There is this idea in Oscar predicting that the Best Editing category is a strong predictor of Best Picture. Netting a nomination in this category is a good sign for any Best Picture hopeful. There isn’t any rhyme or reason to this correlation, as far as I know. But the numbers bear it out. Since 1980, only one film has won Best Picture without being nominated for Best Editing. That film was Birdman, a film notable for its hidden edits in an attempt to appear as though it were one shot. This sounds similar to a recent Best Picture nominee who didn’t receive a Best Editing nomination…huh. Interesting.
I’m going to admit it right up top: I am not confident in my picks in these two sound categories. I will elaborate further as we go, but just know that there are two potential winners in each category. That makes four possible combinations, and any of those four outcomes could come to pass.
But let’s go more in-depth on Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
The Best Visual Effects Oscar has flourished over the past decade, growing into a full-fledged category with five nominees. Prior to that, the category would generally be three nominees. Given the industry’s increasing reliance on visual effects, it is a surprise that it took until 2010 to expand the category to a guaranteed five nominees per year.
2020 is a prime example of this reliance. The category is not reserved for the blockbuster films that are, more and more, composed of VFX. This year, the dramas The Irishman and 1917 use extensive VFX, and the films would be very different without those effects. Then, of course, there’s The Lion King…not all visual effects are a good choice.
As we continue our annual Academy Awards prediction series, we turn to Best Documentary Feature. This year’s slate of nominees include two Netflix documentaries, a PBS film, a National Geographic film, and a film distributed by Neon.
The breakdown of this year’s Best Animated Feature Film category by studio is fairly interesting. Historically, Pixar leads all studios in nominations and wins, which is not particularly surprising. However, there is not enough history to the category to judge how Toy Story 4 will fair against its predecessors (the category was first awarded after the releases of Toy Story and Toy Story 2).
DreamWorks, the studio behind How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, won the first ever Best Animated Film Oscar in 2002 for Shrek. It hasn’t won since, including nominations but no wins for the previous How to Train Your Dragon films. Laika, which released Missing Link last year, has five nominations and zero wins.
The 2020 group of Best Cinematography nominees are composed of a three-time winner, a three-time nominee, a one-time winner (15-time nominee), and two first-time nominees. It is mostly a respectable group. I can’t say there aren’t others I would like to see represented here, but it’s not a bad group.