Our predictions for the 2023 Academy Awards | #oscars | #academywards

In Hollywood, tis the season to start awarding. Yes, it’s that time of year when studios start placing “For your consideration” advertisements in the trade newspapers as voters are courted in the race for the Oscars, which will be announced in March.

But who is in the running and who is simply a long shot? Here is our guide to this year’s major contenders and surprise candidates.

Best Picture

The frontrunners:

In the 2000s, only Gladiator and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King were Best Picture winners that could be considered genuine blockbusters. The Academy tends to favour smaller fare, such as last year’s family drama Coda. But 2023 might be the year there is a box-office behemoth clean up, with films such as Top Gun: Maverick, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Avatar: The Way of Water all jostling for Oscar attention. If it’s not one of these, then expect Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical The Fabelmans to sneak it, especially given it depicts a young boy who desperately wants to be a filmmaker. The industry loves nothing more than holding a mirror up to itself.

The dark horse:

It would be right out of leftfield, but 1920-set epic RRR by SS Rajamouli — the most expensive Indian movie ever made — has smashed records wherever it’s played, and garnered critical plaudits too.

Best Director

Ryan Coogler's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which was made after the death of Chadwick Boseman, was well received. Marvel Studios via AP

The frontrunners:

Spielberg is surely the leader of the pack here, looking to capture his third Best Director Oscar statue for The Fabelmans. But he won’t have it all his own way. In a competitive field, Ryan Coogler would be a popular choice for Marvel movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Ditto Baz Luhrmann for his Presley biopic Elvis. Flying the indie flag is Todd Field, for his striking character study Tar, and Martin McDonagh for his darkly comedic fable The Banshees of Inisherin. Both have been nominated before (McDonagh also won for his 2004 short Six Shooter) and the rave reviews could sway the Academy to overlook the more populist choices.

The dark horse:

Don’t discount Edward Berger, the German director who delivered the stunning remake of First World War drama All Quiet on the Western Front for Netflix. It’s jaw-droppingly well made.

Best Actor

Austin Butler wowed audiences with his depiction of the King of Rock n Roll, in Elvis. Warner Bros via AP

The frontrunners:

Ever since the Venice Film Festival, the Best Actor race has been set up as the Colin Farrell vs Brendan Fraser show. Farrell won acting honours then, playing a simple fellow whose best friend abandons him in The Banshees of Inisherin. But there’s a lot of love too for Fraser, whose turn as an obese teacher confined to his apartment in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale was billed as a forceful comeback for the star. If neither get it, then it’s surely destined for Austin Butler, for his hip-swaying turn as the King of Rock’n’Roll in Elvis.

The dark horse:

It seems odd to bill Tom Cruise as a “dark horse”, especially given Top Gun: Maverick became the biggest movie of the year, rescuing cinemas with a $1.48 billion box office. But despite three Oscar nods in the past, the Cruiser hasn’t been nominated for 22 years since Magnolia. Perhaps the Academy will — finally — give him his due.

Best Actress

Two-time Best Actress winner, Cate Blanchett looks like a favourite, thanks to a show-stopping performance in Tar. Focus Features via AP

The frontrunners:

Can anyone stop Cate Blanchett? The imperious Australian actress already has two Oscars — for The Aviator and Blue Jasmine — and a further five nominations. Now, with Tar — in which she plays an esteemed classical music conductor whose life starts to unravel — she looks set to add another. According to the bookmakers, only four-time nominee Michelle Williams (for her deft turn as the mother-figure in The Fabelmans) looks to have any chance of stopping Blanchett, although Viola Davis (for her all-action warrior in The Woman King), Michelle Yeoh (for metaverse hit Everything Everywhere All At Once) and Ana de Armas (for her Marilyn Monroe in Blonde) would all be worthy winners.

The dark horse:

One of the few films that’s yet to be widely seen by the press, I Wanna Dance with Somebody features British actress Naomi Ackie as tragic diva Whitney Houston. The Academy loves a biopic and the early trailers look promising.

Best Supporting Actor

Ke Huy Quan, who shot to fame in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, was nominated for his role in Everything Everywhere All at Once. A24 via AP

The frontrunners:

Since the New York Film Critics Circle announced its awards, the die has been cast. As if we didn’t already know, Ke Huy Quan’s role in Everything Everywhere All At Once has shot him right to the top of the list. Best known for the Spielberg-directed Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, back when he was a child, this is another heartwarming comeback story. His main rivals? Brendan Gleeson as Farrell’s Banshees co-star and The Fabelmans’ Judd Hirsch, who pops up for a potent scene as the wise uncle.

The dark horse:

Jeremy Strong, best known to audiences for his media mogul in HBO show Succession, is stunning as the volcanic father in James Gray’s semi-autobiographical Armageddon Time. Terrifying but also tender, it’s a terrific turn from Strong.

Best Supporting Actress

Hong Chau put in a stellar performance as a jaded nurse in The Whale. A24 via AP

The frontrunners:

This one is much harder to call than the equivalent male category. Angela Bassett, for her forthright turn in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, will likely be in the mix, alongside the brilliant Hong Chau, for her spiky turn as the nurse/friend in The Whale. Jamie Lee Curtis, for her hilarious work in Everything Everywhere All At Once, merits some love. And you could also pick any number of actresses — Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy especially — from Sarah Polley’s Mennonite drama Woman Talking.

The dark horse:

This is out on a limb, but the Manila-born actress Dolly De Leon could steal a march on her rivals, much like Korea’s Youn Yuh-jung did for Minari in 2021. De Leon’s toilet cleaner-turned-island master in satire Triangle of Sadness is quite the role.

Scroll through images of the 2022 Oscar winners below

Updated: December 10, 2022, 2:31 PM


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