I finally got around to updating my predictions. There have been a lot of flops, a lot of delayed releases, and a fair amount of new contenders. We have some clear frontrunners in the lead categories, but the supporting categories remain a giant question mark. In a year this wide open, I find it hard to believe that there will be anyone really sweeping awards season. Read up on how the race is looking so far. Once a lot of these festival darlings play for wider audiences, we’ll get a much better idea of which films are truly contenders.
Release Date Casualties
Next Goal Wins
The Killers of the Flower Moon
The Way of the Wind
The Zone of Interest
The Predicted Ten
1. The Fabelmans (Steven Spielberg) - It is difficult to put anything ahead of this, even though Spielberg has been pretty much “miss-and-miss” for the past 20 years or so. Don’t tell the Academy that, who have given them a ridiculous 6 Best Picture nominations in that time. This is his personal project, which hasn’t worked for wins recently, but for some reason everyone is calling for this. It is the favorite, but it is certainly not secure.
2. Babylon (Damien Chazelle) - The trailer was bonkers, making it look more like American Hustle or a Baz Luhrmann movie, but it is still all the rage. Chazelle’s young career has been very fruitful in terms of awards, and this is his biggest swing. When we start getting early reviews, this spot will be a no-brainer and we might get some winner predictions.
3. All Quiet on the Western Front (Edward Berger) - There is almost unanimous reception for this Best Picture remake. It is a big war epic that is also a Netflix movie. It is in German. We always talk about movies that evoke nostalgia playing well with Academy voters…well how about an old-fashioned remake of the Best Picture from over 90 years ago? Watch out for when this drops later this month and we are all floored.
4. Women Talking (Sarah Polley) - It might not be the easiest material to take in, but the reception was pretty unanimous from its early screenings. Every single member of the cast has been singled out, and there seems to be an inevitability for Polley to get her due somewhere this awards season.
5. She Said (Maria Schrader) - This was previously my predicted winner, but the trailer was a little underwhelming. It looks too much like Spotlight, which needed the perfect storm to take the award. It is going to be one of those uncontroversial movies that should have plenty of top 10 votes to get nominated but probably not be the eventual winner.
6. Everything Everywhere All at Once (Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert) - The buzz on the movie has seriously faded since its release, but there are still a lot of fans. It is nothing like anything the Academy would ever see or nominate, but with the younger, more diverse Academy, it seems like this is destined to be nominated. Somehow.
7. Top Gun: Maverick (Joseph Kosinski) - The movie is the biggest box office phenomenon in my lifetime. Its sustained success is something that only Star Wars movies have, and it is all because of repeat viewers and needing to see this on the big screen. It is almost as if you are missing out if you are one of the few filmgoers who didn’t see it, and it is universally beloved. No one is lukewarm on it. Can it win? I would love to see it.
8. The Banshees of Inisherin (Martin McDonagh) - This movie appears to have spoken to audiences in a way that very few others this year have. There is almost a The Father type of momentum, but we will have to see how it plays to wider audiences. McDonagh not winning Best Picture for Three Billboards almost helps this movie, since he is not Peter Farrelly now with fake controversy belittling his next film. He is just a former winner who they just snubbed. Depending on the tone, this could be more of a threat than we expect.
9. The Whale (Darren Aronofsky) - The adoration for Brendan Fraser’s performance feels like enough to carry this film into the top 10. There have been issues with the story that have been expressed by some festival-goers, but it appears like the type of weepy movie that will wreck audiences and start to get mentions across the board. Aronofsky only has one Best Picture nominee to date, but if there were 10 nominees in 2008, this movie’s most obvious comp The Wrestler would have made it two.
10. TAR (Todd Field) - Similar to The Whale, this movie got a rapturous response from its festival premieres. It is almost all for Cate Blanchett, but when there is one powerhouse performance at the center of a movie, it is common for the movie to get elevated. It is not the kind of movie that the Academy really goes for, but it will get enough critics awards to keep it squarely in the race.
Others in contention
11. Triangle of Sadness (Ruben Ostlund) - The Cannes winner is said to be a sort of gross out comedy by a respected foreign director who they have nominated in the past. The movie does have a familiar beloved American actor in it, so it makes it slightly more accessible. It will need to really have a strong campaign and a reasonable specialty box office for this to happen. Cannes winners overall have a bad track record at the Oscars in this category.
12. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Rian Johnson) - The movie finished 3rd at Toronto, which is one of the biggest predictors for this category. The problem is that it is a sequel, and there are plenty of sequels to previous Oscar-awarded films in the mix. If the original with all the surprise and buzz couldn’t get in, then I think this still has an uphill climb. However, everyone will watch this one since it is a Netflix original.
13. The Son (Florian Zeller) - The buzz has been muted at the festivals, which is shocking. It seemed like such an easy sell being so close to The Father, but some audiences really had issues with it. I am keeping it here probably too high because acting showcases are always in the running for SAG Ensemble, which means it is a threat here as well.
14. Avatar: The Way of Water (James Cameron) - Everyone wants to write it off, but early word is that it is astonishing and Cameron outdid himself and advanced the medium once again. Can the technical achievement outweigh the fact that we have like 5 more of these coming and the contingent who will never admit that this is great? We’ll see, but I think Top Gun will take some of the votes from the populist part of the Academy.
15. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Ryan Coogler) - The trailer was fantastic, but there is controversy in not recasting T’Challa. It is going to be a monster box office hit and probably well reviewed, but the original getting a Best Picture nomination without any realistic above-the-line nomination cannot be replicated. Unless they are able to pull an actor along (Angela Bassett?) then this will be on the outside looking in.
16. Empire of Light (Sam Mendes) - The audience reactions have been pretty mixed, which is something nobody really expected. Mendes making his love letter to cinema (like everyone has to do) and getting Oscar darling Olivia Colman in the lead, this movie seemed like a can’t miss. I still feel like the sentimentality of the Academy could fall for this, but the buzz is so muted that it is hard to see.
17. The Woman King (Gina Prince-Bythewood) - The movie’s reviews and box office have exceeded expectations in every way. There are several categories that it suddenly thrust itself into, and there is always a spot in the race for a down-the-middle Hollywood epic. Comparisons to Gladiator and Braveheart have actually helped the movie when it was probably meant to reduce it.
The Predicted Five
1. Edward Berger - All Quiet on the Western Front - There needs to be a non-American director winning Best Director. Since 2009, only one American director has claimed the award. The big war epic is an easy sell since there will be plenty of room to show off directing prowess. How much will 1917 being so recent hurt its chances, though? That is the only thing going against it. Netflix has won this award twice in the last four years.
2. Steven Spielberg - The Fabelmans - Spielberg will be nominated and is probably the frontrunner, but it isn’t the type of movie that wins this award. It could be a complete sweep and win 8 Oscars, but I just really don’t see it. I think enough of these beloved directors making similar films will take away some of his votes.
3. Damien Chazelle - Babylon - He is the lone American director to win in the last 13 years, and in some ways this is a bigger production and more Oscary than La La Land. It looks chaotic, like there is tons of editing and production, which is all going to just shovel votes his way.
4. Maria Schrader - She Said - The non-American director thing is real. Even though it does seem like more of a screenplay piece than a directing piece, I think Hollywood is eager to anoint a movie with this subject matter. Schrader is an outsider, which is probably only going to help her cause because there won’t be any politics in it. It needs to be a little showy for her to finish above some of the big wigs below.
5. Todd Field - TAR - The movie seems like a big swing for the director of a couple low-key suburban dramas. It looks Kubrickian, it looks like a huge production, and it is unanimously well received. I feel more confident in this nomination than I do Best Picture.
Others in contention
6. Sarah Polley - Women Talking - She has been nominated for Adapted Screenplay in the past, and the small scale of this movie seems a lot more destined for that category than Director. She does have an online contingent of people rooting for her specifically, and the subject matter is timely. It could catch on with audiences, but it also seems like a movie that the Academy will just shower with acting awards because they don’t really respond to it the way critics do.
7. Ruben Ostlund - Triangle of Sadness - The foreign auteur thing is going in his favor. The movie will need to be a hit in theaters because even with Ryusuke Hamaguchi last year, that was an online push for months. This movie doesn’t quite have that momentum. Perhaps a Spirit Awards push or a National Board of Review win could shove him into the conversation.
8. Martin McDonagh - The Banshees of Inisherin - Even with his Best Picture frontrunner in 2017, he got snubbed for Best Director. This is less of a production and more of an actor showcase, so this is a little more difficult, but if the movie is beloved the way it appears to be, then it might not matter.
9. Darren Aronofsky - The Whale - He was nominated for Black Swan, so he is not one of those directors whose films are too weird to appeal to voters. This movie is more low-key and based on a play, so it will need to be warmly received by wide audiences for him to make the lead into this category.
10. James Cameron - Avatar: The Way of Water - Never count the guy out. It seems like a longshot, but if the movie is nominated for every category below-the-line, then how are we not nominated the king of the world? He has a ton of fans in all walks of life, but how many times is he going to be nominated for this franchise? They might just wait until the last one to give it everything.
11. Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert - Everything Everywhere All at Once - The movie is the most chaotic direction of the year. Everyone seemed to love it when it came out, but it has almost disappeared from the IMDb top 250 and is no longer the “Best Movie in Letterboxd history” as it was forced upon everyone for months. These two unknown directors have very little chance of beating out the names above them, not just because the movie is not Academy stuff, but because they are a duo. And they aren’t the Coens.
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
The Predicted Five
1. Brendan Fraser - The Whale - He got all the standing ovations in the world. He has the narrative. He is making a comeback. It all points to him having this locked up, but the predetermined favorites don’t always win, and the narratives don’t always play out. Remember Chadwick Boseman being a “lock”? This is a good bet, though. He is currently at -160 to win in sportsbooks, and I would still bet that. What would have happened if Rustin wasn’t pushed back and Colmon Domingo was in the race? As AJ says to President Shepherd in The American President: “I don’t know…but I would have liked that campaign.”
2. Colin Farrell - The Banshees of Inisherin - He has had some great performances in the past, but he is always ignored by awards circuits. Here, it seems almost guaranteed that he is going to receive his first nomination for Martin McDonagh’s more subtle movie, a director who brings out the best in him. I could see him sweeping most of the critic awards before Fraser starts snagging the televised awards, a lot like Benedict Cumberbatch did a year ago before Will Smith slapped him out of the way.
3. Billy Nighy - Living - This movie is based on the Kurosawa masterpiece Ikiru, and Nighy is playing the lead as a man living out his final days looking for meaning in his life. Nighy has somehow never been nominated, and this seems like the type of smaller film like 45 Days or The Visitor that will have enough word-of-mouth and just admiration for a longtime character actor breaking through with wider audiences.
4. Austin Butler - Elvis - Everyone saw the movie, and it is pretty much understood as being more Bohemian Rhapsody than Rocketman. Butler is terrific, and he disappears into the makeup and atmosphere. He is pretty much a locked-in nomination, but I don’t see him beating the veterans above.
5. Kang-ho Song - Broker - He is one of the biggest international stars, and there was a groundswell for him to get nominated for Parasite. At this point, this would be a surprise, but I can see him start snagging critics nominations along the way and maybe even a Critics Choice nomination. The movie will need to get a push from the studio, but this race is getting thinner each day.
Others in contention
6. Hugh Jackman - The Son - The movie surprisingly got crushed by critics and audiences at the festivals. Sometimes acting nominations don’t need great reviews for the film, but it definitely makes it harder. If it is anything like The Father in how it lets the actors just do their thing, then it is going to be hard to deny him his second nomination.
7. Adam Driver - White Noise - The movie is said to be really weird, but he is getting to that point where he is in contention for each and every movie he appears in. The word was somewhat quiet on his candidacy, but if any of the actors are in the running, it will certainly be Driver.
8. Tom Hanks - A Man Called Otto - This is a remake of A Man Called Ove, an Oscar-nominated foreign film. Hanks is seemingly everywhere, and this could be a return to form for Marc Forster. It is the kind of role that Hanks should just own.
9. Tom Cruise - Top Gun: Maverick - It is the biggest movie of the year, and everyone seems to be clamoring for his nomination. Watch him get in at the Globes and BFCA, and then we have a real chance to get him his first nomination in 23 years. It isn’t really Oscar stuff, but he does have the Oscar scene.
10. Diego Calva - Babylon - He is evidently the true lead of the movie. Chazelle has a good track record with actors so far, so if it is as popular as it should be, then he could rise up the rankings. Newcomers rarely get in this category, however.
11. Jeremy Pope - The Inspection - This is a movie that really came out of nowhere at the festivals. Pope is more known for his television work, but if the movie catches on with audiences, then we could see him sneak into the race.
12. Christian Bale - The Pale Blue Eye - There isn’t too much known yet about the Scott Cooper movie, but it is getting a Netflix release around Christmas. It has sounded like an Oscary role since I first read about it a year ago, and Bale also has Amsterdam (if that’s a good thing) to keep him in the public eye over the next couple months.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
The Predicted Five
1. Cate Blanchett - TAR - Her raves have her squarely in first place, giving her a chance to secure a third no-brainer Oscar. The movie isn’t going to be typical Oscar fare, but her performance is.
2. Michelle Williams - The Fabelmans - Everything got more complicated when the predetermined frontrunner for Best Supporting Actress decided to campaign lead. Sometimes screen time doesn’t necessarily matter, and the most obvious comparison to this is Kate Winslet’s win for The Reader. She is overdue, so if they want to stall on giving Blanchett a third, then she could start to sweep anyway…or just get nominated in supporting.
3. Danielle Deadwyler - Till - The reviews have been over the moon for her performance. In any other year, this would feel like the winning role, but she isn’t even the most hyped mother role in the race. If the movie secures a Best Picture nomination, then watch out.
4. Margot Robbie - Babylon - There is talk that maybe she could go supporting, but this just feels like an also-ran nomination in this category. There are going to be fans of the movie regardless, and she is one of those actresses that everyone adores and roots for. Lock it in!
5. Michelle Yeoh - Everything Everywhere All at Once - The movie is still getting buzz in some areas, and of all the frenzy surrounding the movie, this feels like the most deserved part of it. She has been in and around Oscar movies for decades, but here she has her best shot. I actually feel really good about these 5.
Others in contention
6. Viola Davis - The Woman King - She is arguably not the lead in the movie, but she is Viola Davis. This is a guaranteed SAG nomination, and the box office certainly helps her cause. If she breaks in, I just don’t know who to take out.
7. Olivia Colman - Empire of Light - She got great reviews, but the movie is evidently a mess. She can get nominated for anything, but she has a real uphill climb with this one.
8. Ana de Armas - Blonde - She is astonishing in that long messy epic biopic. I could see a pretty strong campaign despite weak reviews for the film. The NC-17 flag does take it down a notch, though.
9. Naomi Ackie - I Wanna Dance with Somebody - The trailer was yawn-inducing in how ordinary it feels, but she appears to embody Whitney Houston. There are rarely this many new faces in contention; plus Elvis is going to be the preferred music biopic of the season.
10. Jennifer Lawrence - Red, White and Water Causeway - I broke this movie down a couple years ago, and it is finally getting seen and getting strong reviews out of the festivals. Apple is behind it, so if it starts to show up at some circuits, then I could see her first nomination in 7 years becoming a possibility.
11. Carey Mulligan - She Said - It is unclear who is the lead, but she has to win one at some point. The movie appears too contained for anyone to play it up to a nomination.
12. Zoe Kazan - She Said - Same as Mulligan.
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
The Predicted Five
1. Judd Hirsch - The Fabelmans - His part can’t be very big, but he is a past nominee and has the type of role that wins Oscars. Just look at Ciarin Hinds a year ago nearly taking it down. The movie will win one acting award, and this is the most likely now.
2. Brendan Gleeson - The Banshees of Inisherin - His raves are nearly as strong as Farrell’s. The movie could just be that acting showcase like a Doubt where everyone gets nominated. This category is all over the place, so a veteran without a nomination should be thrown in there.
3. Paul Dano - The Fabelmans - He has been in several big Oscar projects and never gotten singled out. Here we have something more subtle and more Oscar friendly, so I could see him riding into the race, but a win seems unlikely. He was also phenomenal in The Batman, so that plays in his favor a bit.
4. Woody Harrelson - Triangle of Sadness - The Cannes winner has to have some acting threat, and Harrelson is the only real name in the film. He has defied odds in the past. This is certainly outside-the-box right now, but I suspect audiences will respond to his character.
5. Jeremy Strong - Armageddon Time - The movie’s reviews are strong, and it is definitely Oscar friendly material. Everyone loves Strong from his Succession run, so seeing him get a SAG and GG nom will all but secure his candidacy here.
Others in contention
6. Ke Huay Quan - Everything Everywhere All at Once - I don’t buy him being a real contender. It is a weird role without any Oscar scenes, but he is a scene stealing character. I’ll put him here, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is completely shut out at the major awards shows.
7. Barry Keoghan - The Banshees of Inisherin - This would be a shock, considering he is certainly 4th in the cast, but if there is the kind of love for the movie that there appears to be, then it could happen. He is turning into a terrific actor.
8. Ben Whishaw - Women Talking - It would be on brand for the Academy to nominate the one guy in a movie about women talking. He has given strong performances in the past, and he is getting strong mentions from critics who have seen it.
9. Michael Ward - Empire of Light - The breakout star of Blue Story has a key role in the Sam Mendes movie. The Academy could just ignore critics (which they do sometimes) and throw a bone to an obviously talented actor like Ward. He’ll need BAFTA love to make it happen.
10. Brian Tyree Henry - Red, White and Water Causeway - It sounds like he is probably even more likely than this, but these kinds of cool nominations never actually happen. He is in that Lakeith Stanfield spot where he is in everything (and Atlanta) and could pull a last minute surprise for a movie that is flying under the radar.
11. Tobey Maguire - Babylon - The trailer does look nuts, but it didn’t really do anything to convince me that he isn’t a contender. No one has seen it, and pundits are almost laughing at the idea. I’m leaving him in; it is astonishing casting.
12. Ralph Fiennes - The Menu - This is not the type of material that gets nominated, but how has it been over 25 years since his last nomination? This could be the character actor nomination that pops up at the last minute.
13. Anthony Hopkins - Armageddon Time / The Son - After his win for The Father, his reunion with Florian Zeller has to be mentioned. He also appears to have that kind of role in Armageddon Time. Just don’t count him out.
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
The Predicted Five
1. Jessie Buckley - Women Talking - She has gotten best in show reviews, and even though she is in direct competition with everyone in her cast, she seems to be having a moment. Her nomination last year could open the flood gates.
2. Hong Chau - The Whale - She has gotten raves for her role opposite Brendan Fraser. She missed out for Downsizing, and this feels like an easy supporting coattails nomination.
3. Jean Smart - Babylon - She is beloved for her role on Hacks, and even though she hardly appears in the trailer, it just seems right to have her here. The category is deep but also sort of a mess.
4. Claire Foy - Women Talking - After missing out for First Man, here we have another chance for her to break through to movie awards after taking all kinds of TV trophies for The Crown. There are going to be at least 2 Women Talking actresses getting in.
5. Kerry Condon - The Banshees of Inisherin - Here is a reflection of how high I am on the potential of Banshees. Even the most stubborn haters of Three Billboards were swooned by Martin McDonagh’s follow-up film. Condon has gotten some absolute raves and has been singled out, so I have to have her here.
Others in contention
6. Vanessa Kirby - The Son - Just out of principle, I am leaving her just outside the top 5. On paper, her role is an easy Oscar nomination. There will need to be a rejection of reviews for the actors to get nominated for this movie, but I can see it.
7. Lashana Lynch - The Woman King - She was the coolest part of the movie, and 20 years ago this would be a lock for a nomination. She is breaking out right now, so this could be the Academy getting out ahead of the pack with nominating her.
8. Nina Hoss - TAR - Can anyone keep up with Blanchett? Reviews have implied that she brings her game and is a true contender.
9. Whoopi Goldberg - Till - The buzz on her role is muted, but doesn’t this just sound right? The grandmother role is nominated from time to time, and this would be a cool comeback after 30+ years without a nom.
10. Stephanie Hsu - Everything Everywhere All at Once - She is the emotional core of the wacky genre-bending movie. She is also an unknown, and I just don’t see it sneaking in this category. She is the third most buzzed in the movie.
11. Judith Ivey - Women Talking - She has gotten a lot of great reviews, but who knows who the Academy gets behind from the movie?
12. Frances McDormand - Women Talking - She is Frances McDormand; she is always a threat. I have not seen a single review talking about her, though.
13. Angela Bassett - Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - The trailer definitely showcased her. If there is ever going to be a Marvel movie that can get an acting nomination, it is going to be something like this. Bassett actually should be higher on this list.
14. Anne Hathaway - Armageddon Time - She is a previous winner, and while the buzz on the movie is a little sketchy, I could see it being more of an Oscar player than with other awards circuits. She is just one to keep in mind.
15. Janelle Monae - Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery - She got the best reviews from the film, and if the movie is in for a Best Picture run, then this is the accompanying acting nomination to validate it.
16. Dolly De Leon - Triangle of Sadness - People are clamoring for her to be a dark horse contender in this category. Usually unknown supporting performers come up short, but it seems pretty clear that she is the standout in the cast.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Predicted Five
1. Everything Everywhere All at Once - Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert - If they are going to give the movie one Oscar, it is likely going to be for its screenplay. It is a visual spectacle, but the creativity of the script is pretty undeniable. Best Original Screenplay consistently goes to the most original screenplay, and this is the Memento of the year.
2. The Banshees of Inisherin - Martin McDonagh - If all of the actors are getting nominated, then this will become somewhat of an obvious nominee and potential winner. He has won an Oscar in the past for Best Live Action Short, but this could be his year either way.
3. The Fabelmans - Steven Spielberg, Tony Kushner - Early in the year, pundits were hyping up this win because Kushner is respected and didn’t win for Lincoln, and Spielberg just needs a screenplay Oscar, right? Right…yeah, this is getting nominated because the movie is going to win Best Picture, not because of the screenplay.
4. Triangle of Sadness - Ruben Ostlund - The crazy foreign comedy looks like a strong contender here. There is always room for comedy in this category (and only this category), and Ostlund is a director that people really like. I feel good about this prediction.
5. TAR - Todd Field - The last spot isn’t the easiest to predict, but I think the buzz around TAR will carry its screenplay to the ceremony. He has been nominated in Adapted twice. The only thing that gives me pause is that there aren’t really any reviews really hyping up the script for the film.
Others in contention
6. Babylon - Damien Chazelle - This feels weird to leave out, but sometimes screenplay nominations evade Best Picture contenders. It appears to be a big messy movie, a showcase for the director more than the screenwriter.
7. Empire of Light - Sam Mendes - The movie is really losing steam. We just need to wait for it to play for audiences before we can take a screenplay nomination seriously.
8. The Woman King - Dana Stevens, Maria Bello - I like the movie’s chances in a lot of categories, but not necessarily here. It is a solid script, but how the movie is told is incredibly standard.
9. Broker - Hirokazu Koreeda - The foreign films are always a possibility, regardless if they get the International Feature submission or not.
10. Decision to Leave - Chan-wook Park, Seo-kyeoung Jeong - This was the South Korea International Feature submission, so that should have a leg up, but sometimes it goes the other way with a movie like this is stuck in that category, while another film gets nominated in other categories. It is still possible if audiences really like it (or even see it on MUBI).
11. Armageddon Time - James Gray - It is likely going to be completely overshadowed by The Fabelmans, but Gray is a respected filmmaker and can definitely make a run.
12. Bardo - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacabone - The Academy loves Inarritu unconditionally, so if they want to throw the movie a bone, this would be an easy way to do it. It looks insane, like a Terry Gilliam-Lars von Trier mash-up. That alone makes it a “most original screenplay” contender.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Predicted Five
1. Women Talking - Sarah Polley - This seems like a clear default winner. The reception so far has been pretty unanimous, and the simple title implies that it is inline with what the Academy loves in this particular category. They look for screenplays that are more sophisticated than the more creative Original Screenplay category. Polley is a previous nominee.
2. She Said - Rebecca Lenkiewicz - It has the pedigree and subject matter of a potential winner, but the bigger name screenwriter has a slight edge. Both movies are in a for Best Picture nominations, so this will almost certainly be a battle between these two films.
3. White Noise - Noah Baumbach - It is the creative “unfilmable” screenplay by one of the most respected screenwriters in the world. This category is pretty thin, so this is an easy choice.
4. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery - Rian Johnson - The previous iteration got nominated in the original category, so this is definitely a strong possibility since the reception out of TIFF was borderline better than the original.
5. The Whale - Samuel D. Hunter - The movie is a threat in all categories, and even though it is someone adapting their own play (which the Academy despises: see Aaron Sorkin in 1992), it should have enough momentum to get the last spot here.
Others in contention
6. The Son - Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton - Their previous film won in this category, but this movie’s reception is all over the map. It is still in the race, but it is looking grim.
7. Living - Kazuo Ishiguro - It is a remake, which can be good or bad. The movie is flying far under the radar. If it really makes waves when audiences start to see it, then I can see this making noise in several categories.
8. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On - Dean Fleischer-Camp, Elisabeth Holm, Nick Paley - Quirky little nominations like this happen every now and then. The movie was universally loved, but it seems too slight and small to actually get in.
9. All Quiet on the Western Front - Lesley Paterson, Ian Stokell - War movies aren’t the easiest sell in screenplay categories. If this does make the cut, then it might be our Best Picture winner.
10. Top Gun: Maverick - Peter Craig, Justin Marks, Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, Christopher McQuarrie - If enough people have it as the actual best movie of the year, then this is an easy accompanying nomination in a weak category.
11. Avatar: The Way of Water - James Cameron, Josh Friedman - The original was not nominated, but who knows?
12. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole - Same as Avatar.
That's all I got! What are your predictions at this point? What is your favorite movie released so far? What is the biggest lock for a nomination? Comment below!