Best Picture 2022: The Final Five

We are caught up and have reached 2022 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?

For the ceremony that occurred less than three months ago, we know Everything Everywhere All at Once would land a spot. To say it was the big winner on Oscar night is an understatement. The multi-genre hit made off with 7 trophies – Picture, Director (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), Actress (Michelle Yeoh), Supporting Actress (Jamie Lee Curtis), Supporting Actor (Ke Huy Quan), Original Screenplay (also the Daniels), and Film Editing. It was nominated for four more – Supporting Actress (Stephanie Hsu), Costume Design, Original Score, and Original Song.

Picking the other 4 of 9 for the final five was no easy feat, but here’s my best speculation!

Well… almost. Before we get to that, this particular series will now become a yearly occurrence where I give you my final five in the coming years. However, stay tuned for the reverse of these write-ups. Starting soon and beginning with 2008 (the last year there were five nominees), I’ll give you speculation on which pictures I believe would be nominated if there were ten contending films.

Back to the Oscars that just happened…

All Quiet on the Western Front

Edward Berger’s World War I epic was one of the easiest picks on Oscar night to win the International Feature Film trophy. It also took home Cinematography, Original Score, and Production Design and received noms for Adapted Screenplay, Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound, and Visual Effects. The quartet of victories was second best to Everything.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes, despite surprising misses for its Director and in Film Editing. I still think the 9 nine total nods (also second best to Everything) puts it in the quintet.

Avatar: The Way of Water

As anticipated, James Cameron’s long-awaited sequel to the 2009 box office behemoth was a victor in Visual Effects. It also got nods in Production Design and Sound.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. Water logged less than half of its predecessor’s nine mentions and Cameron himself didn’t make the directorial derby.

The Banshees of Inisherin

Martin McDonagh’s black comedy clocked nine nominations with the others being for the director and screenwriter (both McDonagh), Actor (Colin Farrell), two Supporting Actor bids (Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan), Supporting Actress (Kerry Condon), Film Editing, and Original Score. It ended up going 0 for 8.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. The winning percentage of zero was due to the Everything love, but it still would’ve found a slot among the five.


Baz Luhrmann’s lavish musical biopic of The King shimmied to 8 nods including Actor (Austin Butler), Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, and Sound. Like Banshees, it left the building with no statues.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. Had Elvis garnered wins in some of the below-the-line races (which it was expected to) or for Butler, I may have a different answer in this case. Yet it wasn’t to be.

The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg’s most personal work to date saw 7 nominations for the director and screenwriter (both Spielberg with Tony Kushner co-scribing), Actress (Michelle Williams), Supporting Actor (Judd Hirsch), Original Score, and Production Design. In what’s starting to sound like a broken record, it failed to capitalize on any of its nominations.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes though I struggled with this one. Missing editing (a good harbinger of a BP nod) was a surprise and same goes for the cinematography. Ultimately the power of Spielberg might’ve reserved this for the fourth or fifth spot.


Todd Field’s profile of a complicated EGOT winner generated six mentions for its director and screenwriter (both Field), Actress (Cate Blanchett), Cinematography, and Film Editing. Once again – any potential victory was thwarted by Everything as it went 0/6.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. I must say that I really went back and forth on this (more so than with The Fabelmans). Yet it managed to score inclusions in the precursors that matter most and it gets the edge for it.

Top Gun: Maverick

The moneymaking monolith of 2022 had a total of six nominations with Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing, Original Song, Sound, and Visual Effects on the menu. It emerged victorious in Sound (Everything and Western Front didn’t take them all).

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. I went back and forth between this and Tár for #5. The latter got in where it matters. Maverick, despite being the people’s champ, missed key races like Director (Joseph Kosinski), Actor (Tom Cruise), and Cinematography.

Triangle of Sadness

The Palme d’or recipient at Cannes was awarded an unexpected directing nod for Ruben Östlund and an expected screenwriting mention for him. The count for was 0 for 3.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. Östlund’s surprise nomination for his behind the camera was a pleasant surprise, but a final five slot would be an even bigger shocker.

Women Talking

Director Sarah Polley won for her Adapted Screenplay and that marks Women‘s only other nom. That means the sprawling cast that included Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, and Jessie Buckley were all left out.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. Despite the screenplay award, the aforementioned facts make this the easiest of the bunch to leave out (especially considering its two nods were the smallest of the group).

And that means my 2022 final five is:

All Quiet on the Western Front

The Banshees of Inisherin

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Fabelmans


Stay tuned for the inverse of these posts beginning with 2008!

If you missed my write-ups in the series covering 2009-21, you can access them right here:

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: May December

The Cannes Film Festival can quickly confirm or deny the awards prospects for its screeners. Just today, Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon (as expected) solidified its standing as a player in multiple races including the big one. On other hand, anyone thinking that Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny had a Top Gun: Maverick level shot at breaking into Oscar territory were disabused of that notion upon its unveiling.

Then there’s cases where it’s murkier and May December from Todd Haynes falls into that category. The word campy is being used more than any other I’ve seen in this tale of a Hollywood actress (Natalie Portman) shadowing Julianne Moore. She plays a tabloid star known for bedding a 13-year-old who’s now her adult husband (Charles Melton).

Haynes has yet to see any of his pictures, including the acclaimed Far From Heaven, I’m Not There, and Carol, contend for Best Picture. He has, on the other hand, seen his performers get nominated. Moore was up in lead for Heaven while Cate Blanchett received a Supporting Actress mention for There. For Carol, Blanchett was nominated again (this time for Actress) while Rooney Mara made the cut in Supporting Actress.

With 90% on Rotten Tomatoes at press time, December is receiving some glowing reviews mixed with more subdued appreciation. Whatever distributor picks it up (which I’m sure is imminent) is bound to mount a campaign. Its chances in the acting derbies are probably higher than Picture or Director (though I wouldn’t count out Samy Burch’s original screenplay).

Category placement will be fascinating to watch. From what I’ve read, Portman and Moore appear to be co-leads. That doesn’t mean they won’t be split and one believable scenario is Portman in lead with Moore in supporting. They are both former winners in Best Actress: Portman for 2010’s Black Swan and Moore in 2014’s Still Alice. As for Melton, the former Riverdale performer appears to be a Supporting Actor play. All three should be in the mix for contention.

There’s another category placement story. At the Golden Globes, December could be placed in Musical/Comedy where its chances at noms might be stronger. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

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…

Oscar Predictions: Jeanne du Barry

The Cannes Film Festival is underway and if history is any guide, we will see Best Picture contenders emerge from the south of France over the next few days. Just last year, Palme d’Or winner Triangle of Sadness was one of the Academy’s 10 BP hopefuls. Two films playing out of competition (Elvis and Top Gun: Maverick) ended up in competition at the Oscars. Keep an eye on this blog for coverage of all the Cannes pics and their awards viability.

It starts with Jeanne du Barry. The 18th-century set French drama comes from Maïwenn, who directs herself in the title role. Domestically the premiere is generating lots of attention for one particular costar – Johnny Depp as King Louis XV (attempting a comeback after the trials of the past few years). Other costars include Benjamin Lavernhe, Pierre Richard, Melvin Poupaud, Pascal Greggory, India Hair, and Noémie Lvovsky.

The first handful of reviews are mostly positive though hardly gushing with an early Rotten Tomatoes score of 80%. France could peg it as their selection in International Feature Film, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they ultimately choose not to.

I don’t see this as much of a player at the Oscars… with one exception. Praise for the costume design leads me to think it could nab one of those five slots (whether it’s up in any other race or not). My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions – John Wick: Chapter 4

The Best Picture lineup for the just aired Academy Awards was 20% sequel with Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water in contention. We also had Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery up in key contests. So is it crazy to think John Wick: Chapter 4 could find its way into the Oscar conversation a little less than a year from now? Yeah, it might be.

Or maybe not. The fourth heaping of ultra-violence starring Keanu Reeves and directed by Chad Stahelski stands at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes prior to its March 24th domestic bow. That exactly matches the scores of predecessors Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 – Parabellum and exceeds the original’s 86%.

Yet many of the reviews are calling #4 the best of the wild bunch. The nearly three hour opus is being specifically singled out for its production design and cinematography. I could certainly see Film Twitter mounting a campaign for this acclaimed franchise to finally get some love from the tech branches. It’s unlikely to occur, but not impossible. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

95th Academy Awards Reaction

It was indeed a slap free almost four hours of TV at the Oscars Sunday night. However, half of the Best Picture nominees were smacked down with zero victories: The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, The Fabelmans, Tár, and Triangle of Sadness.

There’s no doubt that Everything Everywhere All at Once was the massive winner of the proceedings, emerging victorious in seven of its 11 nods. It was also a loudly pleasing reception for All Quiet on the Western Front with a better than anticipated four trophies.

As for my numbers, I went 13 for 20. Over the past half decade, I’ve had far stronger showings in the odd numbered years than even numbered ones and my 2022 results were again on the lower end of the spectrum.

Everything took home the most above the line awards (6) of any picture in Academy history: Picture, Director (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), Actress (Michelle Yeoh), Supporting Actress (Jamie Lee Curtis), Supporting Actor (Ke Huy Quan), and Original Screenplay (also the Daniels). It also won Film Editing. I correctly called all of those except for Supporting Actress where I went with Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin). This is the first pic in (get this!) 46 years to nab three of the four acting races. That’s since Network in 1976.

When Elvis lost to The Whale for Makeup and Hairstyling (which I got wrong), prognosticators across the Twitterverse and beyond knew that it could be a sign Brendan Fraser may take the gold over Austin Butler. And indeed that’s what happened – meaning I missed two of the four acting derbies. Let it be noted, by the way, that the Academy exactly matched SAG in those four competitions.

All Quiet grabbed International Feature Film and Cinematography as predicted. It additionally took Production Design (over my Babylon call) and Original Score (over my pick of The Fabelmans). I projected Quiet for Sound, but instead it marked the only victory for Top Gun: Maverick.

Animated Feature and Documentary Feature went, as anticipated, to Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio and Navalny. Song was “Naatu Naatu” from RRR and Avatar: The Way of Water in Visual Effects (correct picks) with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in Costume Design over my Elvis pick.

And it was Sarah Polley in Adapted Screenplay for Women Talking. As far as the 95th Academy Awards, we’ll be talking about a historic night for one film in particular. It didn’t win everything, but it did so everywhere it was expected to and beyond. And it was also an evening filled with some genuinely heartfelt speeches and touching wins capped off by Indiana Jones embracing Short Round nearly 40 years later!

95th Academy Awards: Ranking the Best Picture Nominees

The 95th Academy Awards air tomorrow and, just in the nick of time, I have seen all ten Best Picture nominees courtesy of my Netflix viewing of All Quiet on the Western Front today.

If you missed my predictions for who and what I believe will win at the ceremony, you can access that here:

Now that I’ve seen the group of pics vying for BP, I will rank them according to personal preference. Just as in 2019 with Parasite, my #1 happens to match the movie that I’m projecting to take the biggest prize.

In 2022, I was ecstatic to attend the Toronto Film Festival for the first time. It is there that I saw future nominees The Banshees of Inisherin, The Fabelmans, and Women Talking. At the theater in my home state of Ohio, I took in Avatar: The Way of Water, Tár, and Top Gun: Maverick. Home sweet home is where I viewed All Quiet on the Western Front, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, and Triangle of Sadness.

This is how I’d rank them!

10. Triangle of Sadness

9. Avatar: The Way of Water

8. Elvis

7. All Quiet on the Western Front

6. The Banshees of Inisherin

5. Tár

4. Women Talking

3. The Fabelmans

2. Top Gun: Maverick

1 . Everything Everywhere All at Once

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!

SAG Awards and PGA Winner Reactions

A weekend of awards precursors was a blessing for Everything Everywhere All at Once. It stormed tonight’s SAG Awards and won the top prize at PGA the evening before. Make no mistake – Everything is now an even stronger frontrunner to take BP at the Oscars.

At PGA, Everything emerged as predicted. Some prognosticators went with Top Gun: Maverick as an upset pick. It wasn’t to be. The Producers Guild also went with Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio in the animated field. This is just as all other major precursors have done. It appears on a glide path for the Academy statue.

My PGA miss was in Documentary Feature as they chose Navalny over Fire of Love. Given that it’s won BAFTA and PGA, Navalny is the favorite. I don’t think it’s automatic (like I do with Pinocchio in Animated), but the odds are certainly in its favor.

Now… let’s get into SAG. Wow. I went 3 for 6. I correctly selected Everything for Best Ensemble. I nailed Stunt Ensemble for Top Gun: Maverick. And Ke Huy Quan made it a near sweep (though BAFTA went with Barry Keoghan for The Banshees of Inisherin) with tonight’s Supporting Actor win. His acting race is the easiest to project for the Oscars.

The other three? They got more interesting. And I missed them all tonight!

By far, the biggest surprise is Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything) being named Supporting Actress over Critics Choice and Golden Globe winner Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), who I predicted and BAFTA winner Kerry Condon (Banshees), who was my runner-up. That potentially makes it a three-person derby at the Oscars. It is worth noting that 9 of the past 10 Supporting Actress SAG victors became the Oscar recipient. So… discount Curtis at your own peril.

In the lead acting races, my runner-ups crossed the SAG finish line. It was Michelle Yeoh (Everything) in Actress over Cate Blanchett (Tár) and Brendan Fraser (The Whale) instead of Austin Butler (Elvis), who did get some airtime graciously escorting various winners up the steps. Best Actor and Actress at the Oscars are now legit two-person competitions and I’ll be mulling them over before making final predictions. They’re coming March 8th ahead of the March 12th ceremony!

Bottom line: Everywhere did everything it needed to this weekend and then some while three acting races added real intrigue. Stay tuned!