Best Production Design is not necessarily the easiest Oscar category to predict in any given year, but there are clear signposts that make a film’s production design “Oscar worthy.” Period settings. Visually-striking set dressing. Something lavish, or else something historical.
Best Live Action Short Film may be the single hardest category to predict. Rarely does a front-runner appear, and even when one does an upset is always a possible scenario. I have a feeling that the winners in this category generally win by slim margins, as the vote comes down to personal preference over cultural or political relevance.
The short film categories are some of the hardest to predict. These films don’t receive traditional Oscar campaigns, which would act to suss out front-runners. In lieu of that, one must look at general trends, distributors, aesthetic qualities, and word of mouth.
What is often the operative question with the two sound categories is whether or not they will go to the same film. More often than not, if a film stands out for either editing or mixing, it also stands out in the other.
This year, I think there is a case to be made for both the split and the sweep.
The Nominees – Best Sound Editing:
The Oscar for Best Makeup & Hairstyling is sometimes more of an award for most makeup and hairstyling. The nominees in the category this year don’t prove to be an exception to this trend, which is not to say there isn’t quality work in the makeup, hair, and prosthetic work in the three films. It is simply to say that these aspects of mise en scene are quite noticeable.
The costume design in the 2019 race is, all around, very good. And the nominees run the gamut of generic representation. Fantastical period piece musical. Western pastiche. Semi-futurist science fiction. 18th century British period piece. A 16th century British/Scottish period piece, as well.
It is a varied field with a lot of talent.
The Oscar short categories are never easy to predict. For one, they are often hard to see. Most of the time, they are from lesser-known companies and animators. And the Academy likes the lesser-knowns in these categories, so when Pixar pops up in the Best Animated Short category they aren’t a guaranteed win.
But this year…