2023 Oscars predictions from EW's new Awardist columnist: The Fabelmans takes an early lead

The Awardist is thrilled to welcome award-winning host, interviewer, and commentator Dave Karger as Entertainment Weekly's new Awards Correspondent. Known in the FYC industry for his expert Oscars predictions, Karger (who spent 17 years on staff at EW, writing over 50 cover stories) has made more than 200 live appearances on NBC's Today to talk movies and awards, and has co-hosted ABC's Live From the Red Carpet on Oscar night. Check out his inaugural predictions column for the 2023 Oscars season, and watch this space for his regularly updated rankings within the major categories.

With the fall film festivals — Venice, Telluride, Toronto, and New York — largely behind us, the Oscars race is really starting to take shape. A handful of entries, like Steven Spielberg's The Fabelmans, Todd Field's TÁR, and Sarah Polley's Women Talking, seem best poised to challenge summer and spring hits like Top Gun: Maverick and Everything Everywhere All At Once for Best Picture, while Oscar rookies like Brendan Fraser, Colin Farrell, and Janelle Monae seem like good bets to score acting nominations alongside such former winners as Cate Blanchett, Viola Davis, and Eddie Redmayne. Read on for my ranked lists of the top 12 contenders in each of the top six categories.

Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans
Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans

Universal Paul Dano and Michelle Williams in 'The Fabelmans'

Best Picture

Could we see four sequels in this year's main race? Given that there will be a mandated 10 nominees for Best Picture, it could happen. Of course, the Avatar and Black Panther sequels (not to mention Damian Chazelle's Babylon and Antoine Fuqua's Will Smith vehicle Emancipation) have yet to screen, so this list could fluctuate in the coming weeks. But The Fabelmans is the movie to beat after taking home the coveted People's Choice Award in Toronto.

  1. The Fabelmans

  2. TÁR

  3. The Banshees of Inisherin

  4. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

  5. Women Talking

  6. Empire of Light

  7. Babylon

  8. Avatar: The Way of Water

  9. Everything Everywhere All At Once

  10. Top Gun: Maverick

  11. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

  12. Elvis

Steven Spielberg arrives at the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival Opening Night 40th Anniversary Screening Of "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial…"
Steven Spielberg arrives at the 2022 TCM Classic Film Festival Opening Night 40th Anniversary Screening Of "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial…"

Steve Granitz/FilmMagic 'The Fabelmans' director Steven Spielberg.

Best Director

It's been 24 years since Steven Spielberg found himself accepting an award on the Oscar stage. Thanks to his most personal film yet, his semi-autobiographical drama The Fabelmans, he's now the favorite to win his third Best Director prize.

  1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

  2. Todd Field, TÁR

  3. Rian Johnson, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

  4. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin

  5. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light

  6. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water

  7. Sarah Polley, Women Talking

  8. Damien Chazelle, Babylon

  9. Daniel Scheinert & Dan Kwan, Everything Everywhere All At Once

  10. Baz Luhrmann, Elvis

  11. Ryan Coogler, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

  12. Jordan Peele, Nope

The Banshees of Inisherin
The Banshees of Inisherin

Photo by Jonathan Hession. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan in 'The Banshees of Inisherin'

Best Actor

Clearly, Brendan Fraser is the early emotional frontrunner after the rhapsodic festival response to his performance in The Whale. But Colin Farrell, who won the Venice Best Actor prize over Fraser, will remain a top contender throughout the season.

  1. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin

  2. Brendan Fraser, The Whale

  3. Hugh Jackman, The Son

  4. Jeremy Pope, The Inspection

  5. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans

  6. Austin Butler, Elvis

  7. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick

  8. Adam Sandler, Hustle

  9. Christian Bale, The Pale Blue Eye

  10. Daniel Craig, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

  11. Adam Driver, White Noise

  12. Tom Hanks, A Man Called Otto


Ilze Kitshoff/TriStar Pictures Viola Davis in 'The Woman King'

Best Actress

This year's most crowded category features several past winners (Cate Blanchett, Olivia Colman, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson, and Jennifer Lawrence) fighting for precious slots against potential first-time nominees like Michelle Yeoh and Danielle Deadwyler. Certainly several worthy performances won't make the cut.

  1. Cate Blanchett, TÁR

  2. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light

  3. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans

  4. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All At Once

  5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till

  6. Viola Davis, The Woman King

  7. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway

  8. Ana de Armas, Blonde

  9. Mia Goth, Pearl

  10. Carey Mulligan, She Said

  11. Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

  12. Emma Corrin, Lady Chatterley's Lover

Ke Huy Quan
Ke Huy Quan

A24 Ke Huy Quan in 'Everything Everywhere All at Once'

Best Supporting Actor

As is often the case, this category is perhaps the most wide open, with substantial supporting roles competing with memorable cameos (hello, The Fablemans' Judd Hirsch!). Anything could happen with this group of contenders.

  1. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin

  2. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All At Once

  3. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans

  4. Eddie Redmayne, The Good Nurse

  5. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time

  6. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking

  7. Jeremy Strong, Armageddon Time

  8. Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway

  9. Mark Rylance, Bones and All

  10. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans

  11. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness

  12. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light


Michael Gibson/United Artists Releasing The cast of 'Women Talking,' including Jessie Buckley (left center), Claire Foy (top center), and Rooney Mara (right center)

Best Supporting Actress

With Michelle Williams opting for a leading-actress campaign for The Fabelmans, this race has become a proper free-for-all. Expect at least one slot to go to Jessie Buckley or Claire Foy of Women Talking, and one to go to Banshees of Inisherin breakout Kerry Condon.

  1. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin

  2. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking

  3. Claire Foy, Women Talking

  4. Janelle Monae, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

  5. Nina Hoss, TÁR

  6. Laura Dern, The Son

  7. Gabrielle Union, The Inspection

  8. Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All At Once

  9. Thuso Mbedu, The Woman King

  10. Anne Hathaway, Armageddon Time

  11. Sadie Sink, The Whale

  12. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All At Once 

Check out more from EW's The Awardistfeaturing exclusive interviews, analysis, and our podcast diving into all the highlights from the year's best in TV.

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