2023 Oscar Predictions: May 29th Edition

As the month of May closes out, we arrive at my post Cannes forecast for the 96th Academy Awards! There were heavy hitters premiering in the south of France and buzz to discuss for several of them.

One year ago, Triangle of Sadness took the Palme d’Or (the fest’s top prize) and it eventually became a Best Picture contender at the Oscars. Ruben Östlund, Triangle‘s director who served as this year’s jury president, was also nominated for his behind the camera work.. In 2023, Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall won the biggest honor. The French courtroom drama established itself as a major factor in International Feature Film and it is feasible that it could nab a slot in the eventual BP ten.

Other films that solidified their statuses as Academy bait? We start with Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. The three and a half hour epic maintains its #1 position in Picture, Director, Supporting Actress (Lily Gladstone), and Supporting Actor after many raves at Cannes. However, the Supporting Actor in first is Robert De Niro and not Jesse Plemons, who was perched there two weeks ago. Reviews indicate it’s De Niro who should have the better shot.

Let’s be clear. My rankings right now reflect who I believe will be nominated and not necessarily who I think will win (it’s simply too early for that). Killers looks to be in a fantastic position for multiples nods after its unveiling.

Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest is right behind Moon as far as significant chatter out of the festival. The Holocaust drama could contend in Pic and Director. So could lead actress Sandra Hüller. Yet she might have an even stronger chance for her performance in Anatomy of a Fall.

For May December from Todd Haynes, reviews were quite solid. Its best chances at inclusion could be for its trio of actors Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, and Charles Melton. We’re still not sure if Portman and Moore will be co-campaigned for lead. For now I’m slotting the former in Actress and the latter in supporting.

Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City drew plaudits though mixed reaction elsewhere. I’m skeptical of its chances (though it could play in down-the-line races like Production Design and Score).

Then there’s the features that dropped out of contention. Pixar’s Elemental won’t be the first studio title to vie for BP since Toy Story 3. It might be lucky to get an Animated Feature mention after some lackluster reaction. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny will not be a Top Gun: Maverick style hopeful for Oscars. And the fest’s opener Jeanne du Barry with Johnny Depp might get a Costume Design nod and that’s all.

In 2022, I made predictions for the 95th Academy Awards on this same day. It yielded 3 of the eventual 10 BP nominees with eventual winner Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, and Women Talking. Four others (Avatar: The Way of Water, Elvis, Tár, Top Gun: Maverick) were named in Other Possibilities. I wasn’t ready to anoint Triangle of Sadness despite its Cannes hardware. In Director – I correctly named the victorious Daniels for Everything Everywhere and Steven Spielberg for The Fabelmans. With Best Actress, I had Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere) who would take the gold. Cate Blanchett (Tár) and Ana de Armas (Blonde) were Other Possibilities. I will note that I had Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans) listed in supporting and she was nominated in lead. For Actor, winner Brendan Fraser (The Whale) were correctly called with Austin Butler (Elvis) listed. Both Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin) and Paul Mescal (Aftersun) were Other Possibilities. None of the five contenders in Supporting Actress were rightly placed. I did have winner Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere), her costar Stephanie Hsu, and Hong Chau (The Whale) in Other Possibilities. Finally, Ke Huy Quan (who took the statue) for Everything Everywhere was the only correctly tagged performer in Supporting Actor.

OK… deep breath. With all that context, let’s see where everything and everyone ranks…

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Killers of the Flower Moon (Previous Ranking: 1) (Even)

2. The Color Purple (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Past Lives (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Dune: Part Two (PR: 4) (E)

5. Oppenheimer (PR: 5) (E)

6. Saltburn (PR: 7) (+1)

7. The Zone of Interest (PR: 15) (+8)

8. The Holdovers (PR: 8) (E)

9. Air (PR: 9) (E)

10. Poor Things (PR: 6) (-4)

Other Possibilities:

11. May December (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Maestro (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Anatomy of a Fall (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Challengers (PR: 14) (E)

15. Blitz (PR: 13) (-2)

16. Barbie (PR: 12) (-4)

17. Napoleon (PR: 18) (+1)

18. Rustin (PR: 20) (+2)

19. Flint Strong (PR: 17) (-2)

20. Bob Marley: One Love (PR: 16) (-4)

21. The Nickel Boys (PR: 21) (E)

22. The Book of Clarence (PR: 22) (E)

23. The Killer (PR: 19) (-4)

24. Asteroid City (PR: 25) (+1)

25. Ferrari (PR: 23) (-2)

Dropped Out:


Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Denis Villeneuve, Dune: Part Two (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Blitz Bazawule, The Color Purple (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Celine Song, Past Lives (PR: 2) (-2)

5. Jonathan Glazer, The Zone of Interest (PR: 14) (+9)

Other Possibilities:

6. Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer (PR: 6) (E)

7. Emerald Fennell, Saltburn (PR: 7) (E)

8. Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things (PR: 5) (-3)

9. Justine Triet, Anatomy of a Fall (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Alexander Payne, The Holdovers (PR: 9) (-1)

11. Bradley Cooper, Maestro (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Ben Affleck, Air (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Ridley Scott, Napoleon (PR: 15) (+2)

14. Greta Gerwig, Barbie (PR: 10) (-4)

15. Steve McQueen, Blitz (PR: 12) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Todd Haynes, May December

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Fantasia Barrino, The Color Purple (PR: 1) (E)

2. Greta Lee, Past Lives (PR: 2) (E)

3. Emma Stone, Poor Things (PR: 3) (E)

4. Sandra Hüller, Anatomy of a Fall (PR: Not Ranked)

5. Natalie Portman, May December (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Carey Mulligan, Maestro (PR: 7) (E)

8. Zendaya, Challengers (PR: 8) (E)

9. Margot Robbie, Barbie (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Saoirse Ronan, Blitz (PR: 9) (-1)

11. Kate Winslet, Lee (PR: 11) (E)

12. Annette Bening, Nyad (PR: 12) (E)

13. Sandra Hüller, The Zone of Interest (PR: 13) (E)

14. Ryan Destiny, Flint Strong (PR: 14) (E)

15. Jane Levy, A Little Prayer (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Regina King, Shirley

Amy Adams, Nightbitch

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Colman Domingo, Rustin (PR: 1) (E)

2. Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Barry Keoghan, Saltburn (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Kingsley Ben-Adir, Bob Marley: One Love (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bradley Cooper, Maestro (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Teo Yoo, Past Lives (PR: 7) (E)

8. Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Anthony Hopkins, Freud’s Last Session (PR: 11) (+2)

10. Joaquin Phoenix, Napoleon (PR: 10) (E)

11. David Strathairn, A Little Prayer (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Matt Damon, Air (PR: 9) (-3)

13. Ed Harris, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (PR: 13) (E)

14. Mike Faist, Challengers (PR: 12) (-2)

15. John David Washington, The Piano Lesson (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Andrew Scott, Strangers

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple (PR: 2) (E)

3. Taraji P. Henson, The Color Purple (PR: 3) (E)

4. Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers (PR: 4) (E)

5. Julianne Moore, May December (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Viola Davis, Air (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Rosamund Pike, Saltburn (PR: 7) (E)

8. Lashana Lynch, Bob Marley: One Love (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Audra McDonald, Rustin (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Halle Bailey, The Color Purple (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Aunjanue Ellis, The Nickel Boys (PR: 11) (E)

12. Tilda Swinton, The Killer (PR: 10) (-2)

13. Danielle Deadwyler, The Piano Lesson (PR: 13) (E)

14. Jodie Foster, Nyad (PR: 14) (E)

15. Vanessa Kirby, Napoleon (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Claire Foy, Strangers

Rebecca Ferguson, Dune: Part Two

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 4) (+3)

2. Willem Dafoe, Poor Things (PR: 2) (E)

3. Colman Domingo, The Color Purple (PR: 10) (+7)

4. Charles Melton, May December (PR: 8) (+4)

5. John Magaro, Past Lives (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilties:

6. Samuel L. Jackson, The Piano Lesson (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Ryan Gosling, Barbie (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Richard E. Grant, Saltburn (PR: 11) (+3)

9. Ben Affleck, Air (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Jesse Plemons, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (-9)

11. Brian Tyree Henry, Flint Strong (PR: 13) (+2)

12. Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things (PR: 9) (-3)

13. Corey Hawkins, The Color Purple (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Glynn Turman, Rustin (PR: 15) (+1)

15. Ben Foster, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Jeremy Strong, Maestro

Oscar Predictions: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

At last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Top Gun: Maverick screened at Cannes and that premiere kicked off its soaring buzz. The eventual result was box office nearing $1.5 billion and six Oscar nominations (including Picture). Disney would love for a similar result with Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, the fifth adventure in a franchise that began with an iconic 80s classic.

Harrison Ford dons the fedora once again (and for the final time) 42 years after Raiders of the Lost Ark. Steven Spielberg has handed over directorial duties to James Mangold. Costars for the reported $300 million production include Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Antonio Banderas, John Rhys-Davies (as series favorite Sallah), Shaunette Renée Wilson, Thomas Kretschmann, Toby Jones, Boyd Holbrook, and Ethann Isidore.

It’s been 15 years since previous entry Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (which was also unveiled in the south of France). Let’s catch up on the Academy’s history and their love for Dr. Jones (or lack thereof). Raiders, back in 1981, nabbed 8 nominations (including Picture and Director though not Actor for Ford). The win total was four (Art Direction, Film Editing, Score, Visual Effects). Three years later, Temple of Doom managed two mentions in Score and Visual Effects (winning the latter). 1989’s Last Crusade received three nods and took the now defunct Special Effects Editing race. In 2008, Skull was derided by many critics and filmgoers. It was blanked at the Oscars.

We are obviously very early when it comes to reviews for Destiny. However, signs are troubling. The Rotten Tomatoes score (based on 7 write-ups) is 43%. Social media reaction from those in attendance overseas is also quite mixed. A safe assumption is this won’t be the next Maverick. I suppose John Williams in Score or Sound or Visual Effects (though there are gripes about this digitization) is feasible. Another likely result is this ends up contending in the same number of competitions as its predecessor. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

2023 Oscar Predictions: April Edition (Best Director)

Oscar predictions encompassing my first ranked selections for the 96th Academy Awards turns to Best Director. If you didn’t catch my posts on the acting contenders, you can find them at the bottom.

My initial projections for the previous ceremony at the same juncture in 2022 correctly identified Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans) in the top five and had eventual winners the Daniels (Everything Everywhere All at Once) in sixth. I also had Martin Scorsese (Killers of the Flower Moon) and Yorgos Lanthimos (Poor Things) listed. Their pictures got pushed back and you’ll find them here yet again.

Let’s get to it, shall we?


1. Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon

2. Denis Villeneuve, Dune: Part Two

3. Celine Song, Past Lives

4. Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer

5. Blitz Bazawule, The Color Purple

Other Possibilities:

6. Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things

7. Emerald Fennell, Saltburn

8. Luca Guadagnino, Challengers

9. Todd Haynes, May December

10. Greta Gerwig, Barbie

11. Steve McQueen, Blitz

12. Ben Affleck, Air

13. Alexander Payne, The Holdovers

14. Bradley Cooper, Maestro

15. David Fincher, The Killer

Best Picture is up next!

Best Picture 2021: The Final Five

We have reached 2021 in my posts speculating on a specific piece of Oscar history. As awards followers are aware, 2009 saw the Academy expand the Best Picture category from five movies to ten. That lasted for two years and in 2011, it switched to anywhere from 5-10 with 8 or 9 as the magic numbers for several years. In 2021, the number reverted back to a set ten.

What if that hadn’t happened? What if the BP derby had stayed at a quintet? What pictures would have made the cut?

Beyond the headlines made during the 94th Academy Awards by Will Smith and Chris Rock, the other story was a little movie called CODA. The family drama from Apple TV built momentum beginning at the Sundance Film Festival early in the year. It culminated in a 3/3 performance on Oscar night – winning Picture, Original Screenplay, and Supporting Actor (Troy Kotsur). We can assume it would’ve made the final cut.

As for the other nine, let’s take a deeper dive:


Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical coming-of-age drama picked up other key nods in Director, Supporting Actress (Judi Dench), Supporting Actor (Ciaran Hinds), Original Song, and Sound. It didn’t emerge victorious in any, but its sole win came in Original Screenplay in a tight contest with Licorice Pizza.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. The seven nominations were tied for third most and the screenplay trophy pushes it over.

Don’t Look Up

Adam McKay’s political satire was a streaming hit for Netflix with a megawatt all-star cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, and Meryl Streep. Even with the Power of the Meryl, it received just three other mentions besides Picture in Original Screenplay, Original Score, and Film Editing (going 0 for 4).

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. Critics were divided and Netflix likely would’ve thrown all their campaign muscle behind The Power of the Dog if the count was only five.

Drive My Car

Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s three-hour Japanese drama easily won the International Feature Film race, but it also picked up other nods in Director and Adapted Screenplay.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No, but you could argue otherwise. I left it off due to the power of the others and the fact that foreign directors often get nominated without their films making the BP cut.


Denis Villeneuve was shockingly omitted from the Best Director derby. However, the sci-fi epic got the second most nominations at 10. It won a ceremony high 6 with Cinematography, Film Editing, Original Score, Production Design, Sound, and Visual Effects. The other nods were Adapted Screenplay, Costume Design, and Makeup and Hairstyling.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. The Villeneuve snub causes some doubt, but the sheer amount of victories makes the inclusion likely.

King Richard

Will Smith infamously had the true-life sports drama’s sole win in Actor and it was also nominated in Supporting Actress (Aunjanue Ellis), Original Screenplay, Original Song, and Film Editing.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. Yet this is another one that was a very close call. Once again, I just couldn’t take out some upcoming entries.

Licorice Pizza

Paul Thomas Anderson’s coming-of-age dramedy also saw its maker nominated in Director and Original Screenplay. It went 0 for 3.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. That performance is a low showing for PTA’s pic and this was fairly easy to leave out of the ultimate quintet.

Nightmare Alley

Guillermo del Toro’s noirish thriller received three additional tech nods (losing all) in Cinematography, Costume Design, and Production Design.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. This was (by a considerable margin) the easiest to leave off since it was blanked in all other major races like directing and screenplay and any acting mentions.

The Power of the Dog

Jane Campion’s direction is responsible for the Netflix Western’s one win. The nom count was an even better than expected 12 that included Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Supporting Actress (Kirsten Dunst), Supporting Actor (Kodi Smit-McPhee and Jesse Plemons), Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing, Original Score, Production Design, and Sound.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes, even though that 1/12 count is underwhelming to be kind. That’s still the most nods and Campion winning director seals it.

West Side Story

Steven Spielberg’s musical remake had its only win for Ariana DeBose (doing her thing in Supporting Actress). Five additional noms came for Mr. Spielberg, Cinematography, Costume Design, Production Design, and Sound.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. I’ll admit this is a tough one and you could put Drive My Car or King Richard in its place. My gut says The Power of the Spielberg gives it a minor advantage.

That means my final 2021 five is:




The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

2022 is next! And then, I’m switching it up. From 2008 and working backwards, I’ll do the inverse of these posts. For those years, I’ll speculate on what an expanded lineup of 10 might look like.

If you missed my entries for 2009-20, have no fear! They’re here:

FINAL Oscar Predictions: 95th Academy Awards

After nearly a year of speculation on the blog and the new podcast (look up Movies at the Speed of Speculation on your favorite pod platform, folks!), the time has come to make my final picks for the winners at the 95th Academy Awards. The ceremony comes our way Sunday night with Jimmy Kimmel hosting and here’s hoping the presenters are given the correct envelopes and that no one gets slapped.

For some context, here’s how I did in the previous four Oscars (note that there were 21 races through 2019 because the sound competitions were divided into Editing and Mixing until their combination).

2018: 14/21

2019: 18/21

2020: 13/20

2021: 17/20

Note that I seem to do better in the odd numbered years. That could repeat for 2022 as three of the four acting derbies are highly tricky to pick and there are other down-the-line competitions that could go in different directions. As for Picture, Director, Supporting Actor, Animated Feature, and International Feature Film… not so much.

Let’s go through them one by one and I’ll give you my winner and runner-up projection!

Best Picture

All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Tár, Top Gun: Maverick, Triangle of Sadness, Women Talking

The tricky part isn’t picking the victor. It’s picking the runner-up. That’s because Everything has taken, well, nearly everything. PGA. DGA. WGA. SAG Ensemble. Critics Choice.

OK, so All Quiet received the BAFTA and The Fabelmans and The Banshees of Inisherin were your respective Drama and Musical/Comedy recipients at the Golden Globes. Yet the momentum has been with Everything for some time and it is the easy pick for the biggest prize of the night.

Given that a screenplay and acting statue are legitimately in play, Banshees has the strongest argument for a package of trophies that could include BP. It’s a distant runner-up.

Predicted Winner: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Runner-Up: The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Director

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

I suppose the voters could go the Globe route and bestow their honor on the legendary Spielberg. Doubtful. Look for the Academy to match the DGA and Critics Choice selections of Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.

Predicted Winner: Daniels (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Runner-Up: Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

Best Actress

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

Now it gets tough. Blanchett’s towering work could be undeniable as it was to BAFTA and Critics Choice (similar to how Anthony Hopkins from The Father managed a win over Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom two years ago). The BP momentum and SAG could push Yeoh over the line. This is a coin flip and I’m siding with the momentum.

Predicted Winner: Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Runner-Up: Cate Blanchett, Tár

Best Actor

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

A three-person race dwindled when Farrell lost the BAFTA. It went instead to Butler and he also won the Globe (over Fraser). SAG and Critics Choice went to Fraser. I have gone back and forth on this endlessly. If Fraser won, he would break a precedent of the victorious Actor’s movie being up for Best Picture. You have to go back to 2009 and Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) to find the last one whose film wasn’t in the BP lineup. I cannot stress enough that this is 50.5/49.5.

Predicted Winner: Austin Butler, Elvis

Runner-Up: Brendan Fraser, The Whale

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)

Unlike Actress and Actor, this is between three nominees. Curtis surprisingly nabbed SAG while Bassett took Critics Choice and the Globe. Both are actresses whose wins could double as career achievement honors. I have a suspicion that the Academy may instead look at BAFTA winner Condon as their best opportunity to throw Banshees a bone.

Predicted Winner: Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin

Runner-Up: Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

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)

Keoghan is the #2 since he unexpectedly won BAFTA. That said, this is the simplest acting race to project as Quan has won everything everywhere else.

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

Runner-Up: Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Adapted Screenplay

All Quiet on the Western Front, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Living, Top Gun: Maverick, Women Talking

If All Quiet over performs (and it might), it could emerge here. The smart money is on Sarah Polley and WGA honored script for Talking.

Predicted Winner: Women Talking

Runner-Up: All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Original Screenplay

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

Here’s another category where voters could single out Banshees. Still – I’m not going against the strong BP frontrunner.

Predicted Winner: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Runner-Up: The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Animated Feature

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, The Sea Beast, Turning Red

del Toro’s version of the classic tale has taken all precursors that matter. This is one of the uncomplicated calls.

Predicted Winner: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Runner-Up: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Best International Feature Film

All Quiet on the Western Front, Argentina, 1985, Close, EO, The Quiet Girl

This might even be more automatic than Animated Feature. As your lone BP contestant, All Quiet will make noise here.

Predicted Winner: All Quiet on the Western Front

Runner-Up: Argentina, 1985

Best Documentary Feature

All That Breathes, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Fire of Love, A House Made of Splinters, Navalny

Tough pick. Breathes and Beauty are viable. I’ve picked Fire of Love over Navalny twice in Critics Choice and PGA and missed both times. Not again.

Predicted Winner: Navalny

Runner-Up: Fire of Love

Best Cinematography

All Quiet on the Western Front, Bardo, Elvis, Empire of Light, Tár

When perceived favorite Top Gun: Maverick shockingly failed to make this quintet, the race opened up. Elvis could make history and have the first female winner in Mandy Walker. It’s tempting to pick her, but I’ll go with Quiet.

Predicted Winner: All Quiet on the Western Front

Runner-Up: Elvis

Best Costume Design

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

On the other hand, here’s one where Elvis could take the gold. I wouldn’t count out Panther or even Everything if its sweep branches into upsets.

Predicted Winner: Elvis

Runner-Up: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Best Film Editing

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

Maverick is in the mix, but Everything should extend its haul.

Predicted Winner: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Runner-Up: Top Gun: Maverick

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

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

The Whale and Western are possible. I’m giving this one to The King, however.

Predicted Winner: Elvis

Runner-Up: The Whale

Best Original Score

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

This is one of the most open categories. I don’t see Banshees landing this. All 4 others are possible. Babylon or Western might be the smart pick, but this is the one true upset I’m selecting and projecting a Fabelmans/John Williams appreciation victory.

Predicted Winner: The Fabelmans

Runner-Up: Babylon

Best Original Song

“Tell It Like a Woman” from Applause, “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

I don’t believe this is cut and dry. The star power of Gaga and Rihanna or an Everything expansion everywhere could make it interesting. “Naatu Naatu” has dominated the precursors and I’m not going with two upsets in the musical competitions.

Predicted Winner: “Naatu Naatu” from RRR

Runner-Up: “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick

Best Production Design

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

This is where Babylon should be Oscar winner Babylon though Elvis lurks.

Predicted Winner: Babylon

Runner-Up: Elvis

Best Sound

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

And this is where Top Gun: Maverick should get its Oscar. Yet I’m going with a minor upset pick with Western. That means I’m projecting Maverick ends up 0 for 6.

Predicted Winner: All Quiet on the Western Front

Runner-Up: Top Gun: Maverick

Best Visual Effects

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

No real Maverick shot in VE because Avatar is one of the automatic category picks.

Predicted Winner: Avatar: The Way of Water

Runner-Up: Top Gun: Maverick

That equates to these movies achieving these numbers of wins:

6 Wins

Everything Everywhere All at Once

3 Wins

All Quiet on the Western Front, Elvis

1 Win

Avatar: The Way of Water, Babylon, The Banshees of Inisherin, The Fabelmans, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Navalny, RRR, Women Talking

I’ll have a recap up Sunday evening or Monday on the blog and the podcast!

Oscars: The Case of Steven Spielberg for The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg’s direction of The Fabelmans is my final Case Of post for the filmmakers vying for the prize at the Academy Awards.

The Case for Steven Spielberg:

He’s Steven Spielberg. Arguably the most iconic and famous director in the medium’s history, he drew kudos for this most personal of projects that drew from his upbringing. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association honored him with their directorial statue at the Golden Globes. For his ninth nomination in this category (marking 22 total when factoring contending Pictures and his screenplay for this), voters may feel he’s overdue since it’s been nearly a quarter century since the last win. As a reminder, he’s a previous recipient for 1993’s Schindler’s List and 1998’s Saving Private Ryan.

The Case Against Steven Spielberg:

He’s not Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert of Everything Everywhere All at Once. The Daniels have taken the majority of the precursors like Critics Choice and especially the Directors Guild (where the DGA and Oscar match is high). Spielberg wasn’t even nominated for BAFTA. The film itself, while critically acclaimed, was a box office flop.

Previous Nominations (directing only):

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977); Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981); E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982); Schindler’s List (1993) – WON; Saving Private Ryan (1998) – WON; Munich (2005); Lincoln (2012); West Side Story (2021)

The Verdict:

Due to his legendary status, Spielberg has a sliver of a chance to pull a major upset over the Daniels. Yet it’s grown much smaller due to the Daniels dominance this season.

My Case Of posts will continue with Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once!

For the other directorial hopefuls in my Case Of series, click here:

Oscars: The Case of Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans

Playing a version of Steven Spielberg’s real mother, Michelle Williams is nominated for her fifth Oscar in The Fabelmans.

The Case for Michelle Williams:

From the moment this personal project of Spielberg’s was announced, Williams was correctly assumed to have an awards bait role. Precursor noms have materialized at Critics Choice and the Golden Globes. There could also be a feeling that she is overdue given that her track record is 0 for 4 on previous mentions.

The Case Against Michelle Williams:

Universal Pictures surprised everyone when they announced they were campaigning Williams in lead instead of supporting. I maintain that she would stand a considerably better shot at winning in the latter. Some wondered if the Academy might choose to put her up in supporting anyway. SAG and BAFTA left her off their ballots and there’s no significant victories to speak of. The general consensus and one I agree with is this is a two-person race between Cate Blanchett (Tár) and Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once).

Previous Nominations:

Brokeback Mountain (Supporting Actress, 2005); Blue Valentine (Actress, 2010); My Week with Marilyn (Actress; 2011); Manchester by the Sea (Supporting Actress; 2016)

The Verdict:

I believe the choice to slot Williams will universally be regarded as an unforced error. She seemed headed for 0 for 5.

My Case Of posts will continue with Paul Mescal in Aftersun!

If you didn’t catch my other write-ups on the contending Actresses, click here:

Oscars: The Case of Judd Hirsch in The Fabelmans

For his brief but memorable appearance as an eccentric granduncle in Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, Judd Hirsch is next up in my Case Of posts for the Supporting Actor nominees.

The Case for Judd Hirsch:

From TV shows Taxi and Dear John to movies including Ordinary People and Independence Day, Hirsch has been a fixture on screens small and large for decades. His inclusion here comes 42 years after a nod in the same category for Ordinary People and that stands as the longest gap between recognitions in Oscar history. Besides that cool storyline, he scored a Critics Choice mention and managed to get in over his more favored costar Paul Dano.

The Case Against Judd Hirsch:

Hirsch was omitted at the Golden Globes, SAG, and BAFTA for individual honors. He’s only in the film for about 10 minutes and that’s brought some gripes about whether he should be in the quintet at all. Most importantly, Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once) is probably the sturdiest frontrunner in any of the acting competitions.

Previous Nominations:

Supporting Actor (Ordinary People; 1980)

The Verdict:

Hirsch was a real question mark to make the cut. There’s not much mystery about his chances to win as they’re basically non-existent.

My Case Of posts will continue with Ruben Östlund’s direction for Triangle of Sadness!

For my other posts covering the Supporting Actor contenders, click here:

2022 DGA Winner Prediction

How reliable is the Director Guild of America (DGA) recipient as it pertains to the eventual Oscar winner for Best Director? In the 21st century, the match has been 19 of 22 times. In 2000, Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) took DGA and the Academy Award went to Steven Soderbergh for Traffic. Ben Affleck was the DGA recipient in 2012 for Argo though he didn’t get an Oscar nod. Ang Lee, for Life of Pi, took the gold instead. Sam Mendes (1917) was DGA in 2019, but Bong Joon-ho (Parasite) was the Academy’s choice. All others years corresponded in the century corresponded.

The DGA Award is revealed tomorrow night and here’s your nominees:

Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Todd Field, Tár

Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick

Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin

Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

There’s a 4/5 correlation with the Oscar nominees (par for the course). Kosinski is not in the Academy’s quintet while Ruben Ostlund (Triangle of Sadness) is. Therefore it’s safe to rule the Maverick maker out.

Neither Field nor McDonagh have taken any major precursors. The Daniels and Spielberg have. For the Daniels, they were the Critics Choice victors. At the Golden Globes, it was Spielberg. To call this is a two-person (or three technically) race seems accurate. Anyone else winning would be a considerable upset.

A little less than a month before the Oscar ceremony, I do believe Everything stands as your soft Oscar frontrunner. Spielberg saw a surprising omission at the BAFTAs where he didn’t even make their shortlist. Due to his legendary status, it would be foolish to discount him. However, I believe the momentum lies with Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert so…

Predicted DGA Winner(s):

The Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once

I’ll make my DGA commentary part of my recap post for the BAFTAs on Sunday evening. Stay tuned!

Oscars: The Case of Martin McDonagh for The Banshees of Inisherin

Martin McDonagh’s direction of The Banshees of Inisherin is next up for the quintet in that category in my Case Of posts.

The Case for Martin McDonagh:

When a movie has a legit shot at winning Best Picture and the filmmaker is nominated, he’s got a chance. That’s the case here. For the tragicomedy, the acclaimed director/playwright has been nominated in the key precursors DGA, Golden Globes, BAFTA, and Critics Choice.

The Case Against Martin McDonagh:

At Critics Choice, the Daniels (Everything Everywhere All at Once) won. At the Globes, it was Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans). McDonagh’s victory at the Globes came in screenplay and that could occur with the Academy (where he’s been nominated twice before for written works In Bruges and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri).

Previous Nominations:

None for direction

Six other nominations for Live-Action Short Film (Six Shooter, 2005, WON); Original Screenplay (In Bruges, 2008); Picture and Original Screenplay (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Picture and Original Screenplay (The Banshees of Inisherin)

The Verdict:

A sweeping Banshees night still could leave McDonagh out in director in favor of the Daniels or Spielberg. He could take screenplay instead under that scenario.

My Case Of posts will continue with Andrea Riseborough in To Leslie!

If you missed my other Director write-ups, they can accessed here: