The Friendly Film Fan Makes Its First Pass at Predicting Next Year's Academy Award Contenders.
It is finally time. For those of you who have stuck around with me for a while, you know that there is one season I look forward to more than any other: Oscar season. Every year, the best of the best come out to show off what they can really do, and it’s always been fascinating to me to witness old legends mounting triumphant returns as new faces are celebrated and auteurs of all sorts crafting meaningful and provocative stories. Typically this season begins about halfway through the major festival circuit which occupies some of September and most of October. However, before that season begins in full force, it’s always fun to speculate what will make it through the sheer volume of content coming to theaters to contend for Hollywood’s highest honor. Of course, there are always great movies that get overlooked or passed over, whether due to lack of notoriety or simply how long it’s been since the initial release. But there are also films whose trajectories come out of nowhere, rocketing to triumphs no one expected and shaking up the hierarchy of what voters can expect. CODA won all of its Oscar nominations last year (including Best Picture), whereas mere weeks before awards were handed out, it landed firmly in third or fourth place on most predictions lists. Parasite was expected to lose to Sam Mendes’ 1917 for the big prize and ended up being the first non-English-language film to ever pull off that kind of win. There’s always something to keep film enthusiasts and voters on their toes, but for now, we’ll work with the playing field we have.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with how I make these predictions lists, they typically come in fours. The first three are all varying degrees of Nomination Predictions – one very early, one further into Oscar season when most of the films have been released and thus given either a boost or a humbling, and one just before the Oscar nominations are announced. Each of these feature guesses for every respective category in the Oscars program based on the number of nominees in said category, plus three “wildcard” picks that could steal a spot from one of the predicted nominees. For the first two of these lists, however, the Short Film predictions are not included, both due to lack of accessibility and the sheer volume of eligible or submitted Shorts remaining unknown until the Academy reveals their shortlists closer to Oscar night. (For those of you who do want an idea though, count on at least one of the Disney+ or Pixar shorts to make it in Animated Short.) The fourth predictions list is a set of Winner Predictions based on the field of nominees, typically posted the day before the Oscars telecast. We have a lot to get through, and a lot that could change very soon, so let’s get started. Here are my ridiculously early Oscar nomination predictions for the year 2023!
Over the past few years, Best Sound has become one of my favorite categories to reckon with in predictions lists, and one of my favorite aspects of film in general (so it figures that the Academy combines Sound Mixing and Sound Editing just as I had the difference between them figured out). The hum of Dune’s Ornithopters, the roar of Top Gun: Maverick’s F-18 engines, the subtle in-helmet vibrations of Gravity, the near-deaf acceptance of Sound of Metal – all of these things are some of my favorite elements of their respective stories, so predicting what will likely succeed in this realm and what will just miss the cut is very fun. There are, as always, the mainstays of the music biopic, a famous (and occasionally infamous) occupant of these nominations lists, so Elvis, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, and TÁR seem like smart choices here, as do the other genre mainstays in movies about moviemaking, such as Babylon and, to a less explicit extent, Nope. That leaves only the tentpoles for consideration, barring Empire of Light or White Noise having ridiculously good sound. And the tentpoles this time around are undeniable; Avatar is almost sure to get in, and while it’s not on the list at the moment, Black Panther’s previous chapter was nominated in both of the aforementioned sound categories before they were merged, so Wakanda Forever has a decent chance at repeat success. Frankly, Top Gun: Maverick is in the lead to win it all and shows no signs of slowing down, but let’s also not forget how thrilling it was to hear the Batmobile power on for the first time in The Batman, or how the dark knight’s boots were made to sound like an ominous demon was approaching. Both of these films more than deserve to be here at the end of the day, and honestly, I wouldn’t be mad at either of them taking the gold.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
This category can seem fairly easy to predict at first, but in reality, it’s difficult to tell beyond about three or four selections what fits the bill for a Visual Effects nomination in the eyes of the Academy. With Shazam!: Fury of the Gods now being pushed to 2023, we come closer and closer to having Thor: Love and Thunder appear in a VFX predictions list it has no business being near. That said, there’s still plenty left in its way that could break into the list instead. Avatar: The Way of Water, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Jurassic World: Dominion seem like forgone conclusions given how those films rely almost entirely on VFX to deliver spectacle, and the notion that no film but Forrest Gump has beat James Cameron at the VFX game since 1986, so it’s likely his movie wins this category again, especially as the advancements in VFX and Motion Capture tech made specifically for Avatar are one the film’s primary selling points. That leaves a number of things on the table, including Everything Everywhere All at Once, a film whose VFX seems relatively small or subsidiary to the story around them, but which are immensely impressive once one learns that the whole VFX team consisted of just five people. Other notable candidates include The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Bullet Train, Nope, and Netflix’s animated Pinocchio. Top Gun: Maverick is also an interesting case here, as Tom Cruise’s films are famous for their reliance on as much practicality and in-camera action as possible, but there are still plenty of digital effects in the film if you know where to look for them. With that in mind, I doubt Academy voters will bolster it to 1917 levels, as even the practicality in that film was thoroughly mixed with those VFX.
BEST ORIGNAL SCREENPLAY
Original Screenplay works largely in the opposite fashion from Adapted, where the number of options is ultimately what cripples certainty, but even then, there are pathways to follow and patterns to note. A class satire like Triangle of Sadness has its best shot at a nomination here, while this category is also often reserved for the wild indies and audience favorites that otherwise may not have made it to picture. Everything Everywhere All at Once will likely still land in Picture as it’s simply too good of a film to deny, but it’s still pretty out-there as movie premises go, so it would fit that second qualifier nonetheless. International films, too, have increasingly become mainstays in the screenplay categories over the past few years, with Parasite winning Original Screenplay in 2019 and Drive My Car being nominated for Adapted in 2021. In that spirit, Bardo and Decision to Leave both feel as if they have decent shots of breaking through. There are your mainstays, such as the Spielberg one (The Fablemans), the one about movies (Babylon), and the other one about movies (Empire of Light), but personally I’m more partial to rooting for those fringe picks to break in, even if TÁR is likely to suffer the same fate as Spencer by attaining a Lead Actress performance and little-to-nothing else.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Most of the time, the Oscar categories can be difficult to predict due to a wealth of options at one’s disposal with no clear path for which ones will end up staying the course all the way to the nominations announcement, but Adapted Screenplay is a different beast in that its difficulty is in finding more candidates beyond the obvious. A Harvey Weinstein scandal drama a la Spotlight, a Noah Baumbach adaptation of a beloved novel, a female-led ensemble piece built on conversation, and a follow-up to the 2021 Best Adapted Screenplay winner The Father from the same writer of that film all feel like choices destined to eventually hear their titles called, but once outside of those, it becomes difficult to find adaptations that could conceivably compete. This makes Darren Aronofsky’s adaptation of The Whale a candidate almost by default, as it’s the only Academy-like choice left that seems unquestionably of quality, at least on paper. Till may land here, but isn’t exactly a hot contender elsewhere, and Glass Onion may fall prey to a Knives Out curse, missing a nomination in its best-bet category. That leaves Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin left to shake up the race and not much else. McDonagh has been a welcome guest of the Oscars before, and has even been nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category twice, but hasn’t appeared in this one and hasn’t won an Oscar since his win for Best Live-Action Short with Six Shooter in 2006. That doesn’t spell great expectations or hot competition for a category with all but one near-guaranteed candidates; nevertheless, when the nominations do come, the winner may well be hotly contested.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
This is the hardest category to predict nominations for because if you’re not in the music business or not watching literally everything that’s released in a given year and keeping track of whether or not there’s a song it has to show for itself, it’s the category to which pundits and predictors have the least exposure by far. There’s simply no way to tell which songs from which films will even be submitted, or even if some obscure film people haven’t seen has enough support to bolster a song nomination when it has nothing else to push for awards consideration. That said, there’s a decent amount to work off of so far. Almost every year, there’s an obligatory Diane Warren-written song attached to a film one isn’t considering that gets nominated and then loses her yet another Oscar (this would be the 15th loss for the icon), so one of the spots will go to that, and the team from The Greatest Showman has written the music for the upcoming children’s film Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, which stars Shawn Mendes as a singing CGI crocodile (yes, that’s actually what I meant to write there), so that could very likely land at least one song on the board, although neither of their songs from Dear Evan Hansen made it, so it’s less likely than you might think. News was released on August 24 that Harry Styles had written a song for Florence Pugh to sing in their movie, the Olivia Wilde-directed Don’t Worry Darling, so that will almost certainly appear here if for no other reason than Styles being a mega-star and the fact that he wrote it for Pugh, who is inarguably the biggest young movie star of the moment.
For the others, there are the obvious picks, such as Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand,” and probably “Nobody Like You,” the boy band song from Pixar’s Turning Red. “Turn Up the Sunshine” from Minions: The Rise of Gru doesn’t seem like it’s heating up the box office or anything, but it could land a spot here if Illumination plays their cards right, and the same franchise has landed a nomination in this category before. Then, there are some more fringy, outlandish picks that nonetheless could break through in the way that “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest did two years ago. “Dosti,” which doesn’t appear on this list but does seem very prominent on many others, seems to be the most famous one from the Indian smash hit RRR, but it’s unclear whether it can clear the International Feature barrier in its way, and although “Good Tonight” from The Bad Guys doesn’t have the greatest lyrical ingenuity, it is – as the saying goes – a bop. It remains to be seen whether the rap-fused hybrid of “Hound Dog” in the song “Vegas” by Doja Cat from Elvis is too fringe for the Academy’s taste, but as it’s one of the only prominent songs still being played from a movie this year apart from “Hold My Hand,” I wouldn’t count it out just yet.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
This is the only category where I have four wildcards instead of three. Hopefully the following will explain why.
Though both Hildur Guðnadóttir and the Avatar franchise have both been nominated in this category before (with Guðnadóttir having won for her work on Joker), the former’s work is on a film which will already contain a lot of other music with which it would have to significantly compete (and not likely win), while the latter’s first score was composed by the late James Horner; The Way of Water’s music, however, was composed by Simon Franglen, whose music I’m not familiar with enough to confidently assert that this category will be one of Avatar’s bevvy of nominations, though he did co-compose themes with Horner for Walt Disney World’s Pandora theme area. As it stands, the presumed competition is already stiff, with all five predicted nominees being previous winners, one of whom is John Williams, and two of whom – Justin Hurwitz and Ludwig Göransson – won their respective awards within the past decade, Göransson for the same franchise. This also may be the best chance for Michael Abels to finally be nominated for his work on a Jordan Peele project, having been passed up for Us, which is authentically a horror score, whereas Nope retains some further elements of old spaghetti western music to mix in with its more sinister moments. Göransson’s task this time around, though, is a bit more challenging this time around, as Academy rules stipulate that at least 35% of the music in a given film must be brand-new (original) score, and Marvel Studios does like to re-use a lot of themes for big moments, so it’s likely that the original Black Panther themes from the 2018 film play in Wakanda Forever’s most climactic segments, ditto Avatar.
Where this rule may come in handy, actually, is in assessing the chances of Top Gun: Maverick to break out of the wildcard category, as the new music composed for it by original Top Gun composer Harold Faltermeyer, as well as Hans Zimmer and Lady Gaga under production from Lorne Balfe, measures a little over 50% of the total music used, thus qualifying it for competition in this category. Gaga’s main contribution is essentially form the love theme of the movie in conjunction with her song “Hold My Hand” as the film’s closing anthem (the song also plays in the background during Maverick’s second visit to Penny’s bar, The Hard Deck, when he first encounters Amelia), whereas Zimmer and Balfe focused on the action scoring, and Faltermeyer ensured his themes were woven in appropriately. Scores that tie in with closing songs often have a good chance at selling their chances for nominations here, especially if the theme is as essential and befitting to its film as this one is to Top Gun: Maverick, so it’s within the realm of possibility that the score could be just flying under the radar until the time comes to begin the attack (campaigning). On the other hand, new scores based on pre-existing material don’t often land in this category, and Maverick’s themes may feel too tied into its predecessor’s legacy for the music branch of the Academy to consider honoring it over something brand new.
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
Another category where genre fare can actually score some pretty decent nominations in is Makeup & Hairstyling, though inevitably, there will come along a film with relatively plain, unassuming makeup that gets nominated over something more deserving, so watch out for The Fablemans or Don’t Worry Darling to knock out something The Batman or The Woman King further down the line. In fact, the latter may have a better shot at staying in, as the former could end up competing with the other design-heavy superhero movie this year in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The original Black Panther was not nominated in this category, but with the introduction of Atlantis and Namor the Submariner, entirely new makeup designs and hairstyles for the underwater nation are sure to be one of Wakanda Forever’s many highlights.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
The second of the two design categories Black Panther won in 2018, the Ryan Coogler follow-up to that film may well be competing with another that also centralizes its story on a tribe of African warriors in The Woman King. Then again, if the Academy simply isn’t feeling that they need to reward Marvel Studios with a second costume design Oscar and feels that the latter film’s looks aren’t distinctive enough, it could easily reward the fanny-pack-wearing looks of EEAaO or the period pieces of Babylon or Don’t Worry Darling. Truthfully, there’s not much in the way of outlandish costume design this year apart from Baz Luhrmann’s maximalist Elvis biopic, but it remains to be seen whether simply recreating the icon’s looks will be enough to push it past entirely new conceptualizations.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
The last time a Black Panther movie was at the Oscars, it won three of them, and two of those three wins were in design categories. Production Design was one of those two, so even competing with all the design work in Avatar, Empire of Light, and Babylon, it should fit pretty snuggly into this category’s lineup. The shakiest prediction I have here is Everything Everywhere All at Once, but given the sheer level of creativity in the most minute details and frame background of every shot of that magnificent movie, I find it difficult to count it out. Other candidates with elaborate set designs could include the mysterious Don’t Worry Darling which is plastered in old-timey shiny 50s aesthetics and Amsterdam. The Woman King or Rian Johnson’s upcoming Glass Onion could also appear here, but the former is much more likely to succeed in Costume Design and we don’t really have any significant footage of the latter yet.
BEST FILM EDITING
A nomination in Best Film Editing is often an indication that whatever appears there makes it to the Best Picture lineup, but not always an indicator of winnings at the end of Oscar night. For the past three years, Film Editing and Sound have gone hand in hand, with Ford v Ferrari winning Best Sound Editing in 2019 (at the time, the category was split by Editing and Mixing – 1917 won Mixing but was not nominated in Editing), while Sound of Metal and Dune took home both categories in 2020 and 2021. One of the old adages about the Academy’s voting process for this category is that – rather than voting for the Best Editing – they vote for the Most Editing, which bodes well for the two most popular predictions in this category, the hyper cross-cut multiversal edits of Everything Everywhere All at Once and the frenetically fast-paced aerial sequences in Top Gun: Maverick. Top Gun has the edge in sound here, but as we’ll get to later, may not be as safe in this category as one might think, given that EEAaO is more likely to land a Best Picture nomination. Then again, the wildcard picks – with the exception of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – are widely expected to land Best Picture nominations as well, so any of these could be knocked out.
There are two simple truths when it comes to the cinematography category that every awards pundit worth their salt abides by as scripture: never bet against James Cameron or his team, and never exclude Roger Deakins when he’s in the race. While Avatar: The Way of Water and Empire of Light are the most obvious picks here, however, there’s also room for Janusz Kaminski to receive another nomination after unexpectedly breaking into a tough category last year for his work on Spielberg’s West Side Story. Given that The Fablemans has been dubbed “Spielberg’s Roma” by most people familiar with the project, it seems not simply possible but inevitable that Kaminski is capturing something special here, even if Linus Sandgren swoops in anyway for his first win since La La Land in 2016, which he also shot for director Damien Chazelle. Genre fare isn’t the most popular in this category, but it’s not unheard of, especially as two other Batman films – Batman Begins and The Dark Knight – did land nominations here, and as Greig Fraser is the reigning winner for his work on Dune, it seems likely that this is one spot where The Batman has a real shot at breaking through. Other possible candidates include Hoyte van Hoytema for Jordan Peele’s sci-fi thriller Nope, which seems the most likely to leave its spot for a nomination given that Hoytema has been nominated in this category once before for Dunkirk, but could also fall to Darius Khondji for Bardo. AGI is fairly picky about his cinematographers, and led his longtime shooting partner Emmanuel Lubezki to two back-to-back wins in this category, so it's not out of the question he could do it with someone new.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Admittedly, Best Documentary Feature is a tough nut to crack if you don’t live in an area where people are talking about these sort of things all the time. I’ve only seen one of my predictions myself and only one of them besides that is even widely available for people to watch (Navalny is on HBO Max…for now). This makes predicting the category quite tricky, as one has to rely on the reputations of studios and their marketing campaigns for each movie when predicting it this early in the game. Other predictions are due to some films having fall festival debuts (such as Descendent) – which typically means the film is gearing up for an awards run once released – or on the notoriety of their subjects; Moonage Daydream, a documentary about David Bowie from Neon, is sure to make an impression on Academy voters, so it could have a real shot at a win here. Then again, this is the same branch that failed to nominate The Rescue, so what do I know?
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Most submissions for Best International Feature have not yet been made in this category, apart from Decision to Leave and The Quiet Girl being official picks, so this one runs largely off of speculation, but it’s widely expected that Bardo, RRR, and Triangle of Sadness will appear here (the last being submitted by Sweden, as it was coproduced by both Sweden and France, but the latter has more options at their disposal for submission). Essentially everything else comes down to word of mouth and great campaigning, with no less than four possible choices for France (including Claire Denis’ Both Sides of the Blade) and a slew of other films which could also get in if submitted, such as Argentina, 1985 and Alcarras. That said, since Bardo comes from Alejandro González Iñárritu, and is on track to be an eventual Best Picture nominee, it’s most likely not to just get nominated for this category, but outright win it when all is said and done.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Yet another film I don’t understand how more pundits aren’t paying attention to is The Bad Guys, DreamWorks’ genuinely good animated film that released in April. It certainly isn’t likely to win the category, but its absence among predictions is curious, especially considering Animated Feature is the one category (apart from Best Picture) that the entire Academy is allowed to vote on for nominations, rather than it being decided solely by its own branch. The Bad Guys remains a fairly popular film post-theaters, and I don’t see that popularity waning enough for it not to be here. Currently, the leader of this race is actually Guillermo Del Toro’s adaptation of Pinocchio (the second of two Pinocchio films releasing this year), but as it’s released by Netflix, it remains to be seen whether the Academy will go for rewarding it over something more tradition, such as Disney Animation’s upcoming sci-fi flick Strange World. Lightyear may be Pixar’s better-looking candidate in this category, but given its lukewarm reception, box office failure, and the re-evaluation of Turning Red’s success amongst critical bodies, it’s likely the latter is the one that actually makes this category. The true curiosity is A24’s Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, which has been deemed eligible for Best Animated Feature, but remains uncertain as it would rely on Academy members deciding that there was enough animation within its live-action setting to feel appropriately placed here.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
There are only two categories where Triangle of Sadness seems to have the best shot at landing a nomination – this is one of them. That said, this seems like a race between Paul Dano and Ke Huy Quan more than anything. The former is starring in Steven Spielberg’s The Fablemans, which currently leads the Best Picture race, while the latter is tour-de-force of movement and emotion as Quan is put through the acting wringer multiple times in his stellar comeback performance. Dano could also be submitted for The Batman, but genre films don’t tend to ace this category – The Dark Knight notwithstanding – and it seems like the Academy would be more likely to go after Colin Farrell in that film instead (though he, too, has The Banshees of Inisherin to rely on for awards attention). The variable here is really Christian Bale, who stars in David O. Russell’s Amsterdam, and is supposedly the only real above-the-line push for that film. Russell’s films do have a tendency to be nominated for a lot of performance awards at the Oscars, so even if it land nothing else, Bale could easily get in here.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
This category pretty much reflects the GoldDerby top five odds beat-for-beat, but of the wildcard candidates present, Laura Dern may actually be the most likely to break though on either name recognition or the Academy doing what the Emmys did and ignoring Sadie Sink for a nomination she most likely will deserve (especially since she’s acting opposite surefire Best Actor candidate Brendan Fraser). Two nominations for The Son here seems unlikely, and the same goes for Everything Everywhere All at Once, whose other contender is Jamie Lee Curtis in one of her most outrageous parts. Logically, Samantha Morton would be next in line for the Weinstein scandal drama She Said, as she appears to play a crucial role in getting the story out, and doesn’t have other competition in this category from her own film (barring an unbelievable Zoe Kazan performance). Then again, as with all categories, there may be a performance no one’s considering that could come in and shake things up significantly by the time we get to January.
This category seems the most locked-up at the moment, but don’t underestimate the presence of Bill Nighy here. Sony Pictures Classics, a studio which has always been sneakily good at getting their films into major Oscar races, in the distributer behind Living, a film whose trailer heavily features Nighy showing off his performing chops. GoldDerby currently has Nighy as the fifth most likely nominee, but I’m not quite ready to give up Adam Driver in this category yet, especially considering he was also nominated in this category for Noah Baumbach’s previous Oscar contender, Marriage Story, and has returned to work with Baumbach again for the New York Film Festival opener, White Noise.
Perhaps the category whose fifth candidate is most difficult to predict, Best Actress – per usual – is absolutely stacked with top-tier talent. The only predicted nominee about whom I’m not almost 100% certain is Naomie Ackie, who portrays music icon Whitney Houston in I Wanna Dance With Somebody, which releases in December. Portrayals of musical icons almost always land in this category somewhere, especially if said portrayal is the film’s main selling point, but it could very easily come about that one of the wildcard candidates takes that spot. Andrew Dominik’s Blonde stars Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe, so Armas could be that film’s only true contender, as she’s the most likely to break through the stigma of its NC-17 rating (provided costumes and hair & makeup don’t come through). Viola Davis, too, could break through here as the leader of an all-female African warrior tribe in The Woman King, though whether the performance can crack the top five we’ll know in just under a month. That leaves Danielle Deadwyler as Emmett Till’s mother in Till, a film which has stirred up some online debates around centering Black trauma in storytelling, and whose only shot at a nomination is likely to be Deadwyler herself. Very little of the performance has been seen, so for that, we’ll simply have to wait and see.
How most pundits still don’t have James Cameron in their running for Best Director, I will likely never understand, but it’s not as if this category is all-but-guaranteed. Sarah Polley could very easily squeeze in here for her female ensemble piece Women Talking and there’s no sure bet that Daniels or Iñárritu stay put. If New York Film Festival opening night pick White Noise hits especially hard, Noah Baumbach could see a slot picked up, and Sam Mendes is hot off a nomination in this category for his last film, 1917 (which was originally pegged to win this award and Best Picture), which had the unfortunate task of coming out in the Parasite year. Other unlisted candidates include Park Chan-wook, whose film Decision to Leave is South Korea’s official submission for International Feature, a category which has been known to cross over in Best Director any number of times. That said, it would be difficult for almost any of these predictions to be knocked out completely, so a Directing nod for Decision to Leave – while not out of the question – remains unlikely at this stage.
There are several contenders I did not list in this category, but not for lack of enthusiasm. Palme d’Or winner Triangle of Sadness is absent here, as is Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin and David O. Russell’s ensemble piece Amsterdam. The reason for these exclusions largely come down to the sheer number of Best Picture slots being capped at 10, per the Academy’s expansion of the category in 2010. Palme d’Or winners, as well, don’t have a stellar track record for being nominated in this category unless they’re considered outright masterpieces, such as Parasite (the latest Palme d’Or winner to Best Picture nominee translation before that was Amour in 2013). Neither Blue is the Warmest Color nor Titane were even nominated in the International Feature category in their respective years, and in fact it was Drive My Car – which lost the Cannes prize to Titane – which was nominated for Best Picture last year instead. Triangle of Sadness is not a foreign language film, so it doesn’t have that working against it as the aforementioned do, but it still seems unlikely to crack these 10 predictions, especially considering the wildcards at play. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s franchise predecessor was the first superhero film ever to be nominated in this category, and if it nails its farewell to Chadwick Boseman, groundswell support could carry it the rest of the way. Another film facing a similar fate is Top Gun: Maverick, which is Paramount’s highest-grossing domestic film ever and the sixth highest-grossing domestic release of all time, having recently passed the likes of Avengers: Infinity War. The Tom Cruise-starring blockbuster could land a nod here by knocking out Bardo or Avatar: The Way of Water, as those seem to be the shakiest candidates. Until such a time comes, however, where either Alejandro González Iñárritu or James Cameron are no longer Oscar darlings or unbelievably good filmmakers, their movies will remain on this list.
And those are my ridiculously early Oscar nomination predictions for 2023! Obviously, all of these guesses are pure speculation and pattern recognition at this point, and the final predictions list is bound to look quite different post-festival season, but for now, what’s there is all I can speculate about. What are you predicting in these categories? Is there anything I’m sorely missing? Am I putting too much faith in Avatar and not enough in Top Gun? Let me know in the comments section below, and thanks for reading!
- The Friendly Film Fan