This ties it with The Banshees of Inisherin, which many might have good reason to speculate is the other Best Picture frontrunner since this more traditional tragicomic drama doesn’t feature either multiverse theory or hot dog fingers. It also is a clear winner with the actor wing of the Academy, which helped nominate the movie for four thespian awards: Colin Farrell for Best Actor, Kerry Condon for Best Supporting Actress, and both Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan for Best Supporting Actor.
There were other unsurprising nominations, including Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans collecting seven nods and Todd Field’s Tár picking up six. Nonetheless, I feel it worth noting that for the last 20 years or so, viewers have dismissed the Academy as favoring arthouse and prestige fare that plays to tiny audiences at festivals and on the coasts. However, nearly half the Best Picture race is composed of genuine crowdpleasers—Everything Everywhere, Top Gun: Maverick, Elvis, and Avatar: The Way of Water—and more than a few of them are frontrunners in acting, directing, and writing categories. Could the times be a-changin’?
As for the moment of here and now, we are offering below our best guesses for what we think will win the top prizes of the night… and what we think should. We like to do this when the nominations are announced just to see how much the dynamics of the race are already set more than a month out—or to discover how much egg we can get in our face in March. So without further ado, here are our predictions for the Oscars 2023. Who we think will win will be bolded. Who we think should win will be italicized. And sometimes it will be one and the same.
All Quiet on the Western Front
Avatar: The Way of Water
The Banshees of Inisherin
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Top Gun: Maverick
Triangle of Sadness
Despite not picking up a Golden Globe for Best Picture, Everything Everywhere All at Once is the film to beat—and we suspect no one will. This is not unwelcome news. We’ve been championing this little sci-fi epic for nearly a year. And it is probably the one film on this list (besides maybe Top Gun) that stands the best chance of staying in the pop culture zeitgeist 10 or 20 years from now, simply by virtue of being the most original and satisfying movie to ever tackle the “multiverse” concept. It is both grand, struggling with no less than the existential meaning(lessness) of the universe, and intimate, as seen how this all relates to the relationship between an immigrant mother and her daughter.
It is also the Cinderella story of the year, which will appeal to Academy voters who historically back box office winners for the top prize. The movie brought in moviegoers of all ages for months last spring while the traditional “Oscar movies” (your Fabelmans, Banshees, and Tár) failed to find a major theatrical audience. It connects with younger audiences, including an influx of younger Academy voters.