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  • Writer's pictureHunter Friesen

2023 Oscar Update: Precursor Season is in Full Swing


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 received since the last update.

We’ve finally reached the juiciest part of the season, which is the initial precursor phase when the predicted favorites haven’t been solidified. Since my last update two weeks ago, the following prominent awards bodies have announced their nominations/winners: NYFCC, LAFCA, Golden Globes, AFI, and NBR.

Here’s a summarized breakdown of the Best Picture results from all of those bodies:

* = Not eligible for AFI awards

3/3 of AFI, NBR, Golden Globe

Everything Everywhere All at Once (+LAFCA)

Avatar: The Way of Water

The Fabelmans

Top Gun: Maverick (NBR Winner)

⅔ of AFI, NBR, Golden Globe

Elvis (AFI, GG)

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (NBR, GG)

*RRR (NBR, GG Foreign)


*The Banshees of Inisherin (NBR, GG)

The Woman King (AFI, NBR)

Women Talking (AFI, NBR)

⅓ of AFI, NBR, Golden Globe

*Aftersun (NBR)

Babylon (GG)

Nope (AFI)

She Said (AFI)

Till (NBR)

*Triangle of Sadness (GG)

Didn’t receive a single nomination:

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

*Empire of Light

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

The Whale

First, let’s break down the big winners, with the most prominent being Avatar: The Way of Water. James Cameron once again reminds everyone why you should never count him out, as his belated sequel has picked up some major steam since it was shown to critics last week. The box office predictions for the film continue to climb, and the film already has Best Visual Effects locked up.

The next closest winner would be TÁR, which, while blanked by the NBR, still illustrated why it’s going to be the critical darling this season. Cate Blanchett maintained her lead in Best Lead Actress, and Todd Field kept himself secure in Best Director and Best Original Screenplay with wins at LAFCA.

Right next to Field in both of those categories are Martin McDonagh and The Banshees of Inisherin. The cast has been fully embraced, with all four of its principal actors receiving a nomination from at least one of the awards bodies mentioned above. McDonagh seems poised to rival Daniels and Everything Everywhere All at Once for Original Screenplay and may find himself in the Best Director category after being shut out for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

The Fabelmans and Everything Everywhere All at Once both performed to expectations. Steven Spielberg’s film is still the projected frontrunner, even if it is losing ground day by day. I’ll keep it in first place until the televised awards shows (Globes, CC, SAG) take place.

Let’s move on to the big losers. The Whale already had an uphill battle to a Best Picture nomination because of its tough subject matter and A24 (wisely) allocating the majority of its resources to Everything Everywhere All at Once. The overall critical reception to the film has dipped a little now that it is in limited release. On the bright side, it did just post one of the best limited debuts since the start of the pandemic. I’ve decided to drop the film from Best Picture, while still having Fraser, Samuel D. Hunter’s screenplay, and the makeup getting in.

I won’t consider Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio a loser since the film took in a large haul within the Best Animated Feature categories. Of course, Netflix would like the film to be competing for Best Picture, but that may not be a realistic goal with Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and RRR showing much more promise.

And Women Talking can only be considered a slight loser after it was nearly blanked by the Golden Globes. The film still has Best Adapted Screenplay virtually locked up, and will probably play better to the larger Academy voting body.

Looking at the past decade, there seems to be one film that doesn’t receive nominations from either AFI or the NBR and still goes on to get a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. From all to choose from this year, my money is on Babylon to take up that mantle on account of its strong craft presence and above-the-line potential. However, if Critics Choice doesn’t nominate it for Best Picture, then we might have to start thinking about something else.

Here are some other random notes I’ve compiled over the past weeks:

  • S.S. Rajamouli and RRR continue to run their stealth campaign. I’m still not ready to predict it in any major categories, but it is on my radar.

  • Best Supporting Actress continues to be a hellscape with the absence of Jessie Buckley and Claire Foy from Women Talking at the Golden Globes. I’m moving Kerry Condon to the top spot because of the huge love for The Banshees of Inisherin, with Jamie Lee Curtis into the top five.

  • The rumors of Elvis playing like wildfire were not exaggerated, as it continued to show up nearly everywhere, even getting Baz Luhrmann a Best Director nomination at the Golden Globes. I don’t see him getting in at the Oscars since that branch tends to reward more prestige/international work, but the film as a whole has practically locked itself into Best Picture.

Things will become even clearer with the next update. Critics Choice will announce their nominations on December 14, followed by the Oscars shortlist on December 21. We’ll also have box office data on Avatar: The Way of Water, Babylon, and I Wanna Dance with Somebody.

Here are my 2023 Oscar predictions in every category (except for the shorts and Best Original Song) for December 13, 2022.

Best Picture

  1. The Fabelmans

  2. Everything Everywhere All at Once

  3. The Banshees of Inisherin

  4. Top Gun: Maverick

  5. Women Talking

  6. TÁR

  7. Avatar: The Way of Water

  8. Babylon

  9. Elvis

  10. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery


11. The Whale

12. Triangle of Sadness

Best Director

  1. Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans)

  2. Sarah Polley (Women Talking)

  3. Todd Field (TÁR)

  4. Daniels (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

  5. Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin)


6. James Cameron (Avatar: The Way of Water)

7. Damien Chazelle (Babylon)

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (Daniels)

  2. The Banshees of Inisherin (Martin McDonagh)

  3. The Fabelmans (Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner)

  4. TÁR (Todd Field)

  5. Triangle of Sadness (Ruben Östlund)


6. Babylon (Damien Chazelle)

7. Aftersun (Charlotte Wells)

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. Women Talking (Sarah Polley)

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

  3. She Said (Rebecca Lenkiewicz)

  4. The Whale (Samuel D. Hunter)

  5. Living (Kazuo Ishiguro)


6. Top Gun: Maverick (Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, Christopher McQuarrie)

7. Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio (Guillermo del Toro & Patrick McHale)

Best Lead Actor

  1. Austin Butler (Elvis)

  2. Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin)

  3. Brendan Fraser (The Whale)

  4. Bill Nighy (Living)

  5. Hugh Jackman (The Son)


6. Paul Mescal (Aftersun)

7. Tom Cruise (Top Gun: Maverick)

Best Lead Actress

  1. Cate Blanchett (TÁR)

  2. Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

  3. Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans)

  4. Danielle Deadwyler (Till)

  5. Margot Robbie (Babylon)


6. Viola Davis (The Woman King)

7. Olivia Colman (Empire of Light)

Best Supporting Actor

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

  2. Brendan Gleeson (The Banshees of Inisherin)

  3. Ben Whishaw (Women Talking)

  4. Paul Dano (The Fabelmans)

  5. Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans)


6. Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin)

7. Brad Pitt (Babylon)

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin)

  2. Claire Foy (Women Talking)

  3. Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

  4. Jessie Buckley (Women Talking)

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


6. Dolly de Leon (Triangle of Sadness)

7. Carey Mulligan (She Said)

Best Cinematography

  1. Top Gun: Maverick

  2. The Fabelmans

  3. Avatar: The Way of Water

  4. Babylon

  5. Empire of Light


6. All Quiet on the Western Front

7. Bardo

Best Film Editing

  1. Top Gun: Maverick

  2. Everything Everywhere All at Once

  3. The Fabelmans

  4. Avatar: The Way of Water

  5. Elvis


6. Babylon

7. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Best Original Score

  1. Babylon

  2. The Fabelmans

  3. Women Talking

  4. The Banshees of Inisherin

  5. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio


6. The Woman King

7. The Batman

Best Sound

  1. Top Gun: Maverick

  2. Avatar: The Way of Water

  3. All Quiet on the Western Front

  4. Elvis

  5. The Batman


6. Babylon

7. Thirteen Lives

Best Production Design

  1. Babylon

  2. Avatar: The Way of Water

  3. Elvis

  4. The Fabelmans

  5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever


6. All Quiet on the Western Front

7. Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

Best Costume Design

  1. Babylon

  2. Elvis

  3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

  4. The Woman King

  5. The Fabelmans


6. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

7. The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

  1. The Whale

  2. Elvis

  3. Babylon

  4. The Woman King

  5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever


6. All Quiet on the Western Front

7. The Batman

Best Visual Effects

  1. Avatar: The Way of Water

  2. Top Gun Maverick

  3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

  4. RRR

  5. Everything Everywhere All at Once


6. The Batman

7. Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

Best Animated Feature

  1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

  2. Turning Red

  3. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

  4. My Father's Dragon

  5. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish


6. Wendell & Wild

7. Strange World

Best International Feature

  1. Decision to Leave (South Korea)

  2. All Quiet on the Western Front (Germany)

  3. Close (Belgium)

  4. Holy Spider (Denmark)

  5. Bardo (Mexico)


6. EO (Poland)

7. Argentina, 1985 (Argentina)

Best Documentary Feature

  1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

  2. Navalny

  3. All That Breathes

  4. Fire of Love

  5. Good Night Oppy


6. Descendant

7. The Territory

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