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Finalizing the Predictions in Oscar’s Aural/Effects Categories: Original Score, Original Song, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects

the danish girl eddie redmayne alicia vikander

Last week, we undertook a final preview of Oscar’s visual/design categories – Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup & Hairstyling, and Production Design.

Now, it’s time to turn to the “aural” or “effects” categories – Original Score, Original Song, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects.
Original Score

Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto’s score for “The Revenant” has received Globe and BFCA nominations. The likely nominations heading towards this film, as well as the opportunity to welcome back Sakamoto, 28 years after he won for “The Last Emperor,” leads me to put this title in the #1 spot.
And on the note of nostalgia, the chance to give Ennio Morricone another nomination for “The Hateful Eight” strikes me as too much to pass up. He already has scored with BFCA and Globes, which says something.

Alexandre Desplat, fresh off a win for “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” seems primed to return for “The Danish Girl,” for which he has received a Golden Globe nomination.
Daniel Pemberton’s “Steve Jobs” score seems almost too creative for this insular branch, Globe nod notwithstanding. And while Carter Burwell seems to have the best chance of his career for “Carol,” I think it’s fair to say this branch just doesn’t like him. I’d love to be proven wrong.
Howard Shore’s minimalist “Spotlight” compositions and Jóhann Jóhannson’s effective “Sicario” score both have their fans. But the former seems too minimalist while the latter film appears to be getting lost among the contenders.
In the last spots, I’ll instead go with two old standbys – John Williams for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and Thomas Newman for “Bridge of Spies.” While neither has earned much by way of precursor support, they both have multiple nominations to their names to date after little precursor attention. I’m banking on an ability to repeat.

FINAL PREDICTIONS: “Bridge of Spies,” “The Danish Girl,” “The Hateful Eight,” “The Revenant,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Original Song
“Love Me Like You Do” from “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “See You Again” from “Furious 7” have BFCA/Globe nods and are easy ways to honour big hits. BFCA/Globe nominee “Simple Song #3” is also the logical place to cite “Youth.”
The last BFCA/Globe nominee is “Writing’s On the Wall” from “Spectre.” I am skeptical that this is going to join the likes of “Skyfall,” “For Your Eyes Only,” “Live and Let Die,” and “Nobody Does It Better” as a Bond film nominated here. But given the lack of obvious other contenders, I’ll nonetheless predict it.
In the last spot, I’ll go for “Until It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground,” if only to honor Lady Gaga. But it’s hardly a sure thing. So I’d consider “Flashlight” from “Pitch Perfect 2” and “Feels Like Summer” from “Shaun the Sheep Movie” if the branch is in the mood for some film-complementing songs. But ultimately, I’d go for “Phenomenal” from “Southpaw” in the alternate spot. Eminem is an awards magnet.

FINAL PREDICTIONS: “Love Me Like You Do” from “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “See You Again” from “Furious 7,” “Simple Song #3” from “Youth,” “Until It Happens to You” from “The Hunting Ground,” “Writing’s On the Wall” from “Spectre”
ALTERNATE: “Phenomenal” from “Southpaw”
Sound Editing
“The Martian,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” command tremendous respect, are big players overall, and have sound editors who are past nominees. They’ll be nominated.
Wylie Stateman is a sound branch favorite who has scored for his last two Tarantino collaborations. “The Hateful Eight” should make it three in a row.
I’ll go out on a limb and guess that “Ex Machina” earns the last spot for past winner Glenn Freemantle. I suspect it will score somewhere and this is the sort of quirky place that makes sense.
The competition also seems to have problems. “Sicario” seems forgotten, “The Revenant” appears more of a “mixer’s film,” “Jurassic World” seems like it will be lucky to get a Visual Effects nod, and it’s unclear which of “Inside Out” or “The Good Dinosaur” will be leading the way for Pixar.
FINAL PREDICTIONS: “Ex Machina,” “The Hateful Eight,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

ALTERNATE: “The Revenant”
Sound Mixing
“The Martian,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” command tremendous respect, are big players overall, and have sound mixers who are past nominees. They’ll be nominated. Oh wait, did I just say that? In all seriousness, there is tremendous overlap between the two sound categories and I’m guessing these three films will benefit from that fact.

One would think “Bridge of Spies,” anchored by Spielberg-favoured veterans, may find its way in here. But it remains rather quiet and the film is having difficulty scoring this awards season outside of Mark Rylance’s performance.

Instead, I’d look for Frank A. Montaño and Jon Taylor, who were double nominees for “Birdman” and “Unbroken” last year, to repeat the feat with “The Revenant” – a respected likely Best Picture nominee – and “Straight Outta Crompton,” a respected (if atypical) musical biopic.

Michael Minkler’s “The Hateful Eight” crew and “Ex Machina”’s group of upstarters (including two past winners) also wouldn’t surprise me as nominees.

FINAL PREDICTIONS: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “The Revenant,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Straight Outta Crompton”
ALTERNATE: “Bridge of Spies”
Visual Effects
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and “The Martian” are all Best Picture contenders, extremely well-received, and extremely effects-heavy. They’re in.
Though lack of novelty likely means it is not assured, I think “Jurassic Park” is sitting pretty given its status as a box office behemoth and the nostalgia it creates.
The last slot, in my view, is a battle between “Ex Machina” and “The Walk.” Despite the fact that the former is well on its way to cult status, I think Zemeckis will ultimately carry the delay for “The Walk.”
“The Revenant” might be slightly too subtle, though I’d rank it seventh. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” might finally be the victim of people growing sick of Marvel. But on the note of May releases, the little man in me doesn’t want to rule out “Tommorowland,” despite its flop status…

FINAL PREDICTIONS: “Jurassic World,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “The Walk”
ALTERNATE: “Ex Machina”

So that’s that. It’s been a pleasure previewing Oscar’s crafts categories with you over the past three months. Happy Oscar-watching!


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