When Allison Williams and Riz Ahmed announce the 2023 Oscar nominations on Tuesday, January 24, there’s bound to be a surprise—or 10. So in making our Oscars 2023 nomination predictions, we’re really just trying to do our best, sifting through weeks of precursor awards, the Oscar short list, and a general sense of “momentum” to predict which films will have the most to smile about on Tuesday—and then a whole other campaign to get started on.
Below, our predictions in 20 Oscar categories (not including the short films). Watch the nominations live on Tuesday, starting at 8:30 a.m. ET.
All Quiet on the Western Front
Avatar: The Way of Water
The Banshees of Inisherin
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Top Gun: Maverick
The Fabelmans, The Banshees of Inisherin, and Everything Everywhere All at Once all landed PGA, DGA, and SAG nominations, and have firmly cemented themselves as the front-runners of the season. Academy members love Elvis and Top Gun: Maverick, which feel like they’re both safely on this list, especially after landing PGA noms as well. Tár may be a bit more polarizing, but Academy members seem to admire it and it hasn’t missed out on any of the important precursors. This year’s best-picture nominees will likely include the most sequels ever, with Avatar: The Way of Water also feeling like a solid lock. Black Panther’s best-picture nomination in 2019 was a history-making achievement, and though the sequel feels slightly more at risk, we’re betting it makes it, especially since it also landed a PGA nomination. It certainly doesn’t hurt that supporting-actress Angela Bassett’s been on a trophy tear lately, which helps keep the film top of mind.
The two remaining spots are a gamble because many of the remaining contenders have strong selling points. The German-language war film All Quiet on the Western Front has been gaining momentum over the past few weeks, earning 14 BAFTA nominations and appearing on several Oscar short lists. It feels poised to land nominations beyond best international feature, in the same way Drive My Car did last year. Netflix’s other best hope is the Knives Out sequel, Glass Onion, but missing out on a SAG Awards ensemble nom for its star-studded cast and the fact that the original didn’t land a best-picture nomination makes it feel like a long shot. Babylon got the SAG ensemble nom, but the starry epic has stumbled with other precursor awards and doesn’t have widespread appeal.
A day or two ago, we’d have put Women Talking in that final spot, especially after it earned a SAG ensemble nomination that gave it a much-needed boost ahead of voting. But the fact that the individual acting nominations seem to have fallen by the wayside, plus its a BAFTA snub, are concerning developments. It could still slip in or this final spot could go to a bigger surprise, like sharp satire Triangle of Sadness, which has also been a crowd-pleaser that earned two Globes and several BAFTA noms, but may not have enough widespread appeal. RRR has surprised at every turn, and there’s a possibility it could do so here as well. The Indian box office hit made the National Board of Review’s top 10 and won the best-director prize from the New York Film Critics Circle, along with the Globe for best song.
This season’s biggest question mark, The Whale, has been quite polarizing among audiences and nominating bodies both, but nabbed a surprise PGA nomination, and has garnered widespread praise for Brendan Fraser’s lead performance. Fraser’s glowing acceptance speech at the Critics Choice Awards put the film front of mind, and it’s one of the few box office success stories for specialty films this season. That, in our opinion, makes it the most likely to nab that final spot. —Rebecca Ford
Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front
Todd Field, Tár
Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans
The Directors Guild of America typically misses one of the Oscars’ five directing nominees, so at least one of The Fabelmans’ Steven Spielberg, The Banshees of Inisherin’s Martin McDonagh, Everything Everywhere All at Once’s Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Tár’s Todd Field, and Top Gun: Maverick’s Joseph Kosinski are bound to drop out for a surprise. The list of viable replacements is so long there are about a dozen names that wouldn’t shock me. Still, the race has narrowed somewhat: BAFTA lifted The Woman King’s Gina Prince-Bythewood and Decision to Leave’s Park Chan-wook; Avatar: The Way of Water’s James Cameron and Elvis’s Baz Luhrmann have huge spectacle affection on their sides; and there’s the wild card factor of S.S. Rajamouli, whose RRR may just have enough passionate fans to squeak through in this most international-friendly branch.
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