Presented by those fun-loving party animals over at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the 91st Academy Awards ceremony will be held live this Sunday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) on ABC.
No one is more excited than our resident cinephile, Jessica Welman. Jessica spent months researching, analyzing, and prognosticating, and she’s finally ready to cast her ballot for the big show.
Looking at her 2019 Oscar predictions, it’s obvious that Jess knows her stuff, but there are a few categories that are still anyone’s guess.
That’s where I come in. My name is Adam Frazier and I’m an entertainment writer and film critic with 15 years of experience in, well, watching movies. I saw 115 new releases in 2018, including every film nominated at this year’s Academy Awards.
In today’s blog, we’ll look at some of Jess’s more controversial picks and discuss our differing opinions on them. In theory, this might help those planning to try their hand at Oscars betting this year.
With all 13 NJ online sports betting sites in the mix, and a good portion of them offering bets on all 24 categories, it’s the perfect time to parse out the good and bad of Oscar picks.
Let’s start with Best Film Editing
ADAM: Jess, tell me why you went with John Ottman (Bohemian Rhapsody) for Best Film Editing.
JESS: Well, for starters, John Ottman won Best Edited Feature Film (Dramatic) at the 2019 ACE Eddie Awards.
American Cinema Editors (ACE) is an honorary society of film editors that makes up part of the Academy voting body, like the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC).
Another element is the behind-the-scenes controversy with director Bryan Singer. The word around Hollywood is that Ottman was integral to helping save the troubled production after Singer was fired with about 20 percent of the principal photography still to be finished.
I talk about this Oscar more in this video below using FanDuel Sportsbook odds, just in case you’re curious:
ADAM: That’s cool! And the behind-the-scenes drama could factor into the Academy’s vote. However, I’m not sure if it helps or hurts the film’s chances.
As for the ACE Eddie Awards, it’s a relatively small group, and there are more than 8,000 industry professionals – writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, actors, editors, animators, composters, set-designers, etc. – within the Academy.
My pick is Hank Corwin for Vice because that movie’s essence comes down to the rhythmic flow Corwin establishes with Christian Bale’s amazing performance.
It so effortlessly switches tones throughout. Remember when Lynne (Amy Adams) and Bale’s Dick Cheney have a conversation in Shakespearean verse? It just feels like Corwin’s contribution to the film is bigger than Ottman’s.
JESS: That’s fair! OK, what’s next?
Differing views for Best Original Score
ADAM: Let’s talk about Best Original Score. You’ve got Ludwig Goransson winning for his work on Black Panther.
JESS: Right, so this one was a very close call for me. I think the If Beale Street Could Talk score makes a lot of sense here after Moonlight lost two years ago.
I am going with Goransson even though I think it is a little tougher sell. He is a music guy, just won Record of the Year at the Grammys for producing “This Is America” with Childish Gambino.
The soundtrack of Black Panther is more the star than the score, but going back and listening to how Goransson incorporated African instruments and brought something that, to me, seems new and inventive to the table could win them over.
Plus, the bettor in me pays too much attention to the price. You can get the Black Panther for Best Original Score for +225 on DraftKings Sportsbook compared to -167 for If Beale Street Could Talk.
So, I had to pick a couple of upsets.
ADAM: For me, Nicholas Britell, who composed the lovely score for Barry Jenkins’s If Beale Street Could Talk, is the clear winner.
In 2016, Britell was nominated for the Oscar and the Golden Globe Award for his work on Jenkins’s Moonlight but didn’t take home the big prize. This year, I think he will. Not only is it the best score nominated, but it’s likely the Academy will spread the love around and give the Oscar to Jenkins’s under-nominated film.
Also, when I think of Black Panther, I do think of the soundtrack, produced by Kendrick Lamar. I’m not sure Academy voters will remember Goransson’s score over Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s “All the Stars,” which is nominated for Best Original Song.
On the subject of sound, let’s talk about Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
Sounding off on Sound Editing and Sound Mixing
JESS: OK, so the sound editor is responsible for all of a movie’s sound elements, including dialogue, sound effects, etc. Once all the various sounds are edited together, the mixer can get to work.
Ultimately, the sound mixer determines how an audience hears everything in a movie – which sounds to emphasize and which to tone down.
We both selected A Quiet Place for Best Sound Editing, but it seems we disagree on Mixing. I picked A Star Is Born.
I know I am in the minority on Sound Mixing. This is a heart vote versus a head vote. Both have unusually prominent displays of mixing. I just think that the mixing in A Star is Born and how that helps us understand Jackson’s tinnitus and how the world inside his head contributed to the narrative of the movie.
So while Bohemian Rhapsody has the technical advantage, I just prefer the artistry of A Star Is Born.
ADAM: As much as I wish A Star is Born would sweep the Oscars and win every category it’s nominated in, I don’t think it will pick up the Best Sound Mixing Oscar.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think it will ultimately go to Bohemian Rhapsody. Like the Best Editing Oscar, I tend to think of these awards being integral to the overall style and tone of the movie.
With Rhapsody, think of all the scenes in the studio where music is being played and looped and mixed on-screen. The scene of the band recording the titular track acts as a showcase of all the work that went into mixing the film’s soundtrack. And I think Academy voters will pick up on that.
JESS: All good points! We’ll find out soon enough. I’m definitely watching the Oscars on Sunday, and I will bet that you will be, too.
ADAM: Oh for sure. Here’s hoping one of us hits all 24 Oscar predictions correctly!