Your guide to the 2023 Oscars


Graphic courtesy of Dev Sharma

Noah Grabianski and Sonali Khanna

This past year has been one of the most memorable for movies. Seemingly in full swing for the first time since the pandemic, this year has been filled with such memorable pictures as TÁR, The Fabelmans, The Banshees of Inisherin, and Everything Everywhere All at Once. Now, they’ll be duking it out at the 95th Oscars, which will air on Sunday, March 12 at 7 pm on ABC. 

Best Actor: Austin Butler, Elvis

Brendan Fraser’s much awaited comeback in The Whale gave him an opportunity to flaunt his talents in a dramatic role, but the film remains a polarizing and audacious piece of work. This turns the tides in favor of safer nominees like Colin Farrell (Banshees of Inisherin) or Austin Butler (Elvis). The Academy has a history of favoring biopics over fictional performances, making Butler the obvious lead in the best actor category. Many other awards shows, like the Golden Globes and BAFTAS, endorse his portrayal of Elvis, building up great momentum for his final win at the Oscars.

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, TÁR

The best actress category seems to be a neck-and-neck battle between first-time nominee Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once) and two-time winner Cate Blanchett (TÁR). Blanchett’s domineering performance as the titular conductor Lydia Tár could be the best of her career, while Yeoh is less impactful. With a gratifying first-time recognition on one hand, and, simply put, the better performance on the other, the latter is easier to root for. 

Best Supporting Actor: Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Ke Hey Quan undeniably leads the best supporting actor category this year, with his stellar performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once. At the start of the awards season, Quan winning may have seemed unlikely due to there being more well known nominees in this category (especially Judd Hirsch from The Fabelmans), but after a streak of deserved recognition at other award ceremonies, he has come up as the clear frontrunner. Similar to Yeoh, an Oscar for Quan would be gratifying as he deserves to be recognized for his work after previous mistreatment and neglect by the acting industry.

Best Supporting Actress: Stephanie Hsu (fingers crossed), Everything Everywhere All at Once

In what’s arguably the most talented group of nominees this year, one breakout star stands out among the rest. Stephanie Hsu’s moving performance in a dual role as both Joy Wang as well as intimidating interdimensional villain Jobu Topaki took audiences through a whirlwind of emotions in Everything Everywhere All at Once. However, there’s a decent chance she might get overlooked in the same way she has been at previous awards ceremonies. Instead, co-star Jamie Lee Curtis has been receiving greater acclaim for a much less inspiring and involved showing, along with Angela Bassett for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Best Original Screenplay: Banshees of Inisherin 

2022 releases were a breath of fresh air considering the uniqueness of each film nominated for original screenplay. Ranging from a multidimensional battle for family (Everything Everywhere) to a more simplistic tale of a quarrel between two friends (Banshees) to a dry, slow-paced character study (TÁR), there is no clear “best” in this highly competitive category. While TÁR is more of a critic’s favorite, Everything Everywhere and Banshees come backed-up with more mainstream support and recognition at other award ceremonies, potentially making them the two main choices. Considering both film’s nominations in other categories, Everything Everywhere gets many other chances to shine while this may be Banshees’ only opportunity for a win, making it our first choice for original screenplay.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Women Talking

On quite the opposite note, this year’s nominees for adapted screenplay fail to make any huge marks in terms of their writing. While films like Top Gun: Maverick and Glass Onion became familiar favorites, no one really watched them for their riveting scripts. Women Talking, as its name suggests, is a movie that is essentially all dialogue — so if it were to win for anything, it would have to be for its screenplay.

Best Original Score: Babylon

Out of all the nominations for best original score, Babylon was the only case where the soundtrack itself felt like a character in the film. Justin Hurwtiz’s energetic and bombastic score is easily the strongest component of the otherwise underwhelming film, and was even used in promotional material for the Oscars itself. Considering how overlooked Babylon was in other categories, it would be upsetting if the film ended up leaving the Oscars empty-handed.

Best Director: Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

Despite the indisputable talents of each of the nominees for Best Director (except maybe you, Ruben Östlund), it’ll be hard for any of them to beat one of the best directors of our age – Steven Spielberg. His recent offering, the coming-of-age and semi-autobiographical The Fabelmans, is likely to go down as one of the best in his recent filmography. It’s a film that, like many of his best works, comes from a very deep and personal place, and this one has already garnered him an award for directing at Golden Globes. 

Best Picture: The Fabelmans (but hopefully TÁR)

Though The Fabelmans is certainly one of the favorites to win, the Oscars has a history of giving the best picture and director awards to different films. But when it comes right down to it, TÁR is a phenomenal film, and one that was certainly one of the favorites of critics (though there often is a gap between their opinions and Oscar winners). In a year full of fantastic movies, these two will likely be the foremost frontrunners for Best Picture – and if The Fabelmans doesn’t win, the award should certainly go to TÁR instead.