These Oscar Races Aren’t Over Until Lady Gaga Sings

Apr 16, 2023

As Academy members begin logging into their AMPAS accounts to vote for the 95th Oscars, let us reflect on the shattered dreams of multiple contenders after “Everything Everywhere All At Once” dominated the guild honors last weekend. The Daniels‘ indie breakthrough, which already won the DGA Award earlier in the month, took the top award at the PGA Awards and won a staggering four trophies at the SAG Awards. Despite “All Quiet on the Western Front” winning the BAFTA Award the weekend prior, the Best Picture race is effectively over. And, notably, A24 will land its second Best Picture win in less than 13 years of existence joining only Orion Pictures and The Weinstein Company in doing so. But, despite 11 Oscar nominations, “Everything Everywhere” won’t win…wait for it…everything.
READ MORE: “Everything” we learned from the 2023 SAG Awards
There are certainly a number of other categories locked up or close to being so before attendees walk their way into the Dolby Theater. At a minimum, “All Quiet” should win International Film and Cinematography. “Navalny” will squeak by the more worthy “All The Beauty and the Bloodshed” for Documentary. “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” will take the Animated Feature prize and “Everything’s” Key Huy Quan is a given in the Supporting Actor race. Moreover, at this point, it would be a major upset if Michelle Yeoh didn’t win Best Actress, although you should never count out an Olivia Colman-esque upset with Cate Blanchett waiting in the wings (although the key difference in this scenario is “Everything” is perceived as a much better movie than Glenn Close’ “The Wife” was).
And categories such as Make-Up and Hairstyling (“The Whale” vs. “Elvis”), Production Design (“All Quiet on the Western Front” vs. “Elvis” vs. “Bablyon”), and Sound (“Top Gun: Maverick” vs. “All Quiet on the Western Front”) are nowhere near as locked as “Avatar: The Way of Water” is for Visual Effects (they should just send them the statue today).
So, as members double-check their ballots, message a friend over which short categories to vote for, and begin the annual hunt for a viewing party in the Hollywood Hills, let’s look at five categories where there is still some genuine drama left.
BEST ACTOR: Austin Butler vs. Brendan Fraser
We’re still smarting that Colin Farrell appears to have faded from contention, but at this point, it comes down to a showdown between the BAFTA and the SAG Award winner. One has the more transformative role (Butler) while the other is a comeback story that usually plays with his acting peers (Fraser). SAG predicts this category more often than not, but “Elvis” is absolutely more loved by The Academy overall with 8 nominations to just 2 for “The Whale.” And we must continually remind the room that the latter could not land an Adapted Screenplay nom in a historically weak year for that particular category. We’re leaning toward Butler, but it’s still a super close race at this point.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Kerry Condon vs. Jamie Lee Curtis vs. Angela Bassett
Perhaps the biggest surprise at the SAG Awards was Jamie Lee Curtis taking the Supporting Actress crown. The Hollywood veteran surpassed her own co-star, Stephanie Hsu, BAFTA winner Condon, and fan favorite Bassett for the trophy. Curtis is probably the outlier for “Everything” wins at this point, however. She’s a beloved industry figure who is genuinely down to earth and a loving cheerleader not only for her own projects but everyone else’s. That worked for SAG, but we’re not sure it’s gonna work for a more International voting block such as AMPAS. We think Condon will give “Banshees” a win here, but Bassett could absolutely make a perceived “comeback” and “do the thing” as well. Will be curious to see if Oscar producers and showrunners Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner push this category to later on during the telecast to create more drama for viewers at home.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “Everything Everywhere All At Once” vs. The Field
Historically and most recently, the Best Picture winner also secures a screenplay honor and an acting honor before the final envelope is opened at the end of the night. In theory, that means “Everything Everywhere” is a given for Original Screenplay. This year, we’re not so sure. Especially as it’s a film that is thought of as a directing achievement first and foremost. Plus, the other four nominees are also quite impressive. Martin McDonaugh already took the BAFTA in this category for “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Ruben Östlund won the European Film Award for “Triangle of Sadness” and Todd Field’s “TAR” has genuine support in The Academy. We suspect another perceived upset is brewing that won’t affect “Everything Everywhere” taking the Best Picture prize.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “All Quiet on the Western Front” vs. “Women Talking”
With nine nominations, a BAFTA win and at least a guaranteed International Film win on Oscar night, it would be easy to assume “All Quiet” is a lock to snag an aforementioned weak Adapted Screenplay category. Well, not so fast. Call it gut, call it members verbalizing their choices, but Sarah Polley is still in the mix for “Women Talking.” Is it a mirage? Is it enough to overcome a strong phase 2 campaign for “All Quiet”? We’ll see.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “Naatu Naatu” vs. “Lift Me Up” vs. “Hold My Hand”
Every year there is one category that makes you want to pull your hair out no matter what AMPAS members tell you. Usually, it’s a short category or Documentary Feature. In 2023, Best Original Song is as close to a pick ’em as you’re going to get. For the most part, the media and hardcore movie fans think “Naatu Naatu” is the winner, but many don’t seem to understand how few AMPAS members have actually seen “RRR.” “Lift Me Up” is statistically the biggest hit of the bunch (213 million streams on Spotify alone), but Rihanna’s only contribution to its campaign will be performing on the Oscars telecast (although her Super Bowl performance might give her a sentimental push). Then there is “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick.” Lady Gaga sang the song as the closing number for her 2022 tour but has been somewhat quiet after what was perceived by some as over-campaigning for “House of Gucci” last year. And strangely, at publication, she is the only one of the five nominated songs not to be confirmed as performing at the ceremony. That being said, the industry has tons of love for “Top Gun: Maverick” and outside of Sound (where it could easily lose) this may be the one category members can reward it. Needless to say, a lot of Oscar ballot contests are going to turn on this award.
The 95th Academy Awards will be handed out on Sunday, March 12 at 5 PM PT, 8 PM ET on ABC.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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