The 2015 Academy Awards ceremony airs this Sunday and, as usual, the big races are getting all of the attention.
Sure, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Picture and Best Director, are exciting, but there are so many more categories recognizing amazing talent behind-the-camera that deserve some love, too.
So, let the rest of the world worry about Meryl Streep’s gazillionth Oscar nomination, while we take you through these lesser-celebrated categories and give you our picks for Sunday’s winners.
- Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Emmanuel Lubezki
- The Grand Budapest Hotel, Robert Yeoman
- Ida, Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
- Mr. Turner, Dick Pope
- Unbroken, Roger Deakins
Flip Pick – Birdman, Emmanuel Lubezki
While the director has the creative vision for the film, it is up to the cinematographer to tell the story visually. Of the nominees for this category, Emmanuel Lubezki is up for his second Oscar in a row (the first was for last year’s Academy Award winner Gravity) and it is his category to lose. Although, telling the story of Birdman by using camera tricks that appeared to make the two-hour film look like it was shot in one take, the gimmick works and the result is cinematically stunning. How the film will hold up over time, however, is up for debate.
- American Sniper, Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
- Boyhood, Sandra Adair
- The Grand Budapest Hotel, Barney Pilling
- The Imitation Game, William Goldenberg
- Whiplash, Tom Cross
Flip Pick – Boyhood, Sandra Adair
The editor of a film is the one who takes that special care of what a competent director and cinematographer provides and tells the story by cutting away the superfluous shots to tell the story in the most economical and visually stimulating way possible. Boyhood, a 12-year passion project from director Richard Linklater will most likely win the Oscar for Sandra Adair (if even just for slogging through that many years worth of footage).
Best Original Screenplay
- Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr., and Armando Bo
- Boyhood, Richard Linklater
- Foxcatcher, Max Frye and Dan Futterman
- The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness
- Nightcrawler, Dan Gilroy
Flip Pick – The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness
Every film always begins with words on a page and it is up to the filmmakers to bring those words to the screen. Wes Anderson has been toiling away in Hollywood, creating intricate worlds without much fanfare. The adventures of Gustave H and his loyal Lobby Boy are a treasure and should bring Anderson and Hugo Guinness Oscar for best screenplay.
Best Adapted Screenplay
- American Sniper, Jason Hall
- The Imitation Game, Graham Moore
- Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson
- The Theory of Everything, Anthony McCarten
- Whiplash, Damien Chazelle
Flip Pick – The Imitation Game, Graham Moore
This will probably be The Imitation Game’s only award of the night, a nod to what would have been an Academy Award winner for best picture in any other year.
Best Foreign Language Film
- Ida (Poland)
- Leviathan (Russia)
- Tangerines (Estonia)
- Timbuktu (Mauritania)
- Wild Tales (Argentina)
Flip Pick – Ida or Leviathan
It is a toss up between Ida and Leviathan. However, all the films are worth seeing and ideally they will be screening either online or at your local Art House Cinema after the awards.
Best Animated Feature
- Big Hero 6, Don Hall, Chris Williams, and Roy Conli
- How to Train Your Dragon 2, Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold
- The Boxtrolls, Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable, and Travis Knight
- Song of the Sea, Tomm Moore and Paul Young
- The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura
Flip Pick – The LEGO Movie
But it wasn’t nominated so we respectfully decline to offer our pick. However, Big Hero 6 was entertaining.
Best Documentary Film
- Citizenfour, Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, and Dirk Wilutzky
- Finding Vivian Maier, John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
- Last Days in Vietnam, Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester
- The Salt of the Earth, Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, and David Rosier
- Virunga, Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara
Flip Pick – Citizenfour, Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, and Dirk Wilutzky
Citizenfour deserves to win for at least the public service Edward Snowden, Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald provided to the world. Plus, I for one really want to see the acceptance speech. As far as the film making is concerned, it is as exhilarating as a Jason Bourne movie even though the majority of the film takes place in a Hong Kong hotel room.
Best Short Documentary Film
- Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
- Joanna, Aneta Kopacz
- Our Curse, Tomasz Sliwinski and Maciej Slesicki
- The Reaper (La Parka), Gabriel Serra Arguello
- White Earth, J. Christian Jensen
Flip Pick – Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
These short documentary films are not for the faint of heart. They all deal with very real and very tragic subjects. Whether it is following the days and nights of suicide hotline workers helping US Veterans battle their demons or a families struggling with terminal illness, the days of children living in an oil boom town or the life of a slaughterhouse worker, each film deserves a viewing. Our pick to win is HBO’s Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, but you can watch all the Best Short Documentary Films on Vimeo.
Best Short Live-Action Film
- Aya, Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis
- Boogaloo and Graham, Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney
- Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak), Hu Wei and Julien Féret
- Parvaneh, Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger
- The Phone Call, Mat Kirkby and James Lucas
Flip Pick – Butter Lamp, Hu Wei and Julien Feret
In Butter Lamp the camera remains fixed on ever-changing backdrops as a photographer arranges Tibetian Nomads for family portraits. Like every family, it is hard to get everyone to cooperate in the photos and slowly a story emerges from the dialogue among the participants. This is the exact opposite of the “Show don’t Tell” school of film making, but it works beautifully. Watch all the Best Live-Action Short Films on Vimeo.
Best Short Animated Film
- The Bigger Picture, Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees
- The Dam Keeper, Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
- Feast, Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed
- A Single Life, Joris Oprins
- Me and My Moulton, Torill Kove
Flip Pick – Feast, Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed
Feast tells the story of a relationship through the eyes of a very hungry dog. It’s cute, and you may have already seen it in theaters attached to Big Hero 6. The other shorts are also great, with another front runner being the 2D-plus-stop-motion animated The Bigger Picture. If you like Animation, you can see all the nominees on Vimeo.
Best Costume Design
- The Grand Budapest Hotel, Milena Canonero
- Inherent Vice, Mark Bridges
- Into the Woods, Colleen Atwood
- Maleficent, Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive
- Mr. Turner, Jacqueline Durran
Best Production Design
- The Grand Budapest Hotel, Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock
- The Imitation Game, Maria Djurkovic and Tatiana Macdonald
- Interstellar, Nathan Crowley and Gary Fettis
- Into the Woods, Dennis Gassner and Anna Pinnock
- Mr. Turner, Suzie Davies and Charlotte Watts
Best Hair and Makeup Design
- Foxcatcher, Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard
- The Grand Budapest Hotel, Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
- Guardians of the Galaxy, Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White
Flip Pick – The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson’s beautifully designed and well-crafted film, is like the tiny cakes from Mendl’s bakery: gorgeous, delicate and from a familiar-yet-foreign place in your imagination. Anderson’s style may not be for everyone, but you must admire his strict attention to detail. Perhaps if he were not a filmmaker he would have been the president of his local model train society. Expect The Grand Budapest Hotel to sweep these three categories or there is no reason to get up Monday morning.
Watch the 2015 Academy Awards this Sunday, February 22 at 5:00 PM (PDT) and make your own predictions before the show at http://oscar.go.com/mypicks.