Reel Talk: 2023 Oscar Winners Predictions

The eve of Oscar Sunday is once again upon us, which means it’s time for me to finally lock in my final predictions for all 23 categories. The nominations this year, particularly in the Best Picture race, represent a wide swath of storytelling — from box office behemoths, to festival darlings, to international contenders. This is reflective of the Academy’s continuously expanding membership efforts, which has allowed us to see a deeper, more robust range of films represented at Hollywood’s biggest awards show. 

The question I’ve weighed the most is how much of a juggernaut the film Everything Everywhere All At Once will be. Will it sweep all 11 of its nominations — a feat not accomplished since 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King? Given the film’s incredible momentum across all major awards races, it’s certainly not out of the question, and deservedly so. 

Going all-in on predicting said wins for a widely recognized film is a solid strategy in predicting, but I’ve opted not to do that with this list. Instead, my predictions represent my best attempt at gauging the overall state of the races while assessing what feels like the most likely areas for upset/surprise. We will soon find out whether this riskier approach is fruitful, but I will be on the edge of my seat regardless to watch every second of the telecast unfold.

Here are my predictions for the 2023 Oscars:

Best Supporting Actress: Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin)

Let’s start off these predictions with a curveball, shall we? In my initial prognostications for the 2023 Oscar Nominations, I highlighted Angela Bassett as the performer to beat in this category. While Bassett initially had the upper hand, winning early awards like the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice, the two-time Academy Award nominee has lost momentum in recent weeks, losing to Kerry Condon at the BAFTAs and Jamie Lee Curtis at the SAGs. While the latter award is generally the primary predictor for this category, my gut is telling me that Curtis’s latent push won’t be enough to earn her the Oscar gold, paving the way for a potential Condon-upset. Banshees is a primarily character-driven story, so honoring one of the lead talent would make sense in this category.

Best Supporting Actor: Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All At Once)

Where the acting races are concerned, Best Supporting Actor feels the most sure-fire in favor of Ke Huy Quan for his work in Everything Everywhere All At Once. Quan has one of the best Hollywood stories in recent memory, having stepped away from acting in the early 2000s after struggling to find roles, and has now come back onto the scene in a major way. Quan has won every precursor award (short of the BAFTA), and pitched a perfect-game throughout each speech and the campaign trail at large. Few categories feel like guarantees this year, but I would classify Quan as one of them.

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett (Tár)

I’ve gone back and forth about this race the most out of nearly every category on this list. To state the obvious reasons first, this race has been neck and neck between Cate Blanchett and Michelle Yeoh throughout awards season. Blanchett garnered steam early on for her critically-lauded turn in Tár, seemingly all but sure to win her third Oscar. However, Yeoh has come up from behind in recent weeks to potentially overtake Blanchett for her central role in Everything Everywhere All at Once — the biggest indicator being her SAG win.

However, my logic ultimately does not come down to Blanchett nor Yeoh specifically, but rather, the Academy’s recognition of Tár. If Blanchett does not win this category, it is unlikely that this film — one which has appeared across numerous “Best Of” lists for 2022 and garnered critical and cinephilic admiration to match — will win anything else at the Oscars this year. It would be surprising to see Tár get completely blanked by the Academy, which is why the edge goes to Blanchett. I would still be thrilled to see Yeoh take top prize here — her performance, as noted in my 2022 Top 10 list, is among the most emotionally stirring I’ve seen this past year. This is perhaps the trophy I will be most curious to see awarded throughout the telecast.

Best Actor: Brendan Fraser (The Whale)

Much like the Best Actress race, this award is a toss-up between two contenders — Brendan Fraser for The Whale and Austin Butler for Elvis. Both actors have traded off awards wins, with Butler winning the Golden Globe and BAFTA, and Fraser winning the Critics’ Choice and SAG. Neither outcome would be surprising, but I’m giving the edge to Fraser for two reasons: his campaign narrative, and his position within the industry as a whole. 

Regarding the former, Fraser, like Ke Huy Quan, has made a comeback in a big way after years away from acting, and his endearing presence throughout awards season highlights how much this journey means to him in an authentic, moving way. Regarding the latter reason, this may be Fraser’s best chance to win an Oscar, period. That’s not to say Fraser isn’t capable of delivering another Oscar-worthy performance, but the timing of his return to the big screen coupled with the critical acclaim he’s received puts him in a prime position to win the Best Actor trophy. While Butler is absolutely an exciting, fresh new face in Hollywood, I predict he will be rewarded somewhere else down the line in his career. 

Best Director: Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert (Everything Everywhere All At Once)

Up until a few weeks ago, I would have predicted Steven Spielberg to win in this category for his highly personal work on The Fabelmans. However, with their recent DGA win and the positioning of their film within the wider Oscar races as a whole, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert have all but secured their win for Best Director for Everything Everywhere All At Once. Their audacious, yet utterly earnest work in this film is a stunning achievement, presenting a story that is equal parts emotional and visually arresting. 

Best Picture: Everything Everywhere All At Once 

As alluded to throughout this list, Everything Everywhere All At Once is the odds-on favorite to win this year. It’s racked up every precursor award, from the DGA, to SAG ensemble, to the PGA, with recognition for individual acting and technical categories to match. Assuming all of these signs are to be believed, the Academy is poised to recognize a somewhat unconventional pick for Best Picture relative to what has been awarded in the past. The success of this film signals what I hope will be the continued embrace of new, innovative filmmaking that is both critically recognized and successful at the box office (with Everything Everywhere being distributor A24’s top grossing film), which is ultimately what the Oscars should be about.

Best Original Screenplay: The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Adapted Screenplay: Women Talking 

Best Cinematography: All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Animated Feature: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Best Short Film (Animated): The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Best Documentary (Feature): Navalny

Best Documentary (Short): The Elephant Whisperers

Best Short Film (Live-Action): Le Pupille

Best International Film: All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Editing: Everything Everywhere All At Once 

Best Sound: Top Gun: Maverick

Best Visual Effects: Avatar: The Way of Water

Best Production Design: Babylon

Best Costume Design: Elvis

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Elvis

Best Original Score: Babylon

Best Original Song: “Naatu Naatu” (RRR)

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