Can you believe that this time last year, the biggest complaint we had about the Oscars was that they gave another one to Anthony Hopkins? Then came Will Smith’s slap, the shunting of categories into second-class pre-taped classification, and “The Flash Enters the Speed Force.” What a nightmare…for everyone except for ABC, which saw the ratings spike they so desperately sought (at the expense of a fair amount of dignity). Hopefully Chris Rock’s new special will somewhat stymie the coming torrent of slap jokes while everyone waits to watch Cate Blanchett go straight-up Tár on a presenter. Thankfully, the 95th Academy Awards will reinstate the snubbed categories back into the broadcast, and even the return to normalcy (a biopic, a pandering satire, a pair of top grossers, and a few dramas that more people should’ve sat through) is flavored with one of recent memory’s stranger marquee nominees: Everything Everywhere All at Once. With the Daniels leading the way all awards season long, this year in movies is finally coming to a close—and we’ve got some ideas about how it’ll all shake out. Our 2023 Oscar preview has plenty of intel, both for who will win and who should.
Now, we’ve already written extensively about the best films of the year and the best ranging from comedy, sci-fi, action and horror to documentary, animation and movies from outside the U.S. But for those movies particularly singled out for this year’s awards, we’ll go a little deeper into the good, the bad and the ugly from what we did with the initial nomination announcement. This isn’t just mourning the snubbing of women in the director category (and Black women in general) contemplating the morality of Andrea Riseborough’s grassroots campaign or wondering why RRR was reduced down to its viral song, but digging into the major categories like we do every year in order to highlight the discrepancy (or rare correlation) between what the Academy chooses to nod towards and what it actually names its winner.
Like any awards ceremony, there are flaws in both content and structure, but by analyzing both (as we partake in the madness alongside everyone else in the movie world) hopefully everyone can be a little more thoughtful when judging a movie based on how many gold statues a bunch of old white folks gave it a few decades back. And please take all this with a grain of salt, as I am the critic with the Greatest Failure Rate when it comes to this sort of thing.
Here’s how to stream the nominees, and make sure you watch those short films! If you’re looking for more, check out some of our writing on the Oscar nominees and the best movies of the year:
- Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio Is the Pinnacle of 2022’s Stop-Motion Celebration by Tara Bennett
- Women Talking and The Monkees Song that Steals the Show by Kayleigh Donaldson
- Transcending Time with Elvis and Doja Cat by Brianna Zigler
- Kerry Condon Is The Banshees of Inisherin‘s Spectacular Secret Weapon by Matthew Jackson
- Navalny‘s True Crime Will Make Your Blood Run Cold in the Year’s Scariest Scene by Jacob Oller
- All Quiet on the Western Front Goes Beyond the Trenches to Indict Warmongers by Kenneth Lowe
The Banshees of Inisherin – Martin McDonagh
Everything Everywhere All at Once – Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
The Fabelmans – Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner
Tár – Todd Field
Triangle of Sadness – Ruben Östlund
Who Will Win: Everything Everywhere All at Once – Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
While many of the awards Everything Everywhere All at Once is nominated for might feel a bit like the young folks in the Academy are flexing their newfound power as a voting bloc, Original Screenplay is exactly the place where it would see success—even if it didn’t happen to be the most-nominated movie of the year. It’s zany, explainy, and About Something. That’s not just fun, it’s trendy.
Who Should Win: The Banshees of Inisherin – Martin McDonagh
While Tár and The Fabelmans have excellent scripts, finding sublime or nightmarish moments in ostensibly grounded material through the sheer strength of their words, Banshees is McDonagh firing on all cylinders. There’s nothing more Irish than being both the saddest and funniest in the bar, and McDonagh’s effortlessly crushing, endlessly amusing screenplay leaves you reeling like you went pint for pint with it. Its structure and zingers are honed to a finger-chopping sharpness.
All Quiet on the Western Front – Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson & Ian Stokell
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery – Rian Johnson
Living – Kazuo Ishiguro
Top Gun: Maverick – Ehren Kruger and Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie; Story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks
Women Talking – Sarah Polley
Who Will Win: Women Talking – Sarah Polley
Who Should Win: Women Talking – Sarah Polley
Who Would Win If The Academy Thought Animated Movies Were Movies: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio – Guillermo del Toro and Patrick McHale
You’re telling me the stop-motion marvel that turned a morality tale about a wooden boy into a nose-thumbing epic standing tall against fascism and Death itself—all while being kid-friendly, accessible, ridiculously funny and heartbreaking—isn’t being recognized for its adaptation? All I can say to that is that thank goodness we gave a shout-out to the Top Gun sequel’s script for writing “then the planes do [look up badass plane tricks].”
Best Supporting Actress
Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever)
Hong Chau (The Whale)
Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Who Will Win: Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever)
Who Should Win: Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin)
As our Matthew Jackson wrote in his piece praising Condon’s line delivery, “It’s the way a shadow passes across her face as she says it, the way the shape of her shoulders changes just so, the way her eyes don’t lose focus but somehow still shift, as though a little ember somewhere deep in her mind just started to glow a little brighter.” This kind of work, in true support of two lead titans, is what this category is all about.
Winner of the “Two Nominees for This Movie, Huh?” Award: Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Babylon – Mary Zophres
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Ruth Carter
Elvis – Catherine Martin
Everything Everywhere All at Once – Shirley Kurata
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris – Jenny Beavan
Who Will Win: Elvis – Catherine Martin
People love replications, man.
Who Should Win: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Ruth Carter
Half the reason Bassett got nominated is how awesome she looked the whole time.
All Quiet on the Western Front – Production Design: Christian M. Goldbeck; Set Decoration: Ernestine Hipper
Avatar: The Way of Water – Production Design: Dylan Cole and Ben Procter; Set Decoration: Vanessa Cole
Babylon – Production Design: Florencia Martin; Set Decoration: Anthony Carlino
Elvis – Production Design: Catherine Martin and Karen Murphy; Set Decoration: Bev Dunn
The Fabelmans – Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara
Who Will Win: Babylon – Production Design: Florencia Martin; Set Decoration: Anthony Carlino
Truly a Most category and probably the only one this movie will win.
Who Should Win: Avatar: The Way of Water – Production Design: Dylan Cole and Ben Procter; Set Decoration: Vanessa Cole
That many viewers can’t tell the difference between what’s been physically constructed and what’s been animated is actually a huge boon for Avatar’s production and VFX teams, not a knock against either.
Makeup and Hairstyling
All Quiet on the Western Front – Heike Merker and Linda Eisenhamerová
The Batman – Naomi Donne, Mike Marino and Mike Fontaine
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Camille Friend and Joel Harlow
Elvis – Mark Coulier, Jason Baird and Aldo Signoretti
The Whale – Adrien Morot, Judy Chin and Anne Marie Bradley
Who Will Win: The Whale – Adrien Morot, Judy Chin and Anne Marie Bradley
Instead of giving recognition to some of the most impressive gore artisans in the world of horror, this category remains content to be renamed Achievements in Fat Suits. Whether it’s Tom Hanks’ suit or Brendan Fraser’s is kind of a toss-up (and will likely indicate the Academy’s leanings towards Best Actor).
Who Should Win: Elvis – Mark Coulier, Jason Baird and Aldo Signoretti
This Is Just For Making Colin Farrell Look Like The Penguin (Which Should Be Illegal): The Batman
All Quiet on the Western Front – James Friend
Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths – Darius Khondji
Elvis – Mandy Walker
Empire of Light – Roger Deakins
Tár – Florian Hoffmeister
Who Will Win: All Quiet on the Western Front – James Friend
Who Should Win: Elvis – Mandy Walker
When the Academy has a chance to break a glass ceiling (like it does by awarding a win to Mandy Walker)…vote against the Academy.
The Banshees of Inisherin – Mikkel E.G. Nielsen
Elvis – Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond
Everything Everywhere All at Once – Paul Rogers
Tár – Monika Willi
Top Gun: Maverick – Eddie Hamilton
Who Will Win: Everything Everywhere All at Once – Paul Rogers
Who Should Win: Top Gun: Maverick – Eddie Hamilton
As someone who thinks Everything Everywhere All at Once is only decent, I actually don’t mind that much that it’ll likely win the Editing award. Its comedy, action and aesthetic leaps all depend on how well our eyes and minds leap from moment to disparate moment. Nobody’s going to laugh at two rocks talking to each other if the timing between them is off. But still, there’s something so tactile and satisfying about putting impossible footage together so that it makes an exhilarating dogfight. Bringing us along on those aforementioned journeys, using planes moving in pure blue sky, is worth acknowledging.
All Quiet on the Western Front – Viktor Prášil, Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Lars Ginzel and Stefan Korte
Avatar: The Way of Water – Julian Howarth, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Dick Bernstein, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers and Michael Hedges
The Batman – Stuart Wilson, William Files, Douglas Murray and Andy Nelson
Elvis – David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson and Michael Keller
Top Gun: Maverick – Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon and Mark Taylor
Who Will Win: All Quiet on the Western Front – Viktor Prášil, Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Lars Ginzel and Stefan Korte
Who Should Win: Elvis – David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson and Michael Keller
This Is a Great Time to Remind Everyone That Nope Was Completely Shut Out: Most folks are a little mixed on where the latest from Jordan Peele fits into his filmography (it’s great), but few deny the spectacular achievement his team constructs with and around the film’s central monster. Contributing to so many creature features, and particularly with this one, is how the being and the world around it sound. Jurassic Park isn’t the same without the footsteps, the ripples, the roars. Nope’s migrating EMP field is just one lovely example of tone, story and tension blending through a single sense.
All Quiet on the Western Front – Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller, Markus Frank and Kamil Jafar
Avatar: The Way of Water – Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon and Daniel Barrett
The Batman – Dan Lemmon, Russell Earl, Anders Langlands and Dominic Tuohy
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Geoffrey Baumann, Craig Hammack, R. Christopher White and Dan Sudick
Top Gun: Maverick – Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson and Scott R. Fisher
Who Will Win: Avatar: The Way of Water – Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon and Daniel Barrett
Who Should Win: Avatar: The Way of Water – Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon and Daniel Barrett
To quote our Dom Sinacola’s review: “The first Avatar is still a gorgeous masterpiece of CGI, a claim no film since could attempt. Except The Way of Water, which looks even better. No film will ever be this beautiful in my lifetime, at least until the next Avatar…The crab mechs, my god. What delicate symmetry. This movie has surpassed our capacity to see.”
Short Film (Animated)
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
The Flying Sailor
My Year of Dicks
An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It
Who Will Win: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
Who Should Win: My Year of Dicks
Animated Feature Film
Who Will Win: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Who Should Win: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
You should watch every single one of these nominees, simply because it’s the strongest all-around category. Not a bad movie in the bunch, though my personal favorite is also probably going to win.
Actor in a Supporting Role
Brendan Gleeson (The Banshees of Inisherin)
Brian Tyree Henry (Causeway)
Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans)
Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin)
Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Who Will Win: Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Another case where the favorite is pretty damn deserving, Ke Huy Quan turns in an impeccable dual performance that also involves stunts, comedy, making your mom cry—let’s just say this is more than just a comeback narrative. Good for Ke Huy Quan.
Who Should Win: Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Documentary (Short Subject)
The Elephant Whisperers
How Do You Measure a Year?
The Martha Mitchell Effect
Stranger at the Gate
Who Will Win: The Elephant Whisperers
Netflix’s money and a simple, cutesy subject—it feels like a sure thing.
Who Should Win: Haulout
A House Made of Splinters
Who Will Win: Navalny
Who Should Win: All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
Another category full of solid picks, the timely political play is perhaps a safer bet than the sizzling art doc, the poignant and artful bird-rescue doc, or the eye-meltingly vivid portrait of two doomed volcanologist lovers – yes, even than the wrenching doc about the Ukrainian orphanage.
Short Film (Live Action)
An Irish Goodbye
The Red Suitcase
Who Will Win: Le Pupille
While shorts ostensibly allow artists to create calling cards, the world is also one that loves a familiar face. Both filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher and exec producer Alfonso Cuarón are the latter.
Who Should Win: Night Ride
Best International Feature Film
All Quiet on the Western Front
The Quiet Girl
Who Will Win: All Quiet on the Western Front
Who Should Win: EO
Donkeys! Donkeys! Donkeys! Think of all the ass jokes! Come on, Oscars, use your noggins for once!
People At The Oscars Mentioning That This “International” Category Looks An Awful Lot Like A Backpacking Trip Through Europe: 0
Music (Original Song)
“Applause,” Tell It Like a Woman
“Hold My Hand,” Top Gun: Maverick
“Lift Me Up,” Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
“Naatu Naatu,” RRR
“This Is A Life,” Everything Everywhere All at Once
Who Will Win: “Naatu Naatu,” RRR
Yes, RRR deserves more than just a song nod, but phew…what a song it is. We wrote a whole piece just on how awesome it is.
Who Should Win: “Naatu Naatu,” RRR
Fakest Movie Made So That Diane Warren Could Be Nominated (Again): Tell It Like a Woman
Music (Original Score)
All Quiet on the Western Front – Volker Bertelmann
Babylon – Justin Hurwitz
The Banshees of Inisherin – Carter Burwell
Everything Everywhere All at Once – Son Lux
The Fabelmans – John Williams
Who Will Win: The Fabelmans – John Williams
This is anyone’s game, but money put against John Williams is always stupid money.
Who Should Win: The Banshees of Inisherin – Carter Burwell
Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans
Todd Field, Tár
Ruben Östlund, Triangle of Sadness
Who Will Win: Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Who Should Win: Todd Field, Tár
As impressive as The Fabelmans is—slyly applying the weathered, clear-eyed perspective of old age to the lingering problems of an upbringing; assessing one’s life in relation to art in addition to one’s blood, selfish as that may feel—Tár is an epic. Wielding its uncanny, haunted tone like a baton, which Cate Blanchett masterfully follows, its journey is deliciously layered, endlessly entertaining and without even a whiff of sentimentality (even though haters finding that in The Fabelmans aren’t quite watching the same movie I did).
Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett (Tár)
Ana de Armas (Blonde)
Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie)
Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans)
Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Who Will Win: Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Who Should Win: Cate Blanchett (Tár)
Who Deserves To Be Here More Than Half The Nominees: Andrea Riseborough
Actor in a Leading Role
Austin Butler (Elvis)
Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin)
Brendan Fraser (The Whale)
Paul Mescal (Aftersun)
Bill Nighy (Living)
Who Will Win: Austin Butler (Elvis)
The man got stuck as Elvis for this. He does a good job in this movie (I think he does, at least—playing against Tom Hanks’ weird cartoon would make anyone look good), but I’m not sure any work of art is worth getting stuck as Elvis.
Who Should Win: Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin)
Whose Nomination Should’ve Gone To His Film’s Director: Paul Mescal (but that would’ve meant the Academy nominate a woman, sorry Charlotte Wells)
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
Who Will Win: Everything Everywhere All at Once
Who Should Win: Tár
The Only 2023 Movie Where One Guy Does Squats While His BFF Rides Him Piggyback: RRR
Jacob Oller is Movies Editor at Paste Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @jacoboller.
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