It’s been a year and a day since “Everything Everywhere All at Once” premiered at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. No one proclaimed it an Oscar contender then. But that was before it became a box office hit, before we were reintroduced to Ke Huy Quan, before Jamie Lee Curtis turned into a weapon of mass promotion.
Now, on the eve of the Oscars, this loopy, frenetic family drama appears poised to win best picture, along with several other awards.
If it duplicates its showing at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, netting individual honors for Quan and Curtis along with star Michelle Yeoh, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” would become just the third movie to win three acting Oscars. (The others: “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Network.”)
That would be a lot, particularly because in the last decade or so, Oscar voters have spread the love each year among several movies. The last best picture winner to take more than four Oscars? That was “The Artist” in 2012, a triumph that, like many other moments in Oscar history, hasn’t aged particularly well.
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The thing is, it feels like ages since “Everything Everywhere All at Once” lost. Anything. The movie swept through the Producers Guild, the Directors Guild, the Screen Actors Guild and the Independent Spirit awards. How many hot dog finger high-fives will be happening at the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday? Here are my final predictions for each and every category.
PICTURE “All Quiet on the Western Front” “Avatar: The Way of Water” “The Banshees of Inisherin” “Elvis” “Everything Everywhere All at Once” “The Fabelmans” “Tár” “Top Gun: Maverick” “Triangle of Sadness” “Women Talking”
Will win: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
As voting began, I was on the phone with a motion picture academy member who insisted that despite its awards season dominance, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” would not win best picture. So what’s going to win, I asked. After a long silence, they replied, “I don’t know. But it can’t be that.”
Following its critical and box office successes, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” leads Oscar nominations.
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For a lot of academy members, “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” with its googly eyed rocks, hot dog fingers and weaponized dildos, has been a test of both their patience and belief in traditional storytelling. I find that reaction weirder than anything in the movie. At its heart, “Everything Everywhere” is a classic tale of a marriage coming apart and a family that needs healing. It’s a broadside against despair and nihilism. It practically ends with a group hug, and watching that, feeling that, has been therapeutic for a lot of people, many of whom vote for awards.
DIRECTOR Martin McDonagh, “The Banshees of Inisherin” Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (a.k.a. Daniels), “Everything Everywhere All at Once” Steven Spielberg, “The Fabelmans” Todd Field, “Tár” Ruben Östlund, “Triangle of Sadness”
Will win: Kwan and Scheinert Could surprise: Spielberg
The other grievance — usually aired by people not old enough to know better — is that if “The Fabelmans” had been directed by anyone other than Spielberg, it wouldn’t have been interesting. That’s like arguing that Paul McCartney’s touching tribute to John Lennon, “Here Today,” wouldn’t be as affecting if it had been written by another songwriter. Guess what? Artists have legacies. And one of the abiding pleasures in following a filmmaker or actor over time is the relationship you build with their work. Every movie Spielberg has made is personal. With “The Fabelmans,” it just went deeper, with Spielberg taking a tough, tender look at his parents and examining how art can help you work through pain while simultaneously providing a measure of remove. It’s a terrific movie on every level — and one that doesn’t look like it’ll make good on any of its seven Oscar nominations.
LEAD ACTRESS Cate Blanchett, “Tár” Ana de Armas, “Blonde” Andrea Riseborough, “To Leslie” Michelle Williams, “The Fabelmans” Michelle Yeoh, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Will win: Yeoh Could surprise: Blanchett
All the momentum appears to be with Yeoh and, outside of those triggered by the playful creativity of “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” I think most people would enjoy seeing her at the podium. And yet ... this race reminds me a bit of the year Anthony Hopkins won a second Oscar for his magnificent work in “The Father,” prevailing over sentimental favorite Chadwick Boseman. Is Blanchett so awe-inspiring as the monstrous maestro in “Tár” that she can overcome the “Everything Everywhere All at Once” steamroller? Maybe. But she does already have two Oscars and hasn’t seemed particularly invested in winning a third. And as Yeoh serves as the spiritual center of her beloved movie, I think she has the edge.
LEAD ACTOR Austin Butler, “Elvis” Colin Farrell, “The Banshees of Inisherin” Brendan Fraser, “The Whale” Paul Mescal, “Aftersun” Bill Nighy, “Living”
Will win: Butler Could surprise: Fraser
If Fraser prevailed for “The Whale,” would it become the worst movie to feature an Oscar-winning performance? Let’s just say that it’d be in the conversation. Not everyone agrees, of course. Fraser did win the Screen Actors Guild Awards honor for a stirring performance in a hateful film almost completely lacking empathy and compassion. But “The Whale” did not earn a best picture nomination, partly because voters didn’t want to subject themselves to its exploitative aesthetic. Those who tried watching it on the academy’s portal found it dark and dingy. Did anyone make it through to the end?
Butler, meanwhile, delivered an electrifying star turn in “Elvis,” a movie that earned eight Oscar nominations, including best picture. Sure, it’s kind of funny that he still talks like Elvis. But if I had mastered that honeysuckle tone, I might not want to return so fast to my Orange County roots, either. Plus, did you see him walking Sally Field and Jennifer Coolidge onstage at the SAG Awards? Chivalry is not dead!
SUPPORTING ACTRESS Angela Bassett, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” Hong Chau, “The Whale” Kerry Condon, “The Banshees of Inisherin” Jamie Lee Curtis, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” Stephanie Hsu, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Will win: Condon Could surprise: Curtis
Let me state from the outset that I have no idea who is going to win this Oscar. Not long ago, I thought it’d be either Bassett or Curtis, women who haven’t won many awards for decades of exemplary work. One of them could still win, though their similar narratives don’t help their cause. And then there’s this: Beginning with Patricia Arquette winning for “Boyhood” in 2015, the last eight winners of this category have taken the only Oscar from their film. It’s a weird stat ... but supporting actress has long been a quirky category full of surprise winners. Just ask Marisa Tomei. And as I don’t think “Banshees” is going to win anything else ...
SUPPORTING ACTOR Brendan Gleeson, “The Banshees of Inisherin” Brian Tyree Henry, “Causeway” Judd Hirsch, “The Fabelmans” Barry Keoghan, “The Banshees of Inisherin” Ke Huy Quan, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Will win: Quan
If you aren’t familiar by now with Quan’s comeback story or haven’t cried along with him during one of the many speeches he’s made while accepting awards for his masterful multiverse hopping in “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” then you must be just waking up from a year-long coma. Go watch his movie. And then check out last year’s Oscars. That thing between Will Smith and Chris Rock? It wasn’t a scripted bit.
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY “All Quiet on the Western Front,” Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson & Ian Stokell “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” Rian Johnson “Living,” Kazuo Ishiguro “Top Gun: Maverick,” Ehren Kruger and Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie; story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks “Women Talking,” Sarah Polley
Will win: “Women Talking” Could surprise: “All Quiet on the Western Front”
Polley’s sensitive and thoughtful adaptation of Miriam Toews’ 2018 novel about sexual assault clocks in at 104 minutes, a testimony to her skill and precision as a writer. Her extraordinary work has been marked as a favorite for this Oscar since its premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, and, after winning the Writers Guild and USC Scripter awards, it looks like Polley will indeed prevail.
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Martin McDonagh “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert “The Fabelmans,” Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner “Tár,” Todd Field “Triangle of Sadness,” Ruben Östlund
Will win: “Everything Everywhere All at Once” Could surprise: “The Banshees of Inisherin”
For Daniels, those hot dog fingers would come in handy for lugging around three (!)(?) Oscars.
ANIMATED FEATURE “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” “The Sea Beast” “Turning Red”
Will win: “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”
Del Toro won Oscars as a director and producer of “The Shape of Water,” and now he’ll add a third for his agreeably weird, dark take on Carlo Collodi’s 19th century folk tale.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE “All That Breathes” “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” “Fire of Love” “A House Made of Splinters” “Navalny”
Will win: “Navalny” Could surprise: “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”
Daniel Roher’s suspenseful and galvanizing portrait of Alexander Navalny, the Russian opposition leader poisoned by Putin operatives, won top honors from the Producers Guild and British Film Academy just as the war in Ukraine entered its second year. Oscar voters will likely follow suit, saluting the movie and the defiant bravery of its hero.
INTERNATIONAL FEATURE “All Quiet on the Western Front” “Argentina, 1985” “Close” “EO” “The Quiet Girl”
Will win: “All Quiet on the Western Front”
Edward Berger’s grueling adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s perfect novel made some unnecessary additions to the book, but succeeded fully in hammering home the horrors of war. It earned nine Oscar nominations, won seven British Film Academy awards and will most assuredly take this prize.
CINEMATOGRAPHY “All Quiet on the Western Front,” James Friend “Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths,” Darius Khondji “Elvis,” Mandy Walker “Empire of Light,” Roger Deakins “Tár,” Florian Hoffmeister
The American Society of Cinematographers gave its top award to Walker, who became the first woman to win the group’s feature prize honor. She’s just the third woman to earn Oscar recognition in this category, joining recent nominees Ari Wegner (“The Power of the Dog”) and Rachel Morrison (“Mudbound”). Can Walker pull off another historic first? To quote The King: I just can’t help believin’.
COSTUME DESIGN “Babylon,” Mary Zophres “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Ruth E. Carter “Elvis,” Catherine Martin “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Shirley Kurata “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris,” Jenny Beavan
Will win: “Elvis”
Pink suits, head-to-toe black leather, iconic white jumpsuits ... four-time Oscar winner Martin and her team designed 90 outfits for Butler to wear for “Elvis,” plus an additional 9,000 for other cast members and extras. Zophres undertook a similarly mammoth task for “Babylon,” but I think it’ll be eclipsed by the shadow cast from Elvis’ giant belt buckle.
FILM EDITING “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Mikkel E.G. Nielsen “Elvis,” Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Paul Rogers “Tár,” Monika Willi “Top Gun: Maverick,” Eddie Hamilton
Will win: “Top Gun: Maverick” Could win: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
The American Cinema Editors Awards divides its prizes by genre, and this year, “Everything Everywhere” won for comedy and “Top Gun” prevailed for drama. As the editing and sound categories usually line up, I’m giving the edge to “Top Gun,” which would be a deserving winner in both.
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING “All Quiet on the Western Front,” Heike Merker and Linda Eisenhamerová “The Batman,” Naomi Donne, Mike Marino and Mike Fontaine “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Camille Friend and Joel Harlow “Elvis,” Mark Coulier, Jason Baird and Aldo Signoretti “The Whale,” Adrien Morot, Judy Chin and Anne Marie Bradley
Will win: “Elvis” Could surprise: “The Whale”
In one corner, you have the mountain of silicone and foam latex that molded Fraser into a 600-pound man. In the other, Butler’s Elvis pompadour and sideburns, plus the many prosthetic enhancements that transformed Mr. Tom Hanks into Col. Tom Parker. Add in Priscilla’s beehive and the late Elvis period when all those fried peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches had taken a toll, and you have the knockout winner.
PRODUCTION DESIGN “All Quiet on the Western Front,” production design: Christian M. Goldbeck; set decoration: Ernestine Hipper “Avatar: The Way of Water,” production design: Dylan Cole and Ben Procter; set decoration: Vanessa Cole “Babylon,” production design: Florencia Martin; set decoration: Anthony Carlino “Elvis,” production design: Catherine Martin and Karen Murphy; set decoration: Bev Dunn “The Fabelmans,” production design: Rick Carter; set decoration: Karen O’Hara
Will win: “Babylon” Could surprise: “Elvis”
Oscar voters cannot resist a movie that re-creates La La Land. (And, yes, “La La Land” won this Oscar, as did “Mank” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood....”) Even those who found “Babylon” a bore will concede that it was, in its own way, everything, everywhere, all at once. The only nominee that could — and, frankly, should — derail its chances is “Elvis,” in which two-time Oscar winner Martin memorably re-created Memphis, Tenn., in Australia.
SCORE “All Quiet on the Western Front,” Volker Bertelmann “Babylon,” Justin Hurwitz “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Carter Burwell “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Son Lux “The Fabelmans,” John Williams
Will win: “All Quiet on the Western Front” Could upset: “Babylon”
It’s rare for a movie outside the best picture field to win. Hurwitz’s often discordant big band jazz “Babylon” score clocked in at more than two hours, making it the most score — and, like the movie, a bludgeoning exercise in indulgence. Still, try as you might, you can’t forget it, so it could win. But Bertelmann’s gut-rumbling, pulse-quickening cues for “All Quiet” linger too, and more voters have seen the film. It’s a toss-up though, so march to the beat that moves you here.
SONG “Applause” from “Tell It Like a Woman”; music and lyric by Diane Warren “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick”; music and lyric by Lady Gaga and BloodPop “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”; music by Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler and Ludwig Goransson; lyric by Tems and Ryan Coogler “Naatu Naatu” from “RRR”; music by M.M. Keeravaaani; lyric by Chandrabose “This Is a Life” from “Everything Everywhere All at Once”; music by Ryan Lott, David Byrne and Mitski; lyric by Ryan Lott and David Byrne
Will win: “Naatu Naatu” Could surprise: “Lift Me Up”
The divas don’t have much of a chance against “RRR” and its joyous dance.
SOUND “All Quiet on the Western Front,” Viktor Prásil, Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Lars Ginzel and Stefan Korte “Avatar: The Way of Water,” Julian Howarth, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Dick Bernstein, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers and Michael Hedges “The Batman,” Stuart Wilson, William Files, Douglas Murray and Andy Nelson “Elvis,” David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson and Michael Keller “Top Gun: Maverick,” Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon and Mark Taylor
Will win: “Top Gun: Maverick”
As mentioned earlier, voters usually match up sound and film editing. And if you saw “Top Gun: Maverick” in a good theater, the roar of all those jets probably lingered in your ears — and memory — well after the closing credits.
VISUAL EFFECTS “All Quiet on the Western Front,” Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller, Markus Frank and Kamil Jafar “Avatar: The Way of Water,” Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon and Daniel Barrett “The Batman,” Dan Lemmon, Russell Earl, Anders Langlands and Dominic Tuohy “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Geoffrey Baumann, Craig Hammack, R. Christopher White and Dan Sudick “Top Gun: Maverick,” Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson and Scott R. Fisher
Will win: “Avatar: The Way of Water”
Never mind the number of groundbreaking ways the “Avatar” team advanced the use of visual effects. Just look at those space whales.
ANIMATED SHORT “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” “The Flying Sailor” “Ice Merchants” “My Year of Dicks” “An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It”
Will win: “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” Could surprise: “Ice Merchants”
Sara Gunnarsdóttir’s “My Year of Dicks” boasts the standout title (who doesn’t want to hear that read after the envelope is opened, hehehe) and story, a superb, original tale of teen girlhood. But the Oscar will probably go to the hand-drawn “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse,” winner of the BAFTA prize and four Annies.
DOCUMENTARY SHORT “The Elephant Whisperers” “Haulout” “How Do You Measure a Year?” “The Martha Mitchell Effect” “Stranger at the Gate”
Will win: “The Elephant Whisperers” Could surprise: “Stranger at the Gate”
First rule of Oscar prognostication: Don’t pick against a movie about orphaned elephants.
LIVE-ACTION SHORT “An Irish Goodbye” “Ivalu” “Le Pupille” “Night Ride” “The Red Suitcase”
Will win: “Le Pupille” Could surprise: “An Irish Goodbye”
The endearing coming-of-age tale “Le Pupille” boasts an impeccable pedigree with director Alice Rohrwacher (“Happy as Lazzaro”) and producer Alfonso Cuarón and, if you’ve seen it on Disney+, you know that its whimsical look at conformity is every bit as winning as you’d expect. But ... the heartfelt brothers’ reunion short “An Irish Goodbye” is the sole English-language nominee and, in the year of “Banshees” and “The Quiet Girl,” could pull off a feckin’ upset.