Over the past few years the preferential ballot voting system for the Best Picture Oscar has made for a number of interesting, and at times surprising, races for the top award of the film season. And while this year’s had plenty of excitement when the nominees were first announced, things appear to have settled down since. Yet, perhaps the 2023 race isn’t as cut and dried as many may think it to be, particularly with the preferential ballot.
Thus, once again, I bring back the annual overly-rambly What Will Win Best Picture piece to take a look at the chances for each of the ten nominees in the top category at this year’s Academy Awards. Taking a look at the pushes and pulls towards them winning the Best Picture Oscar on Sunday night. It’s an interesting race to say the least, nut just because of the array of films involved. And with the fluctuating directions the Academy has leaned in recent years, Oscar night could prove interesting.
Last year marked the first year in which a streaming service/ ‘streamer’ won the Best Picture Oscar. After a number of consecutive attempts by Netflix it was Apple TV+ who claimed the award with feel-good flick CODA. If anything, this win has just made Netflix try even harder than before to win the top prize in film. Multiple films produced by the platform have had big Oscar pushes, although not perhaps to the effect that they would have liked. Glass Onion may have an Adapted Screenplay nomination, and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is a frontrunner in the Animated Feature category, however none of the For Your Consideration campaigns have quite struck as much as All Quiet On The Western Front.
Part of what’s been said of Netflix’s previous campaigns, particularly for last year’s presumed-leader The Power Of The Dog, is that they’ve been too heavy, too much. Cramming nominees down voters throats and almost turning them away from the films. In the case of German war feature All Quiet On The Western Front while there has been something of a campaign the success largely appears to have been natural. Spread through word-of-mouth acclaim and success at other ceremonies – BAFTA is of course the most notable, particularly after having won Best Film and Director there – the film has risen and risen with the occasional gentle prod and advert from Netflix. They appear to have generally left it alone and this tactic has so far proved successful through the clear favour from voters in various fields.
While there might be an absence in key categories such as Best Director and Film Editing there’s representation for the film in Best Adapted Screenplay (a category which itself seems somewhat unpredictable, even after the Writers Guild Awards). Add to this the fact that the film is a frontrunner in the International Feature category (although, again, this may not be as locked in as some may claim), and its favour may expand to Best Picture. Yet, while there may be a number of nominations in technical categories, in which there is a lot of discussion for the film, there was little representation at a number of Guild Award ceremonies. Particularly in the case of key sectors such as the Directors, Producers and Screen Actors Guild (in the case of the WGA the film was ineligible).
While, of course, it can be argued that those are for specific achievements in specific areas and Best Picture is for – as the title of the category might suggest – the best overall film, often there’s overlap at least in terms of nominations. No film in recent years has won Best Picture without a win at at least one of the major Guild Awards. Yet, All Quiet On The Western Front’s natural spread of praise and recognition developed overtime, over the course of awards season as more people discovered it. Perhaps it wasn’t seen in time for such other ceremonies, making it somewhat unpredictable as a Best Picture contender. There’s no denying that it’s continued to gain steam over the course of the season, and that could indeed lead it to faring well in the final round of voting, particularly for Best Picture. Netflix have kept it in people’s minds without being overbearing, and perhaps that’s testament enough to the film. A factor which could well play into it winning the big award at the end of Oscar night.
From a streaming success to a film truly making the most of the big screen experience, perhaps one of the biggest cards that Top Gun: Maverick plays is not only that it was the biggest film of last year at the box office (until fellow contender Avatar: The Way Of Water came along), but that it’s one of the various films to have ‘saved cinema’. Even after a digital and then physical release the film continued to hang around in the box office top ten in various countries, continuously exceeding expectations (the surprise factor of the film itself could also positively affect its Best Picture chances. Even Spielberg let star Tom Cruise know that his film had saved cinema. And while the early-summer release could be used against the film it clearly hasn’t faded from voters memories, especially with how long it was in cinemas for.
The big screen thrill has been reflected in technical nods including in Visual Effects, however director Joseph Kosinski finds himself without a Best Director nod. Despite this, the film still finds itself as a serious contender for Best Film Editing (especially after winning in the dramatic category at the ACE Eddies) and while Tom Cruise may not have obtained a Leading Actor nomination, as some may have hoped he was talked about enough as a serious contender to have some more wind in the sails (can jets apply here?) for Top Gun: Maverick – after all, he is the face of it.
The face of what many may know as a traditional movie star, leading a rather traditional film. While the Academy has tried to change and diversify its voting membership through rule changes and invitees there are still a large number of older (let’s be honest, white male) voters who swing towards the traditional film (see nominees in previous years such as Ford V Ferrari and The Trial Of The Chicago 7). However, Top Gun does the traditional vein (or rather, the more stripped back one) rather well (not to say that other traditional films don’t, of course), having received plenty of acclaim throughout the year and beyond since its release.
While the film itself may have proved a surprise for a number of viewers for some a slight surprise came in its appearance in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. It may not be expected to win here but the fact that the film, whilst being praised for its visuals and cinematic style as part of its greatness, has had its screenplay noted does give it more of a boost than the nomination might initially seem. Many have claimed Top Gun: Maverick to be a strong contender, a frontrunner since nomination predictions were being put together; some of this may be bias love towards the film, however there is a strong case to be made for it. The favour has remained, and while the Academy don’t always lean towards blockbusters as Best Picture winners (there’s usually one or two hits at least nominated though, and certainly a fair few this year to make things all the more interesting), but then again this isn’t just any old (at least modern) blockbuster. There’s an edge to its appeal which has led to what has felt like widespread love for the film and what it has done. Perhaps enough to lead it to Sunday’s top prize.
However, as mentioned, Top Gun isn’t the only blockbuster nominated for this year’s Best Picture Oscar. If that was the film that ‘saved’ cinema Avatar: The Way Of Water helped it back up onto its feet. The biggest film of the year (and currently third biggest film of all time), James Cameron’s long-awaited return to Pandora was the cinematic spectacle that enough of the Academy membership hoped it would be. While Visual Effects seems like a lock-in for the film (although some predict Top Gun to also cause trouble for Avatar here, too) it’s competition in other categories is being challenged. When you consider the technical achievement that the film is, and the effect that it had on the big screen, this puts Best Picture chances into question – even more so when it’s remembered that the only nominations outside of the big race are in technical races.
It seems that the Directors Branch couldn’t even find room for James Cameron for his work on this film(!) Yet, those who have loved the latest Avatar appear to have really loved it, there is a passionate following for it, as there is for the first film which itself had some Oscar success. The sequel may not quite have as many nominations, and be set for the same success (depending on who you ask), but the Academy have never leaned towards sequels. They may nominate them here and there – Top Gun and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery both have key nominations this year – but they never quite gain major wins. However, with the state of this year’s nominees and the love Avatar has received anything could happen (plus, The Godfather Part II won Best Picture and while they may have been almost 40 (yep…) years ago it proves it’s not out of the question.
Avatar may also have the edge of being a ‘more recent’ sequel compared to the nostalgia-fuelled legacy sequel of Maverick. The argument could, of course, be flipped and perhaps the leaning as to which one is ‘better’ (there’s a high chance that both aren’t placed too far apart in most voters preferential ballots) definitely comes down to the individual voter. In the main case of Avatar the argument can definitely be made that the full effect comes from the big screen and a voter watching it for the first time on a screener likely won’t get that (or at least not to the same degree). However, with the recency of a mid-December release, and still being available in a number of cinemas due to its lasting success, the chance may well have been taken, if it hadn’t been already. There could very well be a recency bias for Avatar: The Way Of Water, further fuelled by its box office and the discussion around it and James Cameron, who some may boost the film on their ballot because of his lack of a Director nod.
It may not be represented in key areas, but in the case of something such as Avatar some may view the key areas as the technical aspects which helped bring the world of Pandora and the characters within it to life. Yes, Cameron and his team may have packed a lot more in and clearly displayed a narrative and character development throughout, but with so many still focusing on the cinematic aspect it might be enough alone for some to push only the second instalment in this insanely successful franchise to more success with a Best Picture Oscar.
Jumping from an epic sci-fi actioner on another world to a person semi-autobiographical tale in the form of Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans. As with most recent Spielberg-helmed Oscar contenders The Fabelmans was said to be a strong frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar. It was believed that it would be a major contender and could easily pick up the top award. That was until, as, again, has seemed to be the case, the nominations were announced. As soon as this happened almost all steam seemed to be removed from the film’s momentum and everything seemed to stall. It may have its name featured in most key races (Film Editing, which is often a key indicator – although not last year as CODA proved – not included) however, otherwise it appears to have drifted away from the competition, outside Spielberg in Best Director, the Academy love a personal story after all.
Mix a personal story with one about a relationship with filmmaking and cinema and there is a lot of Oscar bait present within this particular feature. It’s the kind of thing that while on paper might seem somewhat niche does have plenty to resonate with those inside the film industry, who luckily happen to be those who vote for the Academy Awards. Not just in the big five categories but also a mention in Production Design, showing that there is some thought for other aspects of the film – as was the case with Parasite not long ago.
In fact, Parasite didn’t receive acting nominations whereas The Fabelmans does have such mentions. There was some uncertainty as to whether Michelle Williams would make an appearance after various exemptions at other ceremonies, however – perhaps thanks to the fact that the Academy combine Supporting and Leading nominations and combine and nominate in whichever category had the most votes – she was successful. This especially being in the much notable nomination ‘battle’ which many have discussed in this category. Alongside Williams Judd Hirsch has gained a nomination for a very, very brief roughly seven minute appearance in the two-and-a-half-hour film. His performance revolves around a standout scene which acts as part of the heart of the film and the propulsion for the central character. “Family. Art. It’ll tear you in two”. If this (admittedly standout) role has been remembered enough to receive an Oscar nomination, after also not having been overly present in nominations from other awards bodies, then there’s perhaps enough of a push for The Fabelmans after all.
There are many expecting a split between Best Director and Best Picture this year. And if Spielberg doesn’t get that directing award it may mean that voters have leaned more towards his film as a whole. It’s been a more frequent occurrence in recent years and so isn’t entirely out of the question, especially if Best Director goes to another fellow Best Picture nominee. Either way, while it might feel as if it’s lost steam, there is the memory of The Fabelmans, a film all about personal memories and cinema. Perhaps playing on the minds of voters and capturing a personal connection with them and their industry. Key factors have clearly already been remembered through nominations and that (alongside the simple fact that Steven Spielberg knows how to make a film) may just be enough to bring the director his second Best Picture Oscar.
Whilst personal tales have a clear interest from the Academy membership the Best Picture category is no stranger to biopics. 2023’s is no different as Elvis has entered the race (sorry…). There’s no denying that much of the acclaim towards Elvis was towards Austin Butler’s titular performance. He’s one of the frontrunners in what has become quite a close and unpredictable Leading Actor race, and with that in mind if people think of how great his performance was it may well impact their view of the film as a whole. It’s a film, obviously, led and dominated by his performance – and we’ve all likely seen the headlines about the lingering voice and accent.
There’s a slight unexpected quality to Elvis in that while it received a fair bit of acclaim when released there wasn’t a lot of discussion about its awards chances towards the end of the year. However, as it began to pick up nominations outside of acting categories at various ceremonies its chances seemed to boost. Those in the film industry clearly have a lot of love for the film – even at BAFTA where a Best Film nod came as quite unexpected – and when first released the initial reception towards the biopic of the iconic star’s life showed that those who loved it LOVED it.
Perhaps some of that love comes from the maximalist style of Baz Luhrmann. While the director, like the screenplay, may have failed to get a nomination himself there are still those fans of him and his style. However, there are also those who feel pushed away by it – as with a lot of maximalist filmmaking it’s certainly not for everyone and can sometimes be quite overwhelming. This even seemed to be proved with the rushing montage-filled case of Elvis – although the film has managed to pick up a Film Editing nomination – and perhaps led towards its slightly mixed reception (although not as much as Bohemian Rhapsody which itself had Oscar success in 2019, including a Best Picture nomination).
Elvis is another case of a slightly uncertain nominee, it could easily be a dark horse in the Best Picture race due to its rice throughout awards season. Another hit on release mid-way through the year, and certainly praised for Austin Butler’s central performance, it’s undoubtedly still in voters minds for a number of reasons. And if Butler, alongside Luhrmann’s style, has that big enough push to boost the film this could lead to the glitziest Best Picture winner in quite some time.
Elvis may have been a real figure, however perhaps the most talked about character amongst this year’s Best Picture nominees is the one we all questioned whether she was real or not, Lydia Tár. Cate Blanchett has been a strong Lead Actress contender for her central performance in Academy-favourite Todd Field’s first film in 16 years. His return has been met with much acclaim, not just in the fact that the film has ticked off nominations in more than just the much noted categories. Field himself has certainly received plenty of acclaim for his work on Tár, and indeed the co-creation of the titular conductor with Blanchett.
Through Tár plenty of contemporary themes are explored, and not just surrounding the idea of cancel culture becoming increasingly relevant throughout the film. There’s plenty for a number of voters to recognise, and perhaps on some scale ‘identify’ within this rather modern piece of work – at least in terms of some of the themes and ideas which it deals with. Perhaps through some personal recognition, understanding or just familiarity through past observance of what’s unfolding on-screen there’s a stronger response to the film beyond just the fact that it’s very well made to boost it up some voters ballots.
While some have somewhat sidelined Tár as unlikely to win Best Picture it’s always seemed a certain nominee. It’s had power throughout awards season and has proved favour with a number of sectors across the industry. It certainly can’t be said that it’s name has been drowned out, there’s been plenty of consistent discussion around it, and not just memes on the Twitter and other social media sites (although this may help some to spring back memory of the film – much of these appear to have come from love for the film, and in part the central character). Tár really shouldn’t be removed as a contender, it’s very much a film of and for now, and that’s often what the Academy lean towards, they have done for decades now – just look at some of the ‘true-to-life’ winners of the 80s. There’s a lot of love towards Tár, and there’s a chance that it could not-quite-quietly provide its central character with yet another Oscar (or two).
From one life to another, in this case a much more fantastical one, Everything Everywhere All At Once is the film that has powered through awards season. The earliest release date of any nominee this year (25th March), the most nominated at this year’s Oscars (11 total), sweeping the Guild Awards (DGA, PGA, SAG, WGA, ACE, etc) and generally being one of the most acclaimed films of the year you could easily call the race here and give the film the award now. Is there anyone who doesn’t like this film?
Well, it seems so. While perhaps a minority there are those who have seemingly taken against the film, especially since its awards success and boosted Best Picture chances. There may be some who place the film towards the bottom of their preferential ballot, or just don’t list it at all, for this reason, to play against it. Some voters may simply think that it’s won enough and that something else should be given a chance – but that doesn’t quite play into the spirit of ‘Best Picture’. Perhaps the main draw away from the film is its slight maximalist style, as mentioned with Elvis although certainly not to the same degree.
It’s been heavily pointed out that Everything Everywhere All At Once isn’t a conventional Best Picture winner. But, with the aforementioned changing face of the Academy, an Academy who awards the title of film of the year to the one where the woman gets it off with the fish man (the thoroughly deserving The Shape Of Water) I think they can put up with some of the humour and absurdity of Daniels latest film. Particularly with just how much is crammed into it that audiences have identified and personally engaged with on an emotional level – not just the deeply existential everything bagel.
There’s a strong force behind Everything Everywhere All At Once, and it’s very likely to get a lot of first place placements on ballots. The question is: will it get enough second and third place listings, the more important slots on such ballots, needed consistently to secure a Best Picture win. It’s something which, as with all nominees, remains to be seen, however there has clearly been enough love for the film already – although largely from organisations (PGA aside) which don’t use the same voting procedure as Best Picture. It’s certain to be at the top of a lot of ballots, and perhaps those placements will be enough to secure it another big win and a big sweep of awards season.
Everything Everywhere All At Once’s Best Picture nomination, and awards success, is certainly interesting, however I’d argue that there’s as much interest in Triangle Of Sadness’ appearance in the line-up of nominees. It too fells quite far from a ‘traditional’ Best Picture nominee with its deeply-rooted satire ripping apart the upper classes/ rich and powerful. Perhaps though the emphasis should just be put on the satire, or rather the fact that the film is a two and a half hour comedy. Comedy being famously something the Academy often lean against. And while Triangle Of Sadness may have had an early awards boost from winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes it wasn’t exactly viewed as a full Oscar contender.
It seems that the film has slipped in as a ninth or tenth place nominee, yet it’s still managed to obtain Original Screenplay and Director nods. A rather unexpected Director nomination for Ruben Östlund – although the directors branch have always been known to slightly deviate from the rest of the nominating landscape with at least one nominee, particularly in recent years (see Thomas Vinterberg for Another Round and Paweł Pawlikowski for Cold War). There’s no denying that the film’s presence in these categories, particularly as a comedy, does show that it’s had a strong resonance and that its key elements are being thought of (plus, Dolly de Leon was much talked about for potentially receiving a Supporting Actress nomination for the film).
Where the film might falter is that it might not be the most widely seen of the nominees. And while most voters will likely have seen all the films in order to vote – at least for the Best Picture nominees, and those nominated multiple times in key categories, there are some who may stray away from certain titles; particularly one called Triangle Of Sadness. Add to this just who the film is satirising and some voters may lean against the film thinking it an attack on themselves. Others may just not get on with the humour, particularly the much-discussed extended gross-out sequence halfway through.
But, while there are a number of films with a fair bit of humour nominated this year, Triangle Of Sadness proudly displays itself as a full-on comedy (although you could argue so does Everything Everywhere All At Once) making it standout from the rest of the nominees. It perhaps gives it a bit more of a stage in some eyes. Voters may remember how much they laughed at it, allowing the film to stand out more amongst the collection of more emotional responses, or wonderment at the cinematic scale of some. There was, as mentioned, early success for the film at Cannes, where some claim awards season truly starts, and for it to have made it this far and still have success there’s a possibility that it could continue all the way to a Best Picture win.
Moving from the humour of modern day socialites to that of the isolated 1920s Irish everyman. Perhaps the strongest thing in The Banshees Of Inisherin’s favour is the fact that it hasn’t really sold itself as a comedy. Certainly there are humorous moments, as was expected from Martin McDonagh’s reteaming with Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell, but there’s a large melancholic core to the film as a whole with its dramatic moments. Certainly the humour is still present and tones have combined to create something which has received plenty of acclaim, and a number of outlets consider to be a frontrunner for the Oscar’s top prize.
McDonagh himself has found increasing appreciation from the Academy membership (particularly after Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which appeared to be the runner-up in that year’s Best Picture race), and there’s no denying the push of the cast in his latest feature. Farrell is being eyed up as a strong Lead Actor contender, potentially overtaking a battle between Austin Butler and Brendan Fraser in The Whale. Meanwhile, Kerry Condon could pull ahead in the unpredictable Supporting Actress race. Plus, space was found in Supporting Actor for Gleeson and Barry Keoghan (although this race seems certain to be won by Ke Huy Quan for Everything Everywhere All At Once). With such love for the performances there’s clearly a lot that’s been remembered about the emotional core and characters of the film who are so key to it.
Add to that further mentions in other ‘essential’ categories (again, CODA proved you don’t need a lot of nominations to win Best Picture last year having won three of three nominations, without a Director or Film Editing mention) and there’s a lot of love for The Banshees Of Inisherin. It may feel as if it might have somewhat waned since a loss at BAFTA to All Quiet On The Western Front, but it should be pointed out that there were still a number of wins there, but there’s no denying that there’s still strength behind the film. The same as there was before. It could end up playing a quiet(ish) game and slip into the lead through the ballot, if it gets the right placements. And it certainly seems like it could do with the strong reception that the film has received. It’s an unshowy piece of work that largely speaks for itself, which could be another big boost for it. The film making the case for itself rather than through a big campaign (although there certainly has been campaigning for it, there’s no doubt about that) perhaps gently leading The Banshees Of Inisherin to be the annonced winner after the big drumroll at this year’s Oscars.
If The Banshees Of Inisherin is about the breakup of a male friendship in the wake of not very much then Women Talking could perhaps be the other side of the coin. A very relevant film with plenty of power resonating with a modern audience the story of a group of Amish women debating whether to stay or leave their commune after a series of severe sexual assaults and attacks from the men they live with has picked up a lot of steam throughout this year’s awards season.
Initially there was question as to just how well the film would do after it had seemingly been shut out from a number of other ceremonies. However, in part to its absence being mentioned, and the push that its been given instead of holding off the campaign, the presence of Women Talking in the Best Picture category has caused a lot of discussion around it. Particularly around its themes and what it represents, putting the film into perspective rather than awards. It may mean that a number of voters have come to it relatively recently, putting it fresher into their minds over other nominees.
Add to this the fact that Women Talking is one of the few films this year to win at any of the (particularly major) Guild Awards (Adapted Screenplay at the Writers Guild Awards) and it has something of a big advantage over other contenders, especially with its alleged Adapted Screenplay frontrunner status at the Oscars – even if some claim that this being the film’s only other nomination puts it at a disadvantage. The core of Women Talking is the debate and dialogue running throughout it, acknowledged through the Screenplay nomination and that could be its biggest push. It succeeds very well at pushing its themes in the way that it wants to (also largely through the external scenes breaking from the debate where the most effective moments subtly lie) and could find a push through doing what it does with great power and effect. Women Talking could easily have picked up enough steam, conversation and general recognition to push it across the line and be awarded this year’s Best Picture Oscar.
And now, finally after all this bland rambling, onto the main point of this annually repetitive piece: which film will the ballots of the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences deem to be the best. What will win Best Picture?
While it might seem direct as to what’s going to win the top prize at this year’s Oscars it largely comes down to the preferential ballot, perhaps more so than in recent years (although it certainly played a fair hand in the wins for CODA, Green Book and The Shape Of Water). This especially the case with such a varied selection of films, including the slate of box office successes on display. The question is, as discussed in previous pieces around this time of year, what’s more likely to be consistently placed in the second and third place slots on the preferential ballot for Best Picture instead of just first. It’s difficult to say as this year it feels as if there may be a fair spread across the ballots for the increasing thousands of the voting Academy membership.
Well, to star to whittle down the nominees there are often those titles that have seemed like outsiders since the start, or simply haven’t been a part of the conversation as much as other competition. They may not have had a rise in wins or mentions since the nominations meaning that they’ve stayed towards the back of the pack without an underdog-style surge. This year’s grouping seems to be led by Triangle Of Sadness – particularly with its satirical and comedic leanings – and, while it’s picked up some steam through its writing and wider-viewing since the nomination, Women Talking. Pushed by the fact that much of the conversation around it seems to have, somewhat rightfully, been around it as a film rather than it amongst the rest of the ‘competition’.
In a similar realm to Triangle Of Sadness, without having lost steam as such, despite Austin Butler’s performance putting him as a leader for the Leading Actor race, Elvis seems a bit too divisive, or at least without a strong enough reception, to quite reach Best Picture – perhaps largely being placed around the midpoint of most ballots.
Meanwhile, while not as divisive, there’s certainly something leaning against Avatar: The Way Of Water. Its large cinematic scale certainly gives it a push, but without a number of core nominations elsewhere, and it seemingly still being pointed out for its technical achievements instead of the very present story, it perhaps lies outside the main pack of contenders.
When it comes to the more certain contenders, largely always predicted as Best Picture contenders well before the nominations were announced and largely present throughout this year’s awards season two films stick out as slightly haven ‘fallen away’ from the rest of the pack. They still have steam and have largely remained in the conversation, particularly as potential winners in other categories, however they don’t quite seem up there as a whole for the top prize. One being former frontunner The Fabelmans, which may find somewhat scattered placements on ballots – with potential consistency just above the midpoints. The other being Tár, the general placement of which (as with pretty much all nominees, these are 9,000+ people. Also there’s a lot of general presumptions made here about consistency and presuming that everyone votes and fills out their Best Picture ballot with every film, which absolutely not everyone will) is hard to predict. There is certainly favour for Tár, especially for its leading performance, however, like The Fabelmans, it seems to be just outside the competition.
Which leaves this poorly put together waffle with an interesting set of four titles. All Quiet On The Western Front, Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Banshees Of Inisherin and Top Gun: Maverick. And this is where the constantly mentioned preferential ballot perhaps most comes into play.
All Quiet On The Western Front despite having gained attention throughout awards season hasn’t overly been present otherwise. Yes, it may have won big at the BAFTAs, but they have begun to prove over the last few years that they aren’t the best predictor of the Oscars anymore. There may be a handful of other awards that the film is likely to pick up, but Best Picture doesn’t quite seem to be it, while its mentions picked up when announced as a nominee, and BAFTA winner, they haven’t quite escaped from beyond that. Therefore leading it to drop out of the race.
Now comes the reasoning that I’m somewhat split on, and slightly contradict everything that I’ve said, much more concisely, in previous years. Top Gun: Maverick is a much talked about contender. There is clearly a lot of love for it, and in some ways what some believe it has represented and done for cinema. A number of people, admittedly particularly online, have continued to claim it as a serious contender and potential Best Picture winner. And, to some extent, I can see it gaining a fair bit of consistency towards the top of ballots, particularly with older voters likely to lean more towards a ‘traditional’ film such as this. They still represent the majority of Academy voters and have clearly helped lean towards winners such as CODA and Green Book in recent years. Top Gun: Maverick may not secure a lot of first place votes, but it could gain a fair few important second and third listings.
The film most likely to earn the most top place rankings is, almost undeniably, Everything Everywhere All At Once. Its success at various Guild awards and other ceremonies speaks for itself. There is A LOT of love for this film – and even that feels like an understatement. The more awards season has gone on the more this film has come into the conversation and proved its strength, alongside a number of its individual elements. The question is where else is it likely to lie outside of first place? Is something else likely to only just overtake to eventually get 51% of first place votes, after a couple of rounds of eliminations, if the film is more sporadically placed?
The main competition cited by various sources and outlets it The Banshees Of Inisherin, which itself feels like a slightly unconventional choice for a Best Picture winner (again, things are, if very, very gradually and with fluctuations, changing). There is also a fair deal of support for this film and while it might feel as if its died down in the wake of Everything Everywhere’s success it’s very much still present. Much like Top Gun Banshees has a strong chance of gaining consistent placements towards the top of ballots. Is there a chance of the two competing against each other and cancelling each other out? Yes. However, there’s also a chance of Triangle Of Sadness winning, although that may be slightly more unlikely?
To properly start to bring all of this to a close. Top Gun: Maverick is the biggest film of the year and has the traditional leaning. The Banshees Of Inisherin has a fair deal of love in various sectors and has long been viewed as a frontrunner and strong competitor. Everything Everywhere All At Once has masses of undeniable love, even towards its actors and screenplay. The former two may have consistent placements towards the top of ballots, while the latter consistent placements at the top of ballots. It’s about which is most likely to cross the 51% bar first and have the bigger push from mentions more towards the top of ballots, especially once other titles have been removed.
Therefore, this year I believe that, amongst various unpredictable and right categories, the voting Academy will award this year’s Best Picture Oscar to Everything Everywhere All At Once.