To be honest, I'm not especially excited about this year's awards. The nominated pictures are mostly worthy but the Oscars seem to mean a good deal more to those who've been nominated and to the distributors of their films than to those of us who watch.
I won’t admire Michelle Yeoh any less if she happens to lose in the best actress category to Cate Blanchett. Similarly, if Yeoh wins, I won’t waste any time feeling sorry for Blanchett.
I wasn’t a fan of The Fabelmans, Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobigographical movie, but if it scores a surprise win as best picture, I will spend no time crying in my beer.
Bill Nighy (Living) and Paul Mescal (Aftersun) are terrific actors and Nighy is now bordering on lifetime achievement terrain. Both are nominated for best actor and, if the oddsmakers are right, they'll lose to Austin Butler for his performance in Elvis.
I’m rooting for Colin Farrell, who has become one of the screen’s more adventurous actors.
I cast no shade on Jamie Lee Curtis for her hilarious work in Everything Everywhere All At Once. She's the favorite in the best supporting actress category. But I don’t see how the Academy can bypass Angela Bassett who brought a sense of regal grandeur and dignity to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
This year’s field represents a variety of approaches to movies -- from sci-fi fantasy to hard-core action to smart drama. This kind of range either can be seen as refreshingly positive or as an indication that Hollywood has no idea what it’s doing.
Perhaps both things are true.
And a reminder: Caring about the Academy Awards isn’t the same as caring about movies or, without being too grandiose about it, film culture or, in cases where appropriate, film art. All of those categories can but don’t necessarily overlap with Oscar.
Here, with the usual tentativeness and with some annotated reservations, are my predictions in some of the major categories:*
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Daniel Dwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once*
*The dark horse in this category is Steven Spielberg. A victory for Spielberg would be a way of honoring "old" Hollywood in a year of idiosyncratic fare.
Austin Butler, Elvis*
*I wouldn't be surprised, though, if Brendan Fraser wins for his performance in The Whale.
Cate Blanchett, Tar*
*Look, Michelle Yeoh is just as likely to win for her work in Everything Everywhere All At Once, but until Everything Everywhere began its awards ascent, Blanchett was considered a shoo-in.
Best Supporting Actor
Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Best supporting actress
Angela Bassett, Black Panther Wakanda Forever*
*I've read speculation about Kerry Condon, who did stand-out work in Banshees of Inishirin. I suppose that if Bassett and Jamie Lee Curtis, many people's projected winner in this category, cancel each other out, Condon has a shot.
Best Original Screenplay
The Banshees of Inishirn
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Animated Film
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Best International Film
All Quiet on the Western Front
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