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WILL WIN: Everything Everywhere All at Once
A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once is the likeliest winner, having swept the guilds’ top honors, including the Producers Guild’s, which is decided on a preferential ballot, and also won Critics Choice and Spirit Award prizes, among many others. But the Academy’s preferential ballot wouldn’t seem to favor such a polarizing film — many Academy members love it, but many others found it incomprehensible — so an upset could come from German-language All Quiet on the Western Front, which dominated at the BAFTA Awards (indicating strong European support) and would be Netflix’s first-ever winner in this category, or Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick, a critical and commercial triumph that helped to revive theatrical moviegoing. — Scott Feinberg
SHOULD WIN: The Banshees of Inisherin
My heart beats strongest for this two-man civil war tragicomedy, which shows a new maturity and depth of feeling from Martin McDonagh. It assembles a peerless ensemble, each of them etching finely drawn character portraits, not to mention scene-stealer Jenny, the miniature donkey. Todd Field’s caustic reflection on abuse of power, Tár, would be another deserving winner. — David Rooney
WILL WIN: Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once
There are certainly constituencies for Todd Field (Tár), Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin) and Golden Globe winner Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans), who last won in this category 24 years ago. But Everything Everywhere All at Once‘s Daniels (Kwan and Scheinert) won the Directors Guild’s top prize, which has predicted this Oscar all but eight times in the past 74 years. — SF
SHOULD WIN: Todd Field, Tár
It’s tough to narrow down: Field’s forensic craftsmanship, taking risks at every turn with a magnificently brittle protagonist whose outrageous hubris draws us in rather than distances us? McDonagh’s unerring grasp of tone and virtuoso command of language? Or Daniels’ wizardry with a narrative that continually multiplies? Field is the field leader, by a whisker. — DR
WILL WIN: Austin Butler, Elvis
The four plausible winners: three much-loved vets — Living’s Bill Nighy, the senior nominee at 73; Banshees’ Colin Farrell, a Golden Globe winner; and The Whale’s Brendan Fraser, who won Critics Choice and SAG awards — plus Elvis’s breakout Austin Butler, a Globe and BAFTA winner. Farrell and Butler hail from best pic nominees; it’s been 13 years since this category’s winner didn’t. Edge to the showier part. — SF
SHOULD WIN: Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
Farrell is my pick for his soulful farmer whose life is upended when his best friend severs their bond. But how nice to see Aftersun’s Paul Mescal noticed for the kind of subtlety the Academy generally tends to overlook. Likewise, the career-crowning work of Nighy, Fraser digging deep in an otherwise divisive film, and Butler stepping into the shoes of a pop culture giant. — DR
WILL WIN: Cate Blanchett, Tár
This appears to be between two admired thespians who gave career-best turns in best pic nominees: Everything Everywhere’s Michelle Yeoh, the SAG and Spirit winner, and Tár’s Cate Blanchett, the Critics Choice and BAFTA winner. Though Blanchett has two prior wins and Yeoh has none, and though Yeoh’s win would be historic (she’d be the category’s first Asian-identifying winner), my sense is that things are breaking for the former. — SF
SHOULD WIN: Cate Blanchett, Tár
It’s getting almost stale to see Blanchett chalk up another honor, but her scalding intensity as Lydia Tár represents a new career high. No other performance this year came close. That said, who wouldn’t be thrilled to see Michelle Yeoh grab the gold? As for miracle nominee Andrea Riseborough, she brings nuance to a bundle of clichés, but that doesn’t make the movie less pedestrian. — DR
Best Supporting Actor
WILL WIN: Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once
The biggest slam-dunk of the night — given his hilarious and moving performance, remarkable comeback story and undeniable charm — is Everything’s Ke Huy Quan, who’s already won SAG, Critics Choice and Globe awards. Quan’s one loss came at BAFTA to Banshees’ Barry Keoghan, who’s again nominated here alongside his co-star Brendan Gleeson, Fabelmans vet Judd Hirsch and Causeway’s Brian Tyree Henry. — SF
SHOULD WIN: Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once
It’s impossible not to root for Quan; the actor’s path from child star through decades out of the spotlight to this triumphant return is a narrative too good to ignore. Gleeson and Keoghan both represent worthy competition in Banshees, as does the always terrific Henry in Causeway. — DR
Best Supporting Actress
WILL WIN: Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Angela Bassett was the early frontrunner after recognition from two organizations of journalists (Critics Choice and Golden Globe). But Oscar voters have never fully embraced Marvel movies (hers is the first performance from one ever to be nominated), and this increasingly looks like a contest between the stars of two best pic nominees: Banshees BAFTA winner Kerry Condon and Everything SAG winner Jamie Lee Curtis. Advantage: scion of Hollywood royalty. — SF
SHOULD WIN: Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Nobody could question Bassett’s authority as a grieving queen seeking comfort from the spiritual world but not too broken to show the U.N. Security Council who’s boss. She blazed bright every second she was onscreen in the Marvel sequel. If there’s an upset, I’d love to see Condon win for her whip-smart work in Banshees. — DR
Best Adapted Screenplay
WILL WIN: All Quiet on the Western Front
It has been 24 years since this award was won by a film that wasn’t up for best picture, a daunting stat for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and Living. Top Gun: Maverick is more about action than dialogue, and thus unlikely. That leaves BAFTA winner All Quiet and Critics Choice winner Women Talking. Based on their nom tallies — nine and two, respectively — one is clearly more popular. — SF
SHOULD WIN: Living
Not one contender in this category can compare to the complexity of last year’s standouts, Drive My Car and The Power of the Dog. (Don’t get me started on CODA winning for a pretty basic translation from the original French.) That said, Kazuo Ishiguro’s elegant work retooling the Akira Kurosawa classic Ikiru for an English setting stands above the rest. — DR
Best Original Screenplay
WILL WIN: Everything Everywhere All at Once
Five best pic nominees are competing: BAFTA/Globe winner Banshees, Critics Choice winner Everything Everywhere, Gotham winner Tár, Fabelmans and Triangle of Sadness. Voters have tended to use this category to reward highly unusual scripts, like Her, Birdman and Get Out, which bodes well for Everything Everywhere. Also: it’s been five years since a best pic winner didn’t also win a screenplay award, so if one predicts that Everything Everywhere will be winning that award, it’s hard not to predict this one for it too. — SF
SHOULD WIN: The Banshees of Inisherin
McDonagh seems destined at every festival and awards ceremony to take screenplay but miss out on the bigger honors — the filmmaker’s equivalent of “always the bridesmaid …” The glorious musicality of his dialogue and the graceful tonal shifts put it out front for me, but there’s also much to be said for the audacious swerves Field takes in Tár. — DR
Best Documentary Feature
WILL WIN: Navalny
Meditative All That Breathes is the doc community’s pick. Citizenfour winner Laura Poitras’ All the Beauty and the Bloodshed won best film at Venice. A House Made of Splinters centers on Ukrainian war orphans. Charming Fire of Love was the DGA’s pick. But Navalny, a thrilling portrait of a Russian resistance leader, won PGA and BAFTA prizes, and voters tend to reward social import. — SF
SHOULD WIN: All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
A previous winner in this category for Citizenfour, Laura Poitras deserves to land another. Her portrait of photographer Nan Goldin as both artist and activist taking on Big Pharma with a personal stake brings narrative propulsion and emotional payoff to rival any fictional feature. The poetic story of the sibling kite whisperers in All That Breathes is a close second. — DR
Best International Feature
WILL WIN: All Quiet on the Western Front
Only one nominee, All Quiet, is also nominated for best picture, which alone almost guarantees a win here. Moreover, only two non-English-language films have ever received more total Oscar noms than its nine (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Roma), and both won this award (but lost best pic). Plus, All Quiet dominated at the BAFTAs, even winning best film. — SF
SHOULD WIN: EO
At 84, Polish veteran Jerzy Skolimowski created a youthful, vigorous shot of pure cinema in his life of a donkey, intensely moving in its respect for animals as sentient creatures with souls. The momentum here is behind All Quiet on the Western Front, but if the mule’s out, I’d rather see another “quiet” contender honored, the first-ever Irish-language nominee, The Quiet Girl. — DR
Best Animated Feature
WILL WIN: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Guillermo del Toro is one of the most popular people in the business, so having his name on the ballot as part of his acclaimed Netflix stop-motion film’s title (it otherwise wouldn’t be) will certainly play to the film’s advantage, as it has all season. A darker take than the 1940 Disney classic, it has swept every major precursor award there is for animation. — SF
SHOULD WIN: Marcel the Shell With Shoes On
Guillermo del Toro is one of our greatest storytellers, even if I admired more than loved his bold take on Pinocchio. Turning Red brought cultural specificity and a freewheeling imagination to a delightful coming-of-age tale. But Marcel is the most captivating original of the bunch, its seemingly absurd world-building given surprising weight by its disarming heart and humor. — DR
And Feinberg Forecasts the Rest …
Cinematography: All Quiet on the Western Front
This one looks like a nail-biter between All Quiet, which won BAFTA and Society of Camera Operators awards, and Elvis, which won the American Society of Cinematographers’ top honor, which has predicted this Oscar in seven of the last 10 years (and for which All Quiet was eligible but not nominated — it’s a clubby, Hollywood-centric group). A win for Elvis, which was lensed by Mandy Walker, would mark the first time that a woman has ever won in this category, but given that only the film’s title appears on the ballot, that probably will not factor into most voters’ decision.
Costume Design: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Elvis nominee Catherine Martin has twice won this award for prior collaborations with her husband, Baz Luhrmann, and might well win again. But many voters have told me that they were more impressed by the costumes in Wakanda Forever — which were designed by Ruth E. Carter, who won for the first Black Panther, becoming this category’s first Black winner — given that there was no blueprint for how they should look. So despite the fact that Elvis is also up for best pic, whereas Wakanda is not, and that Wakanda lost the Costume Designers Guild’s prize for best costumes in a sci-fi/fantasy film to Everything Everywhere All at Once, I’m taking a flyer here on Wakanda.
Film Editing: Everything Everywhere All at Once
The American Cinema Editors organization chose Top Gun: Maverick as its best edited drama and Everything Everywhere as its best edited comedy. They previously went head-to-head for Critics Choice and BAFTA awards, and Everything Everywhere won both, though things could go either way at the Oscars. Indeed, Academy members often reward the nominee with the most editing, which is probably Maverick, with its aerial action sequences cut by veteran Eddie Hamilton. But there seems to be widespread appreciation this year that Everything Everywhere might have been incomprehensible without the deft cutting of up-and-comer Paul Rogers.
Makeup and Hairstyling: The Whale
This award frequently goes to a film for which at least one lead acting nominee underwent a massive physical transformation (see each of the last five winners — The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Bombshell, Vice and Darkest Hour — as well as other recent winners including Dallas Buyers Club, Les Miserables and The Iron Lady). That suggests that this year’s race is between Elvis and The Whale. Elvis is the more popular film, but The Whale features the more marked transformation, so I’m going with the latter.
Original Score: All Quiet on the Western Front
Justin Hurwitz’s score for Babylon is featured heavily throughout that film and was already recognized with a Golden Globe, but only once in the last 19 years has this Oscar gone to a film without a best picture nomination, which leads me to believe that All Quiet (scored by Volker Bertelmann), which beat Babylon to win the best music BAFTA Award, is the likelier winner (that BAFTA honor has predicted this Oscar in eight of the last 10 years, including each of the last three). The sleeper possibility: John Williams’ score for The Fabelmans — it’s been 29 years since the legend last won an Oscar, and with increasing talk that he may soon retire, the 91-year-old might be the sentimental choice.
Original Song: “Hold My Hand,” Top Gun: Maverick
“Naatu Naatu,” the showstopping centerpiece of the Indian film RRR, appeared to be the early frontrunner, picking up from journalist organizations Critics Choice and Golden Globe awards. But the fact that it received no other Oscar noms makes me wonder if enough Academy members saw it for it to prevail over the two nominees featured in best picture nominees: Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick or David Byrne and Son Lux’s “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once. (Songs from best picture nominees don’t always win, but when they lose it’s usually to a tune from a Bond or animated movie, neither of which are represented in the category this year.) The former is certainly more memorable than the latter, and the original Top Gun won in this category (for “Take My Breath Away”), so it strikes me as an undervalued contender.
Production Design: Elvis
Babylon was recognized in this category with BAFTA, Critics Choice and Art Directors Guild awards, beating out Elvis for all three. But again, Babylon really failed to click with the Academy, whereas Elvis clearly did, and Elvis‘ production designer Catherine Martin has twice won this award before for other flashy Baz Luhrmann films, so I’m going with Elvis. If, instead, All Quiet on the Western Front wins, that, to me, would be an early sign of massive support for that film.
Sound: Top Gun: Maverick
This one looks very tight. All Quiet, Elvis and Maverick each won one of the major prizes from the Motion Picture Sound Editors. All Quiet won the BAFTA. And Maverick won the top prize from the Cinema Audio Society. Music-centric films have certainly taken home sound Oscars, but war movies have prevailed even more frequently, which leads me to suspect that All Quiet and Maverick are out front. Put me down for Maverick, on a hunch.
Visual Effects: Avatar: The Way of Water
Thirteen years after winning this award for the first Avatar, Joe Letteri (who already has four competitive Oscars to his name) and his team from Weta look all but certain to repeat for its sequel, which is a VFX tour de force. They already won the corresponding BAFTA and Critics Choice awards and swept the Visual Effects Society awards.
Animated Short: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
My Year of Dicks is certainly the nominee with the most provocative title, but the film is episodic and its animation unextraordinary. An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It, meanwhile, employs impressive stop-motion animation that evokes memories of the Wallace and Gromit shorts for which Nick Park won this award twice, and peels back the curtain on the way it was made, too. But the likeliest winner, despite being rather trite and bland, is The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse — partly because it shares a name with the 2019 best-selling novel that inspired it, partly because it features the voices of and was produced by A-listers, and partly because Apple has spent a fortune promoting it.
Documentary Short: Stranger at the Gate
Three of the nominees tug at the heartstrings — The Elephant Whisperers, about people who care for elephants; How Do You Measure a Year?, a variation on Boyhood; and Stranger at the Gate, which recounts the truly mindblowing story of an Islamaphobe who ends up converting to Islam — whereas the other two, Haulout and The Martha Mitchell Effect, are fairly cold. Elephant Whisperers is the most cinematic and undoubtedly benefits from its association with Netflix. But Stranger at the Gate tells the most memorable story, and has had the advantage of a high-profile executive producer, Malala Yousafzai, beating the drum for it.
Live-Action Short: An Irish Goodbye
Le Pupille premiered at Cannes and has big names behind it (director Alice Rohrwacher and producer Alfonso Cuarón). The Red Suitcase tells a powerful story. Night Ride centers on marginalized people. And Ivalu is deeply affecting. But I suspect that An Irish Goodbye, though slight, will benefit from being the sole nominee that is in the English language and is not dark and heavy.
A version of this story first appeared in the March 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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