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Oscars predictions: Which films and actors will take top spots when the 2023 Academy Award nominations are announced?

Cate Blanchett on "Tár" and the art of transformation
Cate Blanchett on "Tár" and the art of transformation 07:44

Nominations for the 95th Academy Awards will be unveiled Tuesday, beginning the countdown to Hollywood's most talked-about night of the year. The anticipated list of nominees will come on the heels of two high-profile award shows, the Golden Globe Awards and the Critics Choice Awards, and closely follow a spectrum of nominations recently announced by the Screen Actors Guild, Producers Guild, Directors Guild and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts — all of which, with particular attention to the artist guilds, are known to provide reasonable hints about the subsequent Oscar nods.

With a number of films and performers already generating buzz ahead of the Academy Award nominations, here is a look at what, and who, to expect to see in some of the major races.

Best Picture

With ten spots up for grabs in the Academy Awards' top category, a handful of titles are shoo-ins for the upcoming nominations for best picture. But which remaining few will round out the list is still up for debate. The most obvious choices — and, potentially, the frontrunners to win — are Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert's sci-fi hit "Everything Everywhere All at Once," Martin McDonagh's Irish tragicomedy "The Banshees of Inisherin" and Steven Spielberg's semi-autobiographical coming-of-age drama "The Fabelmans." 

All three films took home big accolades at the recent Critics Choice and Golden Globe Awards, with "Everything Everywhere All At Once" earning the most prestigious honors from the Critics Choice Association, and "The Banshees of Inisherin" and "The Fabelmans" receiving the same from the HFPA. McDonaugh's film won the Golden Globe for best comedy or musical this year, while Spielberg's won the prize for best drama. Although the Critics Choice Awards have historically been better indicators of subsequent Oscar lineups than the Golden Globes — a 2021 review by The Hollywood Reporter found that the critics voted in kind with The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) 73% of the time in the six major Oscar categories going back five years — the publicity that accompanies a televised win at the latter award show, which is in the process of attempting to redeem itself after allegations of corruption, racism and sexism have marred its reputation, should not be discounted, especially since this year's Golden Globes took place just two days before the start of Oscar voting.

Film Awards Season
This image released by A24 Films shows, from left, Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in "Everything Everywhere All At Once." Allyson Riggs/A24 Films via AP

"Everything Everywhere All at Once," "The Banshees of Inisherin" and "The Fabelmans" were also nominated in top categories for the Screen Actors Guild, Producers Guild and Directors Guild Awards, which typically provide the most reliable clues as to what the Oscar nominations will look like, since there is significant overlap between guild members and members of AMPAS. "Everything Everywhere All at Once" and "The Banshees of Inisherin" tied for a SAG Awards nominations record this year with five nods each, in the race for best ensemble and four individual acting categories.

"Tár," Todd Field's psychological drama starring Cate Blanchett, a two-time Oscar winner and four-time nominee herself, is another strong contender for the best picture nomination. A clear favorite among movie critics, it was named best film of 2022 by the New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association and National Society of Film Critics, and ranked with the year's best films on the American Film Institute's annual list. Blanchett's performance won the prize for best actress in a drama at the Golden Globes and earned a SAG award nomination in the analogous category.

"Elvis," Baz Luhrmann's biographical film about the rock and roll icon Elvis Presley could also land in the race for best picture. It was a box office triumph, pacing competitively with the record-breaker "Top Gun: Maverick," and earned nearly two dozen nominations across the Golden Globe, Grammy, Critics Choice and BAFTA Awards. Austin Butler, who received widespread critical acclaim for his portrayal of Presley, won the Golden Globe for best actor in a drama.

The crowd-pleasers and box office smashes "Top Gun: Maverick" and "Avatar: The Way of Water," both of which grossed hundreds of millions of dollars and broke records with their exorbitant ticket sales, are potential candidates for the best picture nomination as well. "Top Gun" was the highest-grossing film of 2022 in U.S. markets, and "Avatar" took the same title globally. "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," also performed extremely well at the box office and has made a notable splash in the awards circuit so far, although some have argued that the highly-anticipated follow-up to Marvel's 2019 best picture nominee was snubbed in key categories by the Screen Actors Guild, possibly foreshadowing the Oscars. Looking at past best picture slates, it is probably unlikely that so many action-genre sequels will be nominated together in one year.

'Top Gun: Maverick'
"Top Gun: Maverick" Scott Garfield / PARAMOUNT PICTURES / Skydance

The heartfelt and universally well-received British indie drama "Aftersun," from Charlotte Wells in her directorial debut, could also make the cut, as could Sarah Polley's "Women Talking," which stars a packed ensemble cast of actors and is inspired by a harrowing true story about sex crimes in a Bolivian religious colony. "Triangle of Sadness," the satirical black comedy about class conflict by French director Ruben Östlund in his first English-language film, may earn a spot in the best picture competition as well. With thematic elements and an overarching tone evoking Bong Joon-Ho's 2019 best picture winner, the somewhat darker thriller "Parasite," Östlund's film, like Bong's, received the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Netflix, which contributed two titles to the best picture category last year — Adam McKay's timely satire "Don't Look Up" and Jane Campion's revisionist western "The Power of the Dog" — may throw one or two of its latest originals into the mix. The Critics Choice Awards' best comedy and best acting ensemble winner, "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery," from director Rian Johnson, whose first installment in the whodunit series earned an Oscar nomination for best screenplay in 2019, will likely be weighed against its closest competitor on the streaming platform, the German anti-war epic "All Quiet on the Western Front," which Germany announced as its submission for best international feature at the Oscars over the summer. It could be nominated, and, like "Parasite," even win, in both categories. The film led this year's BAFTA nominations with 14 nods, tying an all-time record, from the British Academy, whose picks often overlap substantially with the Oscar selections.

Best Actress

All four acting races typically pull heavily from the best picture contenders to choose their nominees. And, judging by the spread of guild nominations announced so far, plus the nominees and winners at the Critics Choice Awards and the Golden Globes, this year's Oscar nominees for best actress and actor — as well as their supporting counterparts — will likely not break with that format.

Michelle Yeoh, for "Everything Everywhere All at Once," Viola Davis, for "The Woman King," and Blanchett, for "Tár," were each nominated for Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe and Critics Choice Awards, with Blanchett and Yeoh winning the top honors for drama and comedy, respectively, at the Globes, and Blanchett winning again at the Critics Choice Awards. Their recognition thus far across the industry is a solid suggestion that all three women will vie for best actress at the Oscars and that best actress may shape up to be one of the night's most contentious competitions.

Potentially joining them in the category are: Danielle Deadwyler, who received SAG Award, Critics Choice and BAFTA nominations for her performance in "Till," Ana de Armas, who also received SAG and BAFTA nominations for her widely-acclaimed portrayal of Marylin Monroe in the otherwise divisive drama "Blonde," and Margot Robbie, a Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominee for her role in "Babylon." Robbie and de Armas have both received Oscar nominations before.

Viola Davis in TriStar Pictures' "The Woman King." Ilze Kitshoff

Whether or not Michelle Williams — who received a Golden Globe nomination but was, by some accounts, snubbed by the Screen Actors Guild for her role in "The Fabelmans" — or Olivia Colman — a Golden Globe nominee for "Empire of Light," who has consistently appeared on the Academy Awards roster since her breakout win for "The Favourite" in 2019 — will be included in the best actress list is a toss up. It is worth noting that Colman's past Oscar nods coincided with SAG Award nominations, which she did not receive this year.

Best Actor

In a category with only five slots available, the lineup for the award for best actor could be fairly predictable. Four leading men — Austin Butler, for "Elvis," Brendan Fraser, for "The Whale," Colin Farrell, for "The Banshees of Inisherin," and Bill Nighy, for "Living" — have already received nominations for Critics Choice, Golden Globe and SAG Awards, making each a probable candidate for an Oscar nod. 

Apparent favorites to take home this year's best actor prize are: Fraser, whose viral comeback performance as a recluse in "The Whale" won the Critics Choice Award; Butler, whose title role in "Elvis" won him the Golden Globe for best actor in a drama and garnered praise from the Presleys themselves; and Farrell, whose reunion with McDonaugh for "The Banshees of Inisherin" was hailed as one of the year's greatest performances by TIME and won him the award for best actor in a comedy at the Globes.

Based on the spate of previously announced nominations, it looks like the fifth spot in the running for best actor is anyone's game. It could go to Paul Mescal or Tom Cruise, both of whom competed in the lead acting race at the Critics Choice Awards for their roles in "Aftersun" and "Top Gun: Maverick," Hugh Jackman or Jeremy Pope, who were nominated in the Golden Globes' best dramatic actor contest for "The Son" and "The Inspection," Diego Calva, Daniel Craig, Adam Driver or Ralph Fiennes, who competed in the Globes' corresponding comedy race for their roles in "Babylon," "Glass Onion," "White Noise" and "The Menu" — or, perhaps, the final spot will offer a surprise with Adam Sandler, who recently earned his first SAG Award nomination for his performance in the sports drama "Hustle."

Austin Butler as Elvis Presley in the film "Elvis." Warner Brothers

Best Supporting Actress

Hollywood awards veteran Angela Bassett is poised to lead this year's group of Oscar nominees for best supporting actress, after winning the equivalent title at both the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards for her performance in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," which also earned her a nomination from the Screen Actors Guild. 

Other possible contenders in this category include a fairly broad array of actors, comprised of both familiar players and some newcomers: Hong Chau, for "The Whale;" Kerry Condon, for "The Banshees of Inisherin;" Jamie Lee Curtis, who has been campaigning for her first Oscar nomination for her performance in "Everything Everywhere All at Once;" her costar, Stephanie Hsu, whose breakout performance in the same film was met with critical acclaim; Jessie Buckley, for "Women Talking;" Janelle Monáe, for "Glass Onion;" Dolly De Leon, for "Triangle of Sadness;" or Carey Mulligan, for "She Said."

Best Supporting Actor

"Everything Everywhere All at Once" brought a career revival for Ke Huy Quan, who took a decades-long hiatus from acting after appearing in a handful of classic films between the late 1980s and early 1990s, including "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," "The Goonies" and "Encino Man." Quan's latest performance won him a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice Award, and earned him a SAG Award nomination, possibly securing his spot in the race for best supporting actor at the Oscars.

Other likely contenders include Paul Dano, for "The Fabelmans," Brendan Gleeson, for "The Banshees of Inisherin," Barry Keoghan, for "The Banshees of Inisherin," Eddie Redmayne, for "The Good Nurse," Judd Hirsch, for "The Fabelmans," Brian Tyree Henry, for "Causeway," and Brad Pitt, for "Babylon." Behind Quan, Gleeson and Keoghan's consistency so far in the awards circuit, plus Henry's standout praise from critics, could signal their upcoming nominations from AMPAS, although Dano, Redmayne, Hirsch and Pitt, with extensive individual resumes and previous accolades, may still have a fighting chance.

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