The 2013 Oscars Preview: Shorts & Tech Categories

It is officially Oscar week!  And considering this is my second year blogging about films and the Oscars, I thought it would be important to do an Oscar round up the week of to give all you readers tips, advice and important information you’re going to need when making your picks.  If you’re like me, my main motivation is to see if I can eventually master the art of predicting the Oscars, but there are numerous contests, awards and much money to be made.

Today, we’ll be focusing on the Short and Tech categories.  Considering that’s almost half of the awards, this is going to be somewhat of a lengthy article.  But hopefully this will provide you an inside scoop of what most likely will win in each category.

Best Animated Short

The shorts are always tough to predict, mainly because no one knows anything about them.  If the Academy has done something great (which is limited), they’ve really focused on providing some exposure and attention to the shorts, releasing all of them together in one packaged deal in theaters and DVD.  It’s done marvels for those looking to break into the industry, and hopefully this emphasis on short films will continue.  But let’s focus on the nominees.

Paperman by John Kahrs
Adam & Dog by Minkyu Lee
Fresh Guacomole by PES
Head Over Heels by Timothy Reckart
Maggie Simpson In The Longest Daycare by David Silverman

The money here is on Paperman.  There is a lot of buzz on Adam & Dog, with the potential of it to sneak up and win.  When Academy members are talking about your film, that’s always a good sign.  But if I had to make a bet, I’m sticking with Paperman.  It played in front of major audiences (Wreck-It-Ralph) and Disney has a good track record of winning these awards.  Be very surprised if it went to anything else besides Paperman or Adam & Dog.

Best Live Action Short

Buzkashi Boys by Sam French and Ariel Nasr
Curfew by Shawn Christensen
Asad by Shawn Christensen
Death of a Shadow by Tom Van Avermaet
Henry by Yan England

In regards to shorts, the best predictor for which short wins is by its originality and emotional pull.  Curfew, focused on the relationship between an older brother and his nine-year old niece, is quite defying and exceptional.  Though most of the live action shorts are usually great, Curfew gets the favorite role early on.  If there was another potential here for a win, it could be Henry, which is based on an old veteran, which is something the Oscars love voting for (Amour).

Best Documentary Short

Inocente by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine
Kings Point by Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider
Mondays at Racine by Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan
Open Heart by Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern
Redemption by Jon Alpert and Matthew O’ Neill

What’s important to understand about the documentary categories is that members of the Academy can only vote for these categories if they’ve actually seen the films.  They receive a ballot after watching these films, so you must understand that voters will most likely check off for the film that has the greatest magnitude of feelings and emotions as soon as the credits roll.  Considering this, there’s two films that stick out here: Inocente and Open Heart.  Inocente has the gratifying character arc, where a homeless artist tries to make her work grow allowing her the basic needs of life.  It has a ton of potential to win here, but my money would be on Open Heart.  Here’s the synopsis: “A group of Rwandan children set out on a long journey away from their families to seek heart treatments that can save their lives.”  Yeah, it’s going to win.

Best Original Score

Life of Pi
Anna Karenina

The main two competitors here are Life of Pi and Lincoln.  Lincoln, written and composed by John Williams, is always a threat.  I mean the man has written Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jaws, Indiana Jones and any other classic scores you can think of.  He’s an absolute genius.  But the front runner here is Life of Pi.  It’s won most of the precursors and considering the Academy nominated Life of Pi 11 times, it definitely will have a dominant presence in the tech categories.  Surprise win could come from Skyfall, but Life of Pi is in the lead here.

Best Original Song

Skyfall from Skyfall
Before My Time from Chasing Ice
Everybody Needs A Best Friend from Ted
Pi’s Lullaby from Life of Pi
Suddenly from Les Miserables

Adele’s gonna win.

Best Visual Effects

Life of PiThe Hobbit
The Avengers
Snow White
and The Huntsman

I’ve always had issues with this category because I really don’t think members of the Academy can distinguish better visual effects.  Honestly, they choose the film they most like out of the five nominated, and it’s quite obvious which one they will vote for.  Granted, Life of Pi deserves to win.  The visuals in that film were astounding, and it truly is an accomplishment.  But what films like The Avengers, Prometheus and The Hobbit did is also marvelous work.  But Life of Pi is extremely ahead in this category.

Best Makeup

Les Miserables
The Hobbit

Same thing here.  Unless Academy members get behind the scene dvds of how these films actually attack their make up department, which is a very important part of film, then it’s going to the film that they enjoyed the most.  You could make a late run for The Hobbit, but the safe bet here is Les Miserables.  Honestly, the best make up work in any film this year was Men In Black 3, but of course, it’s not always reward the best achievement now is it?

Best Costume Design

Anna Karenina
Les Miserables
Mirror Mirror
Snow White and the Hunstman

This to me is not as obvious as some others have predicted.  The consensus right now is Anna Karenina, but I fondly disagree.  I do think Anna Karenina most likely could win and deserves to win, but Lincoln and Les Miserables are not far behind.  And it really depends on how they feel about Lincoln.  These are one of those categories that in the grand scheme of things might not mean a lot, but it also could mean much more than we give it credit.  If Lincoln wins here, which would be a surprise win, they it could be a foreshadow for some other awards.  The favorite here is Anna Karenina, but don’t be shocked if Les Mis or Lincoln come out on top.  Crossing my fingers.

Best Production Design

Anne Karenina
Life of Pi

Les Miserables
The Hobbit

The only one that is for sure not winning this category is The Hobbit.  Anna Karenina has won the most awards on production design, but Life of Pi is only one behind.  And if the Academy really favors Lincoln or Les Mis, then don’t be surprised if they can sneak one out.  The favorite here is Anna Karenina, but if the Academy really loved Life of Pi as I think they do, then this is where that love will show up.

Best Sound Mixing

Les Miserables
Life of Pi

This one is going to Les Miserables.  If you’re not sure what sound mixing is, then you’re part of the majority of viewers who watch the Oscars.  Sound mixing is the addition of noises, backgrounds and the balance between different audio filters and sources.  Films like Les Miserables usually take this because of the difficult of creating a perfect mix of music, song and film all balanced into one scene.  Musicals are always favored to win Sound Mixing, and there’s no exception here.  The potential surprise win would be Skyfall, who has Greg P. Russell nominated for his 16th time (but no win).  if there’s a film that’s going to upset though it will be Argo, and if Argo does, two things will happen.  It’s going to also win Sound Editing and then go on and win Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture, and two, I will go kill myself.

Best Sound Editing

Zero Dark Thirty
Django Unchained
Life of Pi

I always sound like a jackass when I try and describe the difference between sound editing and sound mixing, but I’ll give it a shot.  Sound Editing is the process of creating an aesthetic and feel for a film with the use of sound.  Where as mixing is the complement of all noises and audio, sound editing is more focused on the feel and tone of the film (the use of its score).  Yep, I still sound like a major tool.  Anyways, the favorite here is Argo, but Life of Pi just surprised many by winning Best Sound Editing at the MPSE awards, which would entail for a potential upset.  I’m still sticking my guns here for Argo, but look out for Zero Dark Thirty or Life of Pi.

Best Cinematography

Roger Deakins, Skyfall
Cloudio Miranda, Life of Pi
Janusz Kaminski, Lincoln
Seamus McGarvey, Anna Karenina
Robert Richardson, Django Unchained

This is Roger Deakins ninth nomination with no win.  He should’ve won for True Grit, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and many other films.  But considering he’s one of the best, if not the best DP working today, it’s a travesty he’s never won.  And my gut feeling is that he’s not going to win again!  It would be disappointing if he does, and if I were him, I’d go on a riot.  But Life of Pi is the favorite for very good reasons.  It’s a masterpiece with its camera, and like I said, it’s going to dominate in the tech categories.  The dark horse here is Lincoln, and deservedly so.  It’s a beautifully shot film, and if it does win, it would be considered another foreshadow win.  But my choice here, for now, is Life of Pi.

Best Editing

William Goldenberg, Argo
Arnet Tichenor, Zero Dark Thirty
Michael Kahn, Lincoln
Tim Squyers, Life of Pi
Jay Cassidy, Silver Linings Playbook

This is a very good list of nominees.  All five are truly deserving, but the favorite here is Argo.  Usually editing is paired with Best Picture, and sometimes can tip the cup for a film, a la Crash 2006.  If you think a certain film has great editing, than usually the film itself is great.  That’s why it makes a lot of sense to see Argo as the potential winner here.  It’s the favorite, no one doubts that, but there are a lot of other possibilities.  Zero Dark Thirty is in my opinion the best edited film of 2012.  There’s no doubt in that.  And considering it has won the most precursors in this field, it cannot be ignored.  Don’t be surprised if you see a Lincoln or Life of Pi potential here.  In my estimation, if anything else except Argo wins this award, that’s not good news for Argo.  If Life of Pi wins, then you can lock up Ang Lee for Directing.  And if Lincoln or Silver Linings Playbook wins, then we might see a potential upset at Best Picture.

That’s it for Day 1.  Come back tomorrow as we will discuss the nominees and potential winners for the Screenplays, Animation, Documentary and Foreign Film categories.



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