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COLUMN: The most wonderful time of the year: predicting the 2023 Oscars nominations


The Academy Awards are my Super Bowl. Some people spend winter break hunkering down and recovering from the academic stress of the fall semester. Me? I try to watch as many new films as possible so I can carefully select my Oscar predictions.  

As of mid-November, I still haven’t seen quite a few of the big players, as their limited releases haven’t been expanded to rural Indiana. But I don’t think I need to see “The Fabelmans” to know the Academy is going to swoon over it. 

The films I think are most likely to be nominated are at the top of each list, whereas the ones I’m less sure about are toward the bottom. For each category, there will also be a wild card pick — a dark horse that I can see swooping in at the last minute to cause an upset — and a few other alternate possibilities. 

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Best Picture 

“The Fabelmans” 

Everything Everywhere All at Once” 

Women Talking” 

Top Gun: Maverick” 


The Banshees of Inisherin” 


The Whale” 

Avatar: The Way of Water” 

She Said

Wild cards: “Decision to Leave,” “Pinocchio” and “Bones and All” 

In the years since the Academy expanded the Best Picture category to include 10 nominations, there have been plenty of debates over what films will nab the last few slots. I can easily picture “The Woman King,” “Elvis” or “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” gaining momentum as awards season kicks off, especially because they’re crowd-pleasers. 

As for what will win, “The Fabelmans” is the obvious choice – it's Steven Spielberg’s life story and his “love letter to cinema.” But the early front-runners rarely go on to win; just look at “1917” and “The Power of the Dog.”  The front-runner in my eyes is “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The film defied the odds at the box office and received critical and commercial acclaim. 

Best Director 

Steven Spielberg, “The Fabelmans” 

Sarah Polley, “Women Talking” 

Damien Chazelle, “Babylon” 

The Daniels, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” 

Todd Field, “TAR” 

Wild card: Darren Aronofsky, “The Whale” 

Most of the time, the five Best Director slots coincide with the top five Best Picture nominees. I’m including Todd Field because “TAR” is his first film in 15 years and the Academy has recognized his work before. Other possibilities include Martin McDonagh (“Banshees”) and James Cameron (“Avatar”). 

Best Actress 

Cate Blanchett, “TAR” 

Danielle Deadwyler, “Till” 

Michelle Yeoh, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” 

Michelle Williams, “The Fabelmans” 

Margot Robbie, “Babylon” 

Wild card: Taylor Russell, “Bones and All” 

Michelle Williams would win had she been campaigned in the proper category, but now she barely has a chance against such stacked competition. Blanchett is the clear front-runner. She’s been nominated for an acting Oscar six times, winning two of them. Even a beloved actress like Williams will have difficulty beating her. Other possibilities in this category include Viola Davis (“The Woman King”), Olivia Colman (“Empire of Light”) and Jennifer Lawrence (“Causeway”). 

Best Actor 

Brendan Fraser, “The Whale” 

Colin Farrell, “The Banshees of Inisherin” 

Austin Butler, “Elvis” 

Diego Calva, “Babylon” 

Bill Nighy, “Living” 

Wild card: Paul Mescal, “Aftersun” 

Fraser is winning, no doubt. Next! 

Best Original Screenplay 

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” 

“The Fabelmans” 

“The Banshees of Inisherin” 



Wild cards: “Aftersun” and “The Menu” 

“Babylon” used to be one of my top picks, but upon seeing some mixed first reactions to the film, I’ve moved it down. I can see it being swapped for “Triangle of Sadness” or “Decision to Leave.” 

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Best Adapted Screenplay 

“Women Talking” 

“The Whale” 

“Glass Onion” 

“She Said” 


Wild card: “Bones and All” 

This category is pretty dry, so I can see a lot of other screenplays taking the fifth slot. “White Noise,” “Top Gun: Maverick” — because for some reason sequels are considered adapted — and “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Although it's a stretch because the Academy historically hates horror, I’d love to see them nominate “Bones and All.” 

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