2016 Oscar Predictions: Technical Categories

this post was updated January 11th (FINAL PREDICTIONS)

Below you’ll find my FINAL 2016 Oscar predictions for the “technical” or “below the line” categories, if you will.

Best Production Design

Period pieces often dominate the field here and there are plenty of notable ones this year.

  1. Bridge of Spies: Period pieces do well here and this is the most significant period piece of the year.
  2. Crimson Peak: The work is outstanding even if the film wasn’t met with acclaim. Branch will notice it, in theory.
  3. The Danish Girl: Period piece and the work really is quite good but I wonder with other period pieces being bigger factors if it gets forgotten.
  4. Carol: The work speaks for itself. Weinstein is working Carol hard below the line.
  5. Mad Max: Fury Road: Different, but brilliant. Has appeared everywhere in this category thus far. This looks like yet another possible tech win for the film.

On the bubble…

  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Cinderella
  • Brooklyn
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Costume Design

Another category that likes to reward period pieces and fantasy epics.

  1. Brooklyn: Period piece that really captures you.
  2. Cinderella: Sandy Powell. Disney. Flashy dresses.
  3. Carol: Period piece factoring into BP. Sandy Powell. Exquisite outfits for Cate Blanchett.
  4. The Danish Girl: Gender transformation is the story of the film. The work is good, specifically in regards to Eddie Redmayne.
  5. The Revenant: Furs, furs, and more furs. BP player.

On the bubble…

  • Trumbo
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Crimson Peak
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

The Danish Girl, thought of as the frontrunner all year, was deemed ineligible/didn’t make bakeoff list. At least that makes this interesting, I guess.

  1. Black Mass: Depp’s appearance as Bulger is probably the best element of the film. A ton of work was done.
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road: Hard to deny the work. BP player.
  3. The Revenant: Bloods and beards. BP player.

On the bubble…

  • Mr. Holmes
  • The 100-year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared
  • Legend
  • Concussion

Best Sound Mixing

One of the categories that already looks like a battle between the “big four” technical masterpieces this year (Mad Max, Star Wars, The Martian, The Revenant)

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road: Engines and explosions and gun shots and screams AND blending all that in with a unique score. Should be an easy win, but there are other players.
  2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The noise never was too much, and that’s a testament to the mixing team. Star Wars is going to win a few of these.
  3. The Revenant: Easy nom. Can win, though the work isn’t quite as flashy as Mad Max or Star Wars.
  4. The Martian: Will be a player in most techs.
  5. In the Heart of the Sea: Best element of the film, which wasn’t good but deserves notice somewhere.

On the bubble…

  • Jurassic World
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Sicario
  • Everest
  • Spectre

Best Sound Editing

Editing is more the creation of sounds than they way they’re blended. Still, it usually shares at least 3 or 4 nominees with mixing.

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road: Not quite as much of a homerun as in mixing but this still SHOULD win.
  2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens: So much artificial noise that continues to sound so awesome after all these years.
  3. The Revenant: Bear attack sound creation.
  4. The Martian: An overall technical standout could be an easy box to check here.
  5. Inside Out: An outside the box pick for me, but it’s very deserving.

On the bubble…

  • Jurassic World
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Spectre
  • Sicario
  • In the Heart of the Sea

Best Visual Effects

A few different directions they could go here this year, and a couple of non-blockbusters that look like legitimate contenders.

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Could be a runaway. The work really was great. Technology finally meets Lucas’ original vision.
  2. The Martian: Very impressive work but I wonder if there’s space fatigue.
  3. Ex Machina: I’ve had this unique work slotted in all year. No reason to change now that the film’s gaining momentum.
  4. Jurassic World: $1.5 billion movie and while there’s A TON of CGI you can’t deny it is quite good.
  5. The Walk: Climactic sequence perhaps the most lauded technical moment of the year.

On the bubble…

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Tomorrowland
  • The Revenant
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Ant-Man

Best Original Score

Name recognition means more in this category than anywhere else.

  1. Ennio Morricone (The Hateful Eight): Morricone is the star of the film. A welcome return to form for one of industries titans. This SHOULD be an easy win but mixed reaction to film overall concerns me.
  2. John Williams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens): The greatest living composer reworking what’s probably his greatest score. Perfect mix of new & old. It’s eligible, so it’s getting nominated.
  3. Thomas Newman (Bridge of Spies): Bridge of Spies puts the great Thomas Newman’s work on full display. Huge part of the film. Plenty of narrative given he’s somehow never won.
  4. Howard Shore (Spotlight): He’s a legend as his work really helps Spotlight Not epic or loud but very good.
  5. Alexandre Desplat (The Danish Girl): Won last year for The Grand Budapest Hotel. His work here is just as good, even if the film isn’t.

On the bubble…

  • Michael Giacchino (Inside Out)
  • Carter Burwell (Carol)
  • Johann Johannsson (Sicario)
  • Michael Brook (Brooklyn)
  • Junkie XL (Mad Max: Fury Road)

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