For the first time in forever, multiple blockbusters are actually contenders to win the best picture Oscar. But first, they’ve got to get nominated.
The dark comedy “The Banshees of Inisherin” and Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical coming-of-age drama “The Fabelmans” scored big at the Golden Globes, while sci-fi hit “Everything Everywhere All at Once” led the Screen Actors Guild pack alongside. Banshees.” However, when the field for the 95th Academy Awards (airing March 12 on ABC) is announced Tuesday morning, “Top Gun” and “Black Panther” sequels loom as heavyweight contenders that could throw extra spiciness into an awards season that’s somewhat back to normal. after a couple of pandemic-plagued years.
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While everything might seem to be falling into place for probable nominees, that’s usually just when chaos is around the corner. Let’s separate the potential contenders from the pretenders in the six major Oscar categories:
- Blockbusters will tussle for prime spots in the best picture field.
- It’s a two-person race in the best actress category and a talented trio for best actor.
- Supporting stars Angela Bassett and Ke Huy Quan are the easiest bets of all.
The best: The producers and the directors usually know what’s going on before the rest of us – the vast majority of their nominees make the Oscar cut. So expect the shoo-ins to be “Fabelmans,” “Banshees,” “Everything Everywhere,” “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Tár,” which all scored Producers Guild of America and Directors Guild of America nods. “Elvis,” with Globe, PGA and British Academy Film Awards nominations to his credit, also has a good shot, as does “Babylon,” boasting Globe and Screen Actors Guild ensemble honors.
The rest: High-profile PGA nominees “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” seem more primed to take the last three spots than the polarizing “The Whale,” though don ‘t count out the love for Brendan Fraser. Other possibilities include the popular Indian action epic “RRR,” BAFTA-leading “All Quiet on the Western Front” and SAG-nominated “Women Talking” – they could all be jockeying for a slot if “Babylon” (with its mixed reviews) or “Top Gun” falters.
The best: This looks to be a three-dude race between Golden Globe winners Austin Butler (“Elvis”) and Colin Farrell (“Banshees”) plus “Whale” star Fraser, who scored extra awards-season momentum with his heartfelt speech after winning the Critics Choice Award. It’s safe to say those guys are locked, especially with Screen Actors Guild and BAFTA nominations.
The rest: The past two Oscar cycles have seen the SAG and Oscar best actor contingents match up exactly, which is a boon for SAG nominees Bill Nighy (“Living”) – who also snagged a BAFTA nod – and Adam Sandler (“Hustle”). Sandler still doesn’t have an Oscar nomination, so the Academy could look at it as a career attaboy. But if they don’t, waiting in the wings to scoop a spot are newcomers 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 probably has a few voters rooting for him.
The best: Cate Blanchett (“Tár”) and Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere”) tore their way through awards season with Globe wins and SAG nominations, and that inevitable showdown is happening at the Oscars because, barring some multiverse mishap, they’re in.
The rest: The other three spots are less clear-cut. Oscar winner Viola Davis (“The Woman King”) has put together a nice 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 arguably would have fared better this season as a supporting contender – has a shot thanks to “Fabelmans” momentum. Also on the outside looking in are Globe nominees Margot Robbie (“Babylon”) and Olivia Colman (“Empire of Light”).
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 runs the table every year and Quan’s the top bet of this Oscar class. Likely taking up another three slots: 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 in contention for “Fabelmans.” His co-star Judd Hirsch is a possibility too: The longtime Emmy-winning actor has only been nominated for an Oscar once, for 1980’s “Ordinary People.” Also standing a chance are Brian Tyree Henry (“Causeway”), who like Hirsch was nominated for Critics Choice, and BAFTA nominee Michael Ward (“Empire of Light”).
Best supporting actress
The best:Angela Bassett rules Wakanda and, so far, the leadup to this category, which looks to be the acting field most in flux. The “Black Panther” star took home gold from the Globes and Critics Choice Awards, plus scored SAG and BAFTA nominations. Kerry Condon (“Banshees”) and Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere”) – still seeking her first Oscar nod after decades in the business – are also safe bets, with each earning SAG, Globe, Critics Choice and BAFTA nods.
The rest: What’s left is pretty much a free-for-all with a bunch of talented contenders. Curtis’ co-star Stephanie Hsu snagged a SAG nom for her breakout role. Hong Chau (“The Whale”) 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 favor. And don’t overlook Janelle Monáe (“Glass Onion”) or Jessie Buckley (“Women Talking”), both Critics Choice-nominated standouts in acclaimed ensembles.
The best: Every year, to an uncanny degree, four out of five DGA nominees make it into the category. In other words, things are looking pretty groovy for Globe champ 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’s the odd man out? Probably Kosinski, since his best picture contender is the only one without any major award wins to date. Sarah Polley (“Women Talking”) could take his place and avoid an all-male field following two straight victories by female filmmakers. James Cameron has a puncher’s chance thanks to his “Avatar” sequel’s box-office success. Baz Luhrmann (“Elvis”) or SS Rajamouli (“RRR”) could ride their way out of the wave of popularity for their films. But maybe a surprise dark horse arises 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”). .
Read more about this year’s Oscar contenders
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