2022 was an incredible year for the film industry. Blockbusters and independent stories alike wowed, and frankly, many year end lists for critics and audiences varied significantly, setting up one of the most unpredictable Oscars seasons in recent years. With the ceremony a couple of weeks away, I thought it would be fun to explore some of the nominations this year and try to glean which films and performances will come home with the Oscar trophy gold.
Best Documentary Feature
Best International Feature
Prediction: All Quiet on the Western Front (Germany)
Best Animated Short Film
Prediction: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse (but My Year of Dicks wins the award for best title)
Best Live Action Short Film
Prediction: Le Pupille
Best Documentary Short Film
Prediction: Stranger at the Gate
Best Original Song
Prediction: Naatu Naatu (RRR)
Best Original Score
Prediction: John Williams (The Fabelmans)
Best Visual Effects
We begin with probably the easiest guess to make at this year’s Oscars. Frankly, if Avatar: The Way of Water DOESN’T win this award, this will be the biggest upset at the ceremony, regardless of the other results. In a year filled with fantastic visual effects, The Way of Water is in a league of its own. James Cameron invented new ways of capturing motion underwater and might have spent the most time of any film in post-production. The result was one of the most gorgeous artificial environments put to film.
Prediction: Avatar: The Way of Water
For 33 years, up until 2013, the winner of this award went on to win Best Picture. That trend has changed in recent years with the Academy deciding to present this award to the flashier, more action-based styles of editing. Dune and Sound of Metal won this award over the past two seasons, both films which had outside chances at Best Picture. I believe that this trend will continue into 2023, with one action film standing out: Top Gun: Maverick. The snappy quick editing during dogfights rackets up the tension while also taking time to focus on human emotion and vulnerability when on the ground. Although Everything Everywhere All at Once has an outside shot at this, I think the more conventional movie will triumph.
Prediction: Top Gun: Maverick
Best Costume Design
The race for Costume Design is the first of many incredibly tight races. Both Babylon and Elvis recreated their flamboyant time periods to perfection and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever sported gorgeous outfits courtesy of Ruth E. Carter (who won back in 2018 with Black Panther). However, I think the Academy goes with the safe pick here with Elvis; Catherine Martin, the costume designer, has already won 2 Oscars in the past.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Much like Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling could go one of many ways. Elvis is a frontrunner for Tom Hanks’ prosthetics and the transformation of Austin Butler into the titular character while The Whale has makeup front and center with Brendan Fraser’s heavily-modified performance of an overweight English professor. Meanwhile, The Batman is a dark horse in the race, with Colin Farrell unrecognizable as the mob boss Penguin. Although most are leaning towards Elvis as the eventual winner, I think that The Whale will take it here; Fraser’s performance wouldn’t be as impactful without that makeup.
Prediction: The Whale
Best Animated Feature
One of the easier categories this year and yet the most heartbreaking, the Best Animated Feature category features a number of incredible films. What’s incredible is that five different animated studios are represented this year at the Oscars. It is unfortunate that my favorite animated film of last year, Wendell and Wild, didn’t get nominated, but every film here is a breath of fresh air and deserves their nomination. However, this category is a lock for del Toro.
Prediction: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Editing and Sound awards usually go hand in hand at the Oscars, and considering Top Gun: Maverick’s likely win in the Editing category, it should win here as well.
Prediction: Top Gun: Maverick
Best Production Design
The front runners for this category are Avatar: The Way of Water and Babylon, two films whose only similarity is their length. One utilizes the most cutting edge technologies to achieve breathtaking visuals while the other relies on equally impressive yet more conventional methods. I only see Avatar: The Way of Water coming away with one award this Oscars and this is likely not it. Babylon is the more traditional, run-of-the mill pick for this category.
There are a number of gorgeous films up for Best Cinematography. From the gorgeous shots of fireworks in Empire of Light to the flashy colorful palettes in Elvis, this year’s list of movies has never looked better. All Quiet on the Western Front stands out from the rest, with its bleak colors and darkened lighting choices. This film is competing for Best Picture for a reason, and I see it picking up this award.
Prediction: James Friend (All Quiet on the Western Front)
Best Original Screenplay
This is quite possibly the tightest category outside of the acting nominations. The Banshees of Inisherin and Everything Everywhere All at Once are neck and neck and it is truly anyone’s guess as to who will win. Both are brilliantly written, absurd scripts that made audiences laugh and cry, sometimes in the same moments. I am leaning McDonagh’s screenplay on this one, however.
Prediction: Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Contrasting to Best Original Screenplay, Best Adapted Screenplay is significantly less competitive. The screenplays nominated here range from a silly murder mystery, to a military aviation drama, to a depressing ’50s cancer diagnosis story. Although All Quiet on the Western Front has an outside chance at this award, I see the Academy rewarding Sarah Polley for her timely tale about sexual assault and religion.
Prediction: Sarah Polley (Women Talking)
Best Supporting Actress
For many months, Angela Bassett’s performance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever seemed to be the obvious pick. And then a couple things happened: Kerry Condon won at the BAFTAs, and Jamie Lee Curtis won at the SAG Awards. These two events completely changed the game; suddenly Angela’s award is in jeopardy. I see Bassett’s stock dropping enough for Condon to step in as the winner.
Prediction: Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin)
Best Supporting Actor
This award belongs to one man: Ke Huy Quan. He is the undisputed favorite in this category (Barry Keoghan will probably be the runner-up on most members’ ballots) and should win an Oscar after returning to acting for the first time in 30 years.
Prediction: Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
This category is truly anyone’s guess. Both Cate Blanchett and Michelle Yeoh have been neck and neck in the awards season so far, although Blanchett has won more awards than her counterpart. Practically every predictor has one or the other. Blanchett has already won Oscars in the past; it’s time for a long deserved award for Michelle Yeoh.
Prediction: Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Best Actor is a battle of two juggernauts: a performance in a biopic and an actor’s comeback story into popularity. Austin Butler and Brendan Fraser both delivered incredible performances. Butler is the favorite, however… The Oscars always has one big surprise, and this will be it: Fraser will win his Oscar to top off his comeback arc.
Prediction: Brendan Fraser (The Whale)
The Daniels should win here. They will win here. For a second feature film, Everything Everywhere All at Once is their magnum opus, a piece of art that appeals to practically every person who watches it in completely different ways. Without them, this film doesn’t exist and they rightfully deserve this award.
Prediction: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
In a year full of phenomenal films, one stood out above the rest. This multiversal-jumping, fannypack-wielding, hotdog-finger-piano-playing, raccoon-saving adventure dominated the public discourse and was a major success for distributor A24. Everything Everywhere All at Once will win Best Picture, and it deserves it.
Prediction: Everything Everywhere All at Once
Which predictions do you agree or disagree with? Leave your thoughts below!