Final 2023 Oscars predictions: Who will win at the Academy Awards?
And just like that, in the time it takes to snap a moist hotdog finger, awards season is nearly over — and our final 2023 Oscars predictions for who will win in key categories are here.
Ahead of ABC's 95th Academy Awards telecast on Sunday, March 12, check out EW's 2023 Oscars predictions for projected winners in the big six brackets (below), tracking who's a legitimate Oscars contender and which of the nominees have fallen behind in the race for gold that's included recent curveballs thrown by BAFTA, SAG, and the Golden Globes. And be sure to check out our shady interviews with four anonymous Oscars voters as they reveal who they voted for to win at the Oscars.
Best Picture predictions
It's difficult to find a blueprint for the rise of Everything Everywhere All at Once, a movie that had to be as loud and vibrant as the narrative at its core to be taken seriously on the awards trail. Its stellar box office performance (an original script at a specialty distributor making $106 million globally is no small feat in 2023) and critical merits alone weren't enough to get it on the radar of pundits early on, but it has since blossomed into the front-running contender it's deserved to be all along.
Enthusiastic, cross-branch support from the Academy resulted in 11 nominations, including some in unexpected categories (Best Original Song, for instance), signaling wide-reaching appeal. Other films endured nearly as long, but blockbusters like Top Gun: Maverick don't have the same heat in key branches (that film doesn't have any acting nominations or a directing nod, while Everything has four — for each member of its principal cast — as well as its filmmakers). You don't ride nearly a year's worth of good favor to nearly a dozen nominations unless you're solidly occupying a No. 1 or No. 2 slot on Academy voters' ranked preferential ballots, and that's not a factor that will change between now and Oscars night, with the SAG Awards giving the project an even stronger profile heading into final balloting with an unprecedented four victories during the ceremony by an organization with crossover membership among the most influential branch in the Academy.. The film's nearest competitors — The Fabelmans, The Banshees of Inisherin, and TÁR — also haven't translated precursor nominations into hardware quite like Everything has. It's an exciting, bold film that signals not only excellence in what's already been made, but great things to come thanks to the doors it has opened for the future of original stories in Hollywood.
- Everything Everywhere All at Once
- The Banshees of Inisherin
- The Fabelmans
- All Quiet on the Western Front
- Triangle of Sadness
- Top Gun: Maverick
- Women Talking
- Avatar: The Way of Water
Best Director predictions
If ever the Academy had an old boys club, the Best Director category is it. An increasingly difficult category to predict, the branch notoriously goes rogue and deviates from the awards season narrative, often favoring steadfast heavyweights (Steven Spielberg, this year) and international (mostly male) auteurs with standout feats (Ruben Östlund, on the list below) in any given year (Thomas Vinterberg and Paweł Pawlikowski in recent years). In 2023, they've anointed a pair of newcomers with a project that's swept the commercial scene as A24's top-grossing title ($106 million and counting, thanks to a theatrical re-release) with both critical and industry favor that recently won the Directors Guild of America prize, which has gone to eight of the last 10 eventual Best Director winners at the Oscars. The Daniels' project is a runaway hit with a bold, genre-mixing vision (sci-fi, metaverse drama, action) that's risen through the ranks as an organic hit riding on quality and quality alone — something filmmakers across any generation can (and will) recognize on Oscar night.
- Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once
- Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans
- Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Todd Field, TÁR
- Ruben Östlund, Triangle of Sadness
Best Actor predictions
Each of this year's Best Actor nominees occupies a unique space in the awards race. For the first time in decades, each honoree is a first-timer in the traditionally competitive category. While it places each leading man on a somewhat level playing field, Brendan Fraser's turn as a 600-pound recluse in Darren Aronofsky's The Whale ticks certain tried-and-true boxes that the Academy tends to favor. For starters, Fraser transformed his body to portray Charlie, a man living with a life-threatening case of obesity, via various physical prosthetics as well as digital manipulation. He's also playing a queer man, which, as we've seen with straight actors in this category's history (Sean Penn in Milk, Tom Hanks in Philadelphia, Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody, Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote, etc.), is often a winning strategy.
The only problem? Fraser was the statistical frontrunner, until Austin Butler, who won at the Globes for playing real-life entertainment legend in Elvis, also triumphed over Fraser at the BAFTAs in their first real matchup of industry voters, not just journalists comprising the Globes and Critics Choice. Colin Farrell (also a Globe winner, leading the cast of the acclaimed Best Picture contender The Banshees of Inisherin) seemed like he might make late surges, but BAFTA going for his film in key, surprise categories (Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Best British Film) and paying him dust indicates the race is between Butler and Fraser. We're giving it to Fraser here, mostly because of his commendable navigation of the circuit, with a glimmering reputation as a charismatic, endearing, and lovable persona — the star he's always been, in front of the camera or otherwise — coupled with a comeback narrative (versus Butler's still-budding legacy) that's equally deserving of the accolade of a lifetime. His Feb. 26 SAG victory proved he still has considerable might among his peers who represent the Academy's largest and most influential branch. His emotional acceptance speech also came just before final Oscar balloting, so Fraser's heartfelt words were fresh in voters' memories as they sent out their ballots.
- Brendan Fraser, The Whale
- Austin Butler, Elvis
- Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Bill Nighy, Living
- Paul Mescal, Aftersun
Best Actress predictions
We know, we know — Cate Blanchett's performance in TÁR is career-best work. It has won nearly every precursor imaginable thus far. But, as The Great Olivia Colman Upset Over Glenn Close of 2019 (official title) proved, Best Actress is a place where legends can unseat legends, and momentum for Michelle Yeoh (and Everything Everywhere All at Once) has only grown in recent weeks, especially after her rousing acceptance speeches at the 2023 SAG Awards, where she took the stage to accept both Female Actor in a Leading Role and the Cast accolades. Her film racked up an impressive 11 Oscar nods (even in unexpected categories, like Best Original Song) — something the cast and crew admittedly never imagined before the film became A24's highest-grossing picture of all time in early 2022. Sustaining (and even building) passionate support this long, through to the SAG Awards, where she overtook Blanchett, is telling when it comes to gauging Hollywood's affection for this film, and, given the Academy's growing international tastes, it feels like a betrayal of the industry's across-the-board, unified support for the film to predict anyone but Yeoh to take home the gold in this contentious category.
Still, as unpredictable as the Academy can be, there's an equally compelling case to bet on this season simply being a Blanchett steamroll, and report card statistics are in her favor, especially since she repeated (again) at the BAFTAs. But, on-paper statistics are simply no match for the burning passion Hollywood has displayed for Yeoh this season.
- Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once
- Cate Blanchett, TÁR
- Ana de Armas, Blonde
- Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans
- Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie
Best Supporting Actor predictions
After his star-making turns in the Indiana Jones franchise and The Goonies, Ke Huy Quan largely disappeared from Hollywood for nearly four decades, but his roaring return has written itself into the industry's history book as one of the most inspiring comeback stories in recent memory. Not only has the Everything Everywhere All at Once actor tickled voters' souls with his unfiltered, heartfelt (and, most importantly, widely televised) acceptance speeches at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards that paid tribute to the nostalgia of his early career, he gives a genuinely masterful performance in the Daniels' metaverse epic. Quan's personal run throughout the season is complimentary to the film's appeal, as both have reigned against the odds as organic, unpredictable, runaway success stories no one could have seen coming — that is, until Oscar night.
- Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once
- Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans
- Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway
Best Supporting Actress predictions
Angela Bassett becoming the first performer to receive a nomination for a Marvel movie makes sense with Hollywood's collective fantasy. She's a beloved actress who has weathered the storm of an ever-changing industry across multiple decades, having already succeeded as a prestige performer (her first Oscar nod came for 1993's What's Love Got to Do With It?), commercially viable TV star (American Horror Story, 9-1-1), and — in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — as a ticket-selling entity with cross-demographic appeal in the kind of big-budget tentpole that's largely kept the business afloat for the last 20 years. She's proof that movie stars can not only endure but thrive as Hollywood changes around them, and her gilded precursor run (she's appeared on every major ceremony's roster so far, and has won at the Globes and Critics Choice Awards) suggests her peers paid attention. Now, more than ever, is the right time for them to anoint her rise as she levels up yet again.
But, as we saw at the BAFTAs and SAG Awards, deep cracks formed in that narrative — proving that certain story lines can only sustain for finite periods. With the Academy's increasingly international membership from countries around the world joining its ranks, we've seen the likes of commercially mighty celebrities with statistical power (Lady Gaga in House of Gucci, Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers, Angelina Jolie in A Mighty Heart) fail to catch on, so don't dismiss Kerry Condon's recent BAFTA win and Jamie Lee Curtis' SAG victory as flukes — both will likely spoil Bassett's reign, seeing as Curtis gave a tearful acceptance speech days before final balloting opened, atop Everything Everywhere's history-making run as the most-awarded movie in SAG history.
- Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once
- Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
- Hong Chau, The Whale
- Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once
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