Reel Talk: Oscar Predictions 2023

This year’s Oscars race continues to see late surprises the closer we get to the official nominations. Between the various guilds recognitions, the return of the Golden Globes telecast, and an ever-widening diversity of films in contention has kept the race interesting and hard to predict in a few key areas. Based on the current state of the race, I’ve amassed what I feel is the most likely scenario.

Here are my predictions in the six major categories for this year’s Oscars (in alphabetical order):

Best Picture

All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

The Banshees of Inisherin

Elvis

Everything Everywhere All At Once

The Fabelmans

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Tár

Top Gun: Maverick

Triangle of Sadness

Potential Spoilers: The Whale, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Women Talking

This is perhaps both the most and least confident I’ve ever been in my Best Pictures list. The films I’m confident in, I’m very confident in, while the remaining contenders have continued to shuffle up and down my list for months. We likely have a three-way race right now between Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Banshees of Inisherin, and The Fabelmans (roughly in that order), all of which have been nominated for the Producers Guild Award — the biggest predictor for Best Picture. The backend of the rankings is where things get interesting, because the other PGA nominations, to me, don’t feel reflective of the greater race in the way they usually do, so it remains to be seen how that might be reflected in the Oscar nominations.

In another intriguing development, many franchise films have found their way into contention — with Avatar and Top Gun most likely to garner actual recognition. Amid this uncertainty, I’m giving the edge to a couple international contenders with Triangle of Sadness and All Quiet on the Western Front — the former won the prestigious Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this past year, while the latter has only picked up word-of-mouth steam in recent weeks. International films have continued to receive nominations over the last few years, and I expect that trend to continue into tomorrow’s announcement.

Best Director

Edward Berger (All Quiet on the Western Front)

Todd Field (Tár)

Daniel Kwan & Daniel Schienert (Everything Everywhere All At Once)

Martin McDonaugh (The Banshees of Inisherin) 

Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans)

Potential Spoilers: James Cameron (Avatar: The Way of Water), Joseph Kosinski (Top Gun: Maverick)

Spielberg, the Daniels, and Field all feel like locks for this category, with McDonaugh likely rounding out the fourth spot. This corresponds nicely with the recent Director’s Guild nominations. The final spot is up for grabs — Kosinksi has a strong case with his DGA nomination, while Cameron’s Avatar made waves (literally) at the box office after a long hiatus from filmmaking that could be recognized. Again, though, my gut is telling me that at least one international film is going to garner recognition, keeping in line with the recent trend of Best Director nominations. I’m gambling a bit with Berger, but that’s half the fun.

Best Actress

Ana de Armas (Blonde)

Cate Blanchett (Tár)

Viola Davis (The Woman King)

Danielle Deadwyler (Till)

Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All At Once)

Potential Spoilers: Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans), Margot Robbie (Babylon)

At one point, this category felt fairly settled to me, but the recent Screen Actors Guild nominations, as well as some category shuffling, has had me re-thinking at the last minute here. Blanchett maintains her lead in the race, coming off of her Golden Globe and Critics Choice wins, with Yeoh likely in second behind her. After that, the race becomes less clear; at one point, I would have presumed Williams a lock, but recent debate about whether her performance should be recognized in Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress suggests she might miss a nomination altogether. Because of that, this awards category should align well with the SAG nominations list.

Best Actor

Austin Butler (Elvis)

Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin)

Brendan Fraser (The Whale)

Paul Mescal (Aftersun)

Bill Nighy (Living)

Potential Spoilers: Tom Cruise (Top Gun: Maverick), Adam Sandler (Hustle)

As with Best Picture, it appears we have another three-way race, this time between Fraser, Butler, and Farrell. I could legitimately see any one of these men taking home top prize — Fraser has the best story, Butler has the fresh momentum, and Farrell simply has the “it’s time” argument. Beyond that, Nighy has garnered a fair amount of recognition (for a film that, I’ll be honest, I know nothing about), which leaves the last spot unsettled. Whether this is actually realistic or simply my own manifesting-into-the-universe, I’m predicting Mescal will be recognized for his performance in the best film of 2022.

Best Supporting Actress

Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever)

Hong Chau (The Whale)

Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin)

Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All At Once)

Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All At Once)

Potential Spoilers: Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans), Jessie Buckley (Women Talking)

This race has solidified more for me than the other categories — although again, it wouldn’t be shocking if Williams cropped up here as well. That question mark notwithstanding, I suspect this category will also line up almost exactly with the SAG nominations. This race feels like Bassett’s for the taking; she is the clear frontrunner in the group.  The other contenders on more or less equal playing field; I could see anyone in that slot 2-5 being ousted in favor of someone like Williams or Buckley.

Best Supporting Actor

Paul Dano (The Fabelmans)

Brendan Gleeson (The Banshees of Inisherin)

Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans)

Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin)

Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All At Once)

Potential Spoilers: Eddie Redmayne (The Good Nurse), Brad Pitt (Babylon)

As with the Supporting Actress race, this category feels locked down to me, with Quan all but sure to run away with the category given his incredible momentum — and a moving Golden Globes speech to match it. The men of Inisherin and The Fabelmans should fill out the rest of this category given their respective precursor nominations. If there is an upset, I could see Redmayne usurping either Keoghan or Hirsch, but he appears to have less buzz than the other contenders in the running.


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