If I had a vote…and let’s say I do

side_oscarThe Oscars are a tricky beast. There really is no way to know who the Academy gods will favor, and any effort to hazard a guess is all but pointless.

So let’s!

ORIGINAL SONG – Let It Go from Frozen. The 117+ million views on YouTube all but guarantee it.

ORIGINAL SCORE – One of many Gravity will walk away with, if I were in charge. Her would be a great option, too.

SOUND MIXING/SOUND EDITING – A Gravity two-fer on these. Though I do think Captain Phillips did some great things with audio.

VISUAL EFFECTS – How could it not be Gravity?

MAKE-UP & HAIRSTYLING – I don’t think anyone in the Academy will take two of the nominees all that seriously, so if it’s not Dallas Buyers Club, I’d watch out for Johnny Knoxville’s acceptance speech.

DOCUMENTARY SHORT – The only shorts program I didn’t see leading up to the awards, so I’m not sure I can really say. But from the crack research I’ve done, I’m going to go with The Lady in Number 6.

ANIMATED SHORT – General consensus seems to be that Disney will dominate this and the Animated Feature category, though my vote’s on Mr. Hublot, an entirely charming, sharply-drawn story of unexpected friendship.

LIVE ACTION SHORT – I wasn’t blown away by all the short films in this year’s line-up, except Just Before You Lose Everything, the story of a woman and her two children as she arranges an escape from her abusive husband. Taught and extremely personal, it’s a testament to the power of story in the short form.

PRODUCTION DESIGN – I think the temptation for this and Costumes will be American Hustle. Sympathy awards, as it’s all but out of the running for anything much bigger. I’d rather see Baz Luhrmann’s feast for the eyes The Great Gastby get this statue.

CINEMATOGRAPHY – Yet another where Gravity will dominate. Because have you seen the film?

EDITING – Here’s one I’d actually see landing with Captain Phillips – the atmosphere and suspense created in the cut of that film is exceptional. But then, the lack of cuts may be exactly what will win this one for Gravity.

COSTUMES – See Production Design; American Hustle is the favorite, and I’d rather see The Great Gatsby have it.

ANIMATED FEATURE – It’ll be Frozen.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – Had 20 Feet From Stardom not just won the Spirit Award for best Doc, I might’ve put The Square here without a second thought. But I gotta say, I found 20 Feet flawed, too narrow in focus. If it’s not The Square, I’d hope for The Act of Killing, something entirely new in documentary filmmaking.

FOREIGN FEATURE – I’ve only seen three of the five nominees (slacker, I know), but I’m fairly confident it’ll be one of the three, specifically The Great Beauty. But if you haven’t seen The Hunt, get on that.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – Word on the street is 12 Years a Slave has this one, but I have a soft spot for Before Midnight.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – I’d really love Her to keep up its script-award winning streak, but then Nebraska just nabbed the Spirit Award. And I wouldn’t be upset about that.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS – It sounds like newcomer Lupita Nyong’o is the belle of the ball, for 12 Years A Slave. And she’d have earned it, for sure. I just can’t help but think June Squibb’s put in enough screen time to get the Academy’s late-in-life vote for Nebraska.

SUPPORTING ACTOR – Jared Leto. Done.

BEST ACTOR – Matthew McConaughey will win. Leo DiCaprio should win.

BEST ACTRESS – Cate Blanchett has kept enough distance from the Woody Allen scandal that she shouldn’t have any problem putting a second Oscar on her shelf.

BEST DIRECTOR – Here’s where things get dicey. Everyone who’s talking about these things is talking about Cuaron. And rightly so. The man created new technology for the sake of getting his vision on screen. What gets dicey, though, is…

BEST PICTURE – Because, though it happened last year with the Life of Pi/Argo split, the Academy rarely splits Director and Picture winners. So if Cuaron takes Director, it would follow that he’s got a really great chance of nabbing Picture, too. And that would make my year. But, as the Academy settles into life with more than five Best Picture nominees, I imagine its easier to split the vote. Meaning Steve McQueen might not get on stage for Best Director, but his 12 Years A Slave could take home the night’s top prize.