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Who Will Win the 2023 Oscars?

It’s that time of year again – time for my predictions of the winners at the upcoming annual Academy Awards. For me, this has been a return to a labor of love after the dearth of worthy contenders in 2020 and 2021. The crop of films in 2022 may not be back to what they were several years back, but the trend is on the upswing, which I find encouraging. While the mixed results that arose during the early part of this year’s awards season made it difficult to identify potential frontrunners, the picture has become much clearer in recent weeks, and the principal candidates in virtually every major category have emerged. So, with that said and for what it’s worth, here are my picks for who will take home statues in the top six categories on Oscar night.

Best Actor

The Field:  Austin Butler, “Elvis”; Colin Farrell, “The Banshees of Inisherin”; Brendan Fraser, “The Whale”; Paul Mescal, “Aftersun”; Bill Nighy, “Living”

Who Will Likely Win:  Brendan Fraser. Even though he hasn’t dominated awards season the way many prognosticators thought he would, he appears to have the momentum in his favor after his win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. In addition to the strength of this performance, it marks a bona fide comeback for the actor, the kind of uplifting personal story that Hollywood loves to honor. That story is likely to come into full fruition on Oscar night, a moment that’s sure to be one of the emotional highlights of the evening.

Who Should Win (Based on the Nominees):  Brendan Fraser. Hands down, Fraser is the class of this field and truly deserves to win.

Who Should Win (Based on All Eligible Candidates):  Brendan Fraser. In addition to being the class of the field, Fraser is the class of the talent pool in this category, bar none.

Possible Dark Horses:  Austin Butler and Colin Farrell. Both of these actors have claimed their share of accolades this awards season, with Butler winning at the BAFTA Awards, Farrell capturing the National Board of Review Award and both taking home Golden Globe statues. However, I’m not convinced that either of them has the kind of solid support behind them needed to claim an Oscar. Farrell’s honors came early in awards season, and his success appears to have stalled since then. As for Butler, his BAFTA prize was something of an anomaly (as was the case with many of the BAFTA winners this year), and his Globe victory may be attributable at least in part to Fraser’s rocky history with the contest’s sponsorship organization, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a relationship that may have cost the frontrunner a statue in that competition. Neither of them can be completely ruled out, but their backing feels soft, especially in light of the groundswell of support that seems to be building behind Fraser.

Also-Rans:  Bill Nighy and Paul Mescal. They should consider their nominations as their awards. It was truly gratifying to see Nighy finally get a long-overdue nomination, and, if it weren’t for the strength of Fraser’s portrayal, he might be in better standing as a contender, but that payoff likely isn’t there. And, as for Mescal, he landed the “open” slot in the field of nominees, given that his four competitors were seen as locks going in. Mescal’s nomination could be seen as a down payment toward future recognition, but that’s probably as far as it goes this time around.

Who Should Have Been Left Out:  Paul Mescal. In the interest of full disclosure, I was not a huge fan of his film, nor was I overly impressed by his performance, despite the widespread accolades that he and this picture received. There were a number of other performances more deserving of capturing the open slot.

Who Else Should Have Been Considered:  There were a number of fine performances in this category, most notably Golden Globe nominee Jeremy Pope for “The Inspection” and John Boyega for “Breaking” (a.k.a. “892”), a truly outstanding breakthrough performance for the actor that inexplicably went completely ignored throughout awards season. Other noteworthy contenders include Anthony Hopkins for “Armageddon Time”, Daryl McCormack for “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande”, Daniel Craig for “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”, Jim Broadbent for “The Duke”, Javier Bardem for “The Good Boss” (“El buen patron”), Sterling K. Brown for “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.”, Johnny Depp for “Minimata” and Samuel Skyva for “Servants” (“Sluzobnici”).

Snubs:  Jeremy Pope and John Boyega. It’s disappointing that Pope was passed over for a nomination; he truly should have been accorded the open slot for his excellent portrayal. As for Boyega, his exclusion probably can’t be called a bona fide snub, since he wasn’t squarely on the radar for a nomination, but, given the strength of his portrayal, he certainly deserved to be.

Best Actress

The Field:  Cate Blanchett, “Tár”; Ana de Armas, “Blonde”; Andrea Riseborough, “To Leslie”; Michelle Williams, “The Fabelmans”; Michelle Yeoh, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Who Will Likely Win:  Michelle Yeoh. Even though she lost out on a few of the early awards season contests, Yeoh has been coming on strong of late – and to great, raving rounds of applause, such as in her wins at the Screen Actors Guild and Independent Spirit Awards. She’s pulling away from the pack, and I believe she’ll cross the finish line first.

Who Should Win (Based on the Nominees):  Andrea Riseborough. What a performance! Riseborough has turned in an impressive body of work through the years, but she truly outdid herself here. Thankfully, she at least earned a nomination for her performance in this competition, having been shut out virtually everywhere else, “controversial” though this honor may have been viewed (more on this below).

Who Should Win (Based on All Eligible Candidates):  Danielle Deadwyler for “Till”. It’s unfathomable how Deadwyler was locked out of a nomination, having given the best lead actress performance of the year. If ever there were a case of gross injustice in the nomination process, this would be it. Here’s hoping she gets her props in future projects; she deserves it.

Possible Dark Horse:  Cate Blanchett. It’s hard to think of Blanchett as a dark horse, given her various wins early on in awards season. However, the actress who was at one time thought of as a virtual shoo-in for this award has seen her fortunes fade as the run-up to the Oscars approached. She certainly gave a superb performance, but a few factors seem to be working against her. For starters, she plays a decidedly unlikeable character, and, while that can sometimes translate into an asset, Lydia Tár is so nasty, conniving and self-absorbed that it’s hard to feel anything good for the character, and, unfortunately, those kinds of negative sentiments often cling to the performer portraying the role. (This is especially true when comparing Lydia’s lack of congeniality with that of Michelle Yeoh’s character, Evelyn Wang, who’s about as likeable as one can get.) And, second, Blanchett has already won two Oscars, and getting that third statue usually requires turning in a performance of epic proportions, something the actress comes close to doing here, but, again, the absence of empathy for the character could well be her undoing in this bid. I believe Blanchett will eventually capture her third statue (maybe more), but this probably isn’t the vehicle for making that happen.

Also-Rans:  Ana de Armas and Michelle Williams. They should consider their nominations their awards. Neither has much traction going into Oscar night, and, if either of them were to win, it would be the shock of awards season.

Who Should Have Been Left Out:  Ana de Armas and Michelle Williams. In the case of de Armas, her performance was too uneven to merit a nomination; there were some scenes where she nailed the material, but there were others where she was clearly out of her league. It’s a huge challenge to portray an iconic figure like Marilyn Monroe and truly get it right, and de Armas comes up short on this. As for Williams, her performance is fine and worthy of a nomination, but not in the lead actress category. Hers is clearly a supporting role, and that’s where her nomination should have come. However, given the depth of the talent pool in that category (see below), it’s unlikely she would have earned a nomination there, but giving her one in this category just doesn’t seem right, especially since it may have denied opportunities to other performers who genuinely turned in outstanding leading roles.

Who Else Should Have Been Considered:  As with so many other acting categories this year, there truly was great depth in this one as well. Several especially noteworthy roles were turned in by Danielle Deadwyler for “Till” (as noted earlier, the best lead actress performance of the year), Margot Robbie for “Babylon”, Olivia Colman for “Empire of Light” and Emma Thompson for “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande”. But they weren’t the only ones – other fine efforts were served up by Jennifer Lawrence for “Causeway”, Gracija Filipović for Murina” “(Moray Eel”), Regina Hall for “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.”, Aubrey Plaza for “Emily the Criminal”, Lesley Manville for “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris”, Nana Mensah for “Queen of Glory”, Sheila Francisco for “Leonor Will Never Die”, Dale Dickey for “A Love Song”, Jessica Chastain for “The Good Nurse”, Vicky Krieps for “Corsage” and Lubna Azabal for “The Blue Caftan” (“Le bleu de caftan”). All of them are winners in my book.

Snubs:  Danielle Deadwyler, Olivia Colman and Margot Robbie. All three were clearly worthy of nominations, and their exclusions could easily be considered snubs, especially where Deadwyler is concerned. Some have also said that Viola Davis deserved a nomination for her performance in “The Woman King”, though I can’t say I agree with that contention (no offense to Ms. Davis, but this wasn’t one of her best turns in my opinion).

A Special Comment:  It’s impossible to talk about this category without mentioning the fallout associated with Andrea Riseborough’s nomination, which has, regrettably, become quite a point of contention. As a superb portrayal that was largely overlooked throughout this movie awards season (save for an Independent Spirit Award nomination for best lead acting performance), it was truly gratifying when Riseborough’s name was called as an Oscar nominee for best lead actress. Yet, in the wake of that announcement and several high-profile snubs in this category (see above), there are those who have leveled claims of impropriety against the awarding of her nomination for this little-known film, specifically with regard to the campaigning efforts that went into promoting her bid. Some have even suggested that Riseborough is somehow at fault for the exclusion of certain actresses because of this and, consequently, should be disqualified if improprieties were to be found. However, just because the film and the actress’s performance have flown below the radar, that doesn’t mean impropriety has to be involved, nor should she be singled out for the snubs directed at fellow actresses. In fact, Riseborough has had many Hollywood heavy hitters backing her candidacy, including fellow best actress nominee Cate Blanchett (what would a competitor stand to gain by openly and glowingly supporting an opponent?). I’m not sure what’s behind this controversy. It could be sour grapes. It could be an attempt to torpedo Riseborough’s chances now that she has been given an opportunity to take home the big prize. But, given the fact that a little-known film performance has been able to make a successful breakthrough, does that automatically and necessarily suggest that something improper has occurred here? If that were the case, then one could just as easily apply that logic against other lesser-known performers and films that manage to attain Oscar nomination recognition, such as Paul Mescal’s performance in “Aftersun” and Brian Tyree Henry’s portrayal in “Causeway” (yet no one has even hinted at anything like that where these nominations are concerned). Indeed, has no one ever heard of the concept of the underdog? Unexpected nominations, for better or worse, occur almost every year, so why has this situation been so suspiciously singled out? The claims against Riseborough’s nomination strike me as being just as spurious as the contentions of the detractors themselves, and that, to me, seems like the real impropriety here.

Best Supporting Actor

The Field:  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”

Who Will Likely Win:  Ke Huy Quan. He’s won virtually everything in the run-up to the Oscars, and I don’t see this changing. He’s a fan favorite, too, which I believe has done a lot for sustaining his momentum throughout awards season. Don’t expect this to change on Oscar night.

Who Should Win (Based on the Nominees):  Judd Hirsch. The veteran actor turns in his best work in years in this film, clearly showing that he’s still got what it takes. However, his limited screen time may well work against him, with some voters likely to contend that there’s simply not enough material here to merit an award, an argument not entirely without merit. Nevertheless, that rule doesn’t always hold, as evidenced by the wins by Beatrice Straight in “Network” (1976) and Judi Dench in “Shakespeare in Love” (1998), both of whom received Oscars for glorified walk-on parts (though don’t hold your breath about that where Hirsch is concerned).

Who Should Win (Based on All Eligible Candidates):  Antonio Banderas for “Official Competition” (“Competencia official”), Bokeem Woodbine for “The Inspection” or Brad Pitt for “Babylon”. Given the depth of the talent pool for this category, it’s hard to settle on just one winner, and the three foregoing candidates are all worthy of statues for their performances. That’s particularly true for Pitt, whose performance in “Babylon” is far better than the award-winning work he turned in for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (2019), a victory that still baffles me to this day. Unfortunately, neither Pitt nor the other two contenders even qualified as nominees, but their portrayals are certainly worth viewing, even if they’ve gone unrecognized for awards consideration.

Possible Dark Horses:  Barry Keoghan and Brendan Gleeson. As the only contenders to have defeated Quan thus far, these two nominees can’t be ruled out completely. Keoghan, recipient of the BAFTA Award in this category, is the stronger challenger here (and deservedly so – he delivers a fine performance in an otherwise-underwhelming film), but his momentum has only recently started gaining traction and likely doesn’t have enough steam behind it to produce a win (especially since the BAFTA Award results overall this year, including this victory, have been seen as somewhat anomalous). Gleeson, meanwhile, winner of the National Board of Review honor, was an early season favorite, but his star faded quickly thereafter, despite his repeated nominations in other competitions since then, so his chances appear slim at this point. Moreover, since both actors appear in the same picture, there’s a tendency in cases like these for their performances to cancel out one another, something that definitely wouldn’t surprise me here. Neither of these actors is likely to appear on stage on Oscar night.

Also-Rans:  Anyone who isn’t Ke Huy Quan.

Who Should Have Been Left Out:  Brian Tyree Henry. Henry’s performance is certainly solid, but I honestly don’t believe it’s strong enough to have qualified to be in this field, especially in light of the depth of the talent pool in this category. I genuinely foresee an Oscar in his future, but not for this role. Think of this as a down payment toward future success.

Who Else Should Have Been Considered:  There were many worthy candidates for this field, but, unfortunately, with a field limited to five nominees, not everyone could be included. Nonetheless, there were portrayals aplenty that merit recognition, including Antonio Banderas for “Official Competition” (“Competencia official”), Bokeem Woodbine for “The Inspection”, Brad Pitt for “Babylon”, Paul Dano for “The Fabelmans”, Jalyn Hall for “Till”, Stephen Root for “To Leslie”, Andre Royo for “To Leslie”, Ben Whishaw for “Women Talking”, Tobey Maguire for “Babylon”, Eddie Redmayne for “The Good Nurse”, Nnamdi Asomugha for “The Good Nurse” and Edward Norton for “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”.

Snubs:   Brad Pitt, Paul Dano and Eddie Redmayne. While this list could conceivably be considerably longer, these are the three names that most readily come to mind in light of the buzz they were generating prior to the Oscar nominations announcement. Again, given the limitations of the size of the field, not everyone could make the cut, and the exclusions of these three candidates were probably the biggest surprises among awards watchers for this category.

Best Supporting Actress

The Field:  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”

Who Will Likely Win:  Angela Bassett. Not long ago, Bassett was seen as a shoo-in, but that’s not as certain as it was just a few weeks ago. Having lost the BAFTA Award to Kerry Condon and the Screen Actors Guild Award to Jamie Lee Curtis, some might contend that Bassett’s once-strong support has eroded somewhat. I believe she still has enough residual momentum behind her to pull out a win, but it’s not the slam dunk it was once thought to be.

Who Should Win (Based on the Nominees):  Angela Bassett or Jamie Lee Curtis. Both of these performances are so strong that either of these nominees would make a deserving winner. While their characters are decidedly very different from one another, Bassett and Curtis brought their A-games to their portrayals, and I’d be happy with either outcome. And a tie would be an ideal and pleasantly welcome result.

Who Should Win (Based on All Eligible Candidates):  There are simply too many to name here. See the list of others who should have been considered below.

Possible Dark Horse:  Jamie Lee Curtis. Given her growing momentum, as evidenced by her recent Screen Actors Guild and Independent Spirit Award wins, it might seem like a stretch to call Curtis a dark horse. But, considering the residual clout that Bassett wields in this race, Curtis is still probably on the outside looking in, though she has much stronger prospects than she did just a few weeks ago.

Also-Rans:  Hong Chau, Kerry Condon and Stephanie Hsu. As good as their performances were, I don’t believe they stand much of a chance here. Condon’s BAFTA Award win may have helped to raise her profile somewhat, but, like many of the other results in this competition this year, it’s easy to look upon that victory as something of an anomaly. And, as for Chau and Hsu, their portrayals don’t have enough backing to pull off upsets. These three actresses should look on their nominations as their awards.

Who Should Have Been Left Out:  Stephanie Hsu. This is a capable performance, to be sure, as evidenced by her Independent Spirit Award win, but it’s not in the same league as those of her peers or as those of some others who were left out. Given her current prospects, it’s a moot point any way.

Who Else Should Have Been Considered:   As with the supporting actor category, there were many worthy candidates for this field, but, unfortunately, with a field limited to five nominees, not everyone could be included. Nonetheless, there were portrayals aplenty that merit recognition, including Carey Mulligan and Jennifer Ehle for “She Said”; Samantha Morton for “The Whale” and “She Said”; Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy, Judith Ivey and Sheila McCarthy for “Women Talking”; Janelle Monae for “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”; Gabrielle Union for “The Inspection”; Dolly De Leon for “Triangle of Sadness”; Jean Smart and Li Jun Li for “Babylon”; Nicole Beharie and Selenis Leyva for “Breaking” (a.k.a. “892”); Nina Hoss for “Tár”; Penélope Cruz for “Official Competition” (“Competencia official”); Carrie Crowley for “The Quiet Girl” (“An Cailín Ciúin”); Sadie Sink for “The Whale”; Sally Field for “Spoiler Alert”; Allison Janney for “To Leslie”; Whoopi Goldberg for “Till”; Olivia Wilde for “Don’t Worry Darling”; Anya Taylor-Joy for “Amsterdam”; and Kim Dickens for “The Good Nurse”.

Snubs:  Carey Mulligan, Jennifer Ehle, Janelle Monae, Jessie Buckley, Gabrielle Union and Dolly DeLeon. If all of them had been included, they would have constituted more than an entire slate of alternate nominees, which is hard to fathom in light of the strength of the performances of those in the actual field of contenders. Nevertheless, these six portrayals – all of which were on the radar at the start of awards season, in addition to those who actually made the final cut – clearly illustrate just how deep the field of talent was in this category this year (and the foregoing doesn’t even take into account the other worthy contenders noted above).

A Special Comment:  The strength of the talent pool in this category lends more credence to something I have been saying for a long time: Because there were so many worthy performances coming from the same film in multiple cases this year (e.g., “She Said”, “Women Talking”, “Breaking” (a.k.a “892”), “The Whale”, “Babylon”), and because there’s no way that all of the actresses from these films could be accommodated as nominees for their individual performances in light of the worthy contenders from an array of other movies, these circumstances once again highlight the need for the Academy to establish an award category for best ensemble cast. Doing so would provide an opportunity to recognize many fine portrayals – across an array of acting categories, too – that can’t currently be accommodated because of the inherent limitations of the individual performance categories. Consider the case of “Women Talking”, for example, which had four worthy performances all by itself. How does one decide who does or doesn’t get nominated when there are only five spots available? An ensemble award would help to rectify such oversights. Indeed, many other competitions already hand out ensemble awards, and it’s time for the Oscars to get with the program on this point.

Best Director

The Field:  Todd Field, “Tár”; Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”; Martin McDonagh, “The Banshees of Inisherin”; Ruben Östlund, “Triangle of Sadness”; Steven Spielberg, “The Fabelmans”

Who Will Likely Win:  Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. While their initial awards season support seemed a little soft, “the Daniels” have since made great strides as the contests have played out with their wins at the Critics Choice, Directors Guild and Independent Spirit Awards. That momentum has been further bolstered by the many victories of their cast members in the acting categories throughout awards season, most notably at the recent Screen Actors Guild and Independent Spirit Award ceremonies, where their crew of performers claimed honors for best actress, supporting actor, supporting actress and ensemble. I believe the Daniels’ directorial accomplishments will culminate with statues on Oscar night.

Who Should Win (Based on the Nominees):  Steven Spielberg. In my view, this year’s Golden Globe and National Board of Review Award recipient in this category produced one of his best works in years, not to mention the most personal film of his career, and, for this, he deserves top honors. However, his star appears to have faded as the Daniels’ has risen, and he may well be out of the running by now. His best chance for a victory here is if there were to be a split between the awards presented for best director and best picture (something that was once unheard of but that has been occurring with increasing frequency in recent years), and, early on in awards season, that possibility seemed plausible. However, that appears less likely now due to the more likely alignment of projected winners in the director and picture categories (see the best picture discussion below).

Who Should Win (Based on All Eligible Candidates):  Darren Aronofsky for “The Whale”. As my favorite film of 2022, “The Whale” and its auteur, Darren Aronofsky, truly deserve the award in this category. However, given that Aronofsky wasn’t even nominated, that obviously won’t happen. It took great courage for the director to make a controversial film like this, and his efforts merit recognition, both for taking a chance and for pulling off the finished product as well as he did.

Possible Dark Horses:  Steven Spielberg and Martin McDonagh. In light of the foregoing discussion about Spielberg, it seems odd to relegate him to the status of dark horse, though that’s the case in light of the Daniels’ prospects. And, as for McDonagh, he was looked on as a formidable candidate early on in awards season, but his fortunes have since faded in this category. Nevertheless, he should take comfort in the fact that he will most likely win the Oscar for best original screenplay, an honor that he has already captured in the National Board of Review, Golden Globe and BAFTA Award contests.

Also-Rans:  Todd Field and Ruben Östlund. Both filmmakers produced fine movies, and their nominations are well deserved (especially Östlund). However, neither of them has the clout or momentum needed to pull off a win, events that would come as quite a shock if they were to happen. They should consider their nominations as their awards.

Who Should Have Been Left Out:  Martin McDonagh and Todd Field. I’ve made it clear over and over again about my utter dislike of “The Banshees of Inisherin”, so my contention that McDonagh should have been excluded shouldn’t come as any kind of surprise. This offering is a far cry from his other, far superior works “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017) and “In Bruges” (2008), and it’s decidedly not in the same league as those films. As for Field, he created an admirable, if somewhat odd, picture, though it’s not one that I feel is strong enough to be included here.

Who Else Should Have Been Considered:  Darren Aronofsky for “The Whale”, Maryam Touzani for “The Blue Caftan” (“Le bleu de caftan”), Maria Schrader for “She Said”, Chinonye Chukwu for “Till” and Rian Johnson for “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”. All of these filmmakers created fine works worthy of recognition, at least as nominees. And some observers, like me, might find it frustrating to note that the official field consists entirely of men at a time when many emerging female directors are stepping up to the plate with excellent pictures of their own, especially the three women included here. This is a category that could have used some better nominees, and these auteurs would have made fine selections, especially in the interest of promoting greater cultural and gender diversity, as well as in honoring good work.

Snubs:  Darren Aronofsky, for the reasons noted above. Good cases could also be made in favor of Maria Schrader and Chinonye Chukwu, though, unfortunately, it became fairly clear early on that they and their films weren’t being taken as seriously as they deserved to be.

Best Picture

The Field:  “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”

What Will Likely Win:  “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” This distinctively singular work of fantasy has emerged as the frontrunner in recent weeks and looks to take home the top prize on Oscar night. I suspect it’s going to come up a big winner overall, too, capturing the motherlode of hardware. It’s hard to imagine any of the other offerings overtaking this film at this point.

What Should Win (Based on the Nominees):  “The Fabelmans.” As creative as the frontrunner is, I believe this autobiographical film about the early life of director Steven Spielberg is the superior film – well acted, highly personal and eminently insightful. In my view, this is the more deserving nominee.

What Should Win (Based on All Eligible Candidates):  “The Whale”. Director Darren Aronofsky’s latest is the best picture of 2022 in my view. I find it disappointing that it didn’t make the cut as a nominee, as it truly deserves to belong in this field, especially in light of some of the pictures that ended up receiving nominations (and didn’t deserve to).

Possible Dark Horses:  “The Fabelmans,”“The Banshees of Inisherin” and “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Of these three films, “The Fabelmans” seems to be the strongest contender, though I think it’s a long shot at this point. “The Banshees of Inisherin,” a release with a following of hard core, die-hard, devoted fans who have put forth a valiant effort to campaign for their film, stands a slim chance of a breakthrough, though, considering how widely this picture has divided the moviegoing public, I don’t think the Academy is ready to honor such a divisive project (a likely win in the best original screenplay category will have to serve as a consolation prize). And, as for “All Quiet on the Western Front,” it stands an even more remote chance of pulling off an upset, though it can’t be completely ruled out in light of its BAFTA Award win for best picture, as well as its many victories in other categories at that competition (anomalous though they may have been). “Western Front” will almost assuredly take home the Oscar for best international film, so it can count on that as its consolation prize.

Also-Rans:  Anything that isn’t “Everything Everywhere All at Once”, “The Fabelmans”, “The Banshees of Inisherin” or “All Quiet on the Western Front”. Those remaining six films should consider their nominations as their awards.

What Should Have Been Left Out:  “All Quiet on the Western Front”, “Avatar: The Way of Water”, “The Banshees of Inisherin”, “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Women Talking.” These five films, in my opinion, just aren’t best picture material and should have been replaced by more deserving contenders.

What Else Should Have Been Considered:  “The Whale”, “Till”, “Emily the Criminal”, “Breaking” (a.k.a. “892”), “Living”, “After Yang”, “The Inspection”, “She Said” and “The Blue Caftan” (“Le bleu de caftan”). These are all fine films, far superior to many of the pictures that were officially nominated. They should have filled the five open slots vacated by those that should have been left out.

Snubs:  “The Whale”, “Till”, “The Inspection” and “She Said”. These four films in particular were woefully overlooked, a true shame in my view.

The Oscars will be handed out in televised ceremonies on Sunday March 12. I’ll post my report card on these predictions thereafter. Enjoy the show!

(Oscar® and Academy Award® are registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.)

Copyright © 2023, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.

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