2023 Oscar Predictions and Snubs

Best Picture

Will Likely Win: Everything Everywhere All at Once. Also in the conversation is The Banshees of Inisherin, All Quiet on the Western Front, and maybe even The Fabelmans. The last time an Oscar contender had a huge fanbase this fervent behind it though was the year Parasite won.

What Should Win: Tár. The meticulous rendering of an abuser’s psychological breakdown makes for some of the best cinema in years. If the Academy is looking to stay relevant as well, it speaks sharply to modern issues of power hierarchies, exploitation, cancel culture, and social media’s constant surveillance – but I don’t think they would reward something so morally ambiguous and uncomfortable.

What’s Been Snubbed: Babylon. It might have once had a chance at being nominated, but the polarised reception has ultimately kept it out of the race. The debauched, excessive vision of early Hollywood that Damien Chazelle builds is as remarkably ambitious as it is carefully considered in its nostalgic ruminations.

Everything Everywhere All at Once (Produced by Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinart, and Jonathan Wang)

Best Director

  • Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin)
  • Daniels (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
  • Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans)
  • Todd Field (Tár)
  • Ruben Östlund (Triangle of Sadness)

Will Likely Win: Daniels for Everything Everywhere All At Once. The combination of stylish maximalism and a nuanced family dynamic upon which everything else pivots will draw voters looking for technical accomplishment, and those looking for an emotional heart.

What Should Win: Todd Field for Tár. His comeback after a sixteen-year break from filmmaking is huge, earning comparisons to Stanley Kubrick and Michael Haneke in his chilling precision. The ten-minute long take in the lecture scene early on is remarkably executed, but then again so is this entire film, from its camerawork to its sound design.

What’s Been Snubbed: Damien Chazelle for Babylon. He is one of the most exciting directors to emerge in the last decade, and though Babylon is not as cleanly composed as La La Land or Whiplash, its artistic aspirations may exceed either.

Tár (Directed by Todd Field)

Best Actor

  • Austin Butler (Elvis)
  • Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin)
  • Brendan Fraser (The Whale)
  • Paul Mescal (Aftersun)
  • Bill Nighy (Living)

Will Likely Win: Austin Butler for Elvis. His Oscars campaign has been incredibly effective, winning him both a Golden Globe and BAFTA. A combination of his method acting and the Academy’s love for actors playing historical figures virtually locks him in.

What Should Win: Austin Butler for Elvis. Keep in mind that this is not simply a rote impersonation of someone else’s mannerisms – this is a performance that is inventive and electric, matching the hyper-kineticism of Baz Luhrmann’s biopic with an electric screen presence.

What’s Been Snubbed: Robert Pattinson for The Batman. Pattinson’s take on Bruce Wayne is refreshingly inquisitive, angry, and scrupulous. At times it feels less like watching a superhero and more like watching a great detective at work, one with the neo-noir darkness of Matt Reeves’ Gotham City.

Austin Butler in Elvis

Best Actress

  • Cate Blanchett (Tár)
  • Ana de Armas (Blonde)
  • Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie)
  • Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans)
  • Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Will Likely Win: Cate Blanchett for Tár. If my prediction is right, this will be her third Oscar win (following The Aviator in 2005 and Blue Jasmine in 2014). She is on track for success too, with a BAFTA and Golden Globe backing her up.

What Should Win: Cate Blanchett for Tár. I’m feeling pretty confident that this is her strongest performance to date, complete with a bold transformation, assured speechmaking, and quiet introspection.

What’s Been Snubbed: Margot Robbie for Babylon. This too is her best performance yet, becoming an “It” girl of the 1920s destined to burn short but bright. Whenever she is onscreen, everything else revolves around her, from Chazelle’s dynamic camera to the rest of his sprawling ensemble.

Cate Blanchett in Tár

Best Supporting Actor

  • Brendan Gleeson (The Banshees of Inisherin)
  • Brian Tyree Henry (Causeway)
  • Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans)
  • Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin)
  • Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Will Likely Win: Ke Huy Quan for Everything Everywhere All at Once. He is clearly the fan favourite, but he has also already won a lot of awards for this performance, most notably from the Screen Actors Guild.

What Should Win: Ke Huy Quan for Everything Everywhere All at Once. Quan quite easily shifts between scruffy comic relief, suave action hero, and the moral centre of the entire film – he fully deserves this win.

What’s Been Snubbed: Colin Farrell in The Batman. Yes, Farrell is already nominated in the Best Actor category for The Banshees of Inisherin. But his scenery-chewing, prosthetics-laden portrayal of the Penguin steals every scene he’s in.  

Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All at Once

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)

Will Likely Win: Angela Bassett for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Marvel lands its first actor nomination here, and Bassett earns it as one of the best parts of the Black Panther sequel. More than anything though, this award will be much more a recognition of her esteemed career than the performance itself.

What Should Win: Stephanie Hsu for Everything Everywhere All at Once. She effectively plays two parts of a single character here – the jaded, miserable daughter Joy, and the nihilistic, cosmic terror Jobu Tapaki, who simultaneously experiences every alternate universe at once. Both are mirrors of each other, and Hsu proves herself a brilliant comic and dramatic actress in nailing them equally.

What’s Been Snubbed: Zoe Kravitz for The Batman. Her Catwoman is the femme fatale to Robert Pattinson’s hardboiled detective, loaded with mystery, charm, and alternative agendas, becoming one of the definitive cinematic takes on the comic book character.

Angela Bassett in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Best Original Screenplay

  • The Banshees of Inisherin
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once
  • The Fabelmans
  • Tár
  • Triangle of Sadness

Will Likely Win: The Banshees of Inisherin. Martin McDonagh has been nominated twice before in this category with In Bruges and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and lost twice. He is a good director, but even better writer, so his time is due.

What Should Win: Tár. Todd Field writes one of the most acute character studies of the century here. His dialogue is cold and cutting, and there is not a single line which lands without formal intent. It says a lot about the quality of his writing that many people have come out of the film believing it is based on a real person.

What’s Been Snubbed: Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths. The Academy loves Alejandro Iñárritu, but not this year. Bardo is a bit too unhinged for them, even though its surreal vignettes examining one man’s dying mind are keenly intelligent and comically self-aware.

The Banshees of Inisherin (Written by Martin McDonagh)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will Likely Win: Women Talking. A title like that necessitates a screenplay that keeps you in the grip of its weighty conversations. Sarah Polley has had a healthy run through the awards circuit in this category, drawing acclaim for her film’s feminist meditation on forgiveness, abuse, and justice.

What Should Win: Knives Out: A Glass Onion Mystery. It is the Original Screenplay category that is stronger this year, but Rian Johnson still deserves credit for continuing to revitalise the murder mystery genre, effectively leading its resurgence in recent years.

What’s Been Snubbed: The Batman. Matt Reeves and Peter Craig’s screenplay isn’t directly adapted from any single comic, but by the rules of the Academy, this category applies. They have essentially rewritten a superhero story in the style of an old-fashioned neo-noir, thoughtfully plotted every step of the way. They are surely due some credit.

Women Talking (Written by Sarah Polley)

Best Animated Feature

Will Likely Win: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. There is actually a fair bit of competition this year with Marcel the Shell With Shoes On and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish right on its tail, but I don’t think the Academy can go past awarding Guillermo del Toro for his ambitious, lovingly crafted foray into animation.

What Should Win: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. It is rare to see a true auteur venture from live-action into animation so successfully – the only other one that comes to mind is Wes Anderson – so it is worth appreciating the vividity and creativity of del Toro’s vision.

What’s Been Snubbed: The House. It isn’t just that this flew under the radar, or that its release was poorly timed in early 2022. The House didn’t get a theatrical release, which automatically disqualified it from any Oscar nominations. But do go check it out on Netflix – it is an absurdly gorgeous piece of stop-motion animation.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Best International Feature Film

  • All Quiet on the Western Front (Germany)
  • Argentina, 1985 (Argentina)
  • Close (Belgium)
  • EO (Poland)
  • The Quiet Girl (Ireland)

Will Likely Win: All Quiet on the Western Front. It’s easy enough to reason this one – it’s the only nominee here that is also nominated for Best Picture. Whenever that crossover happens, like we saw with Roma and Parasite, the film usually has a lock on this category.

What Should Win: All Quiet on the Western Front. Best not overthink this either. The craft in the cinematography, sound design, editing, and acting creates an incredibly harrowing experience, putting this in front of its competitors.

What’s Been Snubbed: Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths. This was Mexico’s submission for the International Feature Film category, and I’m not sure that a more Mexican film has ever been made. Some are disappointed that Iñárritu has been steadily growing less mainstream and more niche – I just see that as him getting even more personal with his art.

All Quiet on the Western Front (Directed by Edward Berger)

Best Original Score

  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Babylon
  • The Banshees of Inisherin
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once
  • The Fabelmans

Will Likely Win: All Quiet on the Western Front. It is hard to argue against the power of Volker Bertelmann’s central musical motif – an angry, diminished triad of distorted synths. The score has won a BAFTA so far, and it is well on its way to getting an Oscar too.

What Should Win: Babylon. Justin Hurwitz is one of our best working film composers at the moment, and his swinging jazz score for Babylon bounces along with the same vivacious energy of Damien Chazelle’s direction.

What’s Been Snubbed: The Batman. Michael Giacchino is mostly known for his work with Pixar. He was previously nominated in this category for Ratatouille, and won for Up. The Batman is a hard left turn for him into dark, gritty orchestrations, and features one of the best musical motifs for any superhero in recent years.

All Quiet on the Western Front (Music by Volker Bertelmann)

Best Original Song

  • ‘Applause’ from Tell It Like a Woman
  • ‘Hold My Hand’ from Top Gun: Maverick
  • ‘Lift Me Up’ from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  • ‘Naatu Naatu’ from RRR
  • ‘This Is a Life’ from Everything Everywhere All at Once

Will Likely Win: ‘Naatu Naatu’ from RRR. This Tollywood action movie failed to nab nominations in any other category this year, so all its fans will swarm behind it here, making sure it comes out of the Oscars with a win.

What Should Win: ‘Naatu Naatu’ from RRR. I’m not as high on the film as so many others, but the infectiousness of this song is undeniable. Also, this category could do with some diversification beyond just Western music.

What’s Been Snubbed: ‘Ciao Papa’ from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. Quite unusually, Alexandre Desplat does not write a super strong score for Pinocchio, but this song is easily a standout with Gregory Mann’s clear, pure voice blending beautifully with the soft acoustic guitar.

‘Naatu Naatu’ from RRR (Music by M. M. Keeravani, Lyrics by Chandrabose)

Best Sound

  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Avatar: The Way of Water
  • The Batman
  • Elvis
  • Top Gun: Maverick

Will Likely Win: All Quiet on the Western Front. It is hard to pick though. This is also Top Gun: Maverick’s best shot at winning an award, and the sound design of Elvis is also an integral part of its construction. The Academy loves awarding war movies in this category though, so this is my pick.

What Should Win: All Quiet on the Western Front. As suggested in the title, silence plays an incredible role here. The balance struck between deathly quiet and the full-blown noise of war is massively important. This is an very sensory experience.

What’s Been Snubbed: Tár. An integral part of Lydia Tár’s psychological disintegration is the pervasive, uncontrollable sounds that haunt her everyday life – the metronome, the humming fridge, the neighbour’s medical device. The brief horror scene of her venturing into an underground passage is disturbingly immersive in its aural soundscape too.

All Quiet on the Western Front (Sound by Viktor Prášil, Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Lars Ginzel, and Stefan Korte)

Best Production Design

  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Avatar: The Way of Water
  • Babylon
  • Elvis
  • The Fabelmans

Will Likely Win: Babylon. Even the film’s harshest critics can’t deny this aspect of it. Production designer Florencia Martin has already won a BAFTA, and is well set up for an Oscar as well – if Elvis doesn’t snatch it away.

What Should Win: Babylon. Martin clutters massive parties, orgies, and soundstages with glorious excess, throwing everything at the wall and turning Chazelle’s film into a feast for the senses. This is one of the more gorgeous films of the last few years.

What’s Been Snubbed: The Northman. For a third time, Robert Eggers teams up with his regular production designer Craig Lathrop, this time dedicating every inch of his mise-en-scène to the historical authenticity of medieval Viking culture. You can virtually smell the leather, stone, and wood.

Babylon (Production Design by Florencia Martin, Set Decoration by Anthony Carlino)

Best Cinematography

  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths
  • Elvis
  • Empire of Light
  • Tár

Will Likely Win: All Quiet on the Western Front. I’m predicting that this is going to be one of those films that has a strong hold on the technical categories, but won’t win many above-the-line categories. For voters, this is an easy, safe choice as well, compared to more controversial films like Bardo and Empire of Light.

What Should Win: Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths. Darius Khondji teams up with Iñárritu for the first time in both their careers to deliver a visually inspired treatise on Mexican history, ego, and legacy. The wide-angle lenses, vigorous tracking shots, and surreal imagery make for some truly adventurous cinematography.

What’s Been Snubbed: Babylon. Linus Sandgren is back with Damien Chazelle here, returning to the whip pans, tracking shots, and bold colour palettes he has come to be associated with. This style is an especially brilliant match for a film as uncompromising as Babylon.

Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (Cinematography by Darius Khondji)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • The Batman
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  • Elvis
  • The Whale

Will Likely Win: Elvis. Voters are riding the Baz Luhrmann wave on this one, giving it a BAFTA and Critics’ Choice award for its recreation of that very iconic rock ‘n’ roll look.

What Should Win: Elvis. Let’s put aside Tom Hanks’ dodgy prosthetics for a moment – the work that is done to transform Austin Butler into the King of Rock is worth this award.

What’s Been Snubbed: Blonde. Say what you want about the film, it should have earned a nomination at least for the work done to transform Ana de Armas into Marilyn Monroe.

Blonde (Makeup and hairstyling by Tina Roesler Kerwin)

Best Costume Design

  • Babylon
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  • Elvis
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once
  • Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

Will Likely Win: Elvis. Some of these costumes are the most memorable outfits of American music culture in the 20th century – it’s hard to beat that in the eyes of many voters.

What Should Win: Babylon. Mary Zophres tops her work in La La Land with her sartorial evocation of 1920s Hollywood. There is barely a scene in this where Margot Robbie isn’t wearing something completely eye-catching, though the accomplishment here also extends to the costumes worn by the entire ensemble.

What’s Been Snubbed: Blonde. Marilyn Monroe’s wardrobe is painstakingly rendered down to each seam here, and looks as fashionable in black-and-white as it does in colour.

Elvis (Costume Design by Catherine Martin)

Best Editing

  • The Banshees of Inisherin
  • Elvis
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once
  • Tár
  • Top Gun: Maverick

Will Likely Win: Everything Everywhere All at Once. Quite astoundingly, this has won almost every editing award it has been nominated for this awards season. I don’t see it breaking this trend at the Oscars either.

What Should Win: Everything Everywhere All at Once. Best Editing doesn’t always mean Most Editing, but in this case it is hard to argue otherwise – Paul Rogers pulls out every technique in the handbook from rapid-fire montages to intercutting, and does so with aplomb. I’m feeling pretty confident we haven’t seen a film this well edited since Dunkirk.

What’s Been Snubbed: Babylon. Tom Cross is one of this generation’s great editors, leaving his mark on every rhythmic montage. Babylon isn’t Babylon without the energy he brings to it.

Everything Everywhere All at Once (Edited by Paul Rogers)

Best Visual Effects

  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Avatar: The Way of Water
  • The Batman
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  • Top Gun: Maverick

Will Likely Win: Avatar: The Way of Water. Sometimes the strategy for guessing the winner of a category just comes down to it being light years ahead of its competitors. James Cameron’s technical innovations on this long-awaited sci-fi sequel make for one long series of massive accomplishments.

What Should Win: Avatar: The Way of Water. Ditto above – this is a once in a generation movie that pushes film technology to a whole new level.

What’s Been Snubbed: Everything Everywhere All at Once. You wouldn’t guess that a skeleton crew of five people worked on the visual effects for this film. Their resourcefulness is incredible, using their relatively low budget to create entire multiverse.

Avatar: The Way of Water (Visual Effects by Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon, and Daniel Barrett)

The Oscars Ceremony will be televised live (AEDT) on Seven and streaming live on 7plus nationally from 11am-2pm on Monday, 13th March.


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