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Sunday is Oscar Night, which means it's time for The Cricket to unveil his predictions for the winners of the 86th annual Academy Awards.
This isn't an easy job and it's been a couple of up and down years for The Cricket. Last year, he picked 16 out of 24 correct, but the year before he got 19 out of 24 right.
Today, The Cricket will make his picks in the five technical categories. Tuesday, it's the craft categories (cinematography, production design, costumes and music). On Wednesday, it's the short-film categories (animated, documentary and live-action). On Thursday, it's the specialty features (animated, documentary and foreign-language). And on Friday, both here on the blog and in the Tribune's print edition, you can read The Cricket's predictions in the major categories: Best Picture, directing, screenwriting (original and adapted) and the four acting categories.
Join The Cricket on Twitter (@moviecricket) during Sunday's Oscar ceremony. (The ceremony starts at 6:30 p.m. Mountain time, though the pre-show red carpet stuff starts at 5 p.m. on ABC, and at 3:30 p.m. on E!) The Cricket also will be taking part in a live-chat with his fellow critics from Digital First Media all night (details to follow).
The nominees are ... • Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten, "American Hustle"; Christopher Rouse, "Captain Phillips"; John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa, "Dallas Buyers Club"; Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger, "Gravity"; Joe Walker, "12 Years a Slave."
Who will win • Here's something insiders know: The Film Editing category is often an indicator of Best Picture, which this year means it's a two-movie race between the high-tech wizardry of "Gravity" and the traditional style of "12 Years a Slave." The Academy will stick with the traditional, and give it to Joe Walker for "12 Years a Slave."
Who should win • The work by Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger on "Gravity" is so seamless, intercutting acting with computer animation, that it doesn't look like editing. That's an achievement worthy of an Oscar.
Make-up and Hairstyling
The nominees are ... • Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews, "Dallas Buyers Club"; Stephen Prouty, "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa"; Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny, "The Lone Ranger."
Who will win • Almost by default, it's going to "Dallas Buyers Club," because it's hard to imagine Academy voters making it possible to refer to "the Oscar-winning 'Bad Grandpa'" or "the Oscar-winning 'The Lone Ranger'".
Who should win • Thankfully, the work Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews did for "Dallas Buyers Club," making the slimmed-down Matthew McConaughey look even more gaunt and made Jared Leto's transgender character quite convincing.
The nominees are... • Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns, "All Is Lost"; Oliver Tarney, "Captain Phillips"; Glenn Freemantle, "Gravity"; Brent Burge and Chris Ward, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"; Wylie Stateman, "Lone Survivor."
Who will win • "Gravity" is a favorite in the technical categories, and it's likely Oscar voters will reward Freemantle for making the sounds of a space shuttle's destruction seem authentic.
Who should win • The aural sensations of a little boat on the big ocean contributed mightily to the intensity of "All Is Lost."
The nominees are... • Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro, "Captain Phillips"; Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro, "Gravity"; Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"; Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland, "Inside Llewyn Davis"; Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow, "Lone Survivor."
Who will win • "Gravity" will likely take this one, too. (Note: The "Gravity" team has two people also nominated for other movies: Skip Lievsay worked on "Inside Llewyn Davis," and Chris Munro also worked on "Captain Phillips.")
Who should win • Capturing the folk-music scene in "Inside Llewyn Davis" was a beautiful exercise in balancing the many sounds of the time.
The nominees are... • Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk and Neil Corbould, "Gravity"; Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"; Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick, "Iron Man 3"; Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier, "The Lone Ranger"; Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton, "Star Trek Into Darkness."
Who will win • Team "Gravity," again.
Who should win • OK, so the dragon was cool in "The Hobbit," but "Gravity's" realistic depiction of an outer-space disaster earns its Oscar.