The Race To Oscar Gold: Who Will Win At The 95th Academy Awards?
Entertainment

The Race To Oscar Gold: Who Will Win At The 95th Academy Awards? 

Film still from Everything Everywhere All at Once. Photo by Allyson Riggs

From highly-applauded nominees to surprising shortlist finishers, here’s a prediction on who will be bagging Oscars this awards season.

No film year in recent cinematic history has been as widely discussed as 2022. After years of closed theaters, the movies came back bigger and better. Marvel movies took a back seat, as more prestige sequels racked in box office receipts. Steven Spielberg even said that Top Gun: Maverick might have saved the film industry. Smaller independent features also took center stage last year. The cultural phenomenon that is Everything Everywhere All at Once ushered crowds into theater seats, becoming A24’s first $100 million earner. As pandemic protocols eased up, audiences turned their backs on streaming service movies, looking towards cineplexes for their entertainment needs. For instance, Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis made bank at the box office in 2022. This was a major win for the industry, which had trouble releasing adult-targeted dramas in a post-Netflix and MCU world. All of this reflects in the nominations for the 95th Academy Awards. The honorees are a mix bag of big and small productions alike—a callback to the glory days of the Oscars in the 1990s. 

Like every race to Academy Gold, things can get political and messy. There is a reason why Oscar pundits call it a year-round “horse race.” Many things factor in when predicting the eventual winners. Multiple precursor awards, such as the Golden Globe, the Screen Actors Guild Award (SAG), and the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA), play large roles in changing the tide of the season. There is also the campaign factor, which can make or break an artist’s shot at victory. One wrong move can sink their chances. Pundits must also consider the socio-political situation of the time. Will awarding a certain movie benefit the cultural zeitgeist? Will this film capture this period of history? Many films have triumphed on Oscar night for precisely this reason. Just last year, CODA took home Best Picture, becoming the first streaming movie to take the top prize. This was a clear indication that the Academy wanted to honor streaming services for providing entertainment during the global pandemic. 

The 2022 Oscar race has become one of the most interesting in modern history. For the first time in decades, three of the four acting categories are truly up in the air. By this time of the season, winners are usually set in stone. Yet, this year feels like a tight race to the finish. In this article, I will discuss and attempt to predict the winners of the upcoming 95th Academy Awards by shortly dissecting each race. 


Best Picture

WILL WIN: Everything Everywhere all at Once

COULD WIN: All Quiet on the Western Front

SHOULD WIN: Everything Everywhere all at Once

A Best Picture victory for Everything Everywhere all at Once would be a major win for Asian representation in Hollywood. Till this day, Parasite (2019) remains to be the only Best Picture winner featuring a mostly Asian cast. Things are slowly changing, especially with the Academy’s efforts to diversify their membership with younger voters. Everything Everywhere All at Once is “the moment.” Directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert have crafted a truly modern and unique motion picture that audiences have embraced. It will be unlike any winner this category has ever saw. The film has solidified its frontrunner status by steamrolling through all of the major industry guilds, winning honors at SAG, PGA (Producer’s Guild), and DGA (Director’s Guild). This is an undeniable combination of wins that suggests widespread support in Hollywood. Its only major threat is Edward Berger’s adaptation of the anti-war novel All Quiet on the Western Front, which took home the BAFTA Award for Best Picture. All Quiet surprised on nomination morning with a whopping 9 citations. However, Everything Everywhere All at Once remains to be the heavy favorite and likely winner of this category. 


Best Actor

WILL WIN: Austin Butler, Elvis

COULD WIN: Brendan Fraser, The Whale

When Jessica Chastain opens that envelope on March 13, she could very well say Austin Butler or Brandan Fraser’s name, and no one would be surprised. The two have gone neck on neck all season long, with Butler taking the Golden Globe for Drama and the BAFTA for Best Actor. Fraser has taken honors at SAG and the Critic’s Choice Awards (CCA). While I still have my doubts, I’m leaning towards Butler taking the gold. Elvis is a massive box office smash and a Best Picture nominee. The Whale is a smaller independent production and did not live up to its critical hype. The only thing working against Butler is his youth. Oscar is notorious for snubbing young men in their prime, opting for industry veterans instead. Think: Timothée Chalamet vs. Gary Oldman in 2017. However, biopics are catnip for Oscar voters, with seven of the last ten winners being actors playing real-life people. In the end, it all boils down to another race: Best Makeup & Hairstyling, which in recent history has always matched up with one of the acting winners. If Elvis wins Makeup earlier in the evening, then Best Actor is in the bag.


Best Actress

WILL WIN: Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

COULD WIN: Cate Blanchett, Tár  

Best Actress is very similar to Best Actor, in which no one really knows who is going to win. However, a historic victory for Michelle Yeoh would be a huge step forward for Asian representation in Hollywood. In Oscar’s 95-year history, only one woman of color has ever won the Academy Award for Best Actress, and that was Halle Berry in 2001’s Monster’s Ball. Unfortunately, only one Asian actress has ever been nominated in this category. Merle Oberon was nominated for The Dark Angel (1935), but concealed her ethnicity, passing for white, for a chance to get more substantial roles in Hollywood. This year’s race will be a battle to the finish line. Arguably, Cate Blanchett’s precursor wins is the better combination. She has the Golden Globe Drama, Critic’s Choice Award, and the BAFTA. While Yeoh only has the Golden Globe Comedy and SAG. Historically, the actress with the BAFTA prevails as the Oscar winner. Eight of the last Best Actress Oscar winners also took home the BAFTA. While SAG has the exact same statistic, BAFTA has called the tougher races. For instance, Olivia Colman’s surprise win over Glenn Close in 2017. As well as Frances McDormand’s victory in a three-horse race in 2020. Despite all of this, my gut is telling me that Yeoh will manage a win. She is the lead actress of the Best Picture frontrunner, is an industry legend, and has a lot of goodwill due to her recent speech at SAG. 


Best Supporting Actor

WILL WIN: Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

COULD WIN: Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin 

This is the only acting race that is a done deal. Apart from BAFTA (in which Barry Keoghan won with a home-field advantage), Ke Huy Quan has swept every major Best Supporting Actor trophy this season. He will win, and it is undeniable. Quan’s comeback narrative is simply too strong to deny. After a few short years as a successful child actor in the 1980s, Quan left Hollywood due to the lack of substantial roles for Asian men. He triumphantly returned to the silver screen with an astonishing turn in Everything Everywhere All at Once. 


Best Supporting Actress

WILL WIN: Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin

COULD WIN: Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Best Supporting Actress is the toughest category to call this year. It’s a three-horse race with Kerry Condon (our BAFTA winner), Angela Bassett (Golden Globe), and Jamie Lee Curtis (SAG). This had not happened in any acting category since 2007, when Tilda Swinton eventually took home the gold for her work in Michael Clayton. In the end, I chose to go with Kerry Condon for her beautifully realized performance in The Banshees of Inisherin. Like Swinton, she also has a BAFTA. In addition, Condon’s film is very beloved, and I don’t see it going home empty-handed. This could be the Academy’s only chance to honor The Banshees of Inisherin. Bassett and Curtis’ veteran narrative might also split votes in Condon’s favor. While both of their performances are very good, they might be hurt by genre bias as well. Bassett appears in a Marvel movie, and Curtis plays a villain in an inter-dimensional adventure—two things the ever-serious Academy may have difficulty overlooking. Still, anything can happen on Oscar night, and any of the five nominees would make very worthy winners. 


Best Director

WILL WIN: The Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once

COULD WIN: Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

At the beginning of the race, it looked as if Steven Spielberg would be marching to the Kodak Theater for his third Best Director Oscar. However, the downfall of The Fabelmans with the industry guilds, and the rise of Everything Everywhere All at Once changed the tide of the season. Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (collectively known as The Daniels) have won the top honors at the Director’s Guild of America, which is the most accurate precursor for Oscar victory. The director’s branch is notoriously very snobbish about who they let into their club, so this is a good sign that they’re ready to accept these young, relative newcomers as one of their own. If they can beat King Spielberg (American filmmaking’s defacto monarch) there, they can beat him at the Oscars too. 


Best Original Screenplay 

WILL WIN: The Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once

COULD WIN: Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin 

This is Everything Everywhere All at One’s to lose. Many Oscar pundits are arguing that The Banshees of Inisherin has a great chance to win because the movie can’t go home empty-handed. However, the eventual Best Picture winner almost always has a screenplay win as well. In the last five years, only The Shape of Water (2018) did not have a matching screenplay Oscar.  


Best Adapted Screenplay

WILL WIN: Sarah Polley, Women Talking

COULD WIN: Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson, and Ian Stokell, All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Adapted Screenplay is an interesting category because the two frontrunners have never gone head to head. Women Talking was snubbed at BAFTA, where All Quiet on the Western Front prevailed in a surprise victory. On the other hand, All Quiet was ineligible at the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA), where Women Talking took the top prize. It’s a two-way race, and anything could happen, but I’d put my money on Women Talking. Sarah Polley is one of the most well-regarded filmmakers in modern cinematic history, and I think she’s built up enough goodwill to easily take this.  


Best Cinematography

WILL WIN: All Quiet on the Western Front

COULD WIN: Elvis

Top Gun: Maverick was the early favorite in this category, but after being snubbed on nomination morning it became anyone’s game. Elvis cinematographer Mandy Walker could make history by becoming the first woman to win Best Cinematography at the Oscars. However, she must overcome the juggernaut that is All Quiet on the Western Front. The anti-war film lensed by James Friend is beautifully photographed, and its style aligns more with previous winners of this category. The film also surprised by winning the BAFTA award for Cinematography, suggesting it has large support from the Academy’s international branch. 


Best Film Editing

WILL WIN: Top Gun Maverick

COULD WIN: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Historically speaking, the eventual Best Picture winner almost always brought home the Best Film Editing Oscar as well. That stat was broken in 2013, when Gravity won the prize. Since then, no Best Picture winner has won the editing Oscar. While I think Everything Everywhere All at Once might become the exception to this new rule, I will still predict Top Gun: Maverick to reign supreme. Sometimes, trends don’t lie. 


Best Production Design

WILL WIN: Babylon

COULD WIN: Elvis

Even after Damien Chazelle’s Babylon flopped at the box office and underperformed in all the precursor guilds, it’s one steady citation throughout the season was in Production Design. I think it’ll carry over to Oscar. 


Best Costume Design

WILL WIN: Elvis

COULD WIN: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 

The Academy loves Catherine Martin. Whenever she designs the films of her husband Baz Luhrmann, she is automatically in the conversation for the Oscars. She has previously won four, for her work as costume and production designer for both Moulin Rouge! and The Great Gatsby. This year, her design work in Elvis has captured the imaginations of Oscar voters, garnering her yet another two nominations. While Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will put up a good fight to the finish line, one should never doubt an Oscar darling. The Academy is never shy to award Costume Designers multiple statues if they love them. Just ask Edith Head, who has a whopping collection of eight little gold men. 


Best Sound

WILL WIN: Top Gun: Maverick
COULD WIN: All Quiet on the Western Front

In recent history, Best Sound winners have also won Best Film Editing. Films like Dunkirk (2017), Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), Ford v Ferrari (2019), Sound of Metal (2020), and Dune (2021), have all been successful in their bids to win both. Based on this stat, we have to predict Top Gun: Maverick. 


Best Makeup & Hairstyling

WILL WIN: Elvis

COULD WIN: The Whale

This is a tricky one. As we discussed in our Best Actor write-up, one of the four acting winners are usually paired with a matching Best Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar. Since I’m predicting Austin Butler to win for his role as Elvis, it only makes sense that we predict it will take this award too. This Oscar is announced very early in the evening, so if The Whale manages to surprise, then Brendan Fraser will be upset as well. 


Best Original Score

WILL WIN: Babylon

COULD WIN: All Quiet on the Western Front

A win for Justin Hurwitz’s Babylon score would be one of the most deserving awards of the evening. Perhaps, one of the most deserving this category has ever seen. Dubbed the early frontrunner when it won the Golden Globe in January, Hurwitz’s work has surprisingly underperformed since then. However, we’re still hopeful that the sheer strength of the music will carry it over to the Academy Awards. It might be wishful thinking, but we’ve got our fingers crossed. All Quiet on the Western Front is its only true competition, which took home the BAFTA in this category. If the Academy truly loves All Quiet, then it will show here. 


Best Original Song

WILL WIN: Naatu Naatu, RRR

COULD WIN: Lift Me Up, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

If RRR does not win in this category, there will be mass hysteria on Film Twitter. Luckily for the film’s devoted fan base, all signs point to a landslide victory. “Naatu Naatu” has been the song to beat this entire season. It has won the Golden Globe and Critics Choice prizes. BAFTA doesn’t factor in because they don’t give out this award. Simply put, RRR is in the same position as A Star is Born’s “Shallow” back in 2018. That’s a good place to be in.   


Best Visual Effects

WILL WIN: Avatar: The Way of Water

COULD WIN: None of them 

No one doubts that Avatar: The Way of Water wins for Best Visual Effects. No film has challenged it in any other major award-giving body. It’s a done deal—a clean sweep. 


Best Documentary Feature

WILL WIN: Navalny

COULD WIN: Fire of Live

The Best Documentary category has been tough to predict over the years due to multiple surprise upsets. The clear favorite going into the ceremony is the anti-Russian documentary Navalny, which has swept the Critic’s Choice Awards, BAFTA, and most importantly, the Producer’s Guild of America. 


Best Animated Feature

WILL WIN: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

COULD WIN: Turning Red

Pixar movies usually take this category in the cakewalk. However, they’ll need to take a back seat this year to make room for Netflix’s stop-motion re-imagining of Pinocchio. The film is well-received and has won awards from every single major precursor. Its recent victory at the Annie Awards (the animation world’s Oscar equivalent honor) is a very telling sign. 


Best International Film

WILL WIN: All Quiet on the Western Front

COULD WIN: Argentina, 1985

The German production of All Quiet on the Western Front is a serious threat in Best Picture, so we must assume that it wins here. In fact, I don’t think there’s any competition for it at all. The Academy showed its love for the film by awarding it with nine Oscar nominations. In addition, every time a foreign film is nominated for Best Picture, it almost always wins in this category. Some recent examples include: Drive My Car (2021), Parasite (2019), and Roma (2018). 


Short Subject Films

Unfortunately, it’s always been difficult to predict the Short Film Oscar categories because they are often not available for viewing in the Philippines. However, I’ll try to make some educated guesses: 

Best Animated Short: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Best Documentary Short: Stranger at the Gate

Best Live Action Short: An Irish Goodbye
The 95th Academy Awards will stream live on Disney Plus Philippines on March 13, 2023. The pre-show begins at 6 AM, with the Oscar ceremony broadcasting at 8 AM.

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