Sunday, March 26, 2023

Oscar predictions: Chaos reigns outside Best Picture

by TYLER WILSON/Coeur Voice Contributor
| March 8, 2023 1:00 AM

For the first time in a few years, the Oscars will include more than a few nailbiters, particularly in the acting categories.

With “Everything Everywhere All At Once” leading the charge in Best Picture, most of the other prizes boast tight competition. Maybe don’t wager your life savings betting on Best Actor or Best Supporting Actress this year.

As per tradition, here are The Press’ best guesses (in bold) based on all the precursor awards this season as well as “general vibes.” How else are we supposed to figure out the frontrunner in Best Live Action Short? Many categories below also include a “should win” personal preference if I had my own ballot.

The Academy Awards air Sunday on ABC.

Best Picture

While the sci-fi tinged “Everything Everywhere All At Once” has its detractors among the older voters in the Academy, its run of precursor wins suggests that it’s simply too popular to lose the top prize at this point. It’s won (almost) all the major precursors with Academy voting overlap, including last week’s Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Best Ensemble category and the Producer’s Guild top prize (that guild also uses a preferential ballot like the Oscars, suggesting that even a few bottom placements by those who hate the movie won’t be enough slow its overall popularity).

If there’s anything solidly in second place, it’s probably Netflix’s German war film, “All Quiet on the Western Front,” which dominated the British Academy Awards (BAFTA) a few weeks back (there is some overlap in the voting pools). Expect “All Quiet” to do very well in other categories, but it probably doesn’t have enough momentum to pull an upset here.

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” is a strange movie, to be sure, and as much as I personally enjoyed it, I still can’t believe it became a frontrunner in this race. It’s an exciting achievement though, because, for almost its entire history, the Academy has regularly shunned sci-fi and genre pictures in favor of things like those stuffy Harvey Weinstein-backed “prestige dramas.” Cinema is filled with all types of styles and creative visions, and it’s heartening to see such a weird movie (and a major box office success, by the way) be embraced by the mainstream.

Will and should win: “Everything Everywhere All At Once”

Best Director

For the past several months, it seemed like Steven Spielberg would be the default winner here for his highly personal coming-of-age drama, “The Fabelmans.” Then “Everything Everywhere All At Once” directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert won at the Director’s Guild. That win secures them as the frontrunner here, though the broader Academy membership could still get sentimental and hand it to Spielberg (it would be his third Oscar for directing and his first since “Saving Private Ryan”).

Most Oscar prognosticators think this is another slam-dunk “Everything Everywhere” win. I think it’s a bit of a toss-up. Then again, “The Fabelmans” just hasn’t been as widely embraced as expected. If it doesn’t win here, it’s likely being shut out completely.

Will win: The Daniels, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Should win: Steven Spielberg, “The Fabelmans”

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett’s stunning performance in “Tar” swept the entire awards season up until Michelle Yeoh won at the SAG awards last week. Now there’s a genuine race. The major ding against Blanchett: She’s already won two Oscars, but that didn’t stop Frances McDormand from winning her third recently. Call it a toss up between the two.

Should and will win: Michelle Yeoh, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Best Actor

What was once a three-way race recently became a showdown between Austin Butler in “Elvis” and Brendan Fraser in “The Whale” (Sorry, Colin Farrell!). Recently, Butler won the BAFTA and Fraser won the SAG. Fraser obviously has the sentimental vote, however, he’s starring in a hugely divisive movie, at least compared to the Best Picture-nominated “Elvis.” Even if Fraser’s movie is, well, not great, it certainly feels like he’s the person everyone wants to see give a speech. Another close call though.

Will win: Brendan Fraser, “The Whale”

Should win: Colin Farrell, “The Banshees of Inishirin” or Paul Mescal, “Aftersun”

Best Supporting Actress

Here we have a legitimate three-way race. Kerry Condon of “The Banshees of Inishirin” won at BAFTA. In a bit of a surprise, Jamie Lee Curtis of “Everything Everywhere” won at SAG. Angela Bassett of “Wakanda Forever,” meanwhile, won a Golden Globe and has a “career achievement” narrative rolling in her favor. Curtis winning at SAG, however, put a dent in Bassett’s narrative, as Curtis is another beloved actor without an Oscar win. What does it all mean? Call it a hunch, but I say Bassett and Curtis split that “career achievement” vote, leading to a Condon win. It’s also, most likely, the best opportunity for the well-loved “Banshees of Inishirin” to win somewhere.

Will and should win: Kerry Condon, “The Banshees of Inishirin”

Best Supporting Actor

Finally, an easy-to-call race. Ke Huy Quan of “Everything Everywhere” has won almost every Supporting Actor prize available dating back to last summer. His comeback narrative is just too strong to resist (and he’s really good in the movie too).

Will and should win: Ke Huy Quan, “Everything Everywhere All At Once”

Adapted Screenplay

Oof, even the Screenplay categories are tight this year! Before the recent “All Quiet on the Western Front” surge, this category appeared to be locked around Sarah Polley for “Women Talking.” She’s well-liked in the industry and she also directed the movie, which landed in the Best Picture race (alongside “All Quiet on the Western Front”). Honestly, this is probably another coin toss, but let’s follow recent Oscar history and say the Academy will do their best to spread the awards out between movies as much as possible. “All Quiet” has likely wins elsewhere.

Should and will win: Sarah Polley, “Women Talking”

Original Screenplay

Before “Everything Everywhere” started winning, well, everything, this category seemed like the best opportunity to award “The Banshees of Inishirin,” written and directed by the oft-nominated Martin McDonagh (he technically won an Oscar years ago in the Live Action Short category). This race comes down to the overall strength of “Everything Everywhere.” A frontrunner is always subject to backlash at this late stage of the season, so maybe there’s still enough consistent love for McDonagh for him to prevail. Another tough one, but at the moment of this writing, it looks like “Everything Everywhere” will overperform on Sunday.

Will win: “Everything Everywhere All At Once”

Should win: “The Banshees of Inishirin”

International Film

Let’s knock out a few easy ones. Expect “All Quiet on the Western Front” to easily win here. The other four movies in the category have no other nominations. “All Quiet” has nine.

Should and will win: “All Quiet on the Western Front”

Visual Effects

Slam dunk here for “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

Animated Feature

A strong lineup of movies this year but going with previous Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro and his stop-motion “Pinocchio” should be one of the safer bets of the night.

Will win: “Pinocchio”

Should win: Three-way tie between “Pinocchio,” “Turning Red” and “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”

Documentary Feature

Another wide spectrum of possibilities. Timeliness best suggests “Navalny,” though plenty of love out there for “Fire of Love” and “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed.”

Makeup and Hair

Even a category like this might be a nailbiter. There are five serious contenders here, with either “Elvis” or “The Whale” currently in the top spot. Look for “Elvis” to win something if it’s not going to be in Best Actor.

Will win: “Elvis”

Should win: “The Batman.” Justice for the Colin Farrell movies!

Production Design

Good gracious, there isn’t a real consensus here either. “Babylon?” “Elvis?” “All Quiet on the Western Front?” Even “Avatar?!” “Babylon” has the most production design, so it probably wins even though the movie didn’t fare that well with nominations.

Will win: “Babylon”

Should win: “Avatar: The Way of Water”


How did “Top Gun: Maverick” miss out on this category? Anyway, of the choices here, the safest bet seems to be “All Quiet on the Western Front.”


The best chance for “Top Gun: Maverick” to take home an Oscar.

Film Editing

Editing often aligns with Best Picture, so consider this a place for another “Everything Everywhere All at Once” victory.

Costume Design

Maybe a place for “Wakanda Forever” to snag a prize, or, if it’s having a dominant night, “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” The frontrunner here remains “Elvis.”


The overall movie may be a mess, but the music in “Babylon” is fantastic. The main competition is “All Quiet on the Western Front,” and that movie seems to be more broadly supported.


Some good songs here, including hits from Rihanna and Lady Gaga. However, the epic sensation “RRR” NEEDS an Oscar win, so it better be “Naatu Naatu.” Wish predicting.

Animated Short

Now the hardest categories. The safe pick right now is Apple’s high profile “The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse,” but I keep reading about how people who watch it don’t really like it. So, hey, let’s go with the more-fun title, “My Year of Dicks,” although kudos to the other wonderfully titled nominee, “An Ostrich Told Me the World is Fake and I Think I Believe It.”

Documentary Short

Probably the most seen movie here is Netflix’s “The Elephant Whisperers.” However, the oddsmakers out there in the internet world strongly favor “Stranger at the Gate.” I haven’t seen any of these, so I’m defaulting to other experts.

Live Action Short

“An Irish Goodbye” has online heat, though its main competition could be “Le Pupille,” which can be easily seen on Disney+.

Oscar total win count:

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” — 6

“All Quiet on the Western Front” — 3

“Elvis” — 2

• • •

Tyler Wilson is a member of the International Press Academy and has been writing about movies for Inland Northwest publications since 2000, including a regular column in The Press since 2006. He can be reached at

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