Animated Feature is a category without much of a frontrunner, at least not as its traditionally been. With The LEGO Movie not in competition (most of us had that pegged as the eventual winner) it’s between How to Train Your Dragon 2 from Dreamworks Animation and Big Hero 6 from Disney. Dragon has the Globe but The LEGO Movie got the BAFTA, so that’s a wash. Big Hero 6 scored at the Annie Awards (the animated Oscars) but that’s not the best bellwether either. Although 9/10 have HTTYD2 winning it’s probably not with the highest level of confidence. Disney’s post-nominations campaign for Big Hero 6 has been strong.
Foreign Language Film seems like an easy win for Poland’s Ida but it’s a category filled with possibilities and potential winners throughout. Russia’s Leviathan, lucky enough to even be here, will give it a tough race and Argentina’s Wild Tales could prove too tempting by being the only comedic entry in a group of very, very serious movies. It’s still pretty awful that Sweden’s Force Majeure was snubbed here.
CITIZENFOUR is the most topical documentary and with the expansion of the voting going out to all Academy members it will also likely be the most widely seen, giving it the edge. We could see a spoiler from The Last Days in Vietnam if AMPAS isn’t finished with that war yet but I’m thinking that Virunga might be the real threat. With its Netflix release it will be very accessible for voters (and has been longer than CITIZENFOUR) and that could be what counts. I’m still picking CITIZENFOUR to win though, as are all 10 GRG members.
In Visual Effects, Interstellar seems like a lazy frontrunner here. Without a Best Picture nominee in the bunch (that old stat from the 1970s is a pretty solid one) it feels like the safest bet. But, don’t count out Guardians of the Galaxy; a wider seen, more popular and more critically liked film, to possibly spoil here. Or even Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which ruled the VES (Visual Effects Society) awards. But usually, a film needs another nomination in order to win here and only Interstellar and Guardians have that.