Beyond The Slap: My 2023 Oscar Predictions.

Last year, Will Smith giving Chris Rock a smackdown was as unexpected as ‘Coda’ winning Best Picture – beautiful film but a total shock that it won. Personally I feel like I won the lottery or an Oscar for my strike rate predicting the winners last year. I got 16/19 in the categories I looked at. I completely screwed up in the script department and you can’t blame me for going with the red hot favourite The Power of the Dog to win which lost out to the feel good Coda.

This year with the 95th Academy Awards just around the corner, the film’s vying for Oscars glory are a real mix bag of treats. It is by no means the worst Oscars class in Academy Awards history. But the ten films in the Best Picture category are just too many. Seriously, only a handful have any hope of taking home the award. That said, the strongest three films I believe will do well are Elvis, Everything, Everywhere All At Once and All Quiet On The Western Front. One of these aforementioned films just might win the big one, lets hope it’s that German-speaking one.

To make it a little easier for you, I have highlighted in BLUE who I believe deserves to win followed by a short statement why. Please note, I have declined again to comment on the Best Documentary, Best Short Documentary, Live Action Short and Best Animated Short categories. I haven’t seen any of the nominees. Be sure to let me know if you agree or disagree with my choices. It’s always interesting to hear someone else’s perspective. So anyway, just ahead of the ceremony lets see how I go. Enjoy!

Screenshot 2023-03-11 at 8.14.40 pm

Best Picture:

“Women Talking”
“The Banshees of Inisherin”
“The Fablemans”
“Top Gun Maverick”
“Avatar: The Way of Water ”
“All Quiet On The Western Front”
“The Whale”
“Triangle of Sadness”

This year ten films are vying for the honour of being named the Best Motion Picture of 2022. Out of these ten only half of them have a serious change. Everyone’s sentimental favourites seems to be The Fablemans and Everything Everywhere All At Once. Personally, I’m not that rapt in Everything, Everywhere All at Once. Though I did think Michelle Yeoh was superb. She is deserving of an individual gong. And what about The Fablemans? It is in a word brilliant. Not a dull moment in the film. It’s definitely a front runner for Oscars glory. In the behind-the-scenes story of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, I read that the director had put the now 31-year-old Austin Butler through hell enduring a five-month long audition process to secure the coveted role of Elvis. (Butler beat out the likes of Ansel Elgort and Harry Styles for the role.) “I’m not sure I chose Austin,” Luhrmann explained. “I did in the end – I put him through the ringer, I tested him in every possible way. But I’m starting to feel like he kind of chose me or it chose us.”

It’s a wonderful story don’t you think? But I’m not so sure Elvis has the goods to take out best picture. In my opinion we are left with two films – The Whale and All Quiet On The Western Front – who in my humble opinion will likely win. If the much-hyped Darren Aronofsky’s film The Whale, a deeply moving story about redemption, loss and trauma, manages to win I will be very happy, not so much for Aronofsky but Brendan Fraser it’s protagonist. That said, while I am really tempted to say The Whale will win, I’m going to choose instead the serious, horrifying yet dazzling spectacle that is All Quiet On The Western Front as our winner this year. It’s the third film adaptation of the classic anti-war novel by Erich Maria Remarque, but importantly the first in German. In short, the recent Bafta winner is red hot to upset this year’s Oscars field. One has to wonder whether its anti-war sentiment in this current climate of war (Ukraine) has anything to do with its popularity?


Best Director:

“Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin”
“Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once”
“Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans”
“Todd Field, Tár”
“Ruben Östlund, Triangle of Sadness”

Last year I said: “I love Steven Spielberg. Our history goes back a long way when he blew my mind with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). It’s hard not to underestimate his presence this year in the best director category. Already a two-time winner, Spielberg is seemingly poised to pick up a third for the most unlikely film of his career in West Side Story.” Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, but this year surely his very personal The Fablemans will deliver the legendary director his third directorial Oscar.

The WhaleBrendan FraserCR: A24

Best Actor:

“Austin Butler, Elvis”
“Colin Farell, The Banshees of Inisherin”
“Brendan Fraser, The Whale”
“Paul Mescal, Aftersun”
“Bill Nighy, Living”

In my mind there are only two names that matter in this year’s race for Best Actor – Colin Farrell and Brendan Fraser. Colin Farrell (admittedly a long shot) gives one of his career best performances in Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy The Banshees of Inisherin. It is through his empathetic lens we see his world fall apart when all of a sudden his best friend decides he doesn’t like him anymore. In character you can literally see Farrell’s mind race exhibiting all sorts of emotions one might feel when you can’t work out what went wrong. (Watch out for flying fingers!) It’s an absolutely devastating performance and I say that in rewarding sense. It a type of performance that will stay with you well after all the dust has settled. Personally, I would be very pleased to see Farrell win an Oscar for his portrayal of a man who finds joy in the simple pleasures of life. But standing between Farrell and Oscar glory is Brendan Fraser. The feel good story that is Brendan Fraser is definitely still on everyone’s mind. The Whale was his comeback! Months ago he received a standing ovation at Cannes which immediately put him in the frame for an Oscar. But how about now? Well I truly believe his performance as Charlie, a chronically obese recluse trying to belatedly rebuild his relationship with his estranged daughter, is the performance everyone will still need to beat. Brendan start preparing your acceptance speech.

Screenshot 2023-03-11 at 9.21.58 pm

Best Actress:

“Cate Blanchett, Tár”
“Ana de Armas, Blonde”
“Michelle Williams, The Fablemans”
“Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie”
“Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Two contemporary actresses stand out as the greatest Australian actress of all time. Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett. The latter is up for an award in the Best Actress category this year. Her devastatingly performance as conductor Lydia Tár is nothing short of brilliant. That’s why Blachett is the front-runner this year to win possibly her third Oscar and join a small select group of actors who have done it. Having won a Golden Globe and BAFTA, I cannot see why see won’t win here but as I said earlier Michelle Yeoh was superb in Everything, Everywhere All At Once. If Yeoh wins she will be the first Asian actress to do so in this category. Unfortunately, I believe Blanchett has this category all but sewn up.


Best Supporting Actor:

“Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin”
“Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway”
“Judd Hirsh, The Fablemans”
“Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin”
“Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All At Once”

Ke Huy Quan who is best remembered as Short Round in Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (1984) and Data in The Goonies (1985) all but disappeared from our screens by the mids 1990s. He made an inspired comeback to acting in recent years due to the success of the film Crazy Rich Asians (2018). It makes Quan’s return and his nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role as a mild-mannered husband in Everything, Everywhere All At Once all that more exciting. Only Barry Keoghan stands in his way of Oscars glory. Here’s hoping the former child star caps off a remarkable return to acting.


Best Supporting Actress:

“Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
“Hong Chau, The Whale”
“Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin”
“Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything, Everywhere All At Once”
“Stephanie Hsu, Everything, Everywhere All At Once”

The performances in The Banshees of Inisherin are so strong that Colin Farrell, Kerry Condon, Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan all received an Oscar nomination across three acting categories. It’s fair to say it’s one of the strongest ensemble casts of this year’s Oscars. I really hope at least one of them walk away with an acting honour. That said, I really do believe it will be Kerry Condon for her supporting role as Colin Farrells long-suffering sister Siobhán. No one is more deserving but watch out for Jamie Lee Curtis to upset the apple cart.


Best Adapted Screenplay:

“All Quiet On The Western Front”
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”
“Top Gun: Maverick”
“Women Talking

I’ve always said this is one of those categories that haunts me. It’s pretty much hit and miss. This year I’m supremely confident that the German film All Quiet On The Western Front adapted from the classic WW1 novel by Erich Maria Remarque will win.


Best Original Screenplay:

“Triangle of Sadness”
“The Banshees of Inisherin”
“The Fablemans”
“Everything, Everywhere All At Once”

Without a doubt Martin McDonagh’s well-crafted tragicomedy says something original that no other film except maybe The Fablemans could. It’s an extraordinary story of two friends who have a falling out over who the hell really knows. One day they are friends and the next day they aren’t. It’s a premise that has real life complications. It makes us question our own friendships and those that we have let go by the wayside. How we deal with it is the big question.


Best Cinematography:

“All Quiet on the Western Front”, James Friend
“Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths,” Darius Khondji
“Elvis,” Mandy Walker
“Empire of Light,” Roger Deakins
“Tár,” Florian Hoffmeister

There is no doubt in my mind that James Friend’s camera work for All Quiet In The Western Front is some of the best cinematography achieved in recent years. There is nothing like it. Only Roger Deakins for 1917 and Greig Fraser for Dune come close in their epic approach or scope. In an interview with Friend by Miranda Tsang for Netflix she points out that “James Friend (successfully) tilts the lens towards an authentic exploration of war.” I couldn’t agree more.


Best Costume Design:

“Black Panther: Wanda Forever”
“Everything Everywhere All At Once”
“Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris”

When the first posters and trailers for Luhrmann’s Elvis came out fans were divided over Butler’s so-called transformation into Elvis Presley. A lot of comments veered to the negative. Some fans didn’t believe he resembled (or sounded like) Elvis at all. Fortunately I believe the naysayers were wrong, Luhrmann’s team did an incredible job with Butler’s look (the voice, the stance, even the famous Elvis wiggle) for the film. Incredibly the production team led by Catherine Martin had to fully immersed themselves in three distinct periods of Elvis fame through the 50s, 60s and 70s. This is reason enough why Elvis is favourite to win for Best Costume Design.


Best Makeup & Hairstyling:

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Heike Merker and Linda Eisenhamerová”
“The Batman,” Naomi Donne, Mike Marino and Mike Fontaine”
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Camille Friend and Joel Harlow”
“The Whale,” Adrien Morot, Judy Chin and Anne Marie Bradley”
“Elvis,” Mark Coulier, Jason Baird and Aldo Signoretti”

This is a two-way battle between Elvis and The Whale. I’m going to go with The Whale simply because like Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Brendan Fraser is almost completely unrecognisable. Adrien Morrow, Judy Chin and Anne Marie Bradley pulled off an amazing job transforming Fraser in his elaborate prosthetic fat suit. The Whale came under fire about the use of the fat suit upon its release with critics calling it fat phobic. But Darren Aronofsky came to the defence of his make up team and the movie by saying, “Actors have been using makeup since the beginning of acting — that’s one of their tools. And the lengths we went to portray the realism of the makeup has never been done before.” He also went on to say, “People with obesity are generally written as bad guys or as punchlines. We wanted to create a fully worked-out character who has bad parts about him and good parts about him; Charlie is very selfish, but he’s also full of love and is seeking forgiveness.”


Best Original Score:

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Volker Bertelmann
“Babylon”, Justin Hurwitz
“The Banshees of Inisherin”, Carter Burwell
“Everything, Everywhere All At Once”, Son Lux
“The Fablemans”, John Williams

I love anything John Williams does. But he has already won five times! Though he is still very much deserving of another gong for The Fablemans, however he has some stiff competition. Volker Bertelmann who won for his All Quiet On The Western Front score at the BAFTAs, should win his first Oscar this year. He gave us something different, sometime the audience weren’t expecting in a score that conveyed all the drama and horror of World War I.


Best Original Song:

“Applause” from “Tell It Like a Woman,” Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick,” Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga and BloodPop
“Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Music by Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler and Ludwig Goransson; Lyric by Tems and Ryan Coogler
“Naatu Naatu” from “RRR,” Music by M.M. Keeravaani; Lyric by Chandrabose
“This Is a Life” from “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Music by Ryan Lott, David Byrne and Mitski; Lyric by Ryan Lott and David Byrne

This year’s crop of Oscar nominees for best original song are all evenly poised. I honestly don’t have an outright favourite. The critics say Naatu Naatu should win, so let’s lock it in. No wait, I’m going to take a gamble on Lady Gaga’s Hold My Hand instead.


Best Production Design:

“All Quiet On The Western Front”
“The Fablemans”

Another category which could go to any one of these films. But I do like how Elvis was able to recreate the 1950s, 60s and 70s. It was a huge undertaking and I honestly liked how the film shows Graceland’s evolution through the years. It should win.


Best International Film:

“Argentina, 1985”, Argentina
“EO”, Poland
“All Quiet On The Western Front“, Germany
“Close”, Belgium
“The Quiet Girl”, Ireland.

Of all the categories All Quiet On The Western Front is nominated for (nine in total), this one is a sure thing.

All Quiet on the Western Front Sound Design

Best Sound:

“Top Gun”
“All Quiet On The Western Front”
“Avatar: The Way of Water“
“The Batman”

Another tight race for honours in Best Sound. My heart says Top Gun but my head says All Quiet On The Western Front. Everything about its soundscape screams horror, but even in its quiet moments you can hear the gentle breeze and the fleeting moments of joy and laughter.


Best Film Editing:

Everything, Everywhere All At Once”
“Top Gun: Maverick“
“The Banshees of Inisherin“

Everything, Everywhere All At Once is a hot mess. It’s not to say it isn’t a good film. It definitely benefits from great editing, especially when you trying to gauge what’s going on in all the crazy multi-universe action sequences.


Best Visual Effects:

“All Quiet On The Western Front”
“Avatar: The Way of Water“
“The Batman“
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
“Top Gun: Maverick”

There can only be one winner here. Like Dune last year, Avatar: The Way of Water relies heavily upon visual effects to create an absolute spectacle onscreen.


Best Animated Feature:

“Turning Red”
“The Sea Beast“
“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio“
“Marcel theShell With Shoes On”
“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”

This is one of my favourite categories. I just adore animated features. This year’s Best Animated Feature belongs to Guillermo del Toro and Pinocchio. It’s old school with its stop motion work, which took some two and half years to film. It should win. It better win! Nothing comes close to its magic and wonder. But if you re expecting to see a Disney-esque Pinocchio don’t hold your breath. This is del Toro we are talking about. Pinocchio is a dark fantasy-horror. But don’t worry there is a happy ending in there somewhere, I think.

Robert Horvat is a Melbourne based blogger. He believes that the world is round and that art is one of our most important treasures. He has seen far too many classic films and believes coffee runs through his veins. As a student of history, he favours ancient and medieval history. Music pretty much rules his life and inspires his moods. Favourite artists include The Beatles, Pearl Jam, Garbage and Lana Del Rey.

6 comments on “Beyond The Slap: My 2023 Oscar Predictions.

  1. “All quiet” is clearly the favorite of your predictions. Personnaly, I’d like to have Deakins winning an Oscar for “Empire of Light”.

    • Roger Deakins himself is on his 16th Oscar nomination. He is a treasure, don’t you think? I really love his work. In recent year’s 1917 and Blade Runner 2049 are beautifully shot.

      • I do agree, he’s one of the very best. And I read he made a photo book of the english landscapes in black & white. I’m sure it should be magnificent.

  2. Cocaine Bear, you my friend were the star of Oscars night! This was fun, right? Everything Everywhere All At Once made history tonight winning seven Oscars in a clean sweep of almost all the important awards. It puts it in the conversation as one of the best movies of all time, right? But I’m not so sure it deserves that distinction. I’m not shocked that it won but it’s not the best film of 2022. EEAAO is a winner like Coda last year where the changing nature of the Oscars race has opened up the field. Congrats to Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Yuan, who was just as excited to see Harrison Ford, as he was winning a Support Actor Oscar. All Quiet On The Western Front did very well with a handful of Oscars including Best International Film. I sincerely believed it would take home the prestigious Best Picture but when EEAAO started to clean sweep all the major awards I lost hope. I’m thrilled Brendan Fraser won Best Actor. He pushed me into the double digits. I got 10/16 in the categories I looked at. That said, I’m really thrilled for him. He looked visibly shaken, surprised and happy all at once. He threw in too many whale inspired metaphors during his acceptance speech but that’s all easily forgiven.

  3. “Everything Everywhere All At Once” was the only major nominated film that I saw, so needless to say I’m happy it won so many awards, especially in the acting categories. I thought Jamie Lee Curtis and Ke Huy Quan gave absolutely marvelous performances. I’m also thrilled that Brendan Fraser won Best Actor. I really need to see “The Whale”.

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