Zoë’s Oscar Predictions – September 16th

We’ve reached the end of another week, which means it’s time for more Oscar prediction updates, but far too much has happened over the course of the last week (the world premieres of The Fabelmans and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Brendan Fraser solidifying his status as the Best Actor frontrunner, The Son‘s shocking fall from grace, just to name a few notable developments) for me to effectively summarize all the shifts in the races in this introduction, so this week, I’ll be taking a look at each category individually, to see which contenders are on their way to becoming champions, and which should now be counted out completely.


BEST PICTURE

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)

2. Babylon (Paramount Pictures)

3. The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)

4. Women Talking (UAR/Orion)

5. TÁR (Focus Features)

6. The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures)

7. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)

8. The Whale (A24) (+2)

9. Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century Studios) (-1)

10. All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix) (NEW)

ALTERNATES:

11. Triangle of Sadness (NEON) (+1)

12. Elvis (Warner Bros.) (+2)

13. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney/Marvel Studios) (+2)

14. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix) (+2)

15. She Said (Universal Pictures) (+2)

16. Decision to Leave (MUBI) (-3)

17. Empire of Light (Searchlight Pictures) (-6)

18. The Woman King (Sony Pictures Releasing) (NEW)

19. The Son (Sony Pictures Classics) (-10)

20. Armageddon Time (Focus Features) (-2)

At the moment, I feel oddly confident in my top seven picks in Best Picture. I’m still sticking with Everything Everywhere All at Once at #1 (The Fabelmans had a fantastic premiere at TIFF, but there’s enough apprehension about its status as the new “Best Picture frontrunner” that – along with everything I’ve noted in the past about EEAAO‘s own strength – compels me to keep it out of the top spot for now), and Babylon is right on its tail, especially after debuting that tremendous trailer this week (which elevated it in several other categories we’ll discuss later). I have a feeling these are gonna be our top three all season – with strong showings from critically adored indies like Women TalkingTÁR, and The Banshees of Inisherin as well – and then throw in the blockbuster of the year (Top Gun: Maverick), and that’s a pretty terrific top seven.

From there, things get a bit trickier, but with Brendan Fraser pulling ahead in the Best Actor race, it’s only fitting that The Whale should factor in here as well (especially after receiving a stronger response at TIFF and being continually hailed as a crowdpleasing tearjerker, which is always a bonus in awards season). Behind that, I still have Avatar: The Way of Water – I’m holding the line for Cameron – and then spot #10 is the REAL wild card. You can make a compelling argument for many of the contenders in my #11-#20 spots, but, I’m taking a risk this week on Netflix’s All Quiet on the Western Front, Germany’s submission for Best International Feature Film and yet another adaptation of the 1929 novel of the same name (the 1930 version won Best Picture). It’s generating raves out of TIFF (a 100% with a 8/10 average rating on Rotten Tomatoes), and given that a few of Netflix’s other contenders have fallen by the wayside, I think they might throw all their weight behind this one going forward (with a little love for Glass Onion as well), especially as it becomes the International Feature Film frontrunner.

Conversely, I’m close to counting out Empire of Light and ESPECIALLY The Son entirely. Both films are flopping hard with critics out of Telluride, Venice, and TIFF, and while I think they can nab specific noms above- and below-the-line – especially for their lead actors – I don’t know if they’ll have the widespread support anymore to break into Best Picture (and in EOL‘s case, Searchlight has a much stronger contender in The Banshees of Inisherin to tend to now). I’m also still keeping my eye on Triangle of Sadness and Elvis as potential disruptors, along with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and the aforementioned Glass Onion (is this just a fun popcorn movie, or can it do what its predecessor couldn’t?). Finally, I’ve added The Woman King to my top twenty too as, following a terrific TIFF debut, if the film can score at the box office, it could absolutely catapult itself into the top contenders here with critics already in its corner.


BEST DIRECTOR

Damien Chazelle in Babylon

1. Damien Chazelle – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)

2. Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert – Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)

3. Steven Spielberg – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)

4. Todd Field – TÁR (Focus Features)

5. Edward Berger – All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix) (NEW)

ALTERNATES:

6. Sarah Polley – Women Talking (UAR/Orion) (-1)

7. Park Chan-wook – Decision to Leave (MUBI) (-1)

8. Ruben Östlund – Triangle of Sadness (NEON) (-1)

9. James Cameron – Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century Studios) (-1)

10. Darren Aronofsky – The Whale (A24) (-1)

Ever since the start of this season, I’ve been theorizing that we could be headed for a repeat of the conclusion of the 2016-2017 awards cycle, when a Damien Chazelle movie about Hollywood came in as the frontrunner, won quite a few major Oscars in the end, but was ultimately toppled in Best Picture by an unconventional indie from A24 – though Chazelle himself couldn’t cry too hard, as he still walked home with the Best Director trophy. But no matter if Babylon vs. Everything Everywhere All at Once really is this year’s La La Land vs. Moonlight or not, I think Chazelle’s work in Babylon is going to be THE directorial showcase of the year, and that trailer only further convinced me of this belief. Some still have Spielberg at #1, which I understand to an extent due to his sentimental narrative, but with many saying The Fabelmans is a “smaller” film that some expected – and less visually striking than some of his most famous movies – I’m sticking with Chazelle for now.

Regrettably, I’ve also dropped Sarah Polley this week in favor of All Quiet on the Western Front‘s Edward Berger – who I suspect could nab that fabled “Best International Feature Film contender spot” that has gone to Alfonso Cuarón, Pawel Pawlikowski, Bong Joon-ho, Thomas Vinterberg, and Ryusuke Hamaguchi, in recent years. This has nothing to do with my own opinion on Polley’s film – which remains one of my most anticipated movies of the year – but with more and more reports of some walking away with reservations about Women Talking‘s color palette or “contained” narrative, I have to wonder if those critiques could hurt her and the film here, with the notoriously picky directors branch. It’s still early – and she has one hell of a narrative, especially as the only major female contender in the race this year – but this week, I’m making a switch.


BEST ACTOR

Brendan Fraser in The Whale

1. Brendan Fraser – The Whale (A24)

2. Colin Farrell – The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures) (+2)

3. Austin Butler – Elvis (Warner Bros.)

4. Hugh Jackman – The Son (Sony Pictures Classics) (-2)

5. Diego Calva – Babylon (Paramount Pictures) (NEW)

ALTERNATES:

6. Bill Nighy – Living (Sony Pictures Classics) (-1)

7. Tom Cruise – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures) (-1)

8. Jeremy Pope – The Inspection (A24) (+1)

9. Micheal Ward – Empire of Light (Searchlight Pictures) (-1)

10. Christian Bale – Amsterdam (20th Century Studios) (-3)

With The Son looking more and more like it’ll be DOA this awards season, I think Hugh Jackman’s nomination is in jeopardy, to say nothing of his now non-existent chances to challenge Brendan Fraser for the win. Honestly – and I know it’s early – but I think this could be Fraser’s season to sweep. He has everything in his corner – a sympathetic comeback narrative, an impressive physical transformation (made possible with Oscar-worthy makeup), and a likely Best Picture nomination for The Whale. Colin Farrell is probably the runner-up as Venice’s recent Best Actor winner and the next contender from a Best Picture nominee, but he lacks the narrative and transformation Fraser has, while Elvis‘ Austin Butler will just be happy to be welcomed into the club this year. There’s a world where he becomes Rami Malek, but there’s also a world where he’s this year’s Andrew Garfield – so let’s just wait and see. And, in other odds and ends, I’ve bumped out Bill Nighy for the time being for newcomer Diego Calva, who made a massive impression in his film’s first trailer and could be swept along with love for Babylon overall (while Nighy’s film has little buzz or traction elsewhere).


BEST ACTRESS

Margot Robbie in Babylon

1. Margot Robbie – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)

2. Cate Blanchett – TÁR (Focus Features)

3. Michelle Yeoh – Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)

4. Olivia Colman – Empire of Light (Searchlight Pictures)

5. Naomi Ackie – I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Sony Pictures Releasing)

ALTERNATES:

6. Danielle Deadwyler – Till (UAR/Orion)

7. Viola Davis – The Woman King (Sony Pictures Releasing) (NEW)

8. Emma Thompson – Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (Searchlight Pictures) (-1)

9. Carey Mulligan – She Said (Universal Pictures) (-1)

10. Ana de Armas – Blonde (Netflix) (-1)

Best Actress is between Cate Blanchett and Michelle Yeoh at the moment, but the Babylon trailer reinforced everything I already already believe about Margot Robbie’s performance in Babylon (along with everything I’ve heard behind-the-scenes and read myself, as well) – this is going to be a gonzo, go-for-broke, Movie-Star-With-A-Capital-M PERFORMANCE, and with Babylon being such a big contender overall (and Robbie being one of the hottest stars working today), I think a perfect storm is forming to win her her first Oscar. Blanchett and Yeoh can’t be counted out, and each have their own compelling narratives, but when Robbie charges in here as a major contender, all bets will be off. (Other movement this week involves the addition of Viola Davis for her powerful and poignant work in The Woman King, while I Wanna Dance With Somebody‘s teaser trailer showed us Naomi Ackie’s promising portrayal of Whitney Houston, even if this could be another The United States vs. Billie Holiday situation).


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All at Once

1. Ke Huy Quan – Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)

2. Brad Pitt – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)

3. Brendan Gleeson – The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures)

4. Judd Hirsch – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures) (+4)

5. Ben Whishaw – Women Talking (UAR/Orion)

ALTERNATES:

6. Paul Dano – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures) (-2)

7. Barry Keoghan – The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures) (NEW)

8. Brian Tyree Henry – Causeway (Apple TV+) (NEW)

9. Anthony Hopkins – Armageddon Time (Focus Features) (NEW)

10. Jeremy Strong – Armageddon Time (Focus Features) (-1)

Initially, everyone assumed Paul Dano would be the big Best Supporting Actor contender from The Fabelmans, but with Judd Hirsch generating mid-movie applause at the film’s TIFF premiere – despite only featuring in the film for 10 minutes – it seems that the heat is with him for the time being, and there’s a lot of love for the actor (who was last nominated in 1980 for Ordinary People) left in the industry. Dano can certainly coattail, but in a dramatically “smaller” and more understated role, he’s by no means a sure thing. I feel fairly confident in my top five for now, but I’m keeping an eye on Barry Keoghan (can two Banshees boys break through?), Brian Tyree Henry (how many people will watch Causeway?), and the two supporting actor standouts from James Gray’s Armageddon Time (who has the upper hand, Hopkins or Strong?).


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Mateo Zoryna Francis-Deford and Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans

1. Michelle Williams – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)

2. Claire Foy – Women Talking (UAR/Orion)

3. Jessie Buckley – Women Talking (UAR/Orion)

4. Kerry Condon – The Banshees of Inisherin (A24) (+1)

5. Hong Chau – The Whale (A24) (+1)

ALTERNATES:

6. Janelle Monáe – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix) (+2)

7. Stephanie Hsu – Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) (+2)

8. Vanessa Kirby – The Son (Sony Pictures Classics) (-1)

9. Jean Smart – Babylon (Paramount Pictures) (NEW)

10. Sadie Sink – The Whale (A24)

The reactions to the world premiere of The Fabelmans told us everything we needed to know about Michelle Williams’ soon-to-be Oscar-winning performance and also simply reinforced what we’ve believed all along – this is going to be her career coronation moment, for what seems to be one of her most daring roles to date, and to everyone else, thanks for playing. I think both Women Talking ladies can still nab some spots too (both have the “biggest” arcs in the movie, Foy has been waiting for Oscar to come calling, and Buckley was already welcomed into the club last year), while Kerry Condon could be swept up with Banshees mania as the scene-stealing foul-mouthed sister of Colin Farrell’s character, and Hong Chau seems to have pulled ahead as the Supporting Actress representation for The Whale (but don’t count Sadie Sink out completely). Though, I am still watching Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery‘s Janelle Monáe very closely, and like Hugh Jackman, word is that Vanessa Kirby could also survive The Son‘s struggles if the competition clears up.


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, and Stephanie Hsu in Everything Everywhere All at Once

1. Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert – Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)

2. Tony Kushner and Steven Spielberg – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)

3. Martin McDonagh – The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures)

4. Damien Chazelle – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)

5. Todd Field – TÁR (Focus Features)

ALTERNATES:

6. Ruben Östlund – Triangle of Sadness (NEON)

7. Jeong Seo-kyeong and Park Chan-wook – Decision to Leave (MUBI)

8. Sam Mendes – Empire of Light (Searchlight Pictures)

9. James Gray – Armageddon Time (Focus Features)

10. Cooper Raiff – Cha Cha Real Smooth (Apple TV+)

No movement in Best Original Screenplay this week – I remain convinced that Everything Everywhere All at Once will pick up a prize here en route to its Best Picture win, and some of the more muted responses to The Fabelmans out of TIFF made me more confident that it really might not be the one to upset EEAAO (and Banshees could even leapfrog it in the coming weeks).


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The cast of Women Talking

1. Sarah Polley – Women Talking (UAR/Orion)

2. Samuel D. Hunter – The Whale (A24) (+1)

3. Rian Johnson – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix) (+1)

4. Edward Berger, Lesley Patterson, and Ian Stokell – All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix) (NEW)

5. Noah Baumbach – White Noise (Netflix)

ALTERNATES:

6. Ehren Kruger, Christopher McQuarrie, and Eric Warren Singer – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures) (+2)

7. Rebecca Lenkiewicz – She Said (Universal Pictures) (-1)

8. Kazuo Ishiguro – Living (Sony Pictures Classics) (-1)

9. Keith Beauchamp, Chinonye Chukwu, and Michael Reilly – Till (UAR/Orion)

10. Dana Stevens – The Woman King (Sony Pictures Classics) (NEW)

Women Talking remains #1, The Whale moves up to #2 (especially now that Brendan Fraser is the Best Actor favorite and the film itself looks stronger for a Best Picture nom with every passing day), and The Son falls out of the top ten entirely. I’ve had Glass Onion in for awhile, but the strong response to the film out of TIFF only makes me feel more hopeful for its chances, while, along with its rise elsewhere, I’ve thrown All Quiet on the Western Front in this line-up as well – Adapted Screenplay is somewhat weak this year, and if it’s overperforming everywhere else, I could see writers go to bat for it too. I’m also sticking with White Noise as my wild card fifth pick over more conventional choices like Top Gun: Maverick (a near-surefire Best Picture nominee) and She Said (a movie I’m still unsure about), but hey, the writers make some weird calls sometimes, and they do love their Baumbach.


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Li Jun Li in Babylon

1. Linus Sandgren – Babylon (Paramount Pictures) (+1)

2. Russell Carpenter – Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century Studios) (-1)

3. Roger Deakins – Empire of Light (Searchlight Pictures) (+1)

4. Janusz Kamiński – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures) (+1)

5. James Friend – All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix) (NEW)

ALTERNATES:

6. Darius Khondji – BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (Netflix) (-3)

7. Greig Fraser – The Batman (Warner Bros.) (-1)

8. Autumn Durald Arkapaw – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney/Marvel Studios) (-1)

9. Claudio Miranda – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures) (-1)

10. Ben Davis – The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures) (-1)

With BARDO bombing across-the-board, I’m no longer confident in its ability to ultimately break through into the final five in Best Cinematography, so I’ve bumped it in favor of All Quiet on the Western Front, while Babylon also takes the top spot over Avatar: The Way of Water, now that we’ve got a chance to see Linus Sandgren’s sumptuous photography in motion. Avatar is still in the hunt for the win – always remember that its predecessor won – but that “been there, done that” feeling could keep it from the gold, while Babylon represents something “fresh” and “new,” and also has cinematography that harkens back to the grand, sweeping showcases of the earliest Hollywood epics.


BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Diego Calva and Jean Smart in Babylon

1. Mary Zophres – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)

2. Catherine Martin – Elvis (Warner Bros.)

3. Ruth E. Carter – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney/Marvel Studios) (+1)

4. Mark Bridges – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures) (-1)

5. Gersha Phillips – The Woman King (Sony Pictures Releasing) (+1)

ALTERNATES:

6. Jenny Beavan – Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (Focus Features) (-1)

7. Shirley Kurata – Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)

8. Arianne Phillips – Don’t Worry Darling (Warner Bros.)

9. Albert Wolsky – Amsterdam (20th Century Studios)

10. Alexandra Byrne – Empire of Light (Searchlight Pictures)

I feel like a broken record at this point, but Babylon‘s trailer also did nothing to dissuade me from keeping it at #1 at Costume Design, and so, aside from a few other slight adjustments here or there, this category mostly remains the same since last week (though I have put The Woman King in here over the less buzzy Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris for the time being, but I am nervous about betting against Jenny Beavan).


BEST FILM EDITING

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once

1. Paul Rogers – Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)

2. Eddie Hamilton – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)

3. Tom Cross – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)

4. Sarah Broshar – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)

5. Sven Budelmann – All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix) (NEW)

ALTERNATES:

6. Roslyn Kalloo – Women Talking (UAR/Orion) (-1)

7. David Brenner, James Cameron, John Refoua, and Stephen E. Rivkin – Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century Studios) (-1)

8. Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond – Elvis (Warner Bros.) (+1)

9. Bob Ducsay – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix) (NEW)

10. Monika Willi – TÁR (Focus Features) (-2)

Another category where All Quiet on the Western Front rises – as a showy action-packed spectacle with supposedly exceptional editing – while Women Talking takes a slight tumble. It could certainly pop back up in the top five again sometime soon, but with subtler editing, it might be overlooked, especially by a branch that favors “BIG” (which is another reason I’m also still not counting out the likes of AvatarElvis, or Glass Onion).


BEST MAKEUP/HAIRSTYLING

Brendan Fraser in The Whale

1. TBD – The Whale (A24)

2. TBD – Elvis (Warner Bros.)

3. TBD – The Batman (Warner Bros.)

4. TBD – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney/Marvel Studios)

5. TBD – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)

ALTERNATES:

6. TBD – Blonde (Netflix)

7. TBD – The Woman King (Sony Pictures Releasing)

8. TBD – All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix) (NEW)

9. TBD – Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)

10. TBD – The Northman (Focus Features) (NEW)

If Brendan Fraser is winning Best Actor, you can bet that The Whale will also win Best Makeup and Hairstyling as well, the same way acting wins and makeup wins were paired for Meryl Streep/The Iron Lady, Gary Oldman/Darkest Hour, and Jessica Chastain/The Eyes of Tammy Faye. The phenomenal prosthetic work in Elvis and The Batman makes those two films top contenders as well, while Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Babylon should receive praise for the cultural and period specific makeup they feature for their expansive ensemble casts.


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Justin Hurwitz holding his Oscars

1. Justin Hurwitz – Babylon (Paramount Pictures) (+1)

2. John Williams – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures) (-1)

3. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Empire of Light (Searchlight Pictures)

4. Hildur Guðnadóttir – Women Talking (UAR/Orion)

5. Alexandre Desplat – Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix)

ALTERNATES:

6. Hildur Guðnadóttir – TÁR (Focus Features)

7. Simon Franglen – Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century Studios)

8. Michael Giacchino – The Batman (Warner Bros.)

9. Rob Simonsen – The Whale (A24) (NEW)

10. Volker Bertelmann – All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix) (NEW)

Word out of The Fabelmans premiere was that, while John Williams’ score was reliably stirring, it’s not going to be one of his most memorable or distinctive works to date, despite being his last collaboration with Spielberg. Now, that narrative alone is strong enough to make him a top contender for the win here, but after hearing what Justin Hurwitz has in store for us with Babylon just in that 2 1/2 minute trailer, I feel comfortable bumping him up to #1 this week and predicting the Oscar winner to take home his second trophy this March, while also still recognizing the possibilities of upsets presented by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and Hildur Guðnadóttir (who could have two scores in contention this year).


BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Lady Gaga singing "Hold My Hand"

1. “Hold My Hand” – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)

2. “TBD” – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney/Marvel Studios)

3. “Naatu Naatu” – RRR (Sarigama Cinemas) (+3)

4. “Nobody Like U” – Turning Red (Walt Disney/Pixar Animation) (-1)

5. “Applause” – Tell It Like a Woman (Samuel Goldwyn Films)

ALTERNATES:

6. “Top of the World” – Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (Sony Pictures Releasing) (-2)

7. “New Body Rhumba” – White Noise (Netflix)

8. “This Is A Life” – Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) (-3)

9. “On My Way” – Marry Me (Universal Pictures) (-1)

10. “Sunny Side Up Summer” – The Bob’s Burgers Movie (20th Century Studios) (-1)

It’s still way too early to get a solid read on this race, but here’s what I know right now: Lady Gaga is our early frontrunner, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever could have another “All the Stars”-esque contender, Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell will likely be back for Turning Red, a lot of people are rooting for RRR and “Naatu Naatu,” and Diane Warren always gets in (so doubt Tell It Like a Woman‘s “Applause” at your own risk).


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Margot Robbie and the cast of Babylon in Babylon

1. Florencia Martin (Production Design) and Anthony Carlino (Set Decoration) – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)

2. Rick Carter (Production Design) and Karen O’Hara (Set Decoration) – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)

3. Hannah Beachler (Production Design) and Lisa K. Sessions (Set Decoration) – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney/Marvel Studios)

4. Catherine Martin (Production Design) and Beverley Dunn (Set Decoration) – Elvis (Warner Bros.)

5. Dylan Cole and Ben Procter (Production Design) and Vanessa Cole (Set Decoration) – Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century Studios)

ALTERNATES:

6. Christian M. Goldbeck (Production Design) and Ernestine Hipper (Set Decoration) – All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix) (NEW)

7. Mark Tildesley (Production Design) and Patricia Cuccia (Set Decoration) – Empire of Light (Searchlight Pictures) (-1)

8. Akin McKenzie (Production Design) and TBD (Set Decoration) – The Woman King (Sony Pictures Releasing)

9. Katie Byron (Production Design) and Rachel Ferrara (Set Decoration) – Don’t Worry Darling (Warner Bros.) (-2)

10. Jason Kisvarday (Production Design) and Kelsi Ephraim (Set Decoration) – Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)

I mean… did you see the sets in Babylon? This is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Mank all over again. As for the rest of the field, there’s enough striking period and cultural specificity in The FabelmansBlack Panther: Wakanda ForeverElvis, and Avatar: The Way of Water to make me think that, at this moment, they could fill out the rest of the top five, but I am also looking at All Quiet on the Western Front to see if its potential prosperity elsewhere elevates it here too.


BEST SOUND

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

1. TBD – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)

2. TBD – All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix) (NEW)

3. TBD – Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century Studios) (-1)

4. TBD – Babylon (Paramount Pictures) (+2)

5. TBD – The Batman (Warner Bros.) (-2)

ALTERNATES:

6. TBD – Elvis (Warner Bros.) (-2)

7. TBD – Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) (-2)

8. TBD – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney/Marvel Studios) (-1)

9. TBD – Thirteen Lives (Amazon Studios/MGM) (-1)

10. TBD – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is the Top Gun: Maverick award. But if anything can give it a run for its money, it’s our potential war film Best Picture contender All Quiet on the Western Front, with blockbusters like Avatar: The Way of Water and The Batman not far behind, while Babylon will also have showy and immersive sound work thanks to the pompous parties and manic movie sets (though don’t count out the mightily musical Elvis or the subversive sci-fi action extravaganza Everything Everywhere All at Once).


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Sam Worthington as Jake Sully in Avatar: The Way of Water

1. TBD – Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century Studios)

2. TBD – Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)

3. TBD – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)

4. TBD – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney/Marvel Studios)

5. TBD – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Walt Disney/Marvel Studios)

ALTERNATES:

6. TBD – The Batman (Warner Bros.)

7. TBD – Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix)

8. TBD – Nope (Universal Pictures) (+2)

9. TBD – Thor: Love and Thunder (Walt Disney/Marvel Studios) (-1)

10. TBD – Three Thousand Years of Longing (MGM/UAR) (-1)

Top Gun has Best Sound on lock, and Avatar has Best Visual Effects. Best Picture contenders like Top Gun: Maverick and Everything Everywhere All at Once can help fill out the field, along with a few Marvel movies (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?), but this is always gonna be Avatar‘s.


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix)

2. Strange World (Walt Disney/Walt Disney Animation)

3. Turning Red (Walt Disney/Pixar Animation)

4. Wendell & Wild (Netflix)

5. The Bad Guys (Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Animation)

ALTERNATES:

6. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (A24)

7. The Sea Beast (Netflix)

8. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Animation)

9. Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood (Netflix)

10. Lightyear (Walt Disney/Pixar Animation)

Disney’s slate is lighter than usual this year (it’s still somewhat strong, but lacking a surefire heavy hitter), so I remain optimistic that the path could be cleared for GDT and Pinocchio to pick up Animated Feature award after Animated Feature award all season along – especially if that tender teaser trailer is a true sign of the finished product’s quality. Wendell & Wild could be another strong contender for Netflix (some weren’t quite as satisfied with it out of TIFF, but it does have a few passionate defenders, and the pedigree of its cast and crew should uplift it), while The Bad Guys remains a compelling early year pick that was successful with critics and mainstream crowds (but watch out if A24’s Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is able to compete in this category).


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Fire of Love

1. Fire of Love (National Geographic Documentary Films/NEON)

2. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (NEON) (+4)

3. Navalny (Warner Bros.) (-1)

4. Descendant (Netflix)

5. Moonage Daydream (NEON) (-2)

ALTERNATES:

6. Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios) (-1)

7. Sidney (Apple TV+)

8. The Territory (National Geographic Documentary Films)

9. Riotsville, USA (Magnolia Pictures)

10. Last Flight Home (MTV Documentary Films)

I still think Fire of Love is going to be the sentimental fave in this category, but I’m not dismissing the Golden Lion-winning All the Beauty and the Bloodshed whatsoever. NavalnyDescendant, and Moonage Daydream – as three of the most visually and/or thematically daring documentaries of the year and three of the most acclaimed – seem like the strongest bets to fill out our top five, but Good Night Oppy is a feel-good film that could crash the line-up too, along with Apple TV+’s Sidney Poitier documentary, Sidney.


BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

All Quiet on the Western Front

1. All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix) – Germany (+5)

2. Decision to Leave (MUBI) – South Korea (-1)

3. Close (A24) – Belgium (-1)

4. BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (Netflix) – Mexico

5. RRR (Sarigama Cinemas) – India

ALTERNATES:

6. Saint Omer (TBD) – France (NEW)

7. Holy Spider (Utopia) – Denmark

8. The Eight Mountains (TBD) – Italy (NEW)

9. Argentina, 1985 (TBD) – Argentina (NEW)

10. EO (TBD) – Poland (NEW)

Surprised to see All Quiet on the Western Front here? I sure hope not, given how many other categories I have it contending in. It really could steamroll – especially since this line-up has been left without a frontrunner ever since BARDO slipped – but Decision to Leave and Close will surely still put up a fight. BARDO will just be happy to be nominated, while the same can be said for RRR (though that film has a much stronger critical and commercial reception, which could keep it higher in the conversation), and if you’re looking for other potential upsets, keep an eye on contenders from Cannes and Venice.


WIN/NOMINATION TALLIES

Taking into account all of my present predictions, this is what I’m seeing for the prospective wins and nominations for this awards season’s hottest titles:

  • Babylon (6 wins/13 nominations)
    • Best Picture
    • Best Director
    • Best Actor
    • Best Actress
    • Best Supporting Actor
    • Best Original Screenplay
    • Best Cinematography
    • Best Costume Design
    • Best Film Editing
    • Best Makeup and Hairstyling
    • Best Original Score
    • Best Production Design
    • Best Sound
  • The Fabelmans (1 win/10 nominations)
    • Best Picture
    • Best Director
    • Best Supporting Actor
    • Best Supporting Actress
    • Best Original Screenplay
    • Best Cinematography
    • Best Costume Design
    • Best Film Editing
    • Best Original Score
    • Best Production Design
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once (4 wins/7 nominations)
    • Best Picture
    • Best Director
    • Best Actress
    • Best Supporting Actor
    • Best Original Screenplay
    • Best Film Editing
    • Best Visual Effects
  • Women Talking (1 win/6 nominations)
    • Best Picture
    • Best Supporting Actor
    • Best Supporting Actress
    • Best Supporting Actress
    • Best Adapted Screenplay
    • Best Original Score
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (1 win/6 nominations)
    • Best Picture
    • Best Director
    • Best Adapted Screenplay
    • Best Cinematography
    • Best International Feature Film
    • Best Sound
  • The Whale (2 wins/5 nominations)
    • Best Picture
    • Best Actor
    • Best Supporting Actress
    • Best Adapted Screenplay
    • Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Top Gun: Maverick (2 wins/5 nominations)
    • Best Picture
    • Best Film Editing
    • Best Original Song
    • Best Sound
    • Best Visual Effects
  • Avatar: The Way of Water (1 win/5 nominations)
    • Best Picture
    • Best Cinematography
    • Best Production Design
    • Best Sound
    • Best Visual Effects
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (0 wins/5 nominations)
    • Best Costume Design
    • Best Makeup and Hairstyling
    • Best Original Song
    • Best Production Design
    • Best Visual Effects
  • TÁR (0 wins/4 nominations)
    • Best Picture
    • Best Director
    • Best Actress
    • Best Original Screenplay
  • Elvis (0 wins/4 nominations)
    • Best Actor
    • Best Costume Design
    • Best Makeup and Hairstyling
    • Best Production Design
  • Empire of Light (0 wins/3 nominations)
    • Best Actress
    • Best Cinematography
    • Best Original Score
  • Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (1 win/2 nominations)
    • Best Animated Feature
    • Best Original Score
  • The Batman (0 wins/2 nominations)
    • Best Makeup and Hairstyling
    • Best Sound
  • Turning Red (0 wins/2 nominations)
    • Best Animated Feature
    • Best Original Song
  • RRR (0 wins/2 nominations)
    • Best International Feature Film
    • Best Original Song
  • The Son (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best Actor
  • I Wanna Dance with Somebody (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best Actress
  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best Adapted Screenplay
  • White Noise (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best Adapted Screenplay
  • The Woman King (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best Costume Design
  • Tell It Like a Woman (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best Original Song
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best Visual Effects
  • Strange World (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best Animated Feature
  • Wendell & Wild (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best Animated Feature
  • The Bad Guys (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best Animated Feature
  • Fire of Love (1 win/1 nomination)
    • Best Documentary Feature
  • All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best Documentary Feature
  • Navalny (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best Documentary Feature
  • Descendant (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best Documentary Feature
  • Moonage Daydream (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best Documentary Feature
  • Decision to Leave (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best International Feature Film
  • Close (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best International Feature Film
  • BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (0 wins/1 nomination)
    • Best International Feature Film
Written by
Though Zoë Rose Bryant has only worked in film criticism for a little under three years - turning a collegiate passion into a full-time career by writing for outlets such as Next Best Picture and Awards Watch - her captivation with cinema has been a lifelong fascination, appreciating film in all its varying forms, from horror movies to heartfelt romantic comedies and everything in between. Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, she made the move to Los Angeles in 2021 after graduating college and now spends her days keeping tabs on all things pop culture and attempting to attend every screening under the sun. As a trans critic, she also seeks to champion underrepresented voices in the LGBTQ+ community in film criticism and offer original insight on how gender and sexuality are explored in modern entertainment. You can find Zoë on Twitter, Instagram, and Letterboxd at @ZoeRoseBryant.

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