Once again, the time has come to look over the long list of assorted Oscar nominees and say “I, a person with no stakes in this, believe this film should win the little gold naked man” in pretty much every category. Honestly, this year is the year where just about everyone who should’ve been nominated was nominated and the only reason they weren’t is that there are only 5 people allowed per category, there isn’t any real need for my usual soapboxing about why certain people weren’t part of the nominee list… I will, however, make the call now that there will be 14 cringy slap jokes made and none of them will be funny.
As usual, I’ve called who I think WILL win based on how Hollywood tends to think, who I think SHOULD win because I like them the most and who the WILD CARD is because there’s always that one surprise win that no one sees coming that keeps these interesting. Also, I have not been able to do Documentary or Cinematography this year because I cannot get hold of most of the entries (3 out of 5) so it wasn’t fair, blame how stupid the system of releases is. I’m just saying, it’s kind of annoying to see over a hundred films in a year and come Oscar time still have to hope they drop the nominated films a month before the ceremony in a way that means I can see them.
Alright, let’s do this!
This year’s set of Best Picture nominees is genuinely incredible, there isn’t a dud one in the bunch and for the first time in a while, there’s a substantial number of films that people have actually seen instead of just the indie darlings that had everyone tuning out of the ceremony. Easily the big front-runner for this would be Everything Everywhere All At Once, the most nominated film of the night. It’s not only the most nominated, it’s the film that pushed the limits of cinema the most this year. It really is a film that did everything, went everywhere, and did it all at once. The one film that might surprise everyone by taking the main prize is The Banshees Of Inisherin because while it’s not the best it’s probably going to be a lot of people’s second or third choice and because Best Picture is done by ranked choice voting, that will help.
Films Unseen: Tár, Women Talking
It’s kind of fascinating that this batch of nominees is all first-timers, every single person in the Best Actor category this year has never been nominated before. If we’re being honest, it’s a three-way race between Austin, Brendan, and Colin and there’s a good justification for all of them. Brendan is the one who seems to have it on lock, not only does he deliver one of the best performances of the year but it would be a glorious comeback story for Brendan to go from being basically blacklisted to winning the biggest award in his field. Out of the other two, Austin Butler has the benefit of delivering a pitch-perfect Elvis impression that was so good that he couldn’t drop it for months and since they can compare what Austin did to the real thing, that might play in his favour.
Films/Performances Unseen: Bill Nighy in Living, Paul Mescal in Aftersun
Ever since Everything Everywhere All At Once came out, it’s been clear that this award would go to Michelle Yeoh and no one was going to take it from her. Sure, Cate Blanchett has a lot of praise for her role and that’s great, she also has two Oscars already so just let Michelle have this. Cate is definitely the one who could take the award that Michelle deserves, but we all know who should have that award. Now watch as the ultimate surprise happens and Andrea Riseborough’s homegrown campaign turns out to have been so powerful that she gets the award, it will be glorious chaos!
Films/Performances Unseen: Andrea Riseborough in To Leslie, Cate Blanchett in Tár
When looking at the list of Best Supporting Actor nominees it’s important to look at the context and timing of each and every nominee… and then throw all that out and go “It’s going to be Ke Huy Quan and that’s literally the only correct option”. Ke Huy Quan has had one of the best awards seasons of any actor in recent memory. He’s been nominated for over 70 awards for this role and has only lost the Best Supporting Actor race twice. The award will be his and it will be a glorious moment when Ke Huy Quan will be at the top of the very industry that didn’t realise the talent they had. Really the only person who has even an outside chance to beat him is the actor who beat him in those two races where he didn’t win, that being Brendan Gleeson but let’s be real, it’s Ke Huy Quan or bust
Films/Performances Unseen: Brian Tyree Henry in Causeway
In what feels like an apology for not giving it to her sooner, Angela Bassett has been the favourite for this for a while and I’m not about to deviate from that. Even being nominated is a big deal, this is the first time an MCU performance has been Oscar-nominated but it’s also the kind of performance that commands attention and delivers everything that the Oscars love. Her big speech in the throne room exclaiming she has given everything for her kingdom will be the Oscar clip and the chances are good she would take it.
If Angela doesn’t take it then it’s either Jamie or Stephanie. Stephanie has the more fascinating and powerful performance, but Jamie has the “I’ve been in this industry since the 80s, respect me!” factor and it’s not unheard of for the Oscars to give an award to someone largely for being in the business for years and finally being in a movie the Oscars will acknowledge, also Jamie literally just won the SAG award and it’s the same people doing the voting so that really does make her a legitimate possibility. Still, the smart money would say the night is going to end and we will all get to say that Angela Bassett did the thing.
Fun Fact, Spielberg has not won Best Director since 1999. For a director as legendary as he is, that feels kind of surprising because he should have a lot more wins under his belt. The Fabelmans feels like the kind of film that’s almost designed to remind everyone what’s so special about him as a director and get him the third award he probably should have by now. However, while the emotions might be with Spielberg, I feel like this should go to the Daniels for their fantastic work on Everything Everywhere All At Once. If you can make a film where a pair of rocks with googly eyes can turn the audience into a bunch of bawling babies, you should get an Oscar. Now we could all be surprised and see McDonagh get this one just so The Banshees of Inisherin wins something, but that’s a long shot.
Films/Performances Unseen: Tár
Repetition time, I think this award will and should go to Everything Everywhere All At Once. It’s such a well thought out film with incredibly detailed dialogue and so many complicated ideas that really start at the script level that it feels like it might get this one just because of how complex it was to pull off. The film that might sneak in here is The Banshees of Inisherin, largely because Martin McDonaugh has been nominated in this exact category twice already and lost both times (To Milk and Get Out respectively) and while the field this year is strong, it might help him that it feels like he’s just barely missed out before.
Films/Performances Unseen: Tár
Top Gun: Maverick is the kind of film that’s nominated specifically to take over the technical awards and allow the Oscars to pretend they really like mainstream films, and that could help them be a bit of the surprise winner here but if we were to look into just what will take the award, All Quiet On The Western Front is racking up nominations for a reason and its tight script and clever adaptation from the original story could help it take this one as well. Now, would I like to see Glass Onion surprise everyone and win, meaning that the film that basically calls Elon Musk a fucking moron would be an Oscar Winner? Sure would, let’s hope for that.
Films/Performances Unseen: Women Talking, Living
Editing is a fun category because sometimes the winner isn’t the film with the best editing but the film with the most obvious editing (which is also usually the worst editing). This year however the most obvious editing also happens to be some of the best, with the absolutely fabulous Everything Everywhere All At Once just using its editing better than anyone could possibly imagine. The tricks it pulls off to enhance the story are truly stunning. So many of the film’s best moments are all in the edit and it wouldn’t shock me if that takes it. The only big competition it might have at the moment is Elvis, because when Baz Luhrman makes a film that involves high energy music then that film will also do some amazing things with the edit.
Films/Performances Unseen: Tár
There is a tiny part of me that wonders how Everything Everywhere All At Once isn’t here, but I guess it was just the honorary 6th nominee. Looking through the movies it would be a good bet that this is going to go to something nostalgic, nostalgia tends to win the day in this because it’s easy to look at a film and go “oh look, they got the historical details right in the production design” and move on. Considering how many nominations it has outside of the International film category, I’d say All Quiet on the Western Front has this but I would be lying if I didn’t say I wanted this to go to The Fabelmans, a film that just oozed pure nostalgia in the best ways. If nothing else there’s a definite sense that they will want to give Fabelmans something and this might be the easiest one for it to get. That’s also probably why they might throw it to Babylon, a film I haven’t seen and guessing based on the anemic box office most of you haven’t either, because Babylon is about classic Hollywood and god damn it if the Oscars doesn’t love giving awards to films about how older films got made
Films/Performances Unseen: Babylon
Ruth Carter, the costume designer for the first Black Panther movie, won this award a few years ago which made her the first African American to win in this category. It was an insanely well deserved award, the costumes in Black Panther are genuinely iconic and it was pretty undeniable she should win. Wakanda Forever had her taking those old outfits and somehow improving on them, adding an entire new culture to the costumes and showing why she is a legend in the field. She basically should have the spot cleared on her shelf already because she’s got this in the bag. Her only real competition, at least in my opinion, is Everything Everywhere All At Once which has some genuinely amazing costumes that help fill in the world that we live in throughout that film… also Everything Everywhere All At Once has a Fanny Pack that’s used as a weapon, instantly making it the most badass costume choice of the year.
Films/Performances Unseen: Babylon, Mrs Harris Goes To Paris
Sound is a fascinating category because the question of how they judge it is still up in the air, it’s a combination of two old categories so this is basically a blank space for technical awards at the moment. Does the sound tell the story, is it good, is it crisp and memorable? Who knows how they’re judging but it never hurts to assume the Musical is going to win the sound award, it’s literally the easy pick. Of course, the smartarse in me thinks it would be really funny if a film with the word “Quiet” in the title won the sound award so that covers why that ‘SHOULD’ win (sometimes the reasoning is just ‘for the lols’ and that’s OK) The one that might be the surprise winner here could be Top Gun: Maverick. It’s not a bad film but it’s not a film you give the big awards to, you throw it some technical awards so they can proclaim being an Oscar winner and you can thank the film you claim saved cinema. This is one where that kind of thinking could sneak in to surprise.
It has become somewhat of a recent trend that if you want to win Best Makeup, you put someone in a fat suit and put the camera so close you can see the pores. Three movies in this list have that but the absolute best of this group is The Whale, which not only had a full body makeup but make it sweat and glisten to the point it felt completely real. It’s an intense realism that the Academy absolutely loves. The only thing that might take it from The Whale is Elvis, purely because Elvis not only has the fat suit but has just a ton of glorious recreated looks that are easy to sell to Academy voters.
When picking a best score it’s probably best to just pick the one with the most easily remembered musical phrase that probably stuck in the voters’ heads while they were preparing their votes and just thinking about these films, the droning powerful score of All Quiet On The Western Front is absolutely the film to accomplish that. It’s a subtle score that really knows when to come in to build tension and destroy the audiences already frail emotions so it’s probably going to win. Failing that there is something kind of beautiful about the Banshees score, it’s haunting and charming at the same time plus it would be kind of funny if the film about a musician cutting off his fingers out of spite ended up winning an award for music. Now, would I be mad at a surprise Everything Everywhere win because I fully believe this night should be an Everything Everywhere All At Once sweep? No, no I would not be, but I don’t expect it that much.
Films/Performances Unseen: Babylon
Diane Warren has been nominated 14 times for this award and never won it… and she was nominated for songs like “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” or “Because You Loved Me” which are songs that should’ve probably won it for her already. Is her song this year at that level? No, honestly it’s kind of forgettable (most best song nominees are dull and boring lately because the fun songs tend to not be nominated, as noted by last year when We Don’t Talk About Bruno was performed just so every song wasn’t depressing… and even then they managed to somehow screw up that performance) but for God’s sakes, this woman deserves an Oscar that isn’t the honorary one they’re giving her this year because 14 nominations without a win is insanity.
That being said, the actual winner is probably going to be Lady Gaga for Hold My Hand because Gaga is amazing at performing that song and it’ll be another way to give Top Gun an Oscar, but mostly just because of Gaga. Now, the big joyful surprise would be if RRR came out of nowhere and stole this with their energetic number, if nothing else they’re going to be the highlight of the ceremony if they perform with even half the energy of the movie.
Avatar: The Way Of Water almost seems like it was a film designed with the specific intention of winning this award, after all it is basically completely reliant on spectacular visual effects to justify its existence so it would suck if that work didn’t get it the Oscar. It’s a genuinely glorious film to look at and that pure insane spectacle could nab it the win, though again this is a great category to hand Top Gun: Maverick an Oscar and it would genuinely deserve it for the flight sequences alone. Top Gun’s probably got this one, though Avatar will be seething in the corner because it should have this one in the bag. Though the real fun would be if the Black Panther people could get up there and just put the industry on blast for the treatment of the VFX teams.
So this one is just going to Pinocchio. I don’t even need to explain this, it’s been the winner almost every time it’s been nominated and there’s no way it’s going to change now. It will actually be a shock if anyone else even bothers to turn up just knowing that they won’t be needed because this award is going home with Guillermo Del Toro. Maybe Marcel the Shell with Shoes on might pull an upset because it’s the one that’s beaten Pinocchio the most often (and by that I mean it’s beaten Pinocchio at two ceremonies, the only other time a film beat Pinocchio was once when Turning Red pulled it off) but it’s going to be Pinocchio, this isn’t even a question.
Films/Performances Unseen: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
I don’t even need to see any of the nominees in this one (and for 2 of them I just can’t, that’s fun, this system isn’t flawed at all) because it’s a safe rule that if a film is nominated as Best International film and Best Film, it’s taking International at bare minimum. This was true in 2022 when Drive My Car got nominated in both and took home International, it was true in 2020 when Parasite DOMINATED the Oscars (thus being the last good thing to happen in 2020), it happened in 2018 when Roma was the most nominated film of the night. Considering how many nominations All Quiet On The Western Front has, it will take this one with ease. There’s no wild card surprise here, it’s just going to be All Quiet On The Western Front and if it isn’t then that’s the biggest shock of the night.
Films/Performances Unseen: Argentina 1985, Close, Eo, The Quiet Girl