The Oscars race this year has been more interesting than a lot of others. Yes, CODA breaking through, last year, was an excellent shake-up to make it more exciting. However, this year, even with a few sure-shot (almost) wins expected, there can be upsets in several categories. Only four out of 23 categories are complete locks at this point, and only one acting win is all but confirmed. The biggest shockers would be upsets in such places. Here’s a look at all the main eight categories, with nominees ranked in order of probability of winning, along with direct predictions in the remaining 15 categories.
THE EIGHT MAIN CATEGORIES—IN ORDER OF PROBABILITY
1. Everything Everywhere All at Once
2. The Banshees of Inisherin
3. Top Gun: Maverick
4. All Quiet on the Western Front
5. The Fabelmans
8. Women Talking
9. Triangle of Sadness
10. Avatar: The Way of Water
Everything Everywhere All at Once has taken an undefeatable lead this awards season. It’s not even like last year when The Power of the Dog was a clear frontrunner until the very last stretch before the Oscars. Everything has been dominating from the beginning. A few setbacks came in the form of the BAFTAs, where it underperformed. However, it has won everything else that is major, including the Producer’s Guild Award, which is famously been a foreteller of the Oscar winner for best picture owing to its preferential ballot system, like for the Oscar best picture. So even though there might be many Academy members who didn’t like this film (like I didn’t), them actually putting it in the second or third place will help its chances in the preferential ballot. If the film doesn’t secure absolute majority in the first count, its second- and third-place spots will help it secure that absolute majority in subsequent counts. I thought Top Gun might benefit from the preferential ballot system, but seeing the trends of the season, it doesn’t seem like any film will secure even close to an absolute majority before Everything does, even with multiple counts of the ballots. I would be particularly happy for an upset in this category.
1. Everything Everywhere All at Once — Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
2. The Fabelmans — Steven Spielberg
3. The Banshees of Inisherin — Martin McDonagh
4. Tár — Todd Field
5. Triangle of Sadness — Ruben Östlund
Spielberg was an early favorite here, but the ‘Daniels’ have won most of the directing prizes, including telling ones such as the Directors’ Guild Award. It’s almost a guarantee that they will win here. I wish Spielberg would win, but what the Daniels pulled off with their film was truly exceptional and it won’t go unrewarded at the Oscars.
Actress in a Leading Role
1. Cate Blanchett in Tár
2. Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once
3. Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans
4. Ana de Armas in Blonde
5. Andrea Riseborough in To Leslie
I’m going down with the Cate Blanchett ship on this one. Michelle Yeoh is leading as a frontrunner in many prediction lists. She has won a Globe and a SAG, but Blanchett has won a Globe and a Critics’ Choice and a BAFTA. While Yeoh winning would be an amazing story, celebrating a beloved actress, Asian and so on, Blanchett will be like Anthony Hopkins or the Olivia Coleman in their recent years of Oscar wins. I think Blanchett will win her third Oscar this year.
Actor in a Leading Role
1. Austin Butler in Elvis
2. Brendan Fraser in The Whale
3. Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin
4. Paul Mescal in Aftersun
5. Bill Nighy in Living
The last time an actor won this without the support of his film being a best picture nominee was Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart (2009). Could Brendan Fraser be that exception? Yes. However, Austin Butler’s Elvis has had tremendous support, and has been leading in the conversation for multiple categories in this list. It’s a well-liked film even if not absolutely loved by everyone. The Whale on the other hand, is a film that some people have strong feelings against. I would love to see Fraser get his career win, and break down and give a moving speech and all. But somehow, I don’t see that happening.
Actress in a Supporting Role
1. Kerry Condon in The Banshees of Inisherin
2. Angela Bassett in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
3. Jamie Lee Curtis in Everything Everywhere All at Once
4. Stephanie Hsu in Everything Everywhere All at Once
5. Hong Chau in The Whale
Angela Bassett was a strong frontrunner, until she wasn’t. It would be terrific to see her win. But the industry votes for the Oscars, and she did not win the BAFTA and the SAG, which are voted for by the industry. Winning the Golden Globe and the Critics’ Choice—which are voted for by the press and critics—is no longer enough to guarantee her this spot. Condon was an early favorite in this category, before Bassett’s rise, and her BAFTA win reinstated her. She didn’t win the SAG, yes, but I think the Academy will reward her compelling and nuanced work in Banshees over the over-the-top campiness of Jamie Lee Curtis in Everything Everywhere. It should be interesting nevertheless. There hasn’t been this much uncertainty in this category for at least the last 14 years or so.
Actor in a Supporting Role
1. Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All at Once
2. Brendan Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin
3. Barry Keoghan in The Banshees of Inisherin
4. Judd Hirsch in The Fabelmans
5. Brian Tyree Henry in Causeway
Guaranteed lock 1: One of four guaranteed locks this year, Ke Huy Quan has won everything this year, aside from an odd alternative here and there. The biggest upset has been Barry Keoghan winning at the BAFTAs, but the BAFTAs didn’t reward Everything Everywhere for much anyway, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.
1. Women Talking — Screenplay by Sarah Polley
2. All Quiet on the Western Front — Screenplay by Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson & Ian Stokell
3. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery — Written by Rian Johnson
4. Living — Written by Kazuo Ishiguro
5. Top Gun: Maverick — Screenplay by Ehren Kruger and Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie; Story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks
People have been talking, and Sarah Polley will be talking as she accepts her prize for Women Talking. All Quiet could pose an upset here, but the more dialogue-heavy talking-women film will edge out the competition.
Best Original Screenplay
1. The Banshees of Inisherin — Written by Martin McDonagh
2. Everything Everywhere All at Once — Written by Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
3. Triangle of Sadness — Written by Ruben Östlund
4. Tár — Written by Todd Field
5. The Fabelmans — Written by Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner
The Banshees of Inisherin has been such a favorite for many this awards season, and it seems like just the kind of film that will win a screenplay award as a ‘consolation’, so to speak, for not winning best picture. Now Everything Everywhere could win this one also, for its originality. However, Banshees is quite original as well, and has its own share of weirdness. The fun part will be if Banshees wins this during the Oscars, and a lot of Everything predictors will start questioning the latter’s chances for the best picture prize.
All Quiet on the Western Front — James Friend
Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths — Darius Khondji
Elvis — Mandy Walker
Empire of Light — Roger Deakins
Tár — Florian Hoffmeister
The Academy loves war films. Though there have been upsets in the past, 1917—the film closest to All Quiet on the Western Front—did win the cinematography prize. Elvis could be the upset here.
Best Film Editing
The Banshees of Inisherin — Mikkel E.G. Nielsen
Elvis — Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond
Everything Everywhere All at Once — Paul Rogers
Tár — Monika Willi
Top Gun: Maverick — Eddie Hamilton
Top Gun should win this. In fact it could be the upset, since the Academy does tend to lean towards films with racy vehicular movement, such as Mad Max: Fury Road, Ford v Ferrari, etc. However, the high-speed editing in especially the multi-versal action sequences in Everything Everywhere All at Once will stand out this year. It even won the BAFTA for editing, despite underperforming severely at those awards.
All Quiet on the Western Front — Viktor Prásil, Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Lars Ginzel and Stefan Korte
Avatar: The Way of Water — Julian Howarth, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Dick Bernstein,
Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers and Michael Hedges
The Batman — Stuart Wilson, William Files, Douglas Murray and Andy Nelson
Elvis — David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson and Michael Keller
Top Gun: Maverick — Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon and Mark Taylor
Top Gun is winning this. If not for film editing, it has to win this at least. The sound is phenomenal, especially in the theater, with layers of music and effects and muffled dialogue through radio interactions, etc. In fact, one could go so far as to say that this is one of the locked categories of the year. All Quiet or Elvis could be upsets here, but it seems very unlikely.
All Quiet on the Western Front — Volker Bertelmann
Babylon — Justin Hurwitz
The Banshees of Inisherin — Carter Burwell
Everything Everywhere All at Once — Son Lux
The Fabelmans — John Williams
Babylon will win this. Its soundtrack literally carries the film, and it’s all you hear for entire sequences of action without dialogue. The adaptation of the main theme from foot-tapping renditions to more ballad-like interpretations is also the kind of thing that the Academy loves. The music goes places and it’s a journey in itself. Justin Hurwitz is winning another Oscar this year, after La La Land.
“Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman; Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick; Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga and BloodPop
“Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever; Music by Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler and Ludwig Goransson; Lyric by Tems and Ryan Coogler
“Naatu Naatu” from RRR; Music by M.M. Keeravaani; Lyric by Chandrabose
“This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once; Music by Ryan Lott, David Byrne and Mitski; Lyric by Ryan Lott and David Byrne
“Naatu Naatu” has dominated the conversation throughout awards season. While these other songs and artists have been mentioned in discussions, most are quite certain that RRR will go all the way to Oscar gold, leading the original song race right to the end.
All Quiet on the Western Front — Production Design: Christian M. Goldbeck; Set Decoration: Ernestine Hipper
Avatar: The Way of Water — Production Design: Dylan Cole and Ben Procter; Set Decoration: Vanessa Cole
Babylon — Production Design: Florencia Martin; Set Decoration: Anthony Carlino
Elvis — Production Design: Catherine Martin and Karen Murphy; Set Decoration: Bev Dunn
The Fabelmans — Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara
I believe Elvis stands a great chance here, but the scale and depth and creativity of the production design for Babylon will see it all the way to Oscar gold. Besides, it even has production design within the production designs—movie sets within Babylon’s sets. How can it not win! I’d like to add: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood also won this award… Sets within sets, you see?
All Quiet on the Western Front — Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller, Markus Frank and Kamil Jafar
Avatar: The Way of Water — Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon and Daniel Barrett
The Batman — Dan Lemmon, Russell Earl, Anders Langlands and Dominic Tuohy
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — Geoffrey Baumann, Craig Hammack, R. Christopher White and Dan Sudick
Top Gun: Maverick — Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson and Scott R. Fisher
Guaranteed lock 2: No other film comes close to Avatar: The Way of Water in this category. This is a complete lock. It’s a guaranteed win. Any upset here will have the Dolby Theatre gasping in shock on Sunday.
Babylon — Mary Zophres
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — Ruth Carter
Elvis — Catherine Martin
Everything Everywhere All at Once — Shirley Kurata
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris — Jenny Beavan
Elvis will win here. Wakanda Forever has been in the conversation, but the general look is not new and fresh and novel like it was in the first Black Panther. And period costumes have been recognized abundantly in the past. I think this will be another one of those years. Besides, Elvis is literally about one of the greatest style icons of all time.
Makeup and Hairstyling
All Quiet on the Western Front — Heike Merker and Linda Eisenhamerová
The Batman — Naomi Donne, Mike Marino and Mike Fontaine
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — Camille Friend and Joel Harlow
Elvis — Mark Coulier, Jason Baird and Aldo Signoretti
The Whale — Adrien Morot, Judy Chin and Anne Marie Bradley
The Whale could win here, because of the whale of a task it was to bring together the prosthetics worn by Brendan Fraser. However admirable as that may be, it was still just one look. Elvis showed the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll through various stages of ageing and weight gain and so on. And then there was Tom Hanks’s look, and the look of all the other supporting characters throughout the film. The overall accomplishment is much bigger here, and I think the Academy will see that.
Best International Feature Film
All Quiet on the Western Front — Germany
Argentina, 1985 — Argentina
Close — Belgium
EO — Poland
The Quiet Girl — Ireland
Guaranteed lock 3: The number of nominations for All Quiet, including for best picture, pretty much make this a done deal.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Marcel the Shell With Shoes On
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
The Sea Beast
Guaranteed lock 4: Pinocchio has won practically everything in animation this year. And the Oscars will reflect that too.
SHORTS AND DOCUMENTARY
Best Animated Short Film
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
The Flying Sailor
My Year of Dicks
An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It
Best Live-Action Short Film
An Irish Goodbye
The Red Suitcase
Best Documentary Feature
All That Breathes
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
Fire of Love
A House Made of Splinters
Best Documentary Short Subject
The Elephant Whisperers
How Do You Measure a Year?
The Martha Mitchell Effect
Stranger at the Gate