Last year, noting that there wasn’t much drama in the major categories, I offered picks in five of the more obscure Oscar categories—Editing, Costume Design, Animated Short, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing—in an attempt to help push those filling out their own prediction ballots over the top. I hit four out of five. Now, with another year of foregone conclusions at the top of the ballot—Bridges, Mo’Nique, Bullock, etc.—it’s time to see if I can bat a thousand.
Editing: Historically, you either want to pick the Best Picture favorite, or the showy action film. This year, those two descriptions both fit one movie: Avatar. Though it still boggles my mind how two-and-a-half-hour movies regularly get the nod—the category is “Best Editing, not “Most Editing”—go with Avatar in a close race with The Hurt Locker.
Costume Design: My one miss last year, and another tough call in 2010. You’ve got period pieces (Bright Star, The Young Victoria), a musical (Nine), wild fantasy (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnasus) and the story of fashion designer (Coco Before Chanel). Picking Chanel seems almost too obvious, but I’m guessing a foreign-language film won’t be as widely seen as either Victoria or Nine. I’ll gamble on Oscar’s fetish for royalty and go with Victoria.
Animated Short: Here’s a fun bit of trivia: Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park has never lost when nominated for an Oscar, capturing three Animated Shorts awards and one for the 2005 Wallace & Gromit feature. A Matter of Loaf and Death isn’t quite up to the level of previous W&G adventures, but in a weak year, it seems a safe bet Park will continue his streak.
Sound Mixing/Sound Editing: The same film usually doesn’t sweep these two categories, unless an Oscar favorite is also a big-budget adventure (Titanic, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King). Take Avatar for both.