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Oscars 2023 Deep Dive: Predictions & Picks for the 95th Annual Academy Awards

The 2023 Oscars will hit our screens at 1pm (AEST) on Monday the 13th of March! In this deep dive, I’ll take you through the context and characters populating each category, who missed out, who’s predicted to win, who I think should win, and some outside films and performances that weren’t nominated but probably should have been (if the Academy were a little more adventurous).

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The 2023 Oscars will hit our screens at 1pm (AEST) on Monday the 13th of March! In this deep dive, I’ll take you through the context and characters populating each category, who missed out, who’s predicted to win, who I think should win, and some outside films and performances that weren’t nominated but probably should have been (if the Academy were a little more adventurous).

 

Best Actress

This category was rocked by some of the biggest controversy this awards season. 

Andrea Riseborough managed to garner a nomination with zero precursors, based on a contentious grass-roots campaign from celebrity friends that almost got her nomination revoked after an Academy investigation. Ana de Armas, nominated for her turn in Andrew Dominik’s Blonde, has stirred up discomfort after landing the nomination on the back of what’s been described as an exploitative, undeserving and unethical fictional retelling of Marilyn Monroe’s life. Michelle Williams is nominated for a mesmerising turn in Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans—but the character is definitely in a supporting role, so her presence in the lead category has caused some confusion. Once more, there were no black nominees in this category: Academy favourite Viola Davis missed for her lead in The Woman King, and Danielle Deadwyler is missing for hers in Till. The trophy really comes down to Cate Blanchett (Tár) and Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All At Once); they’ve been splitting this award for most of the season, with Blanchett just edging ahead with more critics’ association awards and the BAFTA.

 

Predicted Winner: Cate Blanchett, Tár

Personal Pick: Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans

Alternative (Non-Nominee): Tang Wei, Decision to Leave

 

Best Actor

The best actor race has remained one of the most unpredictable. Four of the nominees have been nominated at most precursors—Brendan Fraser for The Whale, Austin Butler for Elvis, Colin Farrell for The Banshees of Inisherin and Bill Nighy for Living—and the final coveted spot was up for grabs. Despite strong pushes from the likes of Tom Cruise, outside chances for Babylon’s Diego Calva and The Fabelmans’ Gabriel LaBelle, and a triumphant debut performance from All Quiet on the Western Front’s Felix Kammerer, it was first-time nominee Paul Mescal who nabbed the fifth slot for his turn as a troubled young father on holiday with his daughter in Aftersun. It seems to be a three-way race at the moment between Butler, Fraser, and Farrell. Whilst Butler has picked up both a Golden Globe and the BAFTA, and Fraser the SAG Award, Farrell’s overall resume and stardom in the industry put him just ahead for me.  

 

Predicted Winner: Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin

Personal Pick: Paul Mescal, Aftersun

Alternative (Non-Nominee): Felix Kammerer, All Quiet on the Western Front 

 

Best Supporting Actress

This category is one that has had little competition throughout the awards season. Despite the nominee line-up remaining unsteady in most precursor awards bodies, it is Angela Bassett’s performance as a grieving matriarch in Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever that is the clear frontrunner, after clinching wins at both the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards. Bassett is the first actor or actress to be Oscar-nominated for a role in a Marvel film, and as such, if she takes home gold she’d be the first to win. Her biggest competition comes from Kerry Condon, who recently won the BAFTA for The Banshees of Inisherin. This category had a lot of misses, too, including Dolly de Leon for her stirring and hilarious performance in Triangle of Sadness, two-time nominee Carey Mulligan for her performance as one of the journalists that broke the Harvey Weinstein story in She Said, and Women Talking’s Jessie Buckley and Claire Foy. 

 

Predicted Winner: Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Personal Pick: Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Alternative (Non-Nominee): Dolly de Leon, Triangle of Sadness 


 

Best Supporting Actor

This category holds about as much suspense as Supporting Actress. Ke Huy Quan has won most of the precursor awards (including the Globe, SAG and Critics Choice) for his performance as Waymond in Everything Everywhere All at Once. Banshees stars Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan are both nominated, as well as Causeway’s Brian Tyree Henry—all for the first time. They line up alongside Judd Hirsch for The Fabelmans: his second nomination, coming more than forty years after his first. Hirsch is nominated despite less than ten minutes of screen time in the movie—in which his talent is absolutely palpable—yet he steals the slot from fellow Fabelmans star Paul Dano, who was gunning for his first nom. German actor Albrecht Schuch missed what many expected to be a surprise nomination in the vein of past foreign film favourites, and Brad Pitt also missed for Babylon, in which he delivers one of the greatest monologues of his career about the power of movie-making. 

 

Predicted Winner: Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Personal Pick: Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans 

Alternative (Non-Nominee): Brad Pitt, Babylon


 

Best Director

Another year of disappointment as the Academy has elected to nominate five male directors. With only seven female Best Director nominees in the Academy’s entire existence, and only two female winners, this year the voting body made no conscious effort to amend this embarrassing history, despite standout films from female filmmakers such as Sarah Polley, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Charlotte Wells. Other notable omissions included RRR’s S.S. Rajamouli and the formidable James Cameron for Avatar: The Way of Water. This follows Denis Villeneuve missing for Dune last year, despite the film itself grabbing ten other nominations—demonstrating that the Academy might love blockbusters, but does not appreciate the people without whose vision they would not exist. Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan are the frontrunners for co-directing the year’s biggest surprise Everything Everywhere All at Once, with their lead solidified after winning the Directors Guild Award in February. 

 

Predicted Winner: The Daniels, Everything Everywhere All At Once

Personal Pick: Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

Alternative (Non-Nominee): Sarah Polley, Women Talking

 

Best Picture

The big one! Despite the Academy opening this all-important category up to ten nominees, it’s really mostly down to Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, The Banshees of Inisherin, Top Gun: Maverick, and Netflix’s German adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front. These favourites tick off many big prerequisites for the show: a big indie surprise from lesser known directors, a Spielberg film, an indie from a well-known director, a crowd-pleasing blockbuster and a harrowing war tale. Notwithstanding, there stands an outside chance for Todd Field’s Tár, which has swept some of the critics’ awards bodies in the States, and Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis, which has seemed to prove popular with voters so far. The top ten are rounded out by Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness, Sarah Polley’s Women Talking, and the behemoth that is Avatar: The Way of Water

 

This line-up overall feels strong compared to recent years, showcasing a diverse list of films spanning indie gems to billion-dollar hits, serious dramas and blockbuster crowd-pleasers, and thankfully including one foreign film and one film from a female filmmaker (despite there being an abundance of films more worthy of a slot, particularly The Woman King, RRR and South Korea’s Decision to Leave). Divisive filmmaker Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale missed out, as did Maria Schrader’s She Said—which was tipped to pull in big before it released to small fanfare in November—and Damien Chazelle’s Babylon, only a handful of years after his hit La La Land secured six wins. Quieter films that I wouldn’t have minded seeing take a spot were Kogonada’s beautiful sci-fi tale After Yang, Lila Neugebauer’s indie character study of a returning soldier (played by Jennifer Lawrence) with PTSD in Causeway, and Charlotte Wells’ beautiful debut Aftersun

 

Predicted Winner: Everything Everywhere All At Once

Personal Pick: The Fabelmans

Alternative (Non-Nominee): Decision to Leave


 

The Oscars will air on Monday 13th March in Australia from 11am on Channel 7. 

 

 
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