Fellow movie lovers, we are officially BACK! The 2023 Oscar nominations have just been announced this morning and the best part of awards season is officially underway. Final Oscar voting doesn’t start until March 2nd, so from now until then, it’s Academy Awards campaigning season, baby! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! If you’re a normal person, there are probably quite a few films that just picked up an Oscar nomination that you’ve never even heard of, let alone seen. I’m a sicko, so I’ve already seen almost everything that’s been nominated in the six major Oscar categories. You can check out my rankings of all 75 new movies I saw in 2022 for proof of my bona fides. I follow awards season religiously, so I’m here to help you out. We’re going to go through all the major Oscar categories – Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, and Best International Feature – and I’ll let you know where each race stands, who probably will win the award, and who I think SHOULD win the award. Without further ado, let’s get into my Oscar predictions.
And the Oscar nominees are…
Best International Feature
- All Quiet on the Western Front (Germany)
- Argentina, 1985 (Argentina)
- Close (Belgium)
- EO (Poland)
- The Quiet Girl (Ireland)
This category, formerly called Best Foreign Film, is the one I’m least personally familiar with this year because I haven’t seen any of these movies yet. But taking a look at the other Oscar nominations, it seems like a lock that All Quiet on the Western Front is walking away with this one. All Quiet picked up an Oscar nod in 9 different categories including a Best Picture nomination, and it’s very rare for Best Picture nominees to lose in International Feature. Sight unseen, I’d say this one is pretty much done. And from everything I’ve heard, it’s well-deserved for All Quiet on the Western Front.
Will win: All Quiet on the Western Front
Should win: TBD, I have to watch them all first. But probably also All Quiet on the Western Front.
- Austin Butler, Elvis
- Bill Nighy, Living
- Brendan Fraser, The Whale
- Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Paul Mescal, Aftersun
The Best Actor category is more interesting this year than it’s been in years. Every Best Actor contender this year is getting their first Oscar nomination, which is extremely rare. This is the hardest to predict race because the “momentum”, as much as that exists for these things that are voted on once, has been all over the place. Brendan Fraser had been the front-runner since The Whale premiered at Venice, but the Golden Globes threw a bit of a wrench into that. Austin Butler won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama over Fraser and Bill Nighy, establishing himself as a major contender in this category. Colin Farrell won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. Brendan Fraser has a bit of a complicated history with the Golden Globes, so it’s not necessarily surprising that he lost there, but he did pick up a crucial win at the Critics Choice Awards over all the nominees in this category. The Critics Choice Award has done a pretty good job of predicting the Oscar winner over the last few years, so Fraser is still a decent bet. But given The Whale’s underwhelming performance in other categories like Best Picture while Elvis and the Banshees of Inisherin are both in the Best Picture race, this category is shaping up to be a 3-horse race up until the end. The SAG awards and BAFTA awards will be big clues here. I still bet Brendan Fraser, but don’t sleep on Austin Butler and Colin Farrell.
Still, I demand justice for Tom Cruise! Top Gun: Maverick is fucking awesome, how are you gonna tell me Tom Cruise wasn’t one of the Best Actors this year???
Will win: Brendan Fraser
Should win: Paul Mescal
Best Supporting Actor
- Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway
- Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans
- Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once
If there’s any lock in this year’s Oscars nominations, this is it. Ke Huy Quan has had this nomination in hand since the day Everything Everywhere All At Once came out, and him winning the Oscar is as close to a sure thing as there has ever been. Everything Everywhere is Ke Huy Quan’s first major movie role since he was a kid playing Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Data in The Goonies. And he came back in a major way. Quan’s character is both dramatically and comedically the heart and soul of Everything Everywhere All at Once, and he also kicks ass in his fight scenes. Quan has picked up DOZENS of acting awards for the role already. One might even say that he’s won…everything, everywhere! He’s got the Golden Globe, Critics Choice, and every city/state/regional Critics Choice you can think of (except San Diego and Columbus, for whatever reason). I expect him to walk away with it at the SAG Awards as well. And his speeches have been awesome every single time. He should win and he will!
Will win: Ke Huy Quan
Should win: Ke Huy Quan
- Ana de Armas, Blonde
- Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie
- Cate Blanchett, Tár
- Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans
- Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once
For the acting awards, this year’s Best Actress race is the most confusing, the one with the most drama, and the one I’m most excited to find out who wins. So I’m going to go long here running it all back. Cate Blanchett and Michelle Yeoh are locked in as the two front-runners after they each took home a Golden Globe for their respective Best Actress categories. Two-time Oscar winner Blanchett is the front-runner and has been for a while now after winning at the Critics Choice Awards, Globes, and a few other early stops like the New York Film Critics Circle. Blanchett was my favorite performance of the year, check out my Tár review to hear why, so I’m happy with where the race stands. But the way we got here has been fascinating to watch.
Early in the season, Michelle Williams, part of one of the year’s top Best Picture contenders and a 4-time Academy Awards nominee, made a somewhat surprising decision to run as a Lead instead of in the Best Supporting Actress category. Best Supporting Actress is a much weaker category overall this year, and at the time of the announcement, Michelle Williams looked like she would walk to a win there. It seemed like the move might backfire after Williams missed out on both the BAFTA nominations and the SAG nominations for Best Actress, but ultimately she’s on the list at the Academy Awards like she should be.
Ana de Armas getting nominated for Blonde is kind of weird because that movie sucks and no one likes it. In fact, it got a Razzie nomination for Worst Picture. But after de Armas picked up a Screen Actors Guild nomination for her lead performance as Marilyn Monroe and now an Oscar nod, I can only assume that her fellow screen actors feel sorry for her having to carry such a shitty movie on her back. I didn’t finish watching Blonde when it came out last year, and I’m still not going to finish it now, but good for her!
A couple of notable snubs left off the Oscar list are Viola Davis for The Woman King and Danielle Deadwyler for Till. Both the veteran Viola Davis and the relative newcomer Deadwyler picked up Screen Actors Guild nominations and were expected to show up here as well, but obviously, that didn’t work out. I haven’t seen Till and won’t be because I don’t need to see that particular Black trauma brought to the screen, but I’ve heard she was really good in it and deserving of Oscar love. But she’ll have to settle for being a SAG and BAFTA nominee instead. Viola Davis and The Woman King seem to be victims of a movie studio unprepared to run an Oscars campaign. When the first reviews of The Woman King came out, it seemed like the studio was surprised by how much everyone liked it and has been playing catch up ever since then. And it’s resulted in missing out on what should have been a slam-dunk nomination here.
If you’ve never heard of the Andrea Riseborough movie To Leslie, you’re not alone. I had never heard of it until a couple of weeks ago. That film made $25,000 at the box office and was only thrust into the awards conversation after Riseborough and her team started paying a few well-known actors to tweet about how much they apparently LOVED her performance in this movie no one else had ever seen or heard of. This all happened precisely when the Oscar voting window opened, so Riseborough is nowhere to be found on precursors like SAG Awards nominations or BAFTA nominations because none of those voting bodies had watched the film. I’m happy for her since she got her first nomination at the Oscars, but I hate that she basically just bought it and I hope this doesn’t become a trend. But I’ll have to actually see the movie before I can say whether or not she’s deserving.
Will win: Cate Blanchett
Should win: Cate Blanchett
Best Supporting Actress Oscar Predictions
- Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
- Hong Chau, The Whale
- Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All At Once
- Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All At Once
As previously mentioned, Best Supporting Actress was a much weaker category this year than Lead Actress. Still, I think ultimately we ended up with a good crop of nominees. I’m delighted to see both Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu from Everything Everywhere here. I loved that movie, and I think Stephanie Hsu was an amazing performance that I’d like to see honored. But I’m surprised to see no mention of any of the cast from Women Talking. Although I haven’t seen Women Talking yet, it was apparently good enough to get a Best Picture nomination and a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, I had assumed that kind of love would be enough to carry at least one of the performances in it to a Supporting nomination, but I guess not. Anyway, with both Everything Everywhere performances here and likely splitting votes between them, it’s looking more and more likely that Angela Bassett is going to win for her role as Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. After the original movie was nominated for Best Picture, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever came in with some awards hype built in. Ultimately that didn’t pan out in the other categories as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever missed out on other major categories, but I think Bassett is a safe pick to win here and it’s well-deserved after an incredible career and performance.
Another noteworthy snub from one of the Best Picture contenders here is Dolly de Leon from Triangle of Sadness. I didn’t like that movie nearly as much as the Academy apparently did – even giving it a Best Director nomination – but I thought her performance was the best part of it, so it’s strange that it’s not here. Shoutout to Janelle Monáe for Glass Onion adn Keke Palmer for Nope as well. Almost thought they were going to get in here.
Will win: Angela Bassett
Should win: Stephanie Hsu
- Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once
- Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness
- Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans
- Todd Field, Tár
Honestly, I have no idea who to predict will win Best Director at this point. The Daniels won at the Critics Choice Awards, but that was amongst a group of 10 that included James Cameron (Avatar: The Way of Water), Sarah Polley (Women Talking), and a few other contenders that didn’t make the cut at the Oscars. Who knows how votes shift when there are only 5 choices to pick from? Additionally, only 3 out of these 5 directors – Daniel Kwan/Daniel Scheinert, Martin McDonagh, and Todd Field – picked up BAFTA nominations. All of the Oscar nominees except for Ruben Ostlund (Top Gun: Maverick director Joseph Kosinski got in over him) were nominated by the Director’s Guild of America, so I’ll wait for that to play out before I’m fully locked in on a winner here. Mostly I’m just excited that James Cameron is OUTTA HERE and Avatar 2 is basically dead on arrival in the Best Picture category. I feel like I’ve already won.
My gut says that Steven Spielberg telling his life story so beautifully in The Fabelmans will see him get the win here. But I wouldn’t be too upset at any of these choices.
Will win: Steven Spielberg
Should win: Todd Field
Best Picture Oscar Predictions
- All Quiet on the Western Front
- Avatar: The Way of Water
- The Banshees of Inisherin
- Everything Everywhere All at Once
- The Fabelmans
- Top Gun: Maverick
- Triangle of Sadness
- Women Talking
This year’s Best Picture race is awesome, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. My top 3 movies from 2022 – Tár, Everything Everywhere All at Once, and Top Gun: Maverick – all made the Oscars list of 10. And better still, out of the 8 nominees I’ve seen already (still have to get to Women Talking and All Quiet), I haven’t hated any of them. Last year I despised Power of the Dog and was bored to tears by Drive My Car, but so far from what I’ve seen all of these movies have been really enjoyable. Awesome to see crowd-pleasing blockbuster sequels like Top Gun: Maverick or Avatar 2 mixed in with artsier traditional Oscar films like Tár or Banshees of Inisherin and riskier indie darlings like EEAAO and Triangle of Sadness.
My “should win” pick here has been locked up since the moment I saw Tár. Tár’s storytelling is ruthlessly efficient while never being unfair to the characters. It’s subtle and unhurried, but always deliberate and moving forward. It feels intimate AND inescapably large. I try to tell stories for a living, so I can tell you from experience that all of that is REALLY FUCKING HARD to do. And they did it perfectly by combining just the right amount of every aspect that goes into making a movie. So who should win is a no-brainer for me even though this is a great field.
Picking who will win is a much harder task right now. The Fabelmans has been considered front-runner all season long, and I think that’s still where the smart money is at the moment. But there’s just something about the energy around Everything Everywhere All at Once that feels different. EEAAO picked up some big wins at the Critics Choice Awards including Best Original Screenplay, Editing, Director, and Picture. Plus, it can’t be forgotten that this is a campaign. You go to parties and events, kiss hands, shake babies, and make the Hollywood elite like you so that they want to vote for you. No movie has been better at the campaigning part of this so far than the cast of Everything Everywhere. They are OUT HERE IN THESE STREETS. They go to all of these awards shows together, they go to movie screenings/Q&As together, they’re fun to be around, they show love to the fans for supporting their movie, and they all talk glowingly about working together. Movies like Top Gun: Maverick or Black Panther: Wakanda Forever where there’s only one actor nominated have a harder time building that kind of campaign momentum and creating those moments. But EEAAO has 4 actors, 2 directors, an original screenplay, and so much more nominated that they can continue to blitz the campaign trail. And, right now, I think that will be enough to get them a win. And I’d be delighted about it.
Will win: Everything Everywhere All at Once
Should win: Tár
Other Reactions and Oscar Predictions
If there’s any movie that I think could be this year’s The Irishman, which gets a shit ton of nominations but no Oscar wins, ironically I think it’d have to be the Banshees of Inisherin. Obviously, since it was nominated for 9 awards, there’s a world where it could win Best Picture, Best Actor, Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay, and a bunch of other stuff. But right now I’d pick against it in all of those categories.
I’m a little bit surprised that Glass Onion was largely left out this year, only getting 1 nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. It was almost certainly in contention for a Best Picture nomination until the end. I found it delightful! Oh well.
Best Animated Feature is lowkey stacked this year, and that’s kind of shocking considering it was such a weak year for Disney. I loved Turning Red, and I’m happy to see that’s here, but Disney had nothing else that came even close to cracking the nominee list with Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, and The Sea Beast. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is the likely winner there.
Best Original Song is hilarious because Diane Warren gets nominated every year for songs no one has heard from movies no one has seen. She’s been nominated 13 times including EIGHT out of the last NINE years. But she’s never won, and I don’t think she will this year either. She was given an Academy Honorary Award last year though!