Staff writers Leo Benham and Taha Khambaty predict this year’s Oscar winners while also telling us who they think really deserves each award
As 2022 finally entered a sense of post-pandemic normalcy, so did the cinematic landscape. With a diverse and exciting selection of films, the 95th Academy Awards promise to be a celebration of the resilience and creativity of the film community. With nominations that celebrate mainstream hits such as “Everything Everywhere All At Once” and “Top Gun: Maverick” alongside more indie films such as “Triangle of Sadness” and “The Banshees of Inisherin”, this year’s selections promise a good race that does not show many clear-cut winners. However, we are still here to do just that. Looking at the Golden Globes, Critic’s Choice Awards, BAFTAs and Guild ceremonies, we are going to go through ten of the categories and try our best to predict who will take home the statue of the bald gold guy. On top of this, we will comment on who we feel should take it home instead.
PREDICTION – “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Leading the way with 11 nominations, receiving nominations at every award ceremony, and winning at The Critic’s Choice Awards, “EEAAO” is shaping up to be a very strong contender. While “Banshees” and “The Fablemans” are very close in this race and we wouldn’t be surprised if they caused an upset, the nature of Best Pictures ranked-choice voting means that “EEAAO” is likely to come out on top, despite not being every voter’s favourite.
Who we want to win – “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
This is not a cop-out, the film is honestly that good. It is literally every genre so perfectly edited into one, yet at its innermost core it is about how we construct the meaning in life through others. The editing is phenomenal, the acting is incredible, and the story manages to so perfectly extract beauty from its chaos. This is not only the best film of the year, but it is also one that will remain in the zeitgeist for a long, long time.
PREDICTION – Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”)
The buzz surrounding the so-called “Brenaissance” for Fraser’s performance in “The Whale” seems to have affirmed him as the favourite for Best Actor this year, despite Austin Butler taking the trophy at The Golden Globes a few weeks prior. The Academy’s favouritism for Hollywood comebacks and his win at the Critic’s Choice seems to suggest that Fraser will pick up his first Oscar at this year’s ceremony.
Who we want to win – Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
While Paul Mescal, Brendan Fraser, and Austin Butler have all impressed in their nominated performances, the quality of Colin Farrell’s performance in “The Banshees of Inisherin” should provide his long overdue prestigious acting award that his trophy cabinet is lacking. His partnership with Brendan Gleeson creates a one-of-a-kind chemistry of great ardour and tickling comedy. While Farrell topping this year’s leading actor bill is unlikely, it would be fitting for such a well-loved performance that summarises his career so vividly.
PREDICTION – Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)
Honestly, a 50/50 split with Cate Blanchett, this category has been a tight race since the year started and shows no signs of changing. What makes us feel that it is most likely to go to Michelle Yeoh is the fact this is her first Oscar Nomination and she is the first Asian actress ever to be nominated in the role. Meanwhile, Cate Blanchett already has 2 wins and 3 nominations (this year’s included), leading to the Academy giving Yeoh the award more as a career acknowledgement, similar to Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”.
Who we want to win – Cate Blanchett (“Tár”)
Blanchett’s Lydia Tár in Todd Field’s biopic-like drama is one of the most dazzling acting accomplishments of the past year- a perfect showcase for her intimidating performative capabilities. A two-time Oscar Winner in the past, she may well end up without a third accolade at the end of this ceremony, but her perfect embodiment of Field’s mimicking tone and overlook of contemporary culture cannot be overlooked.
Best Supporting Actor:
PREDICTION – Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)
This is the most easily predictable choice of the year. Ke Huy Quan has been sweeping at every awards ceremony and there is no reason to think that he will not continue that winning streak to the Academy Awards. Additionally, his touching speech about his hiatus and renewed hope in Asian roles in Hollywood makes his winning story better than that of any other nominee.
Who we want to win- Brendan Gleeson (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
Similar to Colin Farrell, Kerry Condon, and Barry Keoghan, Gleeson’s performance perfectly matches the sharp Irish wit and melancholic themes of “Banshees of Inisherin”, striking a particularly emotional blow while doing so The film’s comedic intervals can often overshadow the film’s deeper tones at times, but Gleeson’s veteran status shines through, thriving in both fields. While an Oscar during this campaign for the Irishman is highly unlikely, the film’s other (hopeful) successes should be appreciated by all areas of the film’s cast and crew.
Best Supporting Actress:
PREDICTION – Angela Bassett
While an Academy Award for a performance in a Marvel blockbuster is lacking, Angela Bassett seems to be tipped to top the supporting actress category at this year’s event. Basset somewhat steals the light in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, writhing in the emotion of the loss of T’Challa/Chadwick Boseman and expressing visual distress that resonates with the loss audiences felt over such a well-loved character. While supporting actress may be one of the harder picks because of the calibre of all the nominees’ performances, Basset stands out surprisingly well considering her minimal time on screen.
Who we want to win – Hong Chau
Perhaps the most under-the-radar choice of this year’s acting nominees, Hong Chau’s Liz in “The Whale” could easily be missed in the shadow of the great Brendan Fraser performance that most of us are talking about. Chau’s interpretations of grief and the loss of a loved one are tremendously well performed and would be well earned if the academy could see past Fraser’s spotlight.
PREDICTION – “The Banshees of Inisherin” (Original) & “Women Talking” (Adapted)
While every contender in the best original screenplay has a chance of taking home the Oscar, “Banshees” feels like the clear frontrunner. It picked up the Best Screenplay at the Golden Globes and is not so far behind “EEAAO” with 8 nominations, giving it a very good chance. On the other hand “Women Talking” feels much more secure in the Best Adapted Screenplay category with “All Quiet on The Western Front” being the only competition. Yet, considering its screenplay is the reason it got the best film nomination, makes it very likely to take the award.
Who we want to win – “The Banshees of Inisherin” (Original) & “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” (Adapted)
A running contender throughout our predictions, “Banshees” is our favourite for the Original Screenplay category this year, with its witty tragedy encapsulating Martin McDonagh’s brilliant scriptwriting ability. “In Bruges” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” both received screenplay nominations in their relevant categories in the past, with “Banshees” hopefully taking home the crown this year. For a slightly more out-of-the-box pick, Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” sequel would be an exciting choice for Adapted. Met with fan acclaim despite its bizarre 1-week cinema release, “Glass Onion” continued to show Johnson’s terrific comedic attention to detail, further documenting the mysterious crime investigations of Benoit Blanc. While it seems unlikely for the ageing Academy to choose something so fun, the success of both films should give “Glass Onion” a slim chance at giving the film a well-deserved accolade.
International Feature Film:
PREDICTION – “All Quiet on the Western Front”
Another of the easier picks, “All Quiet on the Western Front” is almost a guaranteed winner for International Feature this year, as it is the only of the nominees to also have a Best Picture nomination. This is the one to put your bets on.
Who we want to win – “Decision to Leave”
No doubt one of the most surprising exclusions of this year’s nominees set, the absence of Park Chan-wook’s “Decision to Leave” from the ‘International Feature’ selections was a shock to most fans of global cinema. Labelled by many as the Korean filmmakers’ greatest work to date, the film thrives in melodic storytelling, punchy comedic interludes and flaring visual style, particularly in the costume and set-design departments. While the Academy isn’t known for its great appreciation of world cinema, the collection of accolades for “Parasite” at the 2020 awards seemingly acted as a booster for global, and even more so, Korean cinema. This makes the film’s lack of a nomination feel even more shocking considering its success.
Best Animated Feature Film:
PREDICTION – “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”
Having won both the Critic’s Choice and Golden Globes while being nominated in every award ceremony it was eligible for, “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” is almost guaranteed for this one. The only real competition it has is “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”, which has had an incredible box office performance and, if it keeps gaining buzz, could pull off a possible upset.
Who We Want To Win – “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”
This year had a really good selection of animated films from “Turning Red”, “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”, and “Puss in Boots”, but none felt as unique and distinct as Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio”. That prefix is equally important as the director’s hand and love can be felt all over this film’s story and absolutely gorgeous production design.
PREDICTION – James Friend (“All Quiet on the Western Front”)
Having picked up a surprising 9 nominations this year, as well as a healthy amount at the BAFTAs, “All Quiet on the Western Front” is arguably the strongest contender in this category behind “Elvis” and “Empire of Light”. Seeing as it is unlikely to win any other categories aside from Best International Film, Oscar voters are very likely to give it best cinematography to justify its multiple nominations.
Who we want to win – Claudio Miranda (“Top Gun: Maverick”)
This is definitely the biggest snub this Oscar year, it is absolutely criminal that “Top Gun: Maverick” was not even nominated. Utilising innovative camera set-ups inside actual fighter jets, shots that completely destroyed sets, and scenes that so perfectly captured its high-octane action, no film deserves this award more.
Best Music (Original Score):
PREDICTION – Justin Hurwitz (“Babylon”)
Receiving a lack of appreciation in other categories, it is no doubt clear that the highlight of Damien Chazelle’s Hollywood epic “Babylon” is its scoring. With 2 Oscars already under his belt, Justin Hurwitz and “Babylon”’s maximalist jazziness, particularly on the track “Voodoo Mama” is sure to earn Hurwitz his next Oscar.
Who we want to win – Justin Hurwitz (“Babylon”)
It is hard to imagine a Damien Chazelle film without Justin Hurwitz’s audible accompaniment at this point, and with a possible 3rd Oscar from 4 nominations being on the cards, I think we can expect this partnership to recur frequently, down the line.