Is 2023 the year the Oscars turn things around? Whatever hot takes you have about The Slap*, I’m guessing at least some folks will tune in to see if something crazy happens again. Also of note: an actual host (rather than the non-host platoon they’ve been relying on) who seems like he might actually just make fun of the movies again (Kimmel’s Oscars Trailer was fantastic and a solid lampoon of Top Gun: Maverick). Also: movies people actually watched are nominated (in addition to a bunch of stuff no one’s heard of, but still). Finally, I’m pretty sure they reversed course from last year’s weird “we’re not actually going to present important awards” strategy that was clearly dumb.
So it’s also time for the annual reminder that the Oscars broadcast is the biggest source of income for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is actually a very useful organization. As Steven Soderberg noted a few years ago, what the Academy does for film archiving and preservation alone should be praised, and it’s all paid for by the broadcast. We all have our complaints about the Oscars, but actually putting on the show is difficult and it does have a lot of benefits for the industry and cinema as a whole. Anyway, let’s look at the categories and make some predictions:
2023 Oscars Predictions
- Best Picture: Everything Everywhere All at Once. This film has all the momentum and precursor awards, but there are two potential spoiling factors. One is that this is not a movie that does well with the olds, and older people are still a big proportion of the Academy (perhaps recent diversity pushes have younged things up a bit though). Second is that Best Picture is a ranked vote, meaning that divisive movies tend to not do as well, and there’s a certain proportion of the Academy here that just doesn’t get EEAAO. All that being said, I think it’s still going to take home the Oscar. All Quiet on the Western Front has also been doing well and it does have some standard Oscar traits (i.e. epic war movie, etc…), but I don’t think it will get Best Picture because it will win other awards and most voters will think that’s enough (also: not sure how the Netflix association impacts things. Dark Horse chance for Top Gun: Maverick (the movie that saved Hollywood!) but I ultimately think that EEAAO will take it.
- Best Director: Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert for Everything Everywhere All at Once. Ever since they expanded the Best Picture field to include up to 10 nominees, the Best Director award has diverged from Picture. I’m betting that this trend will reverse for this year, but there’s still a decent enough chance that Steven Spielberg will get this just because everyone likes him and The Fabelmans is semi-autobiographical, etc… Very Dark Horse chance for Todd Field and Tár (that movie still seems to be the critical favorite, the one people who do “Should Win” picks are choosing, and so on…)
- Best Actress: Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once. This one is not certain, and Cate Blanchett in Tár has a lot of buzz too (as much as I love Michelle Yeoh, I personally think Blanchett’s performance is really next level stuff). Still, I’m betting on an EEAAO kinda night. Funniest possible win: Ana De Armas for Blonde. That will not happen, but if it did: just scortching, nuclear hot takes on Twitter.
- Best Actor: Brendan Fraser in The Whale. He’s won some precursors, but again, not a lock here. But the Oscars loves a comeback story, and everyone loves Fraser. Austin Butler in Elvis is certainly quite possible though. The Academy loves biopics and actors who portray real people. Basically, whoever wins this award got it because they wore a fat suit. Dark Horse is Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin (who is probably the critical consensus pick).
- Best Supporting Actress: Jamie Lee Curtis in Everything Everywhere All at Once. This is not a lock, but Curtis has a lot of momentum and goodwill coming to her (this is one of those Lifetime Achievement awards). Of course, so does Angela Bassett and she’s also got a Lifetime Achievement thing, but I’m betting Black Panther: Wakanda Forever doesn’t have enough heat to get her the award (and EEAAO has tons of buzz and momentum).
- Best Supporting Actor: Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All at Once. This one probably is a lock, and the most certain pick of the night.
- Best Original Screenplay: Everything Everywhere All at Once. Again, I’m betting it’s going to be all EEAAO tonight. If that’s wrong, then it’s certainly possible this goes to The Banshees of Inisherin.
- Best Adapted Screenplay: Women Talking. This movie has the buzz and the Academy will want to make the statement that yes, women are talking and men are listening. Or something. But seriously, I think there’s some desire to reward this movie and writer/director Sarah Polley, and this is the best place to put it.
- Best Cinematography: All Quiet on the Western Front
- Best Visual Effects: Avatar: The Way of Water. Duh.
- Best Production Design: Babylon
- Best Costume Design: Elvis
- Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Elvis (or maybe The Whale – whoever does the fat suit better)
- Best Animated Feature: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. (Really interesting category this year – lots of different animation styles, etc…)
- Best Documentary: Navalny. Russia is bad, and Hollywood wants you to know they think that.
- Best International Feature: All Quiet on the Western Front. This is why I don’t think it will take Best Picture.
- Best Song: Naatu Naatu from RRR, but who knows?
And those are the categories I pick every year. Why don’t I pick the others? It’s a mystery! Anywho, if you’re a weirdo and want to plumb the depths of the Kaedrin archives for old Oscars commentary (if you go far back enough, you can even read what used to be called “liveblogging” of the event, which is what we did before Twitter), all my previous entries are here: [2022 | 2019]   | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004] (I took a couple of years off there for various reasons). If you are watching and on Twitter, I’m @mciocco (and when the musical performances start, I’ll be posting alcohol @kaedrinbeer). I don’t usually post much, but I’ll be around and obsessively reading Film twitter’s commentary/jokes. I may post a dumb “who should host the Oscars” poll, like I did last year…
* My Biggest hot take about “The Slap” is that it’s a terrible shame this event has overshadowed the television series of the same name about the slap that rocked a community, but that’s just me. Also because “The Pursuit of Slappyness” was right there.