Achievement In Costume Design
"American Hustle" - Michael Wilkinson
"The Grandmaster" - William Chang Suk Ping
"The Great Gatsby" - Catherine Martin
"The Invisible Woman" - Michael O'Connor
"12 Years A Slave" - Patricia Norris
Should Win: Hmm, nothing here is particularly grabby (though I'll admit I haven't seen "The Grandmaster" yet), but I wouldn't be against "American Hustle" picking up the prize, as those 70s threads were pretty well done.
Will Win: Another reasonably close one. "12 Years A Slave" got the guild award at the weekend, while "The Great Gatsby" took the BAFTA, but "American Hustle" is in with a chance (and given the Academy's propensity for awarding any British costume drama—see "The Young Victoria"—"The Invisible Woman" shouldn't be counted out). In the end, I'm just gonna lean towards the guilds and "12 Years A Slave," but it's going to be very, very close and either "Gatsby" or "Hustle" could break through instead.
Achievement In Music Written For Motion Pictures (Original Song)
"Happy" from "Despicable Me 2" -- Music and Lyrics by Pharrell Williams
"Let It Go" from "Frozen" -- Music and Lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
"The Moon Song" from "Her" -- Music by Karen O, Lyrics by Karen O and Spike Jonze
"Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" -- Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Lyrics by Paul Hewson
Should Win: It's pretty slight, but "The Moon Song" is sort of lovely, and as a big Karen O fan still stinging that none of her "Where The Wild Things Are" work was recognized, I'd love to see her pick something up here.
Will Win: "Let It Go." Disney was so confident about this one that they didn't submit any other songs from "Frozen," and as the sole movie musical among the nominees, it's at an immediate advantage. This is an easy one.
Achievement In Music Written For Motion Pictures (Original Score)
"The Book Thief" - John Williams
"Gravity" - Steven Price
"Her" - William Butler and Owen Pallett
"Philomena" - Alexandre Desplat
"Saving Mr. Banks" - Thomas Newman
Should Win: One of the weakest line-ups I can remember for this category, with three veterans turning in eminently forgettable work. I'd go with Arcade Fire's "Her" score. Partly because I'm a terrible hipster, and partly because "Gravity," for all its strength, becomes a bit overbearing at the end.
Will Win: "Her" could be a dark horse (don't forget Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor winning a few years back), but this looks likely to go to Price and "Gravity", given the importance of the score to the movie. I'll close my eyes and pretend it was for his work on "Attack The Block" instead.
Best Animated Feature Film
"Despicable Me 2"
"Ernest & Celestine"
"The Wind Rises"
Should Win: "The Wind Rises." It's not Miyazaki's very best film (check out our Miyazaki ranked feature), but it's one of his most personal, and certainly great work from a hall-of-fame filmmaker, one that's apparently the director's last. The maestro has one Oscar, for "Spirited Away," but it would be a great way to close off his career to give him another.
Will Win: Unfortunately, the Academy are unlikely to be as sentimental about the director, particularly given the allegations from some quarters (entirely unfair) that the film is an apologia for Japanese actions during the war. Given that it was such a box-office juggernaut, this is "Frozen" all over.
Best Documentary Feature
"The Act Of Killing"
"Cutie And The Boxer"
"20 Feet From Stardom"
Should Win: "The Act Of Killing." There isn't a bad film here—it's one of the strongest line-ups in the history of the category, I'd say—but "The Act Of Killing" is certainly the most inventive and powerful, and would be a deserving winner.
Will Win: "The Act Of Killing" is definitely in the running, but there's a tendency to go with crowd-pleasers or more obviously issue-driven movies over the critical favorite here. As such, I'm going to predict a win for "The Square," though "20 Feet From Stardom" could still figure in.
Best Foreign Language Film
"The Broken Circle Breakdown"
"The Great Beauty"
"The Missing Picture"
Should Win: "The Missing Picture" is an extraordinary film, and one of the most atypical nominees in this category in a long time (it also makes a handy companion piece for "The Act Of Killing"). It probably doesn't have a hope though.
Will Win: It's going to be close between the Belgian, Danish and Italian films, and any one could conceivably take the prize. Most are leaning towards "The Great Beauty," which did will with precursors, including BAFTA. "The Hunt" is viable, but divisive enough that I think it'll fall short. But for some reason, I have a gut feeling about "The Broken Circle Breakdown," which is the kind of respectable melodrama that often wins out in this category over more formally audacious fare like the Sorrentino film.
Achievement In Film Editing
"American Hustle" - Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
"Captain Phillips" - Christopher Rouse
"Dallas Buyers Club" - John MacMurphy and Martin Pensa
"Gravity" - Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Sanger
"12 Years A Slave" - Joe Walker
Should Win: "Captain Phillips" might have the more impressive micro-editing, but it's the structural rigor of "12 Years A Slave"'s cutting that feels more substantial and memorable to me.
Will Win: Between "Gravity" and "Captain Phillips," and this'll be another telling one. If "Gravity" wins, it's also taking Best Picture. If the other does, it would seem to point the way towards something else taking the top prize. Right now, I favor "Captain Phillips," if only because the long takes of "Gravity" can, incorrectly, give the impression that there's less work to be done than on Paul Greengrass' rapid-fire film.
Achievement In Cinematography
"The Grandmaster" - Philippe Le Sourd
"Gravity" - Emmanuel Lubezki
"Inside Llewyn Davis" - Bruno Delbonnel
"Nebraska" - Phedon Papamichael
"Prisoners" - Roger A. Deakins
Should Win: "Gravity" and "Prisoners" are gorgeous (I'm sure "The Grandmaster" is too, but again, haven't managed to see it yet), but I'd pick Bruno Delbonnel's work on "Inside Llewyn Davis," if only for the shot of the cat looking out the subway window. But basically, anything except "Nebraska."
Will Win: It's finally Chivo's time—having missed out a number of times, "Gravity" looks like a home-run here, especially given the way that the Academy has favored 3D effects extravaganzas in this category over the years: "Avatar," "Hugo" and "Life Of Pi" all won.