The 95th Academy Awards ceremony is still a few months away.
But every real movie fan has already started to watch the films that stand out as early favourites for the awards.
The Venice International Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival were held in September and, as always, opened the awards season.
The Golden Globe, BAFTA, Sundance, Critics’ Choice, and many other awards will lead us to the climax on March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
Let’s take a look at the film industry for 2022/23 and make early predictions together.
Last year we had a surprising winner in the Best Picture category – “CODA”.
“CODA”, the first motion picture starring a deaf actor in almost every leading role to win Best Picture, was well-liked by the audience, but few could have predicted that it would win three Oscars.
Unlike Sian Heder, director of “CODA”, who was not famous before this film, this year’s favourite for Best Picture was directed by one of the greatest filmmakers of all time – Steven Spielberg.
The Fabelmans won the People’s Choice Award in Toronto further confirming that it is a movie to beat. Looking at the odds, Spielberg’s most personal film yet is an overwhelming favourite.
However, we cannot write off at least a few more films.
After more than 10 years of waiting, Avatar: The Way of Water is finally here. Many think it has a chance to win the Best Picture award, but I don’t believe the hype. It will surely win an Oscar or two, for example, Best Achievement in Visual Effects, but that will be it. The same applies to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the sequel to the overrated 2018 movie.
Every fan of “In Bruges”, including myself, would like to see The Banshees of Inisherin winning the Oscar even though the plots are completely different. There is a fair chance that will happen since The Banshees of Inisherin is top 5 according to most bookmakers.
I can’t wait to see whether Babylon and Everything Everywhere All At Once, two quite funny and odd movies, have a chance.
She Said and Women Talking deal with very sensitive topics and the cinematography is great, so it won’t be shocking if one of these two wins Best Picture.
TÁR, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Empire of Light, and Thirteen Lives are worth mentioning, while in my opinion, Elvis is the biggest disappointment. Don’t take my word for it though, I don’t like Baz Luhrmann’s work at all.
My feelings are divided between Eddie Redmayne and Colin Farrell.
Eddie Redmayne is nothing short of spectacular in the new Netflix film The Good Nurse, about a nurse who turned out to be a serial killer. But we’re already used to that, aren’t we? He is equally superb in The Theory of Everything where he portrayed Stephen Hawking and in The Danish Girl.
On the other hand, Colin Farrell certainly deserves his first Oscar for Best Actor both for his effort in The Banshees of Inisherin and for some previous films where he was snubbed.
Probably their biggest rival will be Brendan Fraser, who drew attention to himself with the role of Charlie in The Whale.
I didn’t like the movie, but Austin Butler is excellent as Elvis Presley. And of course Bill Nighy drew plaudits for Living.
Christian Bale (The Pale Blue Eye), Daniel Craig (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery), and Tom Hanks (A Man Called Otto) are just some of the famous names that will fight for the most prestigious award. Adam Sandler was surprisingly good in Hustle, as was Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick.
Best Actress – one more tremendously crowded category.
It seems more and more realistic that Cate Blanchett (Tár) will join a very exclusive group of actors and actresses with three Oscars (Katharine Hepburn won four times). Only Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Ingrid Bergman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Frances McDormand, and Walter Brennan belong to that group.
It looks like Margot Robbie (Babylon) will be her biggest rival. Her role in the movie “I, Tonya” proved that she is a fantastic actress and not just a beauty.
Olivia Colman (Empire of Light) is chasing her second Best Actress award in the last 5 years. Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans), and Ana De Armas (Blonde) are hoping to be nominated as well.
The Woman King failed to impress the audience but Viola Davis is always up to the task. Danielle Deadwyler plays a grieving mother in the film Till, who decides to investigate the racism behind the attack and bring the culprits to justice. Critics and audiences alike agree that her performance is Oscar-worthy.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Jennifer Lawrence (Causeway) and Emma Thompson (Good Luck to You, Leo Grande) receive nominations too.
Last year, West Side Story, directed by Spielberg, was expected to win a few awards, and in the end, only Ariana DeBose was Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
The Fabelmans could bring Steven Spielberg the Best Director award, the first since Saving Private Ryan.
The competition is strong as ever because it includes three Oscar-winning directors – Alejandro Iñárritu (Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths), James Cameron (Avatar: The Way of Water), and Sam Mendes (Empire of Light).
We should not forget Sarah Polley (Women Talking) and Martin McDonagh. Sarah Polley was an actress until about ten years ago when she devoted herself to a directing career. Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin) was nominated for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and I consider In Bruges as one of the biggest snubs.
Park Chan-wook (Decision to Leave) doesn’t stand a big chance of being nominated, let alone winning, but the director of Oldboy and BAFTA Film Award winner continues to amaze us.
Elvis probably won’t bring Baz Luhrmann his first Best Director nomination.
Best Supporting Actor
It remains to be seen whether Eddie Redmayne (The Good Nurse) will be nominated for Best Supporting Actor or Best Actor. I hope he will be nominated for Best Actor since Brendan Gleeson (The Banshees of Inisherin) deserves an Oscar after so many excellent roles throughout his career.
It is possible that Armageddon Time will give us two candidates in this category – Anthony Hopkins and Jeremy Strong.
Judd Hirsch as Uncle Boris in The Fabelmans is a fan favourite at the moment, although many would vote for Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once).
Maybe Woody Harrelson (Triangle of Sadness) will finally win an Oscar after three nominations, the first of which was 25 years ago.
Best Supporting Actress
Academy members will have a very difficult task to choose one or two actresses from the largely female cast of Women Talking which includes Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Frances McDormand, Jessie Buckley, and Judith Ivey. Reportedly, Mara is the front-runner.
Martin McDonagh obviously likes to work with the same actresses, so in addition to Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell, he chose to work with Kerry Condon again in The Banshees of Inisherin. Clearly, he did not make a mistake because she will be a major contender to the cast of Women Talking.
Sadie Sink (The Whale), who became globally famous for the TV series Stranger Things, can become only the second person born in the 21st century, behind only Billie Eilish, to win an Oscar. And she would be the first actress since Billie Eilish won for Best Original Song.
I give an honourable mention to Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once) and Laura Dern (The Son), but maybe Academy members will have a different opinion and give them a nomination.
Best International Feature Film
I was hoping for Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s new movie “Kuru Otlar Üstüne” (meaning “On Dry Herbs” or something similar, not yet officially translated) but it is in post-production and is not expected before May 2023.
Asghar Farhadi is currently not working on a new film, at least not officially. It is somewhat expected after we watched “A Hero” last year. He is one of the few directors worldwide who have won this category twice, for A Separation (2011) and The Salesman (2016).
Argentina, 1985 starring probably the most famous South American actor Ricardo Darín, and a new feature film by Alejandro G. Iñárritu – Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths will probably be nominated, but as the submission process is still underway, it is too early to tell.
Few could have predicted Spain would choose the Catalan-language Alcarràs as the Oscars entry. They probably decided on it after the film took home the Golden Bear from the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival.
The nominations announcement is scheduled for January 24, 2023. Then we will have a clearer picture.
Until then, I can only wish you to enjoy the latest achievements of the “7th art” and you will have more time for movies than usual during the Christmas and holiday season.
And don’t forget to go to the cinema. Even if the film is available on one of the streaming platforms, nothing can compare with the experience of watching a film on the big screen.