Best Sound Mixing
Will Win - Birdman
Could Win - American Sniper, Whiplash, or Interstellar
Should Win - Whiplash
Commentary - The Cinema Audio Society winner has matched up the last couple of years, plus it adds one more to Birdman's total, which I think is important in its quest to win Best Picture. But it is not a traditional winner in this category, which makes me nervous. I think that there are legitimately four contenders, and the other three are more in line with past choices. American Sniper is probably the favorite to win both sound awards, as a consolation prize for missing out on the top awards. Interstellar might have gotten a lot of sound complaints, but it got the CAS and Oscar nod, so the sound mixers were okay with it. Science fiction films have done well here over the years. Finally, while its not a traditional musical (still surprised Into the Woods didn't get in), Whiplash does have a lot of musical elements, and won the BAFTA. It is the one I am really looking at in terms of an upset.
Best Sound Editing
Will Win - American Sniper
Could Win - Birdman or Interstellar
Should Win - Birdman
Commentary - Without Whiplash, this is essentially the same battle as Sound Mixing. I know it is not smart to predict a split in these awards, but this year just feels like one where voters will spread the love. Birdman could sweep both awards here, as clearly it is well-liked among the craft guilds. Same logic for Interstellar as in Sound Mixing. But this is where I think American Sniper gets some love. I was not a huge fan of the film, but this is a good place to reward a film they clearly like. But this category, and Mixing are real toss ups this year, and are categories to watch to gauge how the rest of the night is going to go, particularly for Birdman.