Reel to Real

Dwight’s Oscars predictions 2023

Quick question: Which film won Best Picture at last year’s Oscars?

No, don’t Google it! Take a guess, at least!

What about Best Actress?

It’s likely that for the vast majority of people, the only thing memorable about the 94th Academy Awards was “THE SLAP”.

Yes, that’s a great name for a movie. But it was a poor showing at the LIVE telecast when Will Smith – who went on moments later to win Best Actor – got up out of the audience and slapped the heck out of host Chris Rock after the comedian made a lame joke about his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith.

Suddenly, what was, up to that point, a relatively dull night, was catapulted into fodder for incessant slap talk for weeks, probably months.

This year, especially with everyone on high alert for any bad behavior, it’s highly unlikely there’ll be unplanned drama. But there will be the usual tension before the winners’ names are announced.

By the way, Best Picture went to the amazing “CODA” – which I pray you’ve seen by now – and Best Actress went to Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”).

And while everyone pretty much knew Chastain and Smith were going to walk away with statuettes, not everyone predicted the “CODA” win, even though it was certainly the best film I’d seen in 2021.

As is usually the case, the token blockbusters inserted on the list this year for the Best Picture nominees have no chance in winning. Not one chance.

But one medium-sized hit, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (with earnings worldwide over $104 million, as of this week, compared to $287M for “Elvis”, $1.4 billion [with a B] for “Top Gun: Maverick”, and $2.2 billion for “Avatar: The Way of Water”, despite just being released in December) seems to have all the buzz and momentum – and is poised to make history on many levels on Sunday night at the 95th Academy Awards (8pm ET on ABC).

“Everything…” leads all films with 11 nominations, followed by “The Banshees of Inisherin” and “All Quiet on the Western Front” with nine apiece.

Despite what some might think, this might actually be one of the least predictable years for the Oscars in quite a while.

Nevertheless, as has become a tradition, I will pick my personal favorites or what/who should win in each of the major categories, but also what/who I believe is most likely to win, taking into account the politics of the Academy and the psyche of the Academy voters. Many times, these actually all align. But this is going to be tough.

Next week, we’ll see just how well I did with my picks! And you can email me your predictions at

Best Picture

“All Quiet on the Western Front”

“Avatar: The Way of Water”

“The Banshees of Inisherin”


“Everything Everywhere All at Once”

“The Fabelmans”


“Top Gun: Maverick”

“Triangle of Sadness”

“Women Talking”

Once again, a two-horse race

All the buzz – every single bit of it – appears to be behind “Everything Everywhere All at Once”.

It is possibly the most unusual movie of the year, and a celebration of out-of-the-box filmmaking.

And as we continue to be fed an unhealthy diet of the same old nonsense from Marvel and DC and what counts as “horror” and “comedy” every single month, this is the kind of stuff many are craving.

But I can’t say it was the best movie of the year. It was special. It was different. It was entertaining. But there are better ones on this list, and even a couple that were left off.

Another avant-garde film nominated here, “Triangle of Sadness”, was more enjoyable – at least for me.

And the more relatable, quieter films on this list are surprisingly the ones that stood out the most. Spielberg’s personal coming of age story, “The Fabelmans”, was fantastic.

But the best movie of the year was “The Banshees of Inisherin”. It had everything – comedy, drama, suspense, pathos. If this film didn’t move you, you should check your pulse.

The signs are pointing to an “Everything…” win, especially after taking the top award at the SAGs (Screen Actors Guild) and Critics Choice. But “Banshees” did beat “Everything…” at the Golden Globe for Best Musical/Comedy film (with “The Fabelmans” winning Best Drama).

Here’s what could be a likely scenario. “The Daniels” (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, as they’re apparently known) are a lock for Best Director for “Everything…”. There’s little doubt.

But in some recent years, we’ve seen that after the director of a big splashy, buzzy picture wins the directing award, a smaller picture goes on to pull off an “upset”. We saw it with “Moonlight” (versus “La La Land”), “Green Book” (vs. “Roma”) and “CODA” (vs. “The Power of the Dog”).

“Banshees”, swooping in for the surprise victory in for the final award of the night, would be the best possible outcome. And well deserved.

However, everything really seems so uncertain – except for the fact that “Elvis” had no business being on this list.

My Personal Favorite and What Should Win: “The Banshees of Inisherin”

What (maybe) Will Win): “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Actress in a Leading Role

Cate Blanchett (“Tár”)

Ana de Armas (“Blonde”)

Andrea Riseborough (“To Leslie”)

Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”)

Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

History in the making

Full disclosure: I haven’t seen “To Leslie”.

I’m willing to bet Oscar nominee and the film’s start Andrea Riseborough hasn’t seen it either.

I mean, what even is that? (It is available on video-on-demand platforms. I may get to it soon).

Also, who doesn’t love Ana de Armas? But “Blonde” was so unwatchable. My God!

That leaves the three other actresses here. Three truly standout performances.

Poor Michelle Williams. At 42, she is among the youngest performers already with five Academy Award nominations over her career. She is clearly one of the best actors in the world. But she has no wins yet.

And this is not her year. Again!

This is between Michelle Yeoh and Cate Blanchett. They both won the Golden Globes for Lead Actress (the former for Musical/Comedy performance, and Drama for the latter).

Yeoh has been toiling away for decades, and Blanchett is going for her third Oscar win.

Blanchett gives the performance of her career in “Tár”. With her impressive body of work, how’s that possible, you ask? Indeed. I don’t understand it either. But it is the truth. This should be her award.

But the stars have aligned for Yeoh. She’s looking to make history as the first woman who identifies as Asian to win the Lead Actress Oscar. And the Academy is looking to make history too.

A Yeoh win would be heard on news outlets on repeat all over the world on Monday. And there’s nothing the Academy would love more. Sadly, very few will be talking if Blanchett wins again. And a lot of the talk might not exactly be pleasant.

Don’t get me wrong. Yeoh is amazing. She gives a vigorous, energetic, enthusiastic performance, and she did most of her own stunts. She certainly would deserve the Oscar.

It’s just that Blanchett was so very extremely uncomfortably good.

My Personal Favorite and Who Should Win: Cate Blanchett (“Tár”)

Who Will Win: Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

Actor in a Leading Role

Austin Butler (“Elvis”)

Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)

Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”)

Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”)

Bill Nighy (“Living”)

This one could go any way

Any way except the direction of Paul Mescal for “Aftersun”. He’s decent and this quiet little film is quite nice. But no. This almost feels like a name was accidentally left on or written in. However, the very young Irishman Mescal (he’s just 27 – the youngest actor here) is poised for great things.

At the other end of the age spectrum is English actor Bill Nighy. At 73, he too gives a subtle and quiet performance in the equally subtle, quiet but touching “Living” (just recently available on video-on-demand services).

The more bombastic performances are likely to get the attention of voters this year though.

31-year-old Austin Butler was the only thing good about the dreadful “Elvis”. However, his performance still can’t undo the damage of Tom Hanks as The Penguin. Nevertheless, Academy voters love when you dance and sing the songs yourself when portraying a dead drug or alcohol-addicted entertainer.

The comeback story of the year has been Brendan Fraser in “The Whale” (a bizarre little film that I might have swapped out for “Elvis” on the Best Picture list). Fraser plays a reclusive and morbidly obese English teacher, who is literally eating himself to death, but seeking to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter.

Until I saw “The Whale” recently, my favorite lead performance had been that of Colin Farrell in “The Banshees of Inisherin”. Farrell is so sincere and sensitive and goofy and lovable. There is so much beautiful authenticity here. And some of the best work of his career.

It’s interesting how all the male characters here are dying or seem to have a death wish or playing it awfully close.

I suspect the votes are going to be close too, with voters struggling to pick between Butler and Fraser.

My Personal Favorite (tie): Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) and Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”)

Who Will Win: Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”)

Actress in a Supporting Role

Angela Bassett (“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”)

Fab Five

Is this the one category this year in which every one really, truly deserves to be here?

There are no question marks or raised eyebrows in the bunch.

(The only question is why picture-stealing Filipino actress Dolly De Leon from “Triangle of Sadness” was not nominated. But I digress.)

Angela Bassett did indeed deliver the best performance in “Wakanda Forever”, stepping up to near lead role status.

Jamie Lee Curtis, with her first ever nomination after nearly 50 years of acting, and Stephanie Hsu (TV’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) come close to upstaging star Michelle Yeoh in “Everything Everywhere All at Once”.

Speaking of upstaging, Hong Chau in “The Whale” is a revelation. Hers is possibly the best performance in the film (even better than star Brendan Fraser’s).

But for me, from the first line she uttered, and every single one afterward, one of the best performances of the year – in any category – came from Kerry Condon in “The Banshees of Inisherin”. She somehow steals a film with one of the best all-around casts.

This is the toughest category this year. One can be happy for any one of these women to win. But if I were voting, it would be for Condon.

My Personal Favorite: Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)

Who Will Win: Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

Actor in a Supporting Role

Brendon 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”)

Comeback Again

This is another category with five fine performances.

But these five aren’t all equal. Some are definitely supporting roles, and others are lead performances masquerading as supporting.

Brian Tyree Henry is great in “Causeway”. He’s a great actor and his name will be one heard frequently for years to come on nomination lists. But this performance is easily outshone by some of the others here.

Even though Hirsch is onscreen for what seems like seconds in “The Fabelmans”, every word he utters is like a knockout punch, and quite memorable. (If this were television and the Emmys though, he would likely be nominated for Guest Performer, not Supporting).

Brendon Gleeson and especially Barry Keoghan deliver what most fits the “supporting role” definition, and they are both excellent. Gleeson’s character is on the border of being a lead, but these are the two strongest acting performances here.

However, the buzz and the momentum are behind Ke Huy Quan. This is another comeback story, as Quan, a child actor (“Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “The Goonies”), struggled to find work as an adult, and almost gave up on acting before landing the role in “Everything Everywhere All at Once”. Academy voters will be wiping away tears while they vote for him.

My Personal Favorite: Brendon Gleeson (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)

Who Will Win: Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)


Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”)

Todd Field (“Tár”)

Ruben Ostlund (“Triangle of Sadness”)

No need for any long talk here. “The Daniels” have it in the bag for their psychedelic roller-coaster of a film, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”.

But if I had to pick a second favorite, it would be Ruben Ostlund for his wacky and wild “Triangle of Sadness”.

My Personal Favorite: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

Who Will Win: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)


The two writing categories are usually quite difficult to predict, but this year may prove to be an exception.

Sometimes I chicken out and refrain from making any official guesses here, but I’m feeling pretty bold this year.

Original Screenplay

Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)

Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner (“The Fabelmans”)

Todd Field (“Tár”)

Ruben Ostlund (“Triangle of Sadness”)

These five films represent the five best or most interesting films of 2022. And if the Oscars nominated only five instead of 10 movies for Best Picture, I’d bet these would be the five on the list.

As such, the original screenplay category will be harder to pick than that of adapted screenplay.

The concept of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is amazing, and many will agree that the creativity and out of the box thinking, as mentioned previously, should be celebrated.

But that makes the relative simplicity and sparkling dialogue of “Banshees” and “The Fabelmans” and “Tár” all the more remarkable. That few special effects and zaniness are needed to make the three best movies of the year should say a lot to the entire industry.

However, everyone needs some zaniness in their lives sometimes. “Triangle of Sadness” has it in spades, and was almost as off-the-wall insane as “Everything…”, but in a slightly more adult package, and far more amusingly weird.

My Personal Favorite: Ruben Ostlund (“Triangle of Sadness”)

Who Will Win: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

Adapted Screenplay

Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson & Ian Stokell (“All Quiet on the Western Front”)

Rian Johnson (“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”)

Kazuo Ishiguro (“Living”)

Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer & Christopher McQuarrie and Peter Craig & Justin Marks (“Top Gun: Maverick”)

Sarah Polley (“Women Talking”)

“Women Talking” is one of the most thought-provoking films of the year, with an intoxicating blend of frank conversations and reasonably modern dialogue mixed with traditional conservative thinking and expressions. With no other nominations other than Best Picture, this is Director Sarah Polley’s award to win.

My Personal Favorite: Sarah Polley (“Women Talking”)

Who Will Win: Sarah Polley (“Women Talking”)

• Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio and station manager. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email and follow him on twitter @morningblend969

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Dwight Strachan

Dwight is the host/producer of “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio and station manager. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff.

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