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Johnny’s Awards Radar: Pre-nomination 2023 Oscars Predictions

Every time Oscar nomination morning approaches, I feel like the year has both flown by and dragged on, which is probably a good thing. There have been so many great films (and even more not-so-great), and I always get a kick out of watching which award narratives sink and swim. From Sundance (which has its 2023 festival ongoing as we speak) to Cannes, Venice, Toronto and more, there have been no shortage of memorable premieres and campaigns that have led to this.

My predictions from September have shifted significantly in some ways, but stayed steady in others, so let’s take one last look:


“Pinocchio” (Netflix)

Starting with an easy group where most people with a pulse could pick four of these five nominees. The fifth slot is torn between DreamWorks’ “The Bad Guys” and “Wendell & Wild” from Netflix. I personally preferred the former, but I can’t overlook the Annie nominations for the latter or the pull that guys like Henry Selick and Jordan Peele may have with voters.


  • “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” (Netflix) WINNER
  • “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” (A24)
  • “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” (DreamWorks Animation)
  • “Turning Red” (Pixar Animation Studios)
  • “Wendell & Wild” (Netflix)


“Everything Everywhere All At Once” (A24)

I remain convinced that “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is the film to beat here, with “The Fabelmans” staying in the mix but falling behind. “The Banshees of Inisherin,” which I never expected to be as broad a player as it has been, is new to my predictions, while “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “The Whale” carry over from my original predictions.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the passion for “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Elvis,” which have both been given proper pushes by their respective studios. “TÁR” is still the best film of the year in my book and has thankfully been honored as such, which leaves a handful of films competing for the final couple slots. “Triangle of Sadness” and “All Quiet on the Western Front” have the strongest cases coming off their impressive showing at BAFTA, but I still have some hope that “Babylon” may stick around or that “The Woman King” may get its due.


  • “All Quiet on the Western Front” – Malte Grunert
  • “Avatar: The Way of Water” – James Cameron, Jon Landau
  • “The Banshees of Inisherin” – Graham Broadbent, Peter Czernin, Martin McDonagh
  • “Elvis” – Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick, Schuyler Weiss
  • “Everything Everywhere All at Once” – Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, Jonathan Wang (WINNER)
  • “The Fabelmans” – Tony Kushner, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Steven Spielberg
  • “TÁR” – Todd Field, Scott Lambert, Alexandra Milchan
  • “Top Gun: Maverick” – Jerry Bruckheimer, Tom Cruise, David Ellison, Christopher McQuarrie
  • “Triangle of Sadness” – Philippe Bober, Erik Hemmendorff
  • “The Whale” – Darren Aronofsky, Jeremy Dawson, Ari Handel


The Daniels on set of “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” (A24)

The Daniels Kwan and Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) and Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”) are my only two predictions that remain here and will likely be duking it out for this prize. Meanwhile, Todd Field (“TÁR”) and Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) have yet to miss a major precursor. For a while, the fifth slot looked like it could be taken by James Cameron (“Avatar: The Way of Water”), Park Chan-Wook (“Decision to Leave”) or Sarah Polley (“Women Talking”), but the emergence of “All Quiet on the Western Front” as a technical juggernaut and the favorite in International Feature makes Edward Berger the sensible choice.


  • Edward Berger (“All Quiet on the Western Front”)
  • Todd Field (“TÁR”)
  • Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) WINNER
  • Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
  • Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”)


Austin Butler as Elvis in “Elvis.” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Austin Butler (“Elvis”), Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) and Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”) will be battling it out for the Oscar, while Bill Nighy has also picked up every major precursor. The fifth slot seems like it could fall to Paul Mescal in “Aftersun,” a performance nominated at Critics Choice and BAFTA. Unfortunately, the film did not get as much support as expected across the board, indicating that there won’t be any other categories for Mescal to coattail. He is also a newcomer who does not have the advantage of a traditionally baity performance. The alternative here would be a previously-nominated, veteran actor who is the face of a Best Picture contender, so don’t be surprised if AMPAS voters feel the need for speed…


  • Austin Butler (“Elvis”) WINNER
  • Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
  • Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”)
  • Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”)
  • Bill Nighy (“Living”)


Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tár in “TÁR.” (Focus Features)

A crowded Best Actress field has come down to Cate Blanchett (“TÁR”) and Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), but Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”) and Viola Davis (“The Woman King”) aren’t far behind, having also shown up at Critics Choice, SAG and BAFTA.

The trick here is figuring out whether the fifth slot will fall to Ana de Armas for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in “Blonde” or Michelle Williams in “The Fabelmans.” Williams is a four-time nominee and a key figure in one of the Best Picture contenders, but has missed at SAG and BAFTA. De Armas, on the other hand, has gotten both, and we know the Oscars have a penchant for gushing over true-life performances .


  • Cate Blanchett (“TÁR”) WINNER
  • Viola Davis (“The Woman King”)
  • Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”)
  • Ana de Armas (“Blonde”)
  • Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)


Ke Huy Quan in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” (A24)

Other than “Avatar” winning for Visual Effects, Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) winning here is the safest bet of the entire year and will likely be a key ingredient in an “EEAAO” Best Picture victory. If he weren’t around, one of the “Banshees” boys would likely be taking it. I am still confident in Paul Dano finally getting his first nomination, with “The Batman” providing him extra visibility this year, although Judd Hirsch being nominated for “The Fabelmans” in addition to/instead of Dano would be a fun surprise. The fifth slot feels most likely to fall to Eddie Redmayne after his shock run of precursor nominations for “The Good Nurse.”


  • Paul Dano (“The Fabelmans”) 
  • Brendan Gleeson (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
  • Barry Keoghan (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
  • Eddie Redmayne (“The Good Nurse”)
  • Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) WINNER


Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” (Marvel Studios)

I never, ever thought I would say this, but a Marvel Cinematic Universe performance is the Oscar-frontrunner. Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) might just run away with it, unless Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) can manage an industry win or two before the Oscars. Joining those two with all the major precursors is Jamie Lee Curtis, and the SAG nom for her and Stephanie Hsu has me optimistic that both of the supporting “Everything Everywhere” ladies will make the cut. The final slot may come down to SAG + BAFTA nominee Hong Chau (“The Whale”) and Golden Globe + BAFTA nominee Dolly de Leon (“Triangle of Sadness”).


  • Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) WINNER
  • Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
  • Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)
  • Dolly de Leon (“Triangle of Sadness”)
  • Stephanie Hsu (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)


“Women Talking” (Orion Pictures)

From the start of the year, this looked like one of the weakest categories, with my initial predictions resorting to films like “Glass Onion” and “The Whale”… which are both still here. With any luck, we will see a win for “All Quiet on the Western Front” or “Women Talking.” The fifth slot may fall to “She Said” or “Living,” the latter of which could ride the coattails of Bill Nighy in Best Actor. Hell, this category is so soft that a nomination for “Top Gun: Maverick” might not be out of the question.


  • “All Quiet on the Western Front” – Lesley Paterson, Ian Stokell, Edward Berger
  • “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” – Rian Johnson
  • “She Said” – Rebecca Lenkiewicz
  • “The Whale” – Samuel D. Hunter
  • “Women Talking” – Sarah Polley *WINNER)


Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in “The Banshees of Inisherin.” (Searchlight Pictures)

Three of my original choices here have stuck around, with “Everything Everywhere All at Once” looking for a win to help propel it to a Best Picture victory. I should have known McDonagh would be in the winning conversation here for “The Banshees of Inisherin,” while “TÁR” might end up being the film folks look back at years from now and wonder how it didn’t win. “Triangle of Sadness” has maintained its momentum all the way from Cannes, and “The Fabelmans” should stick around here despite its slowed momentum. These five will match the BAFTA nominees, which sharply undercut an hopes for smaller pictures like “Aftersun.”


  • “The Banshees of Inisherin” – Martin McDonagh (WINNER)
  • “Everything Everywhere All at Once” – Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
  • “The Fabelmans” – Tony Kushner & Steven Spielberg
  • “TÁR” – Todd Field
  • “Triangle of Sadness” – Ruben Östlund


Tom Cruise as Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in “Top Gun: Maverick.” (Paramount)

This has been one of the most fun and unpredictable categories throughout the year. So much so that I am keeping only one of my original nominees, but still acknowledge that any of those original five predictions could sneak in here – including Darius Khondji (“BARDO”), Janusz Kaminski (“The Fabelmans”) or Russell Carpenter (“Avatar: The Way of Water”). The precursors have provided a solid blueprint, with “Top Gun: Maverick” poised to win, while “Elvis” and “The Batman” have shown up at ASC, BSC and BAFTA. Fifteen-time nominee Roger Deakins also has a healthy combination of ASC + BAFTA, and “All Quiet on the Western Front” has BSC + BAFTA.


  • “All Quiet on the Western Front” – James Friend
  • “The Batman” – Greig Fraser
  • “Elvis” – Mandy Walker
  • “Empire of Light” – Roger Deakins
  • “Top Gun: Maverick” – Claudio Miranda (WINNER)


Justin Hurwitz at the Golden Globes. (Getty)

“Babylon” started as one of the year’s favorites here and has quickly pulled away after a win at the Golden Globes and nominations everywhere else. Two-time winner Alexandre Desplat (“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”) and Oscar-winner Hildur Guðnadóttir (“Women Talking”) have also been mainstay nominees this season, although the latter continues to slip out of nigh every other category. John Williams seems safe as a legacy pick, if nothing else, and Carter Burwell will ride the “Banshees” wave. Keep an eye on branch favorite Terence Blanchard (“The Woman King”) or BAFTA nominees “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”


  • “Babylon” – Justin Hurwitz (WINNER)
  • “The Banshees of Inisherin” – Carter Burwell
  • “The Fabelmans” – John Williams
  • “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” – Alexandre Desplat
  • “Women Talking” – Hildur Guðnadóttir


Austin Butler as Elvis in “Elvis.” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

“Babylon,” “Elvis” and “Avatar: The Way of Water” have really been locked in for a nomination here from the moment they were announced, with all three of them having a strong argument to win. There is also work from previous Oscar-winning production designers in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “The Fabelmans,” and films with the scope and scale of “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “The Batman” and “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Once again, I defer to the BAFTA haul of the latter. “The Fabelmans,” meanwhile has been underperforming in several areas, while “Wakanda Forever” made all of the Academy’s shortlists and won this category with its first film.


  • “All Quiet on the Western Front” – Christian M. Goldbeck, Ernestine Hipper
  • “Avatar: The Way of Water” – Dylan Cole, Ben Procter, Vanessa Cole
  • “Babylon” – Florencia Martin, Anthony Carlino
  • “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” – Hannah Beachler, Lisa Sessions Morgan
  • “Elvis” – Catherine Martin, Karen Murphy, Bev Dunn (WINNER)


Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker in “Elvis.” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

The heavy prosthetics of “Elvis,” “The Batman” and “The Whale” have had them leading the conversation in this category all year. Vying for the last two spots will be the likes of “Blonde, “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Babylon” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” This branch is a sucker for transforming actors into real-life icons (see: “Bombshell,” “Judy,” “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” etc.), so I am leaning into “Blonde” and its plentiful Marilyn Monroe looks. The original “Black Panther” missed here, and while the glamour of “Babylon” is tempting, the extensive gore and grime of “All Quiet on the Western Front” might make this another box voters check for the German epic.


  • “All Quiet on the Western Front” – Heike Merker
  • “The Batman” – Naomi Donne, Mike Marino, Zoe Tahir
  • “Blonde” – Tina Roesler Kerwin, Jaime Leigh McIntosh
  • “Elvis” (WINNER) – Shane Thomas, Mark Coulier, Jason Baird, Louise Coulston
  • “The Whale” – Adrien Morot, Judy Chin, Anne Marie Bradley


Austin Butler as Elvis in “Elvis.” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

I feel comfortable keeping four of my five predictions here, with “The Woman King” taking the place of “The Fabelmans,” although you can never truly count out two-time winner Mark Bridges. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” has no shortage of flashy designs and received a CDGA nomination, while “All Quiet on the Western Front” got a BAFTA nomination – although war films can struggle to get recognition in this category.


  • “Babylon” – Mary Zophres
  • “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” – Ruth E. Carter
  • “Elvis” – Catherine Martin (WINNER)
  • “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” – Jenny Beavan
  • “The Woman King” – Gersha Phillips


Miles Teller as Rooster in “Top Gun: Maverick.” (Paramount Pictures)

One of my more accurately-predicted categories, the only change I am making here is swapping “Babylon” out for “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Three nominations at MPSE looked good for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” but misses at CAS and BAFTA have been deflating and place it just outside the top five. This is one of the strongest, most-deserving group of nominees this year.


  • “All Quiet on the Western Front” – Lars Ginzel, Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Viktor Prášil
  • “Avatar: The Way of Water” – Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Dick Bernstein, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Michael Hedges, Julian Howarth
  • “The Batman” – Stuart Wilson, William Files, Douglas Murray, Andy Nelson
  • “Elvis” – David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson, Michael Keller
  • “Top Gun: Maverick” – Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor (WINNER)


“Avatar: The Way of Water” (20th Century Studios)

“Avatar: The Way of Water” and “The Batman” are still sticking around from my last predictions, and the incredible yet often invisible effects of “Top Gun: Maverick” are also a safe bet. This branch is usually appreciative of supporting effects in smaller budget films, so “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “Thirteen Lives” could round out this group, but “Fantastic Beasts and the Secret of Dumbledore” and “Jurassic World Dominion” have shown up consistently with industry awards. The catch? Neither of the previous two films in each of their respective trilogies managed a nomination here, so I’m not convinced they’ll buy in now.


  • “All Quiet on the Western Front” – Frank Petzold, Kamil Jafar, Viktor Müller, Markus Frank
  • “Avatar: The Way of Water” – Richard Baneham, Walter Garcia, Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, JD Schwalm (WINNER)
  • “The Batman” – Dan Lemmon, Russell Earl, Anders Langlands, Dominic Tuohy
  • “Thirteen Lives” – Jason Billington, Thomas Horton, Denis Baudin, Michael Harrison, Brian Cox
  • “Top Gun: Maverick” – Ryan Tudhope, Scott R. Fisher, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson


Tom Cruise in “Top Gun: Maverick.” (Paramount Pictures)

As usual, we have another crop of Best Picture nominees that boast the flashiest and “most” editing of the year. I am as confident as I was last May that “Top Gun: Maverick” should use its win in Sound to ride by “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” while “Elvis” and “All Quiet on the Western Front” will each add this to their slew of tech noms after both showed up big time at BAFTA. Until recently, “Avatar: The Way of Water” seemed like a no-brainer, but big misses at some guilds and at BAFTA indicate an underperformance on Oscar morning. “The Banshees of Inisherin” looks most likely to fill in, given its status as a top-two Best Picture contender and BATFA nom in the category.


  • “All Quiet on the Western Front” – Sven Budelmann
  • “The Banshees of Inisherin” – Mikkel E.G. Nielsen
  • “Elvis” – Matt Villa, Jonathan Redmond
  • “Everything Everywhere All at Once” – Paul Rogers
  • “Top Gun: Maverick” – Eddie Hamilton (WINNER)


“All Quiet on the Western Front” (Netflix)

Three of my five predicted nominees from September have stuck around, including “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Decision to Leave” and “Close.” “BARDO”ended up being far more divisive than anticipated, but could still sneak in, while “RRR” was inexplicably shafted by India’s selection process. “Argentina, 1985” pulled off a shock win at the Golden Globes and sounds like its content is baity enough to appeal to AMPAS voters. “EO” and “The Quiet Girl” will be vying for the fifth slot, but the latter has a more conventional narrative and seen considerably stronger industry support, including nominations at BATFA, ASC and MPSE.


  • “All Quiet on the Western Front” (Germany) WINNER
  • “Argentina, 1985” (Argentina)
  • “Close” (Belgium)
  • “Decision to Leave” (South Korea)
  • “The Quiet Girl” (Ireland)

Stay tuned for Johnny’s final 2023 Oscars predictions.

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Johnny Sobczak View All

Johnny Sobczak is an entertainment journalist and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in Media and Journalism and minored in Global Cinema. Johnny is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association and has been with Inside the Film Room since August 2019. He was named Senior Writer in January 2020 and co-hosts the Inside the Film Room podcast with Zach Goins. Johnny spends his days job-hunting, watching films and obsessing over every new detail of Denis Villeneuve's "Dune."

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