Most of the discussions around the Oscars focus on the six main categories, but there are 18 other categories with awards on Oscar night. Six categories focus on the best picture in a certain class. Not surprisingly my predictions tend to favor the better known movies in those categories including: Brave as animated feature, Searching for Sugar Man as documentary feature, and Amour as foreign language film. The other twelve categories focus on the key elements of major movies. While these predictions focus more on mainstream movies, it is not necessarily the ones dominating the main categories: Life of Pi leads in three, Zero Dark Thirty in three, Anna Karenina in two, and Lincoln in only one.
The six class specific best picture categories offer a mix of well-known and more obscure movies. The most likely winners in all three feature length film categories have all received mainstream coverage. In the animated feature category, Pixar’s Brave, at just over 50 percent likelihood of winning the Oscar, is competing against Tim Burton and Disney’s Frankenweenie at 30 percent. In the documentary feature category, Searching for Sugar Man at 88 percent likely for victory, is competing against four less known competitors. Searching for Sugar Man has grossed over $3 million already and peaked at 157 theaters, both of which are serious distribution numbers for a documentary. Amour, with the recognition of its nomination for best picture and winning the Golden Globe for best foreign language film, is dominating the foreign language category, at over 95 percent to win. The three short categories: animated, documentary, and live-action are much harder to predict. But, Open Heart, by HBO, is a strong favorite in the documentary category with about 75 percent.
Two fun categories are best original song and score. Adele’s Skyfall, the theme song for new Bond movie by the same name, is our heavy favorite to win best original song at over 85 percent. Its main competition is Suddenly, sung by Hugh Jackman, and the only new song in Les Miserables. In a much tighter race, we have Life of Pi’s original score just over 60 percent to win best original score, over John Williams’ Lincoln at about 30 percent likelihood.
Two tight and compelling categories are best original and adapted screenplay. Best adapted screenplay is a tight fight between Lincoln and Argo. Lincoln is my favorite at just over 65 percent, but Argo is a tight second. Best original screenplay is a three way fight between Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, and Amour. Django Unchained is a tight favorite at almost 40 percent to Zero Dark Thirty’s 35 percent.
Eight additional categories focus on key elements of putting together a movie:
•Costume Design: I have Anna Karenina as the heavy favorite for costume design, at over 75 percent likelihood of victory. Les Miserables is the main competitor at just below 20 percent.
•Production Design: Anna Karenina, at 35 percent, holds a much slimmer lead over Les Miserables (25 percent), Lincoln (20 percent), and Life of Pie (15 percent) for production design.
•Visual Effects: Life of Pi is up over 80 percent for this Oscar with The Hobbit as a distant second.
•Makeup and Hairstyling: The Hobbit leads this category at just over 50 percent, trailed by Les Miserables at 35 percent.
•Film Editing: Zero Dark Thirty is up just over 50 percent relative to Argo at just under 40 percent.
•Cinematography: Life of Pi is the heavy favorite at nearly 95 percent.
•Sound Mixing: Les Miserables at nearly 80 percent to Skyfall at 15 percent.
•Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty at nearly 60 percent to Skyfall at 20 percent and Life of Pi at 15 percent.
This column syndicates with the HuffingtonPost.