Mankind has now completed Year 1 A.T.S. (After The Slap), marking an entire spin around the sun following what was possibly/probably the most interesting thing to happen at the Academy Awards since that guy streaked David Niven.
(And while this is ostensibly an award prediction post, but the safe bet would be to take whatever the over is on number of jokes made about the incident during the broadcast.)
As we'll see, there's a little something for everyone at the 2023 Oscars. You've got your crowd pleasing box office juggernauts, biopics of the mostly fictional variety, unflinching examinations of the human condition, and a historical epic. And there's also a movie where both multidimensional escapades and sex toys figure prominently.
That last one stands to win big this Sunday, as I think my official picks for the 95th Academy Awards will attest. Book with confidence (unless these are wrong, in which case I don't know you).
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Angela Bassett - Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Kerry Condon - The Banshees of Inisherin
Jamie Lee Curtis - Everything Everywhere All at Once
Stephanie Hsu - Everything Everywhere All at Once
Hong Chau - The Whale
Who Should Win? Potential vote split with EEAAO (though JLC won the SAG), Bassett was next level in Wakanda Forever, but if I'm being honest, I liked Condon's quietly powerful turn in Banshees, and she won the Houston Film Critics Society award, if that counts for anything.
Who Will Win? I think Angela Bassett takes it, but would not all be surprised if Curtis (or Condon) walked away with the trophy.
Who *Really* Wins? Everyone anticipating what Bassett will be wearing. Have I been obsessed with her since Strange Days? Yes. Yes I have.
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
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 Should Win? Henry was wonderful in Causeway, which apparently only film critics saw. And as above (Best Supporting Actress), so Banshees, with another vote split. Plus, there's definitely precedent for someone with only eight minutes of screen time (like Hirsch) winning: Dame Judi Dench did it in 1998's Shakespeare in Love.
Who Will Win? Not only does he have one of the best Hollywood comeback stories in recent memory, but Ke Huy Quan is actually deserving as well. This may be the closest category to a lock as we've got this year.
Who *Really* Wins? Quan. The guy quit acting in 2002 because of the lack of roles for Asian actors, and storms back with EEAAO. Time for some love, Dr. Jones.
Everything Everywhere All at Once - Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
The Banshees of Inisherin - Martin McDonagh
Triangle of Sadness - Ruben Östlund
The Fabelmans - Steven Spielberg, Tony Kushner
Tár - Todd Field
Who Should Win? By whatever metric you use for "original," Daniels should take this easily.
Who Will Win? And it will. Mark it for Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Who *Really* Wins? I don't know, but probably not those who have to clean up after the drunks at their Oscar party watching the Triangle of Sadness clips.
Living - Kazuo Ishiguro
Top Gun: Maverick - Christopher McQuarrie, Peter Craig, Ehren Kruger, ...
Women Talking - Sarah Polley
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery - Rian Johnson
All Quiet on the Western Front - Edward Berger, L. Paterson, Ian Stokell
Who Should Win? Did Top Gun: Maverick really get nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay? Jesus Marimba it did. Honestly, any of these other than that are contenders. Well, maybe not Glass Onion, which had its head way too far up its own ass.
Who Will Win? Sarah Polley will take this for Women Talking as the consolation prize for not getting a Best Director nom, which sucks.
Who *Really* Wins? Whoever is rooting for Top Gun: Maverick to go 0-fer on Oscar night.
Babylon - Florencia Martin, Anthony Carlino
The Fabelmans - Rick Carter, Karen O'Hara
All Quiet on the Western Front - Christian M. Goldbeck, Ernestine Hipper
Avatar: The Way of Water - Dylan Cole, Vanessa Cole, Ben Procter
Elvis - Catherine Martin, Karen Murphy, Beverley Dunn
Who Should Win? Much respect for the folks on Elvis for reproducing not only classic Memphis but horrible '70s Vegas, as well as the All Quiet on the Western Front designers for truly imparting the horrors of trench warfare.
Who Will Win? But I gotta give the edge to Babylon. Say what you want about the movie, it looks freaking fabulous. Yes, even the elephant.
Who *Really* Wins? Whoever is rooting for Avatar to go 1-fer on Oscar night.
Empire of Light - Roger Deakins
All Quiet on the Western Front - James Friend
Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths - Darius Khondji
Elvis - Mandy Walker
Tár - Florian Hoffmeister
Who Should Win? Interestingly, the last war movie to win this award was 1917, which would appear to give Friend the edge. But an Iñárritu movie (Birdman) also won recently. Empire of Light has the same "nobody saw it" problem as the aforementioned Causeway.
Who Will Win? Interestingly enough, I think All Quiet on the Western Front pulls it off. For as harrowing a movie as it is, it's f*cking gorgeous to look at.
Who *Really* Wins? Hey Bardo fans, this is the only look you're getting. And with good reason.
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
The Sea Beast
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Who Should Win? Puss in Boots was good! So was The Sea Beast! And Marcel the Shell! This was a rare year in which every nominee could walk away and deserve it.
Who Will Win? But the one that really deserves it is Pinocchio.
Who *Really* Wins? Disney/Pixar has had a decent run with this award for the last few years. Time for some disappointment.
INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
All Quiet on the Western Front
The Quiet Girl
Who Should Win? As big a fan as I am of donkeys figuring prominently into this year's nominees (EO, see also: The Banshees of Inisherin, Triangle of Sadness), it's the sprawling war epic's year.
Who Will Win? Did I stutter? It's All Quiet on the Western Front.
Who *Really* Wins? All the Germans who came to Hollywood to party at Lemmy's spot at the Rainbow Bar and Grill.
"Naatu Naatu" (RRR) - M. M. Keeravani, Chandrabose
"This Is a Life" (Everything Everywhere All at Once) - Mitski, David Byrne, Ryan Lott
"Lift Me Up" (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) - Rihanna, Tems, Ryan Coogler, ...
"Hold My Hand" (Top Gun: Maverick) - Lady Gaga, BloodPop
"Applause" (Tell It Like a Woman) - Diane Warren
Who Should Win? This is Diane Warren's 14th nomination for Best Original Song, and she's not going to win this time, either. If it's any consolation, neither will "Hold My Hand," which is an empirically worse song than "Take My Breath Away" from the original Top Gun.
Who Will Win? All respect to RiRi, but I really think "Naatu Naatu" has this in the bag. Pity this is RRR's only nom.
Who *Really* Wins? You, because you know you can't wait to see whatever production they come up with.
Babylon - Justin Hurwitz
Everything Everywhere All at Once - Son Lux
The Banshees of Inisherin - Carter Burwell
The Fabelmans - John Williams
All Quiet on the Western Front - Volker Bertelmann
Who Should Win? I'd like to see Burwell or Williams win it, just to JW go out on top. Fabelmans wasn't all that memorable, however.
Who Will Win? Since the Academy can't pat themselves on the back this year by giving it Best Picture, I think they'll throw Justin Hurwitz another bone here for Babylon.
Who *Really* Wins? Me, because I'm mildly curious what those Son Lux dudes will be wearing.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Andrea Riseborough - To Leslie
Michelle Williams - The Fabelmans
Cate Blanchett - Tár
Ana de Armas - Blonde
Michelle Yeoh - Everything Everywhere All at Once
Who Should Win? It's hard to see this coming down to anyone other than Michelle Yeoh or Cate Blanchett. And even then, the groundswell for Yeoh seems unstoppable at this point (as always, ignore the BAFTAs). You also have to give Ana de Armas some props for snagging a nomination out of whatever the hell Blonde was supposed to be.
Who Will Win? Today I'll say Michelle Yeoh. Tomorrow...?
Who *Really* Wins? Whoever's looking to anoint the next Glenn Close in Michelle Williams (this is her 5th Oscar nomination with no wins).
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Brendan Fraser - The Whale
Austin Butler - Elvis
Colin Farrell - The Banshees of Inisherin
Bill Nighy - Living
Paul Mescal - Aftersun
Who Should Win? Speaking broadly, you can include Fraser, Butler, and (maybe) Farrell in the conversation. The question really comes down to which Academy trope triumphs: the actor playing a disabled person or the actor imitating a historical figure.
Who Will Win? It's hard to envision a scenario where Brendan Fraser doesn't get the statuette.
Who *Really* Wins? Paul Mescal, who is under no pressure to win and gets to hit all the parties.
Martin McDonagh - The Banshees of Inisherin
Todd Field - Tár
Ruben Östlund - Triangle of Sadness
Daniel Kwan/Daniel Scheinert - Everything Everywhere All at Once
Steven Spielberg - The Fabelmans
Who Should Win? I don't know if she would've won, but Sarah Polley deserved to be in the conversation, at least.
Who Will Win? Again, EEAAO is the presumptive favorite, but it's hard not to admire how masterful Todd Field was in balancing precise rigidity with wild abandon. And one shouldn't downplay Spielberg's appeal to the old guard Academy voter.
But who are we kidding? It's Daniels all the way.
Who *Really* Wins? All of us, if they include the butt plug battle sequence in EEAAO's highlight reel.
Top Gun: Maverick
Everything Everywhere All at Once
The Banshees of Inisherin
Triangle of Sadness
All Quiet on the Western Front
Avatar: The Way of Water
Who Should Win? What am I, a critic? Oh right. You could make a case for just about any of the ten nominees (even Top Gun: Maverick has the benefit of being better than the original). There are clear favorites, but while a Tár or Triangle of Sadness win would be a bit of a shock, it wouldn't be a Green Book level farce.
Who Will Win? But it's going to be the surprisingly uplifting, literally multidimensional, action dramedy that takes it in the end (no pun intended). Give it up for Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Who *Really* Wins? Even if he wasn't nominated for an individual award, it's cool to see — after 650 film and TV credits — James Hong getting so much attention this awards season.
Oh, and don't forget these ...
ANIMATED SHORT: "My Year of Dicks"
LIVE ACTION SHORT: "Le Pupille"
DOCUMENTARY SHORT: "The Elephant Whisperers"
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Navalny
COSTUME DESIGN: Elvis
SOUND: Top Gun: Maverick
FILM EDITING: Everything Everywhere All at Once
VISUAL EFFECTS: Avatar: The Way of Water
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: Elvis