The 2023 Academy Awards: Thoughts and Predictions

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: It’s between Elvis and The Whale. Elvis was great in making Austin Butler convincing at so many different stages of Elvis’ life, but much has been made of the prosthetics used in The Whale and how they accurately depict the way a morbidly obese person actually carries that weight around.

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Elvis, The Whale

Will Win: The Whale

Should Win: The Whale

Deserved Consideration: Babylon, The Woman King

Best International Feature Film: Only one of these movies is nominated for Best Picture. That’s all you need to know.

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Argentina 1985, Close, EO, The Quiet Girl

Will Win: All Quiet on the Western Front

Should Win: EO

Deserved Consideration: Decision to Leave, RRR

Best Original Score: Will The Fabelmans surprise and make John Williams the oldest Oscar winner in history? I wouldn’t be surprised. And while Babylon has split both audiences and critics, there’s something to Justin Hurwitz’s score that’s singular and immediately recognizable and utterly alive.

The Nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front, Babylon, The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Fabelmans,

Will Win: Babylon

Should Win: Babylon

Deserved Consideration: The Batman, EO, Nope

Best Original Song: There’s a definite chance that this category goes to one of two pop icons, adding hardware to already stocked shelves. If that’s the case I’m going with Rihanna on a hunch. However, I think some folks who haven’t heard “Naatu Naatu” will have themselves wishing they could change their pick after it’s performed live at the show.

The Nominees: “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman, “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

Will Win: “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Should Win: “Naatu Naatu” from RRR

Best Director: The Daniels do something new in Everything Everywhere All At Once, but I didn’t find it successful or compelling; they’re visionaries who prioritize style over story and substance. They’re going to win this award, even though it should be going to either the great Steven Spielberg or the bold Todd Field.

The Nominees: Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), Daniels (Everything Everywhere All At Once), Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans), Todd Field (Tár), Ruben Östlund (Triangle of Sadness)

Will Win: Daniels (Everything Everywhere All At Once)

Should Win: Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans)

Deserved Consideration: James Cameron (Avatar: The Way of Water), Damien Chazelle (Babylon), Jordan Peele (Nope), Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Woman King), Charlotte Wells (Aftersun)

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Is the Academy going to vote with its heart? Ke Huy Quan winning seems to be an indication of such, even though Supporting Actor is a less competitive category. Brendan Fraser is the other possible comeback victory of the night, but his film wasn’t a runaway hit, and many – including myself – struggled to like anything about the film outside of his work. Recent winners seem to suggest that if you play a real person and they’re a musician, you’re at least bound for a nomination. Butler is incredibly deserving here though, as he believably became one of the most iconic mononyms in entertainment history. It’s a toss-up, but I’m going with my head.

The Nominees: Austin Butler (Elvis), Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), Brendan Fraser (The Whale), Paul Mescal (Aftersun), Bill Nighy (Living)

Will Win: Austin Butler (Elvis)

Should Win: Paul Mescal (Aftersun)

Deserved Consideration: Timothée Chalamet (Bones and All), Jeremy Pope (The Inspection),

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Both leading role categories are split neck and neck between two performances, and I actually think this is the closer race of the evening. Cate Blanchett is searing in Tár, and while she’s won before, it’s hard to overlook one of the modern greats delivering quite possibly a career best performance. I honetly think her performance is better than Michelle Yeoh’s, who’s stuck too much of the time being dumbfounded by what’s happening around her and to her. Yeoh’s role can be funny at times though, and her character is immensely more likable than Blanchett’s. For that reason, as well as the fact that Everything Everywhere All At Once is the Best Picture front runner, I’m going with Yeoh.

The Nominees: Cate Blanchett (Tár), Ana de Armas (Blonde), Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie), Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All At Once)

Will Win: Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All At Once)

Should Win: Cate Blanchett (Tár)

Deserved Consideration: Danielle Deadwyler (Till), Mia Goth (Pearl), Carey Mulligan (She Said), Margot Robbie (Babylon), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Menu)

Best Picture: If you’ve read through my previous picks, you can probably come to the conclusion that I just didn’t care for Everything Everywhere All At Once, which seems to be the runaway favorite to cap off the evening. It’s definitely a unique choice for Best Picture, and shows how the Academy is growing and evolving. Its path to success is helped by the fact that some of these other nominees aren’t all that great in their own right either. Parasite’s 2020 win was shocking and deserving. This one is the former but not the latter.

The Nominees: 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

Will Win: Everything Everywhere All At Once

Should Win: The Fabelmans

Deserved Consideration: Aftersun, The Menu, Nope, The Woman King

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