the “smaller awards” will pan out…
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: First off, this is the most stacked year for animated films in recent memory. Three of my faves didn’t even get nominated. So, while I think Marcel The Shell With Shoes On should win and Turning Red could win, I think Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio has the best chance of taking the Oscar home.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: This one feels like a lock for All Quiet In The Western Front, which is beautifully shot by the amazing James Friend. Was hoping Roger Deakins would get the love here just because his work is always impeccable, but Empire Of Light does not seem to have any mojo.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: The Academy has always loved a Baz Luhrmann spectacle, so I think this is going to Elvis and Luhrmann’s longtime collaborator Catherine Martin. She has won for both Moulin Rouge! and The Great Gatsby and I think she’s getting another one.
BEST FILM EDITING: This feels like a dogfight between Top Gun: Maverick and my predicted winner, Everything Everywhere All At Once (editor: Paul Rogers).
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIR: I am really hoping The Whale does not win here, though it feels like it’s going to. Still, I’m going to pick with my heart (NOTE: my heart is usually wrong) and say Elvis and Mark Coulier, Jason Baird and Aldo Signoretti are getting this.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: This is a toughie because there really doesn’t seem to be a clear winner. I think Babylon could win, but gonna keep riding the Elvis train and say that Christian M. Goldbeck and Ernestine Hipper should make a little room on their shelves for fancy new statues.
BEST SCORE: John Williams is nominated for his 53RD TIME, and the only person who has more nominations is Walt Fucking Disney. But this is where I think Babylon and Justin Hurwitz get their win.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: In what I am sure will be a performance that will bring down the house, I think “Naatu Naatu” from RRR is the clear frontrunner here.
BEST SOUND: Top Gun: Maverick, you shall not be shut out. This film was a marvel to watch and listen to, so let’s give some props to Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon and Mark Taylor.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: This one also feels like a runaway. I’m penciling in Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon and Daniel Barrett from Avatar: The Way Of Water.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: This feels like a three-horse race and any of these films deserve to win. But I think Fire Of Love and Navalny are both watching as All The Beauty And The Bloodshed, the story about artist and activist Nan Goldin and her crusade to bring down the Sackler family for their part in the opiod crisis, wins the trophy on Oscar Sunday.
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM: Another lock here. The rule is always: if a film is nominated for Best Picture and Best International Film, it’s a lock to win the latter. All Quiet On The Western Front will not be caught.
THE SHORTS: Look, you haven’t seen these and have zero thoughts. And you probably don’t care about my thoughts on these. Totally get that. All I will say is that there’s a lot of good to see here and that I’m predicting good nights for the teams behind The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, And The Horse (animated), The Elephant Whispers (documentary) and Le Pupile (live action).