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The 2014 Oscars: Predicting the technical categories

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Many years, predicting the Oscars can be a very difficult crap-shoot, where surprises are aplenty and some dark horses sneak ahead of the race. This is not one of those years.

No, for this year's Academy Awards, there are several certainties and only a few races that seem too close to call. Each weekday this week, I will be giving you my predictions on who will win in each category, starting today with all of the "technical" categories and even a few "bonus" categories that didn't quite fit in elsewhere. Keep in mind that these predictions aren't necessarily my personal favorites, although when inclined I will throw in the "shoulda woulda" contenders.

So today, let's dive into the technical categories. But first, here is the Golden Rule you need to know when filling out your own Oscar Predictions: When in doubt, cast your vote for Gravity.

Gravity will sweep many of the awards. The ground-breaking, breath-taking technical achievement that was Gravity will be rewarded early and often during this year's Oscar telecast. You can count on it winning for Visual Effects, Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Cinematography. In addition Gravity is a near shoe-in for Best Score.

Alfonso Cuaron is also a shoe-in for Best Director. It's fairly rare that the Best Director winner doesn't also grab the win for Best Picture - of the 85 films that have won Best Picture, 62 have also won for Best Director. But Cuaron has been given the credit for the amazing achievements on Gravity, and rightly so. Who knows, it could end up nabbing Best Picture (my Best Picture predictions will be out on Friday), but it would be one of the biggest surprises of the night if Cuaron's name wasn't called for Best Director.

Production Design and Costume Design. Two technical categories that Gravity doesn't have a strangle-hold on is Production Design (formerly Best Art Direction) and Costume Design. My pick in both categories goes to The Great Gatsby, a film that was so dazzling in both departments that it distracted us from liking the film all that much. Add to that, the Academy's tendency to go with the period piece numbers in past years, The Great Gatsby should take home the gold. Looking for a dark horse pick? American Hustle is my runner-up in both of these categories.

Best Song will be "Let It Go" from Frozen. Here is another category that is almost a sure-thing. "Happy" from Despicable Me 2 is quite catchy and "Ordinary Love" does have U2 (from Mandela), but there's no way either of those tunes will beat out "Let It Go."

Don't be a Jack-Ass in the Best Hairstyle and Make-up category. In one of the most laughable grouping of nominees in the past decade of Oscar nominations, Jack-Ass's Bad Grandpa is nominated for an Academy Award alongside the other critically-bashed flop, The Lone Ranger. Yes, Bad Grandpa was nominated for an Oscar and Mud and The Spectacular Now were not. A travesty. Up against these powerhouse films is Dallas Buyers Club, the only respectable pick in the lot. Go with that.

So that will get you started through all of the categories that you don't really care about anyways! Join me tomorrow (Tuesday) when my predictions will include the three Short Film categories: Live Action, Animation and Documentary.

Be sure to watch Tom Santilli on TV! Check your local listings for “Movie Show Plus” for Tom’s weekly movie review segment, airing at 10:30 p.m. EST every Sunday, on MYTV20 in Detroit.

Subscribe above for email alerts of all movie reviews and news, and follow me on Twitter, @tomsantilli and at TomSantilli.com.

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