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  • Writer's pictureHunter Friesen

2023 Oscar Predictions Update: Michelle Williams Crashes the Party

Michelle Williams and Mateo Zoryon Francis-DeFord in Steven Spielberg's "The Fabelmans"

Welcome to an ongoing series where I cover the 2022/2023 Oscar season. On a biweekly basis on Tuesdays, I will update my Oscar predictions, taking into account the new information that has been received since the last update.

In a cruel twist of fate, the biggest bombshell of the Oscar season dropped only a day after I posted my previous update. Instead of contending in the Supporting Actress category, where she likely would have steamrolled the competition, Michelle Williams has decided to be placed in the Lead Actress category for The Fabelmans.

It’s a move that has bewildered me since it was announced, mostly because it’s just plain wrong. I’ve seen The Fabelmans and can assure you that Michelle Williams' role while having a good chunk of screen time, is not a leading one. Out of the many scenes, she appears in, only one of them is not told from the perspective of the lead character, Sammy Fabelman. This is category fraud in the opposite direction, as now Williams will have a much harder time getting the Oscar that she’s already chased on four separate occasions.

But enough about the justification of the decision, let’s get into how this affects the different Oscar races. For Lead Actress, Williams bumps out a fringe contender like Naomi Ackie for I Wanna Dance with Somebody. Danielle Deadwyler has received strong enough buzz for her turn in Till that her stock has risen considerably, unseating the yet-to-be-seen Margot Robbie in Babylon (who I'm keeping in Lead Actress until otherwise confirmed) for second place behind heavyweight Cate Blanchett.

A power vacuum has opened up in Supporting Actress as the Women Talking players of Jessie Buckley and Claire Foy jockey for the vacant top spot. There’s also The Son duo of Vanessa Kirby and Laura Dern, who I think might be done considering the film’s dramatically unfavorable fall from grace. Two performances (one I’ve seen and one no one has seen) I’m ready to buy into are Kerry Condon from The Banshees of Inisherin and Jean Smart in Babylon. Condon provides McDonagh’s film with its human spirit as her character tries to make sense of the crazy times she’s in. And Smart is riding high after her second consecutive Emmy win for Hacks, and her role in Damien Chazelle’s epic is reportedly a juicy one.

A film that likely won’t be heading into Oscar night with acting nominations is The Woman King. But that won’t necessarily be a bad thing, as its overwhelming critical and box office success has made it a contender in several below-the-line categories. It’ll be interesting to see if the film can hang around, especially with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever coming in with high expectations.

While Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling was a similar box office success to The Woman King, it likely won’t be featured in any categories due to its negative critical reception and bad press. Of course, some technical elements deserve recognition, such as the production and costume design.

A quartet of recently released films that will likely sit at the loser’s circle with Don’t Worry Darling is Peter Farrelly’s The Greatest Beer Run Ever, Andrew Dominik’s Blonde, Nicholas Stoller's Bros and David O. Russell’s Amsterdam. All four have been met by critical or financial obstacles. Unless a miracle happens, these films are DOA.

Fortunately for Netflix, just as Blonde (expectedly) failed, All Quiet on the Western Front broke out as a big success at the Toronto International Film Festival. Along with Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Edward Berger’s film seems poised to get a big push from the streamer. It’s already been selected as Germany’s contender for Best International Feature and will be a big contender in several below-the-line categories. With Bardo cratering and Decision to Leave taking its time to get a campaign rolling, maybe this will be our international breakout.

One film that All Quiet on the Western Front will have competition from is Saint Omer, which France has selected to be their Best International Feature contender. Boasting the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Venice Film Festival, Alice Diop’s film will be looking to secure France’s first win in the category since 1993. Neon will distribute the film stateside, starting with a bow at the New York Film Festival.

Finally, Apple is looking to emulate the Michelle Williams tactic by surprisingly dropping Antoine Fuqua's Emancipation in time for an awards campaign. Any serious awards pundit will know that the streamer is doing this mostly out of desperation as two of their big titles, Napoleon & Killers of the Flower Moon, aren't ready, and some of the already seen films of Cha Cha Real Smooth and Causeway aren't likely to be contenders. I doubt academy voters will welcome Will Smith back less than a year from the slap heard around the world.

Here are my 2023 Oscar predictions in every category (except for the shorts and Best Original Song) for October 04, 2022. The next update will come on October 18.

Best Picture

  1. The Fabelmans

  2. Women Talking

  3. Babylon

  4. Everything Everywhere All at Once

  5. The Banshees of Inisherin

  6. Top Gun: Maverick

  7. TÁR

  8. Triangle of Sadness

  9. The Whale

  10. She Said


11. All Quiet on the Western Front

12. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Best Director

  1. Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans)

  2. Damien Chazelle (Babylon)

  3. Todd Field (TÁR)

  4. Sarah Polley (Women Talking)

  5. Daniels (Everything Everywhere All at Once)


6. Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin)

7. Ruben Östlund (Triangle of Sadness)

Best Original Screenplay

  1. The Fabelmans (Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner)

  2. The Banshees of Inisherin (Martin McDonagh)

  3. Everything Everywhere All at Once (Daniels)

  4. Babylon (Damien Chazelle)

  5. Triangle of Sadness (Ruben Östlund)


6. TÁR (Todd Field)

7. Armageddon Time (James Gray)

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. Women Talking (Sarah Polley)

  2. She Said (Rebecca Lenkiewicz)

  3. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Rian Johnson)

  4. The Whale (Samuel D. Hunter)

  5. All Quiet on the Western Front (Edward Berger & Lesley Paterson & Ian Stokell)


6. White Noise (Noah Baumbach)

7. Living (Kazuo Ishiguro)

Best Lead Actor

  1. Brendan Fraser (The Whale)

  2. Austin Butler (Elvis)

  3. Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin)

  4. Hugh Jackman (The Son)

  5. Bill Nighy (Living)


6. Diego Calva (Babylon)

7. Tom Cruise: Top Gun Maverick

Best Lead Actress

  1. Cate Blanchett (TÁR)

  2. Danielle Deadwyler (Till)

  3. Margot Robbie (Babylon)

  4. Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

  5. Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans)


6. Naomi Ackie (I Wanna Dance with Somebody)

7. Olivia Colman (Empire of Light)

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Brendan Gleeson (The Banshees of Inisherin)

  2. Paul Dano (The Fabelmans)

  3. Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

  4. Ben Whishaw (Women Talking)

  5. Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans)


6. Brad Pitt (Babylon)

7. Woody Harrelson (Triangle of Sadness)

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Jessie Buckley (Women Talking)

  2. Claire Foy (Women Talking)

  3. Jean Smart (Babylon)

  4. Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin)

  5. Janelle Monáe (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery)


6. Hong Chau (The Whale)

7. Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Best Cinematography

  1. Babylon

  2. The Fabelmans

  3. Bardo

  4. Empire of Light

  5. All Quiet on the Western Front


6. Top Gun: Maverick

7. Avatar: The Way of Water

Best Film Editing

  1. Babylon

  2. Top Gun: Maverick

  3. The Fabelmans

  4. Everything Everywhere All at Once

  5. Women Talking


6. All Quiet on the Western Front

7. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Best Original Score

  1. Babylon

  2. The Fabelmans

  3. The Woman King

  4. TÁR

  5. The Banshees of Inisherin


6. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

7. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Best Sound

  1. Top Gun: Maverick

  2. Avatar: The Way of Water

  3. All Quiet on the Western Front

  4. Babylon

  5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever


6. The Batman

7. Elvis

Best Production Design

  1. Babylon

  2. Avatar: The Way of Water

  3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

  4. The Fabelmans

  5. All Quiet on the Western Front


6. The Woman King

7. Elvis

Best Costume Design

  1. Babylon

  2. Elvis

  3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

  4. The Woman King

  5. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris


6. Avatar: The Way of Water

7. The Fabelmans

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

  1. The Whale

  2. Babylon

  3. Elvis

  4. The Woman King

  5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever


6. All Quiet on the Western Front

7. The Fabelmans

Best Visual Effects

  1. Avatar: The Way of Water

  2. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

  3. The Batman

  4. Top Gun: Maverick

  5. Everything Everywhere All at Once


6. Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

7. Nope

Best Animated Feature

  1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

  2. Turning Red

  3. Wendell & Wild

  4. The Bad Guys

  5. Strange World


6. The Sea Beast

7. My Father's Dragon

Best International Feature

  1. All Quiet on the Western Front (Germany)

  2. Decision to Leave (South Korea)

  3. Close (Belgium)

  4. Saint Omer (France)

  5. Bardo (Mexico)


6. Alcarràs (Spain)

7. Holy Spider (Denmark)

Best Documentary Feature

  1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

  2. Fire of Love

  3. Descendant

  4. Moonage Daydream

  5. Sr.


6. Navalny

7. Sidney

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