Make the most of your Oscar ballot, pay attention to smaller categories

Make the most of your Oscar ballot, pay attention to smaller categories

In addition to being nominated for Best Picture, Boyhood is expected to win the editing category. Rotten Tomatoes

This year’s tumultuous Oscar season will come to a close Sunday evening with the presentation of the 87th Academy Awards. The show promises to be engaging, with Neil Patrick Harris hosting and a slew of musical performances by Lady Gaga, John Legend, Tegan and Sara, Maroon 5 and several others. Arguably more fun than the broadcast itself, however, is the business of predicting exactly which of the nominees will go home with a small 
golden man.

Year-round Oscar watching is the stuff of ruined friendships and sleepless nights. It’s fantasy football with even less objectivity. This year’s eight-nominee Best Picture category has essentially been whittled down to a two-horse race between “Boyhood” and “Birdman,” but what about those pesky technical 
categories? Predicting who will walk away with Best Sound Editing or Best Makeup can be a challenge, but doing so correctly is often what makes a winner in workplace Oscar pools.

To make the most of your ballot this year, pick Emmanuel Lubezki to pick up his second consecutive cinematography Oscar for his work on “Birdman,” a film impressively shot to appear as one continuous take. “Birdman” is mysteriously absent in the editing category, so look for “Boyhood” to triumph there for seamlessly stitching together 12 years’ worth of footage into one film. In the sound categories (yes, there are two), “American Sniper” should nab the editing award, with the mixing award going to the tense, jazz-infused “Whiplash.”

Expect “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which leads the year with nine nominations, to scoop up a trio of technical trophies – awards for costume design, production design and makeup should go to Wes Anderson’s visually-striking European caper. The Oscars for music will likely go to “The Theory of Everything” for score and “Glory” from “Selma” for song. The visual effects category is seemingly a toss-up between “Interstellar” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” but the latter film should win for its 
photorealistic simian characters.

The short film categories are difficult to predict largely because the nominees are difficult to see. In animated short, Disney’s adorable “Feast,” which preceded “Big Hero 6” in theaters, is the sure frontrunner. Look for “Joanna,” a Polish film about a dying woman and her small son, to snag the award for documentary short. Live action short will likely go to “The Phone Call,” a simple but arresting film starring Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins and 
winner Jim Broadbent.

Technical categories are often a time for bathroom breaks for disinterested home viewers during the Oscars, but these unsung races are often fraught with as much tension as their flashier cousins like Best Picture. Hopefully these predictions will help set you apart from the pack in your posse’s Oscar pool this year and ruin a friendship or two in the process.

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