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Below-the-Line Categories Could Bring Oscar Bounty to Different Crop of Films

Below the Line Oscars

When Oscar nominations are announced Jan. 15, much of the talk will center on the films in the top category. Favorites like “Boyhood” and “Birdman” are expected to break into double-digit numbers of nominations, but several other films could also wind up with a high numbers thanks to notice in the less-flashy below-the-line categories. It’s not inconceivable that a movie like “Transformers: Age of Extinction” could walk away with more nominations than does a critically lauded film like “Whiplash.”

“Transformers” is a likely player in the sound mixing, sound editing and visual effects categories. Other spectacles that figure into the race — with much better overall reviews than “Transformers” — are “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” and “Interstellar.” All are strong contenders in the aforementioned technical categories, with “Hobbit” and “Guardians” also vying for makeup and hairstyling noms.

Another film that could get a boost is “Mr. Turner,” once thought to be in the running for actor (Timothy Spall) and director (Mike Leigh), though its buzz has faded considerably. Still, it looks to be a strong player for production design, costume design and cinematography. And if “Into the Woods” may not crack the best picture race, it should still walk away with nominations for costume design, makeup and hairstyling and, possibly, a 19th nom for supporting actress Meryl Streep.

Still, the biggest overall nominations magnets are likely to be “The Imitation Game” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” the two films that have received nods from the PGA, SAG, WGA, ACE, ASC and ADG. Their numbers, in addition to best picture, should be boosted by noms in everything from production design to editing to costuming to cinematography.