Monday, December 22, 2014

Oscar Predictions: Best Cinematography

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 15th. As a result, most of the corresponding guilds won’t have announced their picks by then, so I’m making predictions in advance without being able to take those into consideration. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in most of the major categories, saving some of the biggest categories for last.

Last year’s nominees: The Grandmaster, Gravity, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Prisoners

This year’s locks: Interstellar, Birdman

Very likely: The Theory of Everything

Possible: Ida, The Imitation Game, Mr. Turner, Wild, A Most Violent Year, Boyhood, Gone Girl, Unbroken, Into the Woods

Unlikely: Under the Skin, Selma, Fury, Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel

The rundown: Sometimes, this category matches up with the Best Picture nominees, like in 2010, when all the nominees were also up for Best Picture, and sometimes, like in 2006, when none of them were. Two years ago, “Anna Karenina” and “Skyfall” were here but not in the top field, and last year, three that were barely recognized elsewhere – “The Grandmaster,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and “Prisoners” showed up here. I would think that Interstellar begins what may be a domination of the technical categories only here, and Birdman, which should show up everywhere, is sure to place as well. I’m not as confident about Boyhood, though it certainly could if voters think about those shots of a young Ellar Coltrane looking up at the sky from the grass. What I’m betting on in terms of non-Best Picture contenders is Ida since “The White Ribbon” got nominated in 2009 and this seems to be this year’s big foreign film (and “Nebraska” was nominated last year, demonstrating an affinity for black-and-white cinematography), and I’m not as confident about two films I’ve seen mentioned here and in other categories, Mr. Turner, which hasn’t done too much in stateside awards races so far but pundits seem to think will make a showing later, and Wild, which deserves to be here but doesn’t seem to be going over well aside from Reese Witherspoon’s performance. I would love to see A Most Violent Year here since it won me over with its deliberate and fantastic cinematography, but I’m not confident about its chances. Aside from all that, I’m betting on Best Picture bigwigs The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game to score the other spots.

One possible crazy scenario: Last year I put “Nebraska” here and it got nominated. I think that Nightcrawler could be this year’s out-of-the-box choice.

Forecasted winner: This should be Interstellar.

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