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The Cricket
Sean P. Means
Sean is the movie critic and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket.

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(Courtesy photo) A scene from "Twenty Feet from Stardom," part of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Oscars ’14: Predictions, part four - Specialty features

It used to be that the specialty feature categories were the part of the Academy Awards ceremony when you could safely take a potty break.

Not anymore. These categories sometimes have the most interesting winners: "Amour," "A Separation," "Rango," "Up," "Wall-E," "The Cove" and "Searching for Sugar Man," to name just a few from recent years.

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The specialty features make up the fourth part of The Cricket’s predictions for the winners of the 86th annual Academy Awards

The Cricket predicted the technical categories on Monday, the craft categories on Tuesday, and the short-film competition on Wednesday. The major categories will get their due Friday, on this blog and in the print edition of The Salt Lake Tribune (or you can take a peek now).

The Cricket will be live-tweeting the Oscar ceremony (which starts at 6:30 p.m. Mountain Time, with the pre-show red carpet coverage starting on ABC at 5 p.m.) on Sunday, at @moviecricket.

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Animated feature

The nominees are... • "The Croods," by Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco and Kristine Belson; "Despicable Me 2," by Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin and Chris Meledandri; "Ernest & Celestine," by Benjamin Renner and Didier Brunner; "Frozen," by Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho; "The Wind Rises," by Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki.

What will win • "Frozen" is a lock in this category.

What should win • The delightful "Frozen," just slightly over "The Wind Rises" (opening Friday in Salt Lake City), which the great Hayao Miyazaki says will be his last film. (By the way, the cute-as-a-button "Ernest & Celestine," which had its English-language debut in the Sundance Film Festival’s new Sundance Kids program last month, will arrive in Salt Lake City theaters in April.)

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Documentary feature

The nominees are... • "The Act of Killing," by Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen; "Cutie and the Boxer," by Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher; "Dirty Wars," Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill; "The Square," Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, "20 Feet from Stardom," by Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen and Caitrin Rogers.

What will win • The musical comeback story "20 Feet From Stardom," a joyous celebration of backup singers, is the likely winner here.

Who should win: The harrowing, and divisive, "The Act of Killing" is the most amazing piece of cinema this year — an uncomfortably close look at 1960s Indonesian death squads. (Disclaimer: The Cricket has not seen "The Square.")

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Foreign-language film

The nominees are... • "The Broken Circle Breakdown" (Belgium), "The Great Beauty" (Italy), "The Hunt" (Denmark), "The Missing Picture" (Cambodia), "Omar" (Palestine).

What will win • Paolo Sorrentino’s "The Great Beauty" is a sumptuous feast of Rome’s landmarks and indelible characters, and will probably charm Oscar voters.

What should win • "The Great Beauty" is a gorgeous and whimsical movie, a shade more entertaining than either "The Hunt" and "The Broken Circle Breakdown," two tough dramas with plenty to say. (The Cricket has not yet seen "Omar," which arrives in Salt Lake City in mid-March, or "The Missing Picture.")



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