2023 Oscar Predictions: Who Will Win and Should Win?

Although Best Picture is the biggest lock I’ve seen in a decade, this weekend’s Oscars are toss-ups in several key categories – from Best Actor and Actress, to Best Editing and Cinematography.

Last year, I got nearly all of my predictions correct (save for an admittedly pot-stirring prediction of a Kristen Stewart win). This year, I expect my ballot to fare much worse. That’s for a couple of reasons.

First, the wins have been all over the place this year — and aside from EEAAO and The Daniels, no one has built any unopposed momentum in their respective categories. I expect many of these races to come down to the wire.

Second, this was one of the worst years I’ve seen for movies in a while. I feel like the debates over who should and will win are much less passionate for this year’s races compared to the past as, frankly, this is not the best that Hollywood’s had to offer in recent memory.

So, I’m heading into Sunday’s ceremony with a strange mix of excitement about what could happen and indifference over what will.

Here’s hoping 2023 will deliver a better slate of movies.

Oh well. On with the predictions!

Side Note: I recorded some Oscar predictions for my podcast, The Old Kids Movies on February 27th, and some of my predictions have changed since then. The predictions in this article reflect my most accurate predictions.

Side Side Note: This is my 11th prediction write-up! I thought it would be fun to see how I did in the last decade, so I included my win rate for each of these eight major categories in the last ten years. Collectively, I incorrectly predicted the winner 21 out of 80 times, giving my predictions an overall accuracy rate of 73.75%. Take that as you will!

Best Picture

Predicted Winner: Everything Everywhere All at Once

AJ’s Best Picture Winner Prediction Success Rate: 40%

The movie with butt plugs, dildos, and hot dog fingers is going to win Best Picture – and it’s not even close.

I wish Banshees had won the BAFTA or Top Gun won the PGA so I could offer a hot take and say one of them would win Best Picture. They didn’t.

Everything Everywhere has been an unstoppable force in this race. Seemingly, its only challenger is All Quiet on the Western Front – a technical jaw-dropper that won the BAFTA for Best Picture, but no other industry top prizes.

Those all went to Everything Everywhere. The DGA. The WGA. The PGA. The SAG.

It’s over.

I’ll just come out and say it. I liked Everything Everywhere, but it wasn’t in my Top 10 of the year, and it’s not my favorite of the nominees. I think it gets lost in its ambition, and while it’s an understatement to say this movie is an achievement, I didn’t find it to be as funny or coherent as many others seem did. If it wins for Editing and Directing, I’ll understand, but as a whole, I don’t think this was the best movie of these nominees – much less the year.

To me, this award belongs to Banshees, with Top Gun close behind.

Funnily enough, I didn’t love the last Martin McDonagh movie, nor the first Top Gun. But these movies are the two nominees I’ve seen more than once and loved both times. Banshees is a timeless tale that I know I’ll revisit throughout my life and appreciate with a new perspective based on when I watch. Top Gun saved theaters and was a thrill-ride of a spectacle. Keep making movies, Tom.

Now, let’s dive into the other nominees. Tár, All Quiet, and once-frontrunner The Fabelmans weren’t entirely for me, though I know they have their lovers. I think each could have benefitted from a more focused and tighter approach, but still have plenty to appreciate. Elvis was a trip, but despite its love in the craft categories, I don’t see it pulling out a win, as its only above-the-line awards potential is going solely to Austin Butler.

As much as I would love to see Avatar or Triangle of Sadness get the win here (both of which were in my top 10 of the year), they seem to be darlings of specific sects of the Academy (visual effects and the international cohort, respectively). There isn’t enough universal appeal in The Academy for these projects to get them high enough on enough voters’ preferential ballots.

Oh, and Women Talking was boring. They nominated the wrong female-driven ensemble this year.

AJ’s Rankings (AKA my personal preferences) 

  1. The Banshees of Inisherin
  2. Top Gun: Maverick
  3. Avatar: The Way of Water
  4. Triangle of Sadness
  5. Everything Everywhere All at Once
  6. Elvis
  7. The Fabelmans
  8. All Quiet on the Western Front
  9. Tár
  10. Women Talking

Should Have Been Nominated

RRR, The Northman, She Said

Best Director

Predicted Winner: The Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once

AJ’s Best Director Winner Prediction Success Rate: 70%

This is not the last time I’ll be predicting Everything Everywhere, and while I’m confident the Daniels will win, it’s one of my least secure EEAAO predictions of the night. Sentimentality for Spielberg might get him on the stage, but the Daniels’ work is so impressively bizarre that it’s hard to ignore the opportunity to reward the duo.

While EEAAO didn’t entirely do it for me, I fully acknowledge how easily this movie could have turned into a total mess – and the baseline fact that this movie wasn’t a total mess should be enough to give them the trophy.

My vote would go to Martin McDonagh, for sort of the opposite reason of why people seem to love Everything Everywhere. Both that and Banshees are utterly unbelievable premises, and while EEAAO embraces its absurdity, McDonagh effectively rejects it and makes Banshees so impeccably grounded that it never gets close to absurd in my eyes — although in theory, it should. To me, that’s more of an accomplishment.

AJ’s Rankings

  1. McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
  2. The Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once
  3. Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness
  4. Spielberg, The Fabelmans
  5. Fields, Tár

Should Have Been Nominated

Rajamouli, RRR; Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick; Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water

Best Actress 

Predicted Winner: Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

AJ’s Best Actress Winner Prediction Success Rate: 70%

Ya know? If Cate Blanchett hadn’t used her acceptance speech time to tell people not to vote for her, she’d win handily. That — in conjunction with Michelle Yeoh racking up key wins and building a growing base of cheerleaders for her — should result in yet another win for EEAAO.

But let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment — and not to take away anything from Michelle, but Cate Blanchett is literally in her own universe in this category. Her performance is arguably her best work, and if any objectivity existed in the Academy, she would win.

And she still might!

Speaking of objectivity, Andrea Riseborough also belongs on this list for To Leslie. Even though very few actually saw her movie, those who did — myself included — recognize how moving and effective her performance was.

As a Michelle Williams fan, I can’t say I was vibing with what she was doing in The Fabelmans, and I would have loved to have seen someone like Mia Goth sneak in here for Pearl — or even the young, scene-stealing Frankie Corrio from Aftersun.

As for Ana de Armas…I’m just stunned that Blonde is an Oscar nominee. Good performance, though.

AJ’s Rankings

  1. Cate Blanchett, Tár
  2. Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie
  3. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once
  4. Ana de Armas, Blonde
  5. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans

Should Have Been Nominated

Frankie Corrio, Aftersun; Mia Goth, Pearl; Margot Robbie, Babylon

Best Actor

Predicted Winner: Brendan Fraser, The Whale

AJ’s Best Actor Winner Prediction Success Rate: 80%

One of the most exciting aspects of this year’s race is just how up-in-the-air 3/4 of the acting races are — including Best Actor. Austin, Brendan, and Colin have all won major televised awards and have legitimate claims to the gold.

Many consider Austin to be the frontrunner, but I have my doubts as to his ability to rally the votes for a genuine breakout performance. Aside from a small role in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Butler was most known for his 10-episode stint on “Zoey 101.” Unlike Best Actress, there seems to be a connotation of having to “earn” Best Actor. Even when Eddie Redmayne beat Michael Keaton in 2015, Eddie was an established actor, having appeared prominently in Oscar-nominated movies like My Week with Marilyn and Les Mis.

Austin doesn’t really have that cred — and Brendan has a career and personal comeback story propelling him to potential victory.

However, reading some Oscar voters’ thoughts (and noticing that The Whale missed out on key Picture and Screenplay nominations), it seems like there’s some notable disdain for The Whale. This could hurt Brendan’s chances, but I still think he’ll get it. I’m also seeing some last-minute surge potential for Colin, but I don’t know if it’ll be enough — especially with Brendan’s SAG win and speech being fresh on voters’ minds.

In short, it’s a three-way tossup, and I’m slightly leaning Fraser.

Looking at the other nods, Living was a small film, and I see Bill’s nomination as more of a career tribute for a fine performance. Mescal was magnetic in Aftersun, but with no other nominations to the film’s name, this is likely The Academy’s way of acknowledging that this is only the beginning for the rising star.

AJ’s Rankings

  1. Brendan Fraser, The Whale
  2. Austin Butler, Elvis
  3. Paul Mescal, Aftersun
  4. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
  5. Bill Nighy, Living

Should Have Been Nominated

Eden Dambrine, Close; Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick

Best Supporting Actress 

Predicted Winner: Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once

AJ’s Best Supporting Actress Winner Prediction Success Rate: 80%

Well, that was a nice break from predicting an Everything Everywhere All at Once win. Anyways, back to it.

I walked out of this movie a year ago with conflicted feelings about everything except Jamie Lee Curtis. I’ve been stumping for her Oscar win for 12 months and I refuse to stop this close to the finish line – especially with that SAG win in the bag.

This year’s race reminds me a lot of the 2015 Best Supporting Actor race, with wins all over the place but an expected win for Sylvester Stallone in Creed. The reason why? Stallone had won the Critics’ Choice and the Golden Globe. However, he ultimately lost to Mark Rylance, and the big indicator of that result was the fact that Stallone missed out on wins at the BAFTAs and the SAG.

This year, Angela Basset — unlike Sly — at least was nominated at those two industry awards, but she didn’t win. Prognosticators still list her as the frontrunner, but without those key wins from her peers (only critics’ circles), I fail to believe Basset will win an Oscar for a Marvel movie and limited screen time.

Stephanie Hsu is a welcomed addition to this list, and I commend Kerry’s grounded performance in Banshees for helping make the work more believable. I quite liked Hong Chau’s work in The Whale, but I don’t necessarily see it as one of the five best supporting female works of the year.

Ultimately, this win will come down to Angela, Jamie Lee, or Kerry. I lean Jamie Lee as a result of getting swept up in the the EEAAO love, but it’s anyone’s guess.

AJ’s Rankings

  1. Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once
  2. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once
  3. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin
  4. Hong Chau, The Whale
  5. Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Should Have Been Nominated

Dolly de Leon, Triangle of Sadness; Carey Mulligan, She Said

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Winner: Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

AJ’s Best Supporting Actor Winner Prediction Success Rate: 90%

The BAFTA loss is the only hiccup on Ke Huy’s road to redemption. I’m elated for this man and can’t wait to see what’s next in his career. His seamless transitions from one universe’s version of his character to the next with nothing but a snap of the neck and change of facial expression is essential to EEAAO’s success, and everything from his martial arts to his endearing tone in the film are wholly Oscar-worthy.

That said…I was ecstatic to see Barry Keoghan on the list of nominees, and was so proud of him for his victory at the BAFTAs. Any other year, he’d be my number one. For now, the nomination is his win.

Looking at who’s left on the list, Gleeson was overshadowed by his colleague in this same category, Hirsch shouldn’t be here, and while I’m glad his nomination resulted in me watching the under-seen Causeway, I don’t think Brian Tyree Henry needed to be here, either.

AJ’s Rankings

  1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once
  2. Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin
  3. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin
  4. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans
  5. Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway

Should Have Been Nominated

Mark Rylance, Bones and All

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Winer: All Quiet on the Western Front

AJ’s Best Adapted Screenplay Winner Prediction Success Rate: 70%

This is a last-minute switch from my initial prediction of Women Talking.

Again, I don’t like Women Talking, and for a movie that’s so dialogue-driven, the screenplay needs to be awesome. I just don’t think it is. It’s still a strong contender to win, but the fizzling Women Talking support is causing me to doubt its chances.

Conversely, All Quiet has been picking up steam. It’s unlikely to win Best Picture, so this is its only chance to win an above-the-line award. I don’t think this screenplay is that strong, but then again, I think that about every screenplay in this category.

AJ’s Rankings

  1. Glass Onion
  2. Top Gun: Maverick
  3. All Quiet on the Western Front
  4. Living
  5. Women Talking

Should Have Been Nominated

The Whale, She Said, The Northman

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Winner: The Banshees of Inisherin

AJ’s Best Original Screenplay Winner Prediction Success Rate: 90%

This is a close one, and my prediction is partially based on me trying to will this win into existence.

I don’t think The Academy will let Banshees go home empty-handed, and this win is its best bet. It all comes down to whether voters will put more emphasis on “Original” or “Screenplay.” If it’s “Screenplay,” it’s Banshees for its humor, dialogue, tone, and consistency.

If voters lean into the “Original” aspect of the award, it’s tough to argue with EEAAO here. If the wave of love for Everything is strong enough, a win here could still happen.

Triangle of Sadness‘s nomination in this category brings me great joy, as its use of dialogue and characters is genius even if the themes of the movie aren’t entirely unique. I think The Fabelmans and Tár are the least likely to win this category, and that’s fine by me.

AJ’s Rankings

  1. The Banshees of Inisherin
  2. Triangle of Sadness
  3. Everything Everywhere All at Once
  4. The Fabelmans
  5. Tár

Should Have Been Nominated

Barbarian, RRR

And now, the rest of my predictions & preferences.

Best Cinematography

Will Win: All Quiet on the Western Front
Should Win: All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Costume Design

Will Win: Elvis
Should Win: Elvis

Best Film Editing

Will Win: Everything Everywhere All at Once
Should Win: Top Gun: Maverick

Best Makeup

Will Win: The Whale
Should Win: The Batman

Best Production Design

Wil Win: Babylon 
Should Win: All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Song

Will Win: Naatu Naatu, RRR
Should Win: Hold My Hand, Top Gun: Maverick

Best Score

Will Win: Babylon
Should Win: Babylon

Best Sound

Will Win: Top Gun: Maverick
Should Win: Top Gun: Maverick

Best Visual Effects

Will Win: Avatar: The Way of Water
Should Win: Avatar: The Way of Water

Best Animated Feature

Will Win: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Should Win: Turning Red

Best International Film

Will Win: All Quiet on the Western Front
Should Win: Close

Tallied Predictions

Everything Everywhere All At Once: 6 Wins out of 11 Nominations
All Quiet on the Western Front: 3 Wins out of 9 Nominations
Babylon: 2 Wins out of 3 Nominations
The Whale: 2 Wins out of 3 Nominations
The Banshees of Inisherin: 1 Win out of 9 Nominations
Elvis: 1 Win out of 8 Nominations 
Avatar: The Way of Water: 1 Win out of 4 Nominations
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio: 1 Win out of 1 Nomination
RRR: 1 Win out of 1 Nomination