Oscar predictions: Signs point to ‘Everything’ turning to gold

Academy Awards seem likely for the blazingly original film and at least one of its stars, while Brendan Fraser and Cate Blanchett also stand at the front of the pack.

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“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” with Jamie Lee Curtis (left) and Michelle Yeoh, has become the front-runner for best picture.

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When last year’s best actress Academy Award winner Jessica Chastain was in Chicago recently, I asked the “Eyes of Tammy Faye” star if she would be presenting the best actor honors at this year’s Oscars, per tradition, and she confirmed it was so. We’ve also learned best supporting actor winner Troy Kotsur will present supporting actress on March 12, while best supporting actress Ariana DeBose has signed on to hand out the best supporting actor gold.

Which leaves us with the question: Who will be handing out the best actress Oscar? Normally, it would be last year’s winner, Will Smith, but as you might recall, there was a bit of a dust-up at last year’s ceremony, resulting in Mr. Smith being banned from attending all Academy events for the next 10 years. As of this writing, no word from the Academy about who will step in for Smith, but might I suggest a group of previous best actor winners? There are more than 30 still with us. Maybe have winners from each of the last five decades come out to present, e.g., Richard Dreyfuss. Ben Kingsley, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington and Matthew McConaughey. That’d be fun!

I’ve filled out my ballot, and you have the chance to make your own predictions to win an advance screening of a major Hollywood movie later this year. (Sorry, but I’ll have to be there with you.) Now let’s take a look at my picks in the major categories.

Remember, these are my predictions, not necessarily my preferences.

Best picture: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’

As much as I enjoyed “Top Gun: Maverick,” it would be one of the least substantial movies of all time to win best picture — and yet there’s still a little buzz out there saying this could be the upset winner, at approximately 10-1 odds. (You can actually bet on the Academy Awards via apps and in some cases at physical locations, not just abroad but in a few select states, including Indiana and Michigan.) All signs point to “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the blazingly original, widely acclaimed, surprise worldwide box-office sensation, taking home the gold. If you’re looking for an upset, go with “All Quiet on the Western Front” or “The Banshees of Inisherin.” Still, with Saturday night’s win at the Producers Guild Awards, which has a preferential voting system that mirrors the Academy’s, “Everything …” becomes an even bigger favorite.

Best director: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’

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“Everything Everywhere All at Once” directors Daniel Kwan (left) and Daniel Scheinert display their Directors Guild of America awards on Feb. 18.

Monica Schipper/Getty Images

A few weeks ago, I would have predicted Steven Spielberg for “The Fabelmans,” and there’s still a chance the great one will win on the strength of votes from old-school Hollywooders (even with the laudable expansion of the voting membership, the Academy still has a voting base that is 66% male and 81% white). But with “The Daniels” winning the Directors Guild of America honors, they have to be considered the favorites.

Best actor: Brendan Fraser, ‘The Whale’

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Bet on Brendan Fraser of “The Whale” as the best actor winner on Oscar night.

A24

All five nominees are first-timers, the first time that has happened since … holy cow, 1935! (There were just three best actor nominees that year: Clark Gable, who won for “It Happened One Night,” Frank Morgan for “The Affairs of Cellini” and William Powell for “The Thin Man.”) This year’s contest boils down to a two-man race between Austin Butler for “Elvis” and Brendan Fraser for “The Whale.” I’m going with Fraser because Hollywood loves a comeback story, Fraser has been an enormously charming presence on the interview circuit over the last many months, and he’s absolutely transcendent in the film.

Butler is also a likable presence offscreen, and awards voters do love lead performances in musical biopics, e.g., “Ray” and “Walk the Line” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Judy,” so it will hardly be a surprise if his name is called.

Best actress: Cate Blanchett, ‘TÁR’

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Her work as a demanding symphony conductor in ‘TÁR’ may earn Cate Blanchett her third Oscar.

Focus Features

One of the best actors of our time delivers maybe her best work ever in the kind of grand, artsy, wildly inventive, prestige project that might as well have come wrapped in paper labeled “Oscar Bait.” The only contender with a chance is the beloved Michelle Yeoh for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” but in the Big Six categories, the only bigger favorite than Blanchett is …

Best supporting actor: Ke Huy Quan, ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’

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A supporting actor Oscar is likely to cap Ke Huy Quan’s comeback in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

A24

As we were saying, Hollywood loves a comeback story, and arguably the most inspirational and delightful story of the awards season has been the celebration of an enormously likable and talented artist who had largely disappeared from the scene until he delivered a brilliant performance in the best picture favorite.

Best supporting actress: Angela Bassett, ‘Wakanda Forever’

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For her performance in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Angela Bassett became the first Oscar nominee from a Marvel Cinematic Universe film.

Marvel Studios

There’s a chance longtime Hollywood favorite Jamie Lee Curtis could pull off the upset — and her win Sunday at the SAG Awards certainly bolstered her chances — and Kerry Condon’s marvelous work in “The Banshees of Inisherin” is a contender, but I still believe the magnificent Ms. Bassett, the first actor ever nominated from a MCU film, will take home the gold.

Overall running time: 3 hours and 35 minutes

Some things never really change.

To join a live online Q&A with Richard Roeper on March 9 about the Oscars, go to suntimes.com/beatthecriticevent.

Roeper’s Oscar ballot 2023

ROEPER’S FULL OSCAR BALLOT

Best Picture: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Actress: Cate Blanchett, “TÁR”

Actor: Brendan Fraser, “The Whale”

Actress: Angela Bassett, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

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

Director: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Original Screenplay: Martin McDonagh, “The Banshees of Inisherin”

Adapted Screenplay: Sarah Polley, “Women Talking”

Animated Feature: “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”

Production Design: “Babylon”

Cinematography: “All Quiet on the Western Front”

Costume Design: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Editing: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Makeup and Hairstyling: “The Whale”

Sound: “All Quiet on the Western Front”

Visual Effects: “Avatar: The Way of Water”

Original Score: “All Quiet on the Western Front”

Original Song: “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Documentary: “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”

International Feature: “All Quiet on the Western Front”

Animated Short: “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse”

Documentary Short: “The Elephant Whisperers”

Live Action Short: “An Irish Goodbye”




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