The Oscars 2014: Tech Categories & Their Importance

Like it is every year… the tech awards are important, outside of the fact that these elements in film are crucial to the overall product of the film, but they also can dictate the fate of other categories at the latter end of the show.  When ARGO won Editing and Screenplay last year, it was certain that Picture was theirs.  When films like TITANIC or LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING swept almost every technical category, it was almost certain that the evening would end on their terms.

The tricky thing about this year’s Oscar race is that there are so many films that are in the hunt, that even if a film dominates early on (a la GRAVITY or AMERICAN HUSTLE) a film like 12 YEARS A SLAVE can still take the big prize, considering that has been the established precedent for this entire awards run.  Golden Globes, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, PGA (tie) – they all have handed other films more awards but still presented the biggest and most important category to 12 YEARS.  This is a year where anything can happen, and even if a film starts sweeping early (which GRAVITY will definitely do), that isn’t necessarily an indication that we can call it an evening an hour in.

BEST EDITING

This is a category that usually goes in hand with the winner of Best Picture, but not always a certainty.  In some years, the category is crucial, but in a year like this, it’s difficult to exactly decipher its meaning.  The favorite at this very moment is CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, winning an Eddie, and easily the most showiest of edited films.  If Gravity wins, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to take Best Picture, as it was a favorite not so long ago.  The bigger tells would be if 12 YEARS or AMERICAN HUSTLE winning, especially the latter.  If AH somehow pulls this out, it’d be a potential spoiler for the rest of the evening.

Predicted Winner: Captain Phillips
Dark Horse: Gravity
If I Had A Vote: Gravity

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

I feel bad for Roger Deakins.  What does the man have to do to get his incredibly overdue Oscar?  In any other year, I’d say PRISONERS easily the most enhanced through its cinematography, easily creating the tense and darkening world, making the film much better.  But with Emmanuel Lubeski’s groundbreaking work, it’s easy to call this category.  Anyone else winning would be a complete shock.

Predicted Winner: Gravity
Dark Horse: Inside Llewyn Davis
If I Had A Vote: Gravity

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

This is one of those categories that will most likely mean nothing in foreshadowing future categories, but I think if GRAVITY beats THE GREAT GATSBY (favorite), then we’re going to see a sweep of sorts, including Picture and Director.

Predicted Winner: The Great Gatsby
Dark Horse: Gravity
If I Had A Vote: Her

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

This is another category that has a clear favorite, but if AH or 12 YEARS somehow surprise here, I think it’d be quite telling.  I think the only other nominee that stands a chance against THE GREAT GATSBY is AH, and if it does sneak up and win, watch out…

Predicted Winner: The Great Gatsby
Dark Horse: American Hustle
If I Had A Vote: The Great Gatsby

BEST SOUND MIXING & SOUND EDITING

Not even close.

Predicted Winner: Gravity
Dark Horse: Lone Survivor
If I Had A Vote: Gravity

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