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Oscar Predictions: The Categories Without Famous People in Them

Courtesy of AMPAS

Winning your Oscar pool isn't just about picking the obvious front-runners in the major categories. It's about getting lucky in the minor categories! Vulture continues our Oscar picks, this time focusing on the screenwriters, sound editors, and foreign people with funny accents whose moments of professional triumph will be brutally cut short by Gil Cates and his itchy-trigger-fingered orchestra.

Earlier: Oscar Predictions: The Major Categories

Best Original Screenplay
Diablo Cody, Juno
Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl
Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
Brad Bird et al, Ratatouille
Tamara Jenkins, The Savages

Hey, did you hear Diablo Cody used to be a stripper?


Best Adapted Screenplay
Christopher Hampton, Atonement
Sarah Polley, Away From Her
Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood

We could see the Academy hedging its bets by rewarding possible future classic There Will Be Blood here, but it's hard to argue against the Coens.

Best Animated Feature
Persepolis
Ratatouille
Surf's Up

It turns out that the 2007 film that best combined critical acclaim and box-office success was an animated film. What does the Academy do? Stick it in the ghetto! We can guarantee that Ratatouille will win, though.


Best Art Direction
American Gangster
Atonement
The Golden Compass
Sweeney Todd
There Will Be Blood

This category usually rewards gritty over pretty, but it loves it when a movie mixes both — so we'll pick Atonement's prewar and wartime London over Sweeney's rivers of blood.


Best Cinematography
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Atonement
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood

The Academy might reward seven-time nominee Roger Deakins with his first statue, but for which film? He shot both No Country and Jesse James. Instead, we think Janusz Kaminski will take the prize as a de facto award for Julian Schnabel's visual verve in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.


Best Costume Design
Across the Universe
Atonement
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
La Vie en Rose
Sweeney Todd

Which movie has the most outlandish, over-the-top costumes? Elizabeth: The Golden Age, so it's a good bet to win.


Best Documentary Feature
No End in Sight
Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience
Sicko
Taxi to the Dark Side
War/Dance

Pick your poison: war (in Iraq), war (in Afghanistan and Iraq), war (in Afghanistan), war (in Uganda), or Michael Moore. We pick the one whose director gave us an interview first, No End in Sight.


Best Documentary Short
Freeheld
La Corona (The Crown)
Salim Baba
Sari's Mother

Freeheld's subject — a New Jersey cop's valiant struggle to transfer her pension to her domestic partner, even as she fought terminal cancer — is poignant and irresistible.


Best Editing
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Into the Wild
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood

The Bourne Ultimatum's frenetic chopping will be edged out by No Country for Old Men's deliberate, well-paced cut — finally rewarding imaginary octogenarian Roderick Jaynes.


Best Foreign Language Film
Beaufort (Israel)
The Counterfeiters (Austria)
Katyn (Poland)
Mongol (Kazakhstan)
12 (Russia)

Who cares? It's not 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, and it's not Persepolis. Um, why not The Counterfeiters? It's about the Holocaust.


Best Makeup
La Vie en Rose
Norbit
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

We give the edge to the flashy character makeup of Pirates of the Caribbean rather than the delicate work in La Vie en Rose, but we hope Norbit takes the gold — because we love the idea of Norbit DVD cases getting slapped with a big, fat ACADEMY AWARD WINNER! sticker.


Best Score
Dario Marianelli, Atonement
Alberto Iglesias, The Kite Runner
James Newton Howard, Michael Clayton
Michael Giacchino, Ratatouille
Marco Beltrami, 3:10 to Yuma

The Ratatouille score is the most delightful of any of these, but we're willing to bet the Academy will fall for Marianelli's gimmicky clacking typewriters in Atonement.


Best Original Song
"Falling Slowly" (Once)
"Happy Working Song" (Enchanted)
"Raise It Up" (August Rush)
"So Close" (Enchanted)
"That's How You Know" (Enchanted)

Here's one of the few categories where we'll vote with our heart. The songs in Enchanted were all charming, but here's hoping they split (as did Dreamgirls' trio of nominees last year) and leave the prize for "Falling Slowly."


Best Animated Short
I Met the Walrus
Madame Tutli-Putli
Even Pigeons Go to Heaven
My Love
Peter and the Wolf

I Met the Walrus, based on a 14-year-old's audiotape interview with John Lennon, is cooler than all the other nominees put together. Nevertheless, we're picking it to win.


Best Live Action Short
At Night
The Substitute
The Mozart of Pickpockets
Tanghi Argentini
The Tonto Woman

We're inclined to go with the delicate drama of At Night over the song-and-dance of Tanghi Argentini, although when we type that out now it seems stupid.


Best Sound Editing
The Bourne Ultimatum
No Country for Old Men
Ratatouille
There Will Be Blood
Transformers

In the sound categories, the big question is this: Will the Academy reward subtlety over bombast? Daniel Day-Lewis's assured win — and every sound Oscar ever awarded — suggests not, but so much has been written about No Country for Old Men's incredible sound design that we think it has a real shot at the sound sweep.


Best Sound Mixing
The Bourne Ultimatum
No Country for Old Men
Ratatouille
3:10 to Yuma
Transformers

Miramax's plan to put No Country for Old Men's technical staff out there for Q&As with Academy members might really pay off in the sound categories as well.


Best Visual Effects
The Golden Compass
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Transformers

Because we hold a grudge against how badly the daemons were handled in The Golden Compass, we're picking Transformers — and you can never go wrong picking the big, stupid hit in any Oscar race.