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Close-Up with Camenker Volume XLIX: Zach’s Final Oscar Predictions

March 7, 2023

Oscars 2023: Everything Everywhere All At Once, Glass Onion, The Batman, Top Gun: Maverick, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Avatar: The Way of Water, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, The Fabelmans

Oscars 2023: Everything Everywhere All At Once, Glass Onion, The Batman, Top Gun: Maverick, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Avatar: The Way of Water, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, The Fabelmans source:

Well, folks, it’s almost here. The biggest night of the year in Hollywood is just days away from celebrating its 95th ceremony! Whether you are tuning in at home, headed to either of the events at Red River, or looking forward to your own party, tradition, or betting pool, I’m sure you’re as excited as I am. While the slate of movies this year is frankly a bit underwhelming in my opinion, I have been deeply impressed by seeing actors at the top of their game both in the films and making speeches at the circuits throughout the season. It’s clear that there are still some passionate artists out there who love sharing their work and are so grateful to be honored. If you watched the Screen Actors Guild Awards, then you know what I mean!

It’s pretty clear to me that the one to beat is EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, a spring release of 2022 that became a quick hit and has only grown in popularity. A unique picture to say the least, it has a lot going for it much as last year’s CODA did. Not only is it unique, but it blends genres, honors the theme of the American Dream, and it is a whole lot of fun to watch the actors, all who’ve done tremendously well this awards season.

As is typically the case, I am going to do some analysis of the six major races (picture, director, and the acting) and offer some predictions for the other categories too. This time, rather than sprinkle in “should have been nominated” and “shouldn’t be here,” I will provide some insight into what I would have nominated instead. It’s a year where many of my top films and performances are very different from the line-up at hand, so not as clean cut as it sometimes is.

Well then, here we go…

Best Picture nominees: All Quiet on the Western Front; Avatar: The Way of Water; The Banshees of Inisherin; Elvis; Everything Everywhere All At Once; The Fabelmans; Tár; Top Gun: Maverick; Triangle of Sadness; Women Talking

Will Win: Everything Everywhere All At Once

Should Win: The Banshees of Inisherin 

Call me crazy for saying that BANSHEES is the best of the bunch, but I truly think it is. Clever, witty, dark, and filled with layers of thematic material, it is a reminder to me of why I love movies – they make you think. EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE certainly does a lot of that too, but it’s just not my type of film as much. This is a year where there is no contest or threat as the latter film has literally won everything. In my opinion, this mix is far from great. Having seen all of them, I’d only put BANSHEES, FABELMANS, and TÁR in my Top 10 all year with ALL QUIET and WOMEN TALKING close behind. AVATAR and TRIANGLE belong nowhere near the top and it’s a shame they’re here if you ask me. 

The film that’s missing most from this line-up, you ask? Jordan Peele’s NOPE. How it got no Oscar nods is beyond me as I liked it even more than GET OUT. As much as the Academy doesn’t go for sci-fi fare, just look at EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE.

Best Director nominees: Todd Field (Tár); Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, aka “The Daniels” (Everything…); Martin McDonagh (Banshees); Ruben Ostlund (Triangle of Sadness); Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans)

Will Win: The Daniels 

Should Win: Martin McDonagh

Everything I said above rings true for the directors, too. It’s not much of a contest unless Spielberg makes a surprise “swan song” win, though I doubt it at this point. The Daniels have dominated and will be only the third duo to share a directing Oscar. My vote would be for McDonagh and I am sad to see Jordan Peele left out here, too. All the others except Ruben Ostlund deserve a place at the table here.

Best Actor nominees: Austin Butler (Elvis); Colin Farrell (Banshees); Brendan Fraser (The Whale); Paul Mescal (Aftersun); Bill Nighy (Living)

Will/Should Win: Brendan Fraser

Fraser gives a career-defining performance in THE WHALE, one of the underrated films of the year. This trophy belongs to him most of all. Those who see a threat from Austin Butler, whose portrayal of ELVIS is top-notch and makes that long film most worth it, are not unwarranted in thinking he could win. It’s been a battle between Butler and Fraser all season. But if you ask me, Fraser has the advantage here, also because it’s a huge comeback for him. I did not see the Bill Nighy film, but saw all the others. I’m sorry to see Gabriel LaBelle left out from THE FABELMANS as I thought his performance was quite the breakthrough. More from him in the future, I hope!

Best Actress nominees: Cate Blanchett (Tár); Ana de Armas (Blonde); Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie); Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans); Michelle Yeoh (Everything…)

Will Win: Michelle Yeoh

Should Win: Cate Blanchett or Michelle Yeoh

Truth be told, if I were an Oscar voter, I’d be up to the last minute deciding who to cast my vote for! I see this as a real battle for so many voters, especially because these two ladies have been duking it out all season as well. On the one hand, Blanchett carries her film and becomes Lydia while on the other hand, Yeoh anchors a truly strong ensemble in a “badass” way that only she knows how to do. I see quite a split here, but many picking Yeoh as she’s been around a long time and has worked hard to fight typecasting and stereotypes to make it here. She’s got it, I believe, but this will be a nail biter for sure. 

How Andrea Riseborough got in for a sub-par film in which she does deliver a good performance, but not a great one, is beyond me. Especially considering that Danielle Deadwyler was shut out for TILL, which is a better performance than Blanchett or Yeoh in my opinion. 

Best Supporting Actor nominees: Brendan Gleeson (Banshees); Brian Tyree Henry (Causeway); Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans); Barry Keoghan (Banshees); Ke Huy Quan (Everything…)

Will Win: Ke Huy Quan

Should Win: Barry Keoghan

A tough one for me as well as I find this line-up of guys the most stacked of the four acting groups this year. Ke Huy Quan has it in the bag as he is the true “comeback kid” of awards season and while he will give an undoubtedly amazing speech, I think my heart remains with Barry Keoghan ever so slightly. He anchors BANSHEES in a way that I did not expect despite playing the equivalent of a “village idiot” and shows continued chops for versatility in his roles. He is a much more likable character than Gleeson, too, even though Gleeson delivers a top-notch performance as well.

I also loved Brian Tyree Henry, whose performance in the incredibly underrated CAUSEWAY, was revelatory. Like my struggle with Blanchett and Yeoh, I’d very nearly vote for him instead of Keoghan. 

Quan to me is a great performer who is in a film with ladies who chew at the scenery even more. He just doesn’t stand out *quite* as much as the ladies or some of his fellow gents in this camp. The only swap I’d make here is Ben Whishaw from WOMEN TALKING for Judd Hirsch, who I do love and who proves that there are no small parts. His just isn’t enough of a scene stealer for me.

Best Supporting Actress nominees: Angela Bassett (Black Panther); Hong Chau (The Whale); Kerry Condon (Banshees); Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything…); Stephanie Hsu (Everything…)

Will Win: Kerry Condon

Should Win: Jamie Lee Curtis

All the acting categories are tough battles this year and Supporting Actress may be the least predictable in the end. 

Bassett was a favorite to start the season with Condon and Curtis her biggest threats. Sure enough, all three have won somewhere along the way. And while many feel Curtis has it coming here, I don’t, though she’d be my pick for giving a truly scene-stealing performance and being a standout performer in that crowded film. 

My reasoning for saying Condon has it is because Bassett and Curtis are both veteran actors who have waited a long time for this. My guess is that they will split the vote and Condon will be the soft spot in many voters’ hearts so that they can give BANSHEES some love along the way. And she is a great one to bestow love on as her character is one to love.

I may be wrong and if I am with Curtis being the victor along with Yeoh and Quan, then EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE will make history as only the third film to win three acting trophies behind giants like NETWORK and A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. The difference, though, is that it may also make history by winning Best Picture (the other two films lost) and sharing the Director statue. Pretty incredible.

See below for my predicted winner in the other 17 categories and how I stack up! Happy viewing and please visit the RRT page after Oscar night for some final debriefing!

Original Screenplay: BANSHEES

Adapted Screenplay: WOMEN TALKING


Costume Design: ELVIS


Makeup and Hairstyling: THE WHALE

Production Design: BABYLON


Song: “Naatu Naatu” (from RRR)



Animated Feature: PINOCCHIO

Documentary Feature: NAVALNY



Documentary Short: STRANGER AT THE GATE

Live Action Short: AN IRISH GOODBYE

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