For the first time ever, multiple blockbusters are actually in contention to win the Best Picture Oscar. But first, they must be nominated.
Black comedy ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ and Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical drama ‘The Fabelmans’ scored big at the Golden Globes, while sci-fi hit ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ led the Screen Actors pack. Guild alongside “Banshees.” However, when the field for the 95th Academy Awards (which airs March 12 on ABC) is announced Tuesday morning, sequels to “Top Gun” and “Black Panther” loom as heavyweight contenders who could add spice to a awards season which is somewhat back to normal. after a few years of pandemic.
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While everything may seem to fall into place for likely candidates, it’s usually just when chaos is around the corner. Let’s separate the potential contenders from the contenders in the six major Oscar categories:
- Blockbusters will compete for the top spots in the best picture field.
- It’s a two-man race for Best Actress and a talented trio for Best Actor.
- Supporting stars Angela Bassett and Ke Huy Quan are the easiest bets of all.
The best: Producers and directors usually know what’s going on before us – the vast majority of their Oscar nominees. So expect the shoo-ins to be “Fabelmans”, “Banshees”, “Everything Everywhere”, “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Tár”, all of which scored the Producers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America. ‘Elvis’, with Globe, PGA and British Academy Film Award nominations under its belt, also has a solid run, as does ‘Babylon’, with ensemble honors from the Globe and Screen Actors Guild.
The rest: High-profile PGA nominees ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’, ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ and ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ look more poised to take the final three spots than polarizing ‘The Whale’ , although gift without counting the love for Brendan Fraser. Other possibilities include popular Indian action epic “RRR,” BAFTA-leading “All Quiet on the Western Front,” and SAG-nominated “Women Talking” — they could all be vying for a spot if “Babylon” ( with its mixed reviews) or “Top Gun” falters.
The best: It appears to be a three-way race between Golden Globe winners Austin Butler (“Elvis”) and Colin Farrell (“Banshees”) plus “Whale” star Fraser, who scored some extra momentum for awards season with his heartfelt speech after winning the Critics Choice Award. It’s safe to say these guys are locks, especially with the Screen Actors Guild and BAFTA nominations.
The rest: The last two Oscar cycles have seen the SAG and Oscar Best Actor contingents match exactly, which is a boon for SAG nominee Bill Nighy (“Living”) – who also nabbed a BAFTA nod. – and Adam Sandler (“Hustle”). Sandler still doesn’t have an Oscar nomination, so the Academy might consider him a career attaboy. But if they don’t, newcomers are waiting in the wings to clinch a spot such as BAFTA nominee Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”) as well as two Globe contenders Diego Calva (“Babylon”) and Jeremy Pope (“The Inspection”). Then there’s Tom Cruise, the face of “Top Gun” who likely has a few voters supporting him.
The best: Cate Blanchett (“Tár”) and Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere”) have fought their way through awards season with Globe wins and SAG nominations, and that inevitable showdown is happening at the Oscars because, unless of a multiverse incident, they are in it.
The rest: The other three spots are less clear. Oscar winner Viola Davis (“The Woman King”) has prepared a beautiful resume, with SAG, Globe and BAFTA nods, and fellow SAG nominees Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”) and Ana de Armas (” Blonde”) are also in the mix. Michelle Williams – who would arguably have done better this season as a supporting contestant – has a chance thanks to the momentum of ‘Fabelmans’. Margot Robbie (“Babylon”) and Olivia Colman (“Empire of Light”) are also on the outside.
Best Supporting Actor
The best: No one in Hollywood is as beloved as “Everything Everywhere” star/Globe winner/SAG nominee Ke Huy Quan these days because of his comeback story and overall Cinderella mojo. At least one actor usually leads the table each year and Quan is the best bet in this Oscar class. Likely occupying three other spots: the “Banshees” duo of Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan as well as “The Good Nurse” antagonist Eddie Redmayne, who each racked up SAG, Globe and BAFTA nominations.
The rest: For that last remaining spot — or maybe two, given that “Good Nurse” isn’t exactly a major awards player — SAG nominee Paul Dano is up for “Fabelmans.” His co-star Judd Hirsch is also a possibility: the longtime Emmy-winning actor has only been nominated for an Oscar once, for 1980s ‘Ordinary People.’ Brian Tyree Henry (“Causeway”), which like Hirsch was nominated for Critics Choice, and Micheal Ward (“Empire of Light”), nominated for the BAFTAs, also have a chance.
Best Supporting Actress
The best:Angela Bassett leads Wakanda and, so far, the preparation of this category, which seems to be the most evolving field of action. The ‘Black Panther’ star won gold at the Globes and Critics Choice Awards, and was nominated for SAGs and BAFTAs. Kerry Condon (“Banshees”) and Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere”) — still looking for her first Oscar nod after decades in the business — are also safe bets, each earning nods SAG, Globe, Critics Choice and BAFTA.
The rest: What’s left is pretty much a one-size-fits-all game with a slew of talented contenders. Curtis’ co-star Stephanie Hsu picked up a SAG nomination for her breakout role. Hong Chau (“The Whale”) has impressed the SAG and BAFTA contingents, while Dolly de Leon (“Triangle of Sadness”) and Carey Mulligan (“She Said”) have Globe and BAFTA nominations in their favour. And don’t forget Janelle Monáe (“Glass Onion”) or Jessie Buckley (“Women Talking”), both nominated by Critics Choice in acclaimed ensembles.
The best: Each year, to an astonishing degree, four out of five DGA nominees enter the category. In other words, things are looking pretty groovy for Globe Champion Spielberg, Critics Choice winning duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere”), Todd Field (“Tár”), Martin McDonagh (” Banshees”) and Joseph Kosinski (“Top Gun: Maverick”).
The rest: So who is the odd one out? Probably Kosinski, since its Best Picture nominee is the only one who hasn’t won any major awards to date. Sarah Polley (“Women Talking”) could take her place and avoid an exclusively male plateau after two consecutive victories for female directors. James Cameron has a chance to strike thanks to the box office success of his ‘Avatar’ sequel. Baz Luhrmann (“Elvis”) or SS Rajamouli (“RRR”) could ride their way out of the wave of popularity for their films. But perhaps a surprise dark horse emerges from the BAFTA slate, which includes Park Chan-wook (“Decision to Leave”), Edward Berger (“All Quiet on the Western Front”) and Gina Prince-Bythewood (” The Woman King”).
Learn more about this year’s Oscar contenders
Class :All of Steven Spielberg’s films (including “The Fabelmans”)
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