Here are my predictions for how the Oscars will be awarded in the ceremony on March 12. These predictions are based, in part, on my Initial Analysis and Ranking of the movies (see those posts for details). But I also recognize two important facts – one is that my analysis of movie quality is obviously incomplete since I have only seen one of the 39 nominated features. Second, is that the Oscar awards are not, necessarily, based on quality, but often involve political considerations. Since I am not a member of the Academy, nor really, a major player in the industry, I do not fully understand the politics involved.
Nevertheless, my track record over the last five years hasn’t been too bad – significantly better than chance. Here are my results so you can decide how far to trust my judgments:
2022: 10/23 (43%)
2021: 14/23 (61%)
2020: 8/24 (33%) – a bad year for me
2019: 15/24 (63%)
2018: 16/24 (67%)
For an overall average of 53%. (Random chance would yield a little less than 20%). So, I invite the reader to peruse my predictions and then, of course, make your own based on how you think things will go down. So here we go, by category.
I don’t pay much attention to these three categories only because I have limited time and resources and viewing these 15 nominees is often very difficult. So I make my predictions based, more or less, on the titles, the subject matter, and what limited buzz I’ve been able to read.
Documentary Short Subject: How Do You Measure a Year?
Animated Short Film: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
Live Action Short Film: Night Ride
Animated Feature Film: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
This is almost always Disney’s category to win or lose and it usually wins. But their entry this year, Turning Red isn’t doing so well among critics or viewers. So I’m betting that del Toro, who has done very well at the Oscars with other kinds of films, will bring this one home.
Documentary Feature: Navalny
If the Academy wants to make a political statement – and it usually does – then Navalny, about the Russian dissident, is the most likely winner. All That Breathes is my backup choice because of its high critical and viewer ratings.
International Feature Film: All Quiet on the Western Front
Nominated in eight other categories, including Best Picture, this is a shoe-in similar to Drive My Car (Korea) last year and Parasite (Korea) from two years ago. I can’t believe there is a second waiting in the wings, but if there is it is probably The Quiet Girl (Ireland) .
Original Song: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (“Lift Me Up”)
Even though a Disney-movie song is often the winner, the other option is a song by a big name artist as in last year’s win by Billie Eilish. This year, that could be either Lady Gaga or Rihanna. Very hard to say, but I’m going with Rihanna.
Original Score: The Banshees of Inisherin
I’ve been listening to the scores the last several days. Because Dune won the Oscar last year, there is a distinct possibility that another sci-fi movie, Everything Everywhere All at Once, could take it. But I actually think Carter Burwell’s score is more listener-friendly.
Sound: All Quiet on the Western Front
War movies have a history of doing well in the Sound categories, but I could see either Avatar… or Top Gun… taking this one, if All Quiet… doesn’t.
Makeup and Hairstyling: The Whale
I got this one wrong last year, so I’m humbled. My normal algorithm tells me to go with All Quiet, because it rates higher than the others on the OQI, but my gut is telling me that The Whale will get it simply because of the fat-suit.
Costume Design: Everything Everywhere All at Once
This category, like Makeup, is always a tough one. I would prefer that Black Panther… win but I’m guessing that the Everything… juggernaut will triumph..
Production Design: All Quiet on the Western Front
All Quiet… should get this based on my algorithm, but Avatar… would be a distinct possibility – the first one won the equivalent (Art Direction) in 2010. Possibly the Academy might want to duplicate that recognition.
Visual Effects: All Quiet on the Western Front
For the first time since I’ve been doing this, all of the nominees in this category have also been nominated for other things. This suggests that Visual Effects have entered the mainstream of movie-making. And that makes guessing the winner much more difficult. I could see this going to any of them, but I’m sticking with my algorithm.
Cinematography: All Quiet on the Western Front
I don’t even know what two of these films are about. But I’m guessing that the complexities of filming war scenes – going both landscape and up-close facials will win the day.
Film Editing: Everything Everywhere All At Once
I’ve only seen one of these candidates, Banshees…, and it was one of the most tightly edited films I’ve viewed in a long time. Still, based on trailers, it seems that the challenges of Everything… might be a bit greater. So, assuming it successfully handles them, then I think it will get the award.
Supporting Actor: Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Neither Causeway nor The Fabelmans are doing as well as the other two movies in audience and critical appeal. And Keoghan doesn’t have anywhere near the screen time that Gleeson has in Banshees… (Actually, having watched the movie this week, Gleeson should have been nominated for leading actor.). So the race comes down to Brendan Gleeson or Ke Huy Quan. Usually, I would pick the ensemble actor, but both of these films meet that criteria. So this is a toss up. My guess is a flip of the coin.
Supporting Actress: Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
The Whale and Black Panther… simply don’t have the critical and popular support so, once again, this is between two of the top three Oscar buzz films. Condon is great in Banshees… but I haven’t seen Everything…. And how do the Curtis and Hsu performances compare – I don’t know. But I’m guessing its one of them. It is their first Oscar nomination for either of them, but Curtis is quite a bit older and Hsu has many more opportunities, so let’s give it to Jamie Lee!
Leading Actor: Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inershin)
This will be another exciting battle between two highly rated films, Elvis and Banshees…. I’ve seen Banshees and Farrell is excellent. On the other hand, Elvis might be a bit more challenging. And it is the first Oscar nomination for either one. So it really is another coin toss. But there is the movie ensemble argument – actors from movies where lots of other actors were also nominated often do better. Add to that the problem actors find when playing an iconic figure, like Elvis – It seems it is impossible to please everyone (remember Nicole Kidman playing Lucille Ball last year. ). So I’m going with Farrell for that and because his movie receives substantially better critical ratings and the Academy often goes in that direction.
Leading Actress: Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
My favorite category…. I don’t know Riseborough and To Leslie isn’t doing well with anybody. As much as I might like Ana de Armas and Michelle Williams, their vehicles are also not doing as well as the other two. So it is a battle between Cate Blanchett (Tar) and Michelle Yeoh (Everything…). Blanchett has two Oscar wins and this is Yeoh’s first nomination. Normally, you don’t give an Oscar to a newbie, but in this case, I think the movie ensemble argument wins.
Adapted Screenplay: Berger/Paterson/Stokell (All Quiet on the Western Front)
The movie performing the best among critics and substantially better than the other four in Oscar recognition is All Quiet on the Western Front. Even though I loved the script for the original Knives Out, I suspect that the heavy hitter will win this one too.
Original Screenplay: Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin)
Using the same arguments as above, then this race is just between The Banshees of Inisherin and Everything Everywhere All at Once. But it doesn’t help me choose between them. Both of them received substantial Oscar recognition, including seven major nominations each. Both of them pass the ensemble test, each having 4 actors nominated. Critical ratings and audience response has been about equal for each. (Although audiences are a little less favorable to Banshees.). So this is another coin toss. One thing Everything… has going against it is that it is a sci-fi film and, traditionally, that genre doesn’t do so well at the Oscars – although Dune did a pretty good sweep last year. But Belfast (another Ireland-based drama) actually won this category… So I’m going to guess that the Irish-based drama is going to take it again.
Director: Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin)
Using all the same arguments I used for Original Screenplay, this category is likely to come down to a battle between the same two films, The Banshees of Inisherin and Everything Everywhere All at Once. Martin McDonagh (Banshees…) won an Oscar for a Short Film (Six Shooter), and has been nominated three times for writing, but this is his first nomination for directing. The Daniels – Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Everything…) have never been Oscar-nominated until this movie. Additionally, the Daniels are almost a generation younger than McDonagh – in other words, they haven’t paid their dues. I’m guessing that everything else being equal, the Oscar will go to the person who has worked longer for it – McDonagh!.
Best Picture: The Banshees of Inisherin
I admit, I didn’t see CODA coming up to claim the top award last year, although I agreed it was a great film after seeing it. So what that tells me is that I need to be humble and realize that any of the nominees have a chance. Still, the rule that the Best Picture is among the winners of the major categories is still true – CODA also won Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actor. So I’m going to look for the Best Picture winner among the other major category winners. And that narrows the search down to Banshees…, Everything… and All Quiet…. The latter film is from Germany and while being foreign-born doesn’t eliminate one from the Best Picture (Parasite in 2020), it didn’t help Drive My Car last year. It also doesn’t help that the German film didn’t land any nominations in the acting categories. So, once again, it is between Banishees… and Everything…, which both have the same number of major nominations and the same number of predicted wins (see above). However, in the last five years no film has won Best Picture without taking a writing and/or a directing award – and only Banshees… fits that criteria – if my other predictions are correct.
After the Oscar ceremony, I will write a recap and fess up to my poor judgments…