There was a point maybe even just a week ago where Oscar predictions may have seemed pretty set in stone, at least for me. However, it seems that in the days building up to this year’s ceremony while Best Picture has perhaps become more certain most other categories are very much up in the air. Even if the race does seem to be between two particular nominees in such situations a coin toss may be a better predictor, unless a ‘surprise’ winner is announced on the night.
However, as usual, I’m going to try and predict what will win in each category at this year’s Academy Awards. This awards season has shaped out to be quite exciting with the various winners that have cropped up in different places, and how the races themselves have changed and developed overtime (particularly in the often ‘locked in’ technical categories). Add to that the mixture of nominees and in general, as I’ll likely say in a number of my reasonings, this may be the most uncertain I’ve been with predictions in quite some time. Yet, for now, here are my predictions for what will win at the 95th Academy Awards (at time of writing).
Best Cinematography – All Quiet On The Western Front
This category appears to be between this and Elvis. Elvis appears to have largely shown as a contender in the last week or two. And while there’s certainly a lot of love for the visual aspects of that film, I feel that All Quiet On The Western Front just has the edge. Not just down to the praise that it’s had for its cinematography, but also the fact that it intensifies the grimness of the various war-torn locations throughout the film. It may not be the ‘showiest’ nominee in the category, but it’s certainly very prominent.
Best Costume Design – Elvis
Often this category, alongside Makeup and Hairstyling, feels as if it could swap out ‘best’ for most. While this is a very close competition between each of the nominees Elvis again has a very notable selection of costumes, especially including the central figure’s various stage suits. There’s a lot of flashy costumes on display here, and as the film progresses not just worn by Elvis. With the glamour and maximalism of the film they fit right in, not quite making them a bigger focus but certainly adding to things and giving the film more of a push in this category.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Elvis
The battle of the fat suits may not be the most intense race at this year’s Oscars, but there’s certainly a lot of heavy (no pun intended) makeup on display. While The Whale has the prominent makeup of the central character it’s more just for that singular figure, whereas for Elvis there are a number (at least two prominent) transformations at its core. Not just Tom Hanks as Col. Tom Parker, but Austin Butler’s turn as Elvis – making him a frontrunner for Best Leading Actor – perhaps may also be thought of by a number of voters. After all, it’s like he was Elvis, right?
Best Production Design – Babylon
This is one of the categories that I’m more uncertain about. While there are some nominees here that I think fall away just outside the race (The Fabelmans, All Quiet On The Western Front) others have their pushes. Elvis is a frontrunner in a number of technical categories and that could echo here. Avatar: The Way Of Water is, well, Avatar: The Way Of Water, however that may more likely help it in Visual Effects. In the case of Babylon there is a lot of detail in the various sets and scenery – particularly when it comes to the film studio lot. There’s a slight pull from it due to its lack of major nominations and the fact that, despite some saying it was a contender in key categories it seems to have been somewhat shut out. However, in Production Design, based on the setting and how much there is going in the slightly maximalist styling’s of the film I think Babylon might just make it in this category.
Best Sound – All Quiet On The Western Front
It’s a race between All Quiet and Top Gun: Maverick. Both with traditional pushes in this category. The chaos of a war/ battlefield vs the chaos of fighter jet engines. This could go either way. I think in this race All Quiet, once again, just has the lead. The sound category often favours big, showy displays of, as the name might suggest, sound. Whether this be concert or music films (Bohemian Rhapsody in 2019, Whiplash in 2015, Sound Of Metal in 2021; although I don’t think Elvis quite has the strength in this race), machines and vehicles all at once (Ford V Ferrari in 2020, Mad Max: Fury Road in 2016) or war films (Dunkirk in 2018, 1917 in 2020). There’s a lot of (controlled) noise in both films, and in this case I think that the battle sequences of All Quiet On The Western Front may help bring it the majority of votes.
Best Visual Effects – Avatar: The Way Of Water
This seems like one of the few locked-in wins of the night. However, Top Gun: Maverick does have a chance of pulling ahead. With all the behind-the-scenes videos that have been shared of the visual effects process for the film, and the rumoured reception that it’s apparently gained within the Academy since the shortlist ‘bake off’ before the nominations it could pull off a win. But, Avatar is Avatar. You can’t really deny Pandora and just how much those effects were, once again, praised. Top Gun could win, but this seems pretty locked in for Avatar.
Best Original Song – Naatu Naatu from RRR
There’s perhaps a lot of bias put into this nomination. Best Original Song is often a difficult category to predict. There’s often been an unexpected result which pulls ahead of the frontrunner/s. However, in this case it seems that the hits (Hold My Hand from Top Gun: Maverick, Lift Me Up from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) are outside contenders. Diane Warren (Applause from Tell It Like A Woman) once again seems to be something of a distant figure in the race leaving this between This Is A Life from Everything Everywhere All At Once and RRR’s Naatu Naatu. This Is A Life could get the Everything Everywhere push, and it’s also a pretty good song, but the love for RRR (despite its lack of other nominations) and the fact that the song is so joyous could just lead it to that win. (Again, there’s likely a lot of personal opinion in this particular prediction).
Best Original Score – Babylon
My mind, once again, wants to say All Quiet On The Western Front. Its score is very good (all the scores in this category are great!) and in particular it has the memorably haunting three chord harmonium theme. There’s likely a lot of internet influence on this particular prediction, there’s a lot of me that things All Quiet may very easily grab the win here, but Babylon has such a loud and grand score that it could (again, despite not a lot of mentions elsewhere despite a fairly notable campaign and love for the film) also take the win. It’s this grandness, and also the notable nature of Voodoo Mama which many have pointed out, that makes me predict a win for it here.
Best Film Editing – Everything Everywhere All At Once
For a long time I’ve thought that Top Gun: Maverick could grab the win here. Largely because I’m still in the mindset that the Academy lean towards more noticeable/ flashier editing, or at least the bigger films such as this with its various flight sequences, etc. It still has a big chance in what appears to be quite a close race (at least between two particular films). But I think that with the success that it’s been having, and the places that it travels to and its montages and charting of multiple worlds at once, Everything Everywhere All At Once (which itself has some ‘flashier’ editing, so to say) will get this one.
Best Documentary Short – The Elephant Whisperers
This appears to be one of the most discussed nominees in this category. There seems to be a fair bit of love directed towards it and its cropped up a number of times in various mentions. If it’s not clear from those brief, basic sentences, the short categories are never my expertise and I’m always a big outsider from them (and tend to rely on what I’ve seen about them over anything else). I really need to get better at looking at those races, and also generally watching more of the shorts each year.
Best Live Action Short – An Irish Goodbye
There’s a big push for Le Pupille from a number of sources. It certainly has two big forced behind it – 1. Disney/ Disney+ and 2. Alfonso Cuaron. A big name, or at least notable product, can often be a help in the short film categories, and Le Pupille does certainly seem to crop up quite a bit, also note the increase in mentions for The Red Suitcase in recent weeks. However, An Irish Goodbye has had quite a bit of success on the awards circuit so far, not to mention praise. There’s a chance that this success could continue to the Oscars. This leaning may be influenced by being in the UK and having heard and seen a lot of discussion about it due to both its BAFTA success and the local product angle (Irish film The Quiet Girl, nominated for International Feature, had quite a bit of coverage here too), but I think there’s a good chance of the short picking up a win at the Oscars as well.
Best Animated Short – The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse
Another short fuelled by plenty of praise and love. A big(ish) production with plenty of notable names involved at some stage or another there seems to be a lot of love for this particular short (in a category which features titles such as My Year Of D!cks – which itself appears to have a number of notable wins and force behind it – and An Ostrich Told Me The World Is Fake And I Think I Believe It). In a few months it’s become something of a notable name due to the word-of-mouth around it and the push that it appears to have had. This may end up being something of a close category, but The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse may just be able to get the Oscar on Sunday night.
Best Documentary Feature – Navalny
There’s a lot of love spread amongst the nominees within this category. Fire Of Love was much discussed when released, and even towards the end of the year, whilst All The Beauty And The Bloodshed was briefly discussed as a potential Best Picture nominee after winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Both have been pitched as potential winners of Best Documentary Feature, and certainly have a case to be made for them being announced by whoever presents this category. But, Navalny has certainly gained steam over the last couple of weeks. All that Breathes and A House Made Of Splinters seem to be just outside the race, and even Fire Of Love has somewhat fluctuated and seemed to dip out at one point. Navalny has the leaning of being very relevant to right now which may cause a bigger connection with voters and lead to it gaining the majority of votes (plus, it’s a rather good film).
Best International Feature – All Quiet On The Western Front
It’s a Best Picture nominee. While I don’t think that this race is as locked-in as some may say it does seem pretty certain that All Quiet On The Western Front with its various other nominations at this year’s ceremony (not just as a contender for the top prize of the night) has the upper hand here.
Best Animated Feature – Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
The specialist film categories this year appear to have some of the most exciting nominees and races, and Animated Feature is no exception. In fact, it perhaps has one of the best selections of contenders in any category this year. Despite this, there doesn’t seem to be a very close race. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio has been coated with love since its release, and was tipped as potentially being able to receive other nominations to. Add to that his very vocal campaign, and acceptance speeches along the awards trail – including the statement that animation is not just for kids, it is a cinematic medium – and this win seems relatively locked in. Although any other win would be a welcome surprise.
Best Original Screenplay – Everything Everywhere All At Once
The Banshees Of Inisherin still has a chance of pulling ahead here, particularly with the edge of the dialogue and the tones that it captures. However, when you look at the Academy and what they tend to lean towards here, at least in terms of recent winners (e.g. Get Out and Promising Young Woman) they sometimes lean towards the ‘most’ original screenplay. Of course, there are still winners such as last year’s Belfast to disprove this rule but Everything Everywhere All At Once has that very notable acclaim which will likely give it enough votes to win here. This seems to be a competition between it and Banshees, and while the latter could get ahead – the Academy do seem to like Martin McDonagh after all (especially his writing) – but the love for the former is undeniable, particularly across this year’s awards circuit.
Best Adapted Screenplay – Women Talking
There are a number of people claiming a win for All Quiet On The Western Front here. And while it won at the BAFTAs that’s not exactly been the best indicator for the Oscars in recent years. It’s not exactly a film with focus on the screenplay, as was the case with 1917 a few years ago (losing out to Parasite, and not quite being a frontrunner in the Original Screenplay category anyway). Women Talking has built up a lot of steam, particularly in the build up to the closing of Oscar voting. It’s Best Picture nomination gives it a slight boost (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and Living seem to be outsiders here partly because of this, despite the latter’s Leading Actor nod for Bill Nighy) as does its relevancy. Top Gun: Maverick seems a bit outside the group too as, again, the focus isn’t quite on that film’s screenplay, more so than All Quiet (and to some it was a surprise nominee, although that could speak to the strength that it has behind it). Women Talking has undeniably gained steam in the last few weeks, and particularly with how integral the dialogue is to the debate at the heart of the film it seems like it could well pick up an Adapted Screenplay win for Sarah Polley.
Best Supporting Actor – Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All At Once
Quan has won pretty much every possible acting award under the sun for his role in this film. This category has ben referred to by many as one of the few (if not the only) lock in at this year’s Oscars. And it’s hard to disagree with that belief. The other nominees (especially Judd Hirsch and Brian Tyree Henry) seem like outsiders, with the pair of Banshees Of Inisherin nominees (Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan) potentially cancelling each other out, although there is a chance for one of them (maybe Keoghan thanks to his “well, there goes that dream” scene) to pull through. But, this all feels like somewhat unnecessary drawing out. This is Ke Huy Quan’s Oscar to lose.
Best Supporting Actress – Kerry Condon in The Banshees Of Inisherin
Angela Bassett’s chances in this category really seem to have fallen for her performance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. There was a time when everyone thought that she was most likely to win, however after losing at BAFTA (although as expected to Kerry Condon in The Banshees Of Inisherin) and Jamie Lee Curtis in Everything Everywhere All At Once at the Screen Actors Guild Awards this category has very quickly become quite unpredictable. Condon has long seemed to be the second place contender, with Curtis having been considered a slight outsider until she won at SAG. I don’t think that the usual superhero bias reasoning plays against Bassett here, in fact as many have claimed a legacy win is possible for her (plus the fact that she is rather good in the role). While Bassett and Curtis have had their odds changed Condon has generally stayed the same and could well pull ahead of both of them. She could be a not-quite-quiet winner in this category, particularly with the effect her performance has in the film.
Best Leading Actor – Brendan Fraser in The Whale
The Whale has been a divisive film it turns out, there’s no denying that. But then again, to an extent, so has Elvis. But, Elvis has a Best Picture nomination, and Austin Butler’s performance has been very widely praised and led him to a number of awards. I look at my prediction here and think “yeah, it’s probably going to be Butler”, however after a SAG win, and other wins here and there, there’s part of me that thinks that Fraser could just get the win. There’s a comeback element to this, as there is for Ke Huy Quan in the Supporting Actor category, although this hasn’t quite been as talked about as much in recent weeks for Fraser. The Academy may love a biopic or performances of real life figures, which Butler absolutely is, however they also love very clear emotional performances which Fraser producers, alongside a slight transformation element with all the makeup (again, there is the argument for Butler). It seems to be a race for these two (although don’t be surprised if Colin Farrell just slips ahead for his performance in The Banshees Of Inisherin which has been much acclaimed and could get ahead if Butler and Fraser somehow cancel each other out). Normally in a situation like this I’d look at where the international voters may lean (as was the case with Anthony Hopkins winning for his turn in The Father other the late Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom just two years ago). However, here it’s difficult to think of what they might lean towards more for various reasons that have already been mentioned here. The general reasoning for my selecting Brendan Fraser is that I just think it’ll turn out that way (probably the reasoning for most of my predictions, really), there are a handful of elements that play into this, and I’m going to keep rethinking myself here, but I’m predicting Fraser to win here.
Best Leading Actress – Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All At Once
Much like with Leading Actor this seems like a two horse race between Yeoh and Cate Blanchett in Tár. Blanchett has won numerous awards over the course of awards season, and so has Yeoh, particularly in the last month or so where her odds have increased quite considerably. While I think that the international voters may more likely lean towards Blanchett (who herself has hinted at leaning towards Yeoh, and was part of the campaign to nominate Andrea Riseborough for her turn in To Leslie) there’s, again, no denying the love for Everything Everywhere All At Once. Yeoh herself has put in a hard campaign (and if anything any votes that might go to Blanchett might be split with Riseborough rather than Yeoh – although Riseborough doesn’t overly seem to be a leading nominee in this race). There are two leaders here and it could well turn out to be either of them, again my mind tells me that I’ve got it wrong and I’ll likely keep telling myself it’s the other nominee until the winner is announced. But, for now, I’m saying that there’s both a legacy element playing into a Yeoh win, a strongly fought campaign, a love for the film and a handful of other elements which could lead Michelle Yeoh to an Oscar.
Best Director – Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for Everything Everywhere All At Once
There’s a chance that Steven Spielberg could quietly grab this one for his personal story in The Fabelmans. He was long-considered a frontrunner and many still claim that he could gain this, even if his film doesn’t win anything else and has fallen away in the Best Picture race. There could well be a Best Picture, Best Director split. However, to once again sound like a broken record, there’s a lot of love for Everything Everywhere All At Once. With the scale of that film, how much happens and the budget and team that were a part of it Daniels seem to have strong chances of winning the Best Director Oscar for their work on this film. Particularly after winning at the Directors Guild Awards over a number of fellow nominees here (and Joseph Kosinski for Top Gun: Maverick over Ruben Östlund for Triangle Of Sadness). Whatever the reasoning, Daniels seem like strong contenders to win here.
Best Picture – Everything Everywhere All At Once
Everything Everywhere All At Once has won at pretty much every major guild awards, alongside a couple of technical ones. It was one of the most acclaimed films of last year and that love has been reflected in its increasing awards season success, going from strength to strength in a number of different categories outside of Best Picture. It’s very likely to gain a number of first place placements on the preferential ballot, the question is about whether it can get enough crucial second and third place rankings. Those may go to The Banshees Of Inisherin and Top Gun: Maverick, although with the diverse slate of nominees in this year’s Best Picture category they could be placed in a number of different ways, especially when considering the everchanging face of the Academy in attempts to diversify. Whether Everything Everywhere All At Once gets those other high-ranking placements on enough ballots is a big question I’ve been thinking over a lot. However, I think that – like with Parasite in 2020, which itself didn’t quite sweep the various guild awards – there is so much like for the film, and a strong chance of so many first place rankings, that Everything Everywhere All At Once will be the film to win Best Picture this year.
If you want to read a more in-depth, excessively waffling, dive into the chances of each of this year’s Best Picture nominees at winning the top prize at this year’s Oscars you can read my annual What Will Win Best Picture piece here.