The 85th Academy Awards will be airing on ABC February 24th, 2013. The People’s Critic has decided to unveil predictions on all 24 major categories over the next four weeks. This week’s predictions will focus on the six categories that are usually the toughest to call since they require some technical knowledge about film making, or they are short films not easily viewed by most people. Nonetheless, we leave no category behind. Additionally, all readers are encouraged to weigh in with your own opinions by submitting to the public polls following each category’s predictions.

1. Best Short Film (Live Action):

Nominated films are Asad, Buzkashi Boys, Curfew, Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw), and Henry.

Asad and Buzkashi Boys are both glimpses at hard luck youth who struggle in their homelands of Somalia and Afghanistan respectively. Buzkashi seems to be the stronger film of these two, while Death of a Shadow is certainly the strongest technical achievement of the five. Curfew and Henry pose little threat, but the off kilter relationship between the uncle-niece relationship in Curfew is interesting. The Peoples Critic Selection: Death of a Shadow

2. Best Short Film (Animated)

Nominated Films are Adam and Dog, Fresh Guacamole, Head over Heels, Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare,” and Paperman.

Adam and Dog and Head Over Heels are both extremely simple but cute. Head Over Heels has no chance, however. Yes, The Simpsons have a film entered here, which played theatrically with Ice Age 4, but this one comes down to powerhouse animation studio Pixar’s Paperman and the ingenious stop-motion film, Fresh Guacamole…but come on – The People’s Critic Selection: Paperman

3. Best Documentary (Short):

Nominated films are Inocente, Kings Point, Mondays at Racine, Open Heart, and Redemption.

For short films, these are all pretty heavy in terms of their subject matter. I think it comes down to Inocente, Kings Point or Mondays at Racine. I like Kings Point, which chronicles the lives, loves, and losses of several older Americans in a retirement home in Florida. I don’t know if it has the stuff to win, and I also don’t know if it’s that great, but I like it. Inocente probably has a much wider appeal given its subject is an artistic and interesting young homeless girl. Mondays at Racine certainly puts a touching spin on Cancer by examining the stories of different patients who come to a salon that opens free of charge to Cancer patients on a Monday, once a month. The Peoples Critic Selection: Kings Point

4. Best Visual Effects:

Nominated Films are The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Life of Pi, Marvel’s The Avengers, Prometheus, and Snow White and the Huntsman

Ok, now we get down to films that the average filmgoer can evaluate. The Visual Effects Oscar goes to a film that demonstrates greatness in the world of special effects. If one were to see all of these films, there is certainly something to admire in each. However, a large part for why one of these ended up being The People’s Critic’s #2 film of the year, was its visual effects. The People’s Critic Selection: Life of Pi

5. Best Sound Mixing:

Nominated films are Argo, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, and Skyfall

6. Best Sound Editing

Nominated films are Argo, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Skyfall, and Zero Dark Thirty

I’ve decided to deal with these two together since most people are unaware of their differences. Sound editing is the art of recording sound effects, background music, as well as sound creation. Sound mixing is taking all of the sounds recorded and needed for a film, along with the dialogue, and putting it all together, adjusting the levels, etc. Traditionally, I go along with the theory that more times than not, the film that wins one will win both. Thus, Argo, Skyfall, and Life of Pi are the only contenders. The People’s Critic’s Selection: Life of Pi for both