The wild ride that is “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is the overwhelming favorite to pick up this year’s Best Picture Oscar. And with good reason. Critics and the general public are united in their acclaim for Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinhert’s (known collectively as Daniels) surreal comedy-drama about a Chinese-American immigrant (the magnificent Michelle Yeoh, who somehow manages to ground this baffling movie) who has to prevent the destruction of the multiverse by travelling through (or connecting with) versions of herself in parallel universes. It also ticks a number of boxes for academy voters: a non-white, female lead; mass appeal but still thought-provoking; hugely original; and offering the chance to recognize a multitude of genres (sci-fi, fantasy, action, animation) all in one go. Its closest contender is the German-language anti-war film “All Quiet on the Western Front,” but it’s probably not that close. If it had been released even a few years ago, Steven Spielberg’s ode to the power of cinema, “The Fabelmans,” would be a shoo-in, but movies about movies are not currently the draw they once were — even when they’re made by one of the greatest directors of all time. Martin McDonagh’s black comedy about two lifelong friends facing an unfixable rift in their relationship, “The Banshees of Inisherin,” is a great film, but will probably have to look to other categories for recognition. The thrilling “Top Gun: Maverick” might have “saved cinemas” post-pandemic, as Spielberg claimed, but it’s not going to win Best Picture. Similarly, James Cameron’s epic “Avatar: The Way of Water” raked in box-office bucks, and brought people back to the big screen, but won’t win. Biopics “Elvis” and “TAR,” Ruben Östlund's biting satire (and Cannes Palme d’Or winner) “Triangle of Sadness,” and Sarah Polley’s disturbing “Women Talking” (about the women of an isolated Mennonite community in Bolivia who discover that the men have been drugging and raping them) are all fine movies, and it’s hard to imagine anyone being massively upset if they won, but are most likely making up the numbers.
PREDICTED WINNER: “Everything Everywhere All At Once”
While “The Fabelmans” will likely miss out on Best Picture, we expect Steven Spielberg to pick up this prize. He’s arguably the most beloved living director, this is his most personal film yet, and it gives the Oscars crowd a reason to feel good about themselves. He’s not currently the favorite to win, though; that’s Daniels for “Everything Everywhere…” But we think sentiment will win the day — Daniels will have to wait. If Todd Field (for “TAR”), Ruben Östlund, or Martin McDonagh were to win, it would be a huge surprise. Not because their films aren’t great, but if the academy doesn’t go for Daniels, then it surely has to be Spielberg.
PREDICTED WINNER: Steven Spielberg
The early buzz was all about Brendan Fraser’s incredible performance as a morbidly obese English professor in “The Whale” — a magnificent and moving portrayal of grief. And Fraser is universally well-liked in the trade, by all accounts, so definitely has a great chance of winning. But Austin Butler has been gaining momentum (with a Golden Globes win, for one) for his uncanny representation of Elvis Presley in “Elvis,” and has to be in with a shot too. The dark horse in this category is Colin Farrell, who is superb as Pádraic in “The Banshees of Inisherin,” attempting to mend his friendship with Colm, even though he’s unclear why that friendship fell apart in the first place. Paul Mescal is excellent in “Aftersun,” as is Bill Nighy in “Living,” but it’s hard to see either of them overcoming the rest of this stellar field.
PREDICTED WINNER: Brendan Fraser
This one will be close. The slight favorite is Cate Blanchett for a memorable performance as Lydia Tár, the brilliant orchestra conductor accused of sexual abuse and suffering a meltdown in Todd Field’s “TAR.” But Michelle Yeoh’s stunning showing in “Everything Everywhere…” will push this one to the wire. Both women would be deserving winners. The rest of the field — Michelle Williams for “The Fablemans,” Ana de Armas for “Blonde,” and Andrea Risebrough, whose surprise nomination for “To Leslie” has caused such a furor and focused attention on the black actresses who didn’t get nominated (in particular Viola Davis and Danielle Deadwyler) — will likely have to prepare their “I’m just happy to be nominated and lose” faces for the ceremony.
PREDICTED WINNER: Michelle Yeoh
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE
There are no entries from the Arab world in this category this year. However, if you were going to miss out on a nomination, this is a good year to do so, given that it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion. Any winner other than the harrowing, heartfelt “All Quiet on the Western Front” (also nominated for Best Picture) would require some kind of “Everything Everywhere”-style parallel-universe thinking from the academy voters — as it would presumably mean that the winner was better than that film, but not good enough to be nominated for the main award. Edward Berger’s film is the runaway favorite and only Santiago Mitre’s “Argentina, 1985” — an equally bleak (though for different reasons) historical legal drama about the trials of members of the country’s military government comes anywhere close. Colm Bairéad’s moving coming-of-age drama “The Quiet Girl,” Jerzy Skolimowski’s engaging road movie (with a donkey hero) “EO,” and the Cannes Grand Prix winner, Lukas Dhont’s “Close” are all worthy contenders, but surely can’t win.
PREDICTED WINNER: “All Quiet on the Western Front”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
This could be the category that sees “The Banshees of Inisherin” rewarded, with both Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan nominated — although there’s a danger they could split the vote. They both sit well behind the overwhelming favorite Ke Huy Quan (for “Everything, Everywhere…”) anyway, with Brian Tyree Henry (“Causeway”) and Judd Hirsch (“The Fabelmans”) even further back.
PREDICTED WINNER: Ke Huy Quan
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
The lack of diversity in the Best Actress category is somewhat tempered by the nominees here, with Stephanie Hsu (“Everything Everywhere…”) and Hong Chau (“The Whale”) both earning nominations alongside deserved favorite Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”). Jamie Lee Curtis is Bassett’s closest contender for her role in “Everything Everywhere…” and Kerry Condon has a chance too, for “The Banshees of Inisherin.” It would be a surprise if Bassett doesn’t go home with the trophy, though.
PREDICTED WINNER: Angela Bassett