Anne Thompson’s Final Oscar Predictions in 23 Categories

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Fresh and original led the way at Oscars 2023, as “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24) collected seven wins including Best Picture. This year’s frontrunner, Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” (Universal), a biopic of the theoretical physicist (Cillian Murphy), also feels inevitable on its way to a likely 13 nominations and a Best Picture win. So far the film has won the Drama Golden Globe and the Critics Choice Award for Best Film, among many other awards, and landed 13 BAFTA nominations and multiple Guild mentions including the PGA, DGA, and SAG Ensemble.

With “Oppenheimer,” Nolan delivered a serious but entertaining portrait of a man who must confront how he changed the world and not for the better. It could have been a treatise, it wasn’t, and delivered almost $1 billion at the global box office.

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Nolan challenged his crew to create everything possible in front of the cameras and avoid digital VFX as much as possible. (Hence, no VFX shortlist.) Nolan cast 73 speaking parts (many with recognizable actors), including 18 aging roles that had to pass muster with unforgiving IMAX cameras.

How can “Oppenheimer” lose? Nothing seems poised to overtake it, as its closest competitors, feminist comedies “Barbie” (the Warner Bros. blockbuster) and “Poor Things” (Searchlight’s arthouse hit) both lack the same gravitas. They should earn 11 and 12 nominations, respectively.

What could they win? Emma Stone is the frontrunner for Best Actress, having won the Comedy Globe and CCA. Directors Greta Gerwig and Yorgos Lanthimos both missed BAFTA nods, but did land DGA slots. Now that the Academy has switched two-time screenwriter Oscar nominees Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s based-on-an-unwritten-character scenario from Original to Adapted, it’s up against the mighty “Oppenheimer,” which can’t win everything. All three films are competing for crafts, including Costume, Hair and Makeup, and Production Design.

Given Nolan’s British roots, even the international block is behind “Oppenheimer,” leaving the most competitive European favorites, Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest” (A24, nine BAFTA nominations) and Justine Triet’s “Anatomy of a Fall” (Neon, seven), which France did not submit for the Oscar, to pick up a few Oscar nominations including a likely Best International Feature win for “Zone.” Since Sundance, A24 has backed first-time director DGA nominee Celine Song’s “Past Lives,” starring Greta Lee and Korean BAFTA nominee Teo Yoo in a story about the road not taken.

Lately losing ground is Martin Scorsese’s true crime story “Killers of the Flower Moon” (AppleTV+) which should rack up an impressive 10 nominations, including Best Director, Actress (Lily Gladstone) and Supporting Actor (Robert De Niro). Best Actor contender Leonardo DiCaprio is vulnerable, as he was left out of both SAG and BAFTA consideration.

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON, from left: Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, 2023.  © Paramount Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection
“Killers of the Flower Moon”©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Also in our top 10 Best Picture lineup, which this year aligns with the PGA nominations, are DGA and BAFTA nominee Alexander Payne’s Christmas hit “The Holdovers” (Focus), which should land an Oscar nomination and inevitable win for Supporting Actress (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) and, possibly, for Comedy Globe and CCA winner Paul Giamatti.

Steadily building momentum is first-time director DGA nominee Cord Jefferson’s “American Fiction” (Amazon/MGM/Orion) starring SAG nominees Jeffrey Wright and Sterling K. Brown. Jefferson won the CCA for Best Adapted Screenplay and could repeat at the Oscars.

Of Netflix’s raft of would-be Oscar contenders, the likeliest to win voters’ favor is producer-director-writer-star Bradley Cooper’s “Maestro,” in which he plays composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein opposite Carey Mulligan as his wife, Felicia Montealegre. Cooper landed both acting and directing nominations from BAFTA, along with Mulligan. The BAFTAs’ seven nominations is a sign of European support. We are also predicting seven.

As always, the question for Academy-wide voting is: Who has seen the movie? For once, two of the top contenders, “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie,” are global box office juggernauts. The Academy is grateful for the fans who will tune in to the show on March 10 as a result.

My final list of 23 picks, ranked by likelihood to be nominated:

Best Picture
“Oppenheimer” (Universal)
“Killers of the Flower Moon″ (AppleTV+)
“Poor Things” (Searchlight)
“Barbie” (Warner Bros.)
“The Holdovers” (Focus Features)
“American Fiction” (Amazon/MGM/Orion)
“Anatomy of a Fall” (Neon)
“Maestro” (Netflix)
“Past Lives” (A24)
“The Zone of Interest” (A24)

Best Director
Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”)
Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
Greta Gerwig (“Barbie”)
Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Things”)
Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”)

Best Actor
Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”)
Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”)
Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”)
Jeffrey Wright (“American Fiction”)
Colman Domingo (“Rustin”)

Best Actress
Emma Stone (“Poor Things)
Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
Carey Mulligan (“Maestro”)
Margot Robbie (“Barbie”)
Sandra Hüller (“Anatomy of a Fall”)

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Downey, Jr. (“Oppenheimer”)
Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”)
Robert De Niro (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”)
Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”)

Best Supporting Actress
Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”)
Danielle Brooks (“The Color Purple”)
Emily Blunt (“Oppenheimer”)
Jodie Foster (“Nyad”)
Penélope Cruz (“Ferrari”)

Best Adapted Screenplay
Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach (“Barbie”)
Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer)
Cord Jefferson (“American Fiction”)
Tony McNamara (“Poor Things”)
Eric Roth and Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)

Best Original Screenplay
David Hemingson (“The Holdovers”)
Justine Triet and Arthur Harari (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
Celine Song (“Past Lives”)
Bradley Cooper and Josh Singer (“Maestro”)
Samy Burch and Alex Mechanik (“May December”)

Best Animated Feature
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”
“The Boy and the Heron”
“Elemental”
“Nimona”
“Suzume”

Best Animated Short
“WAR IS OVER! Inspired by the Music of John and Yoko”
“Letter to a Pig”
“Once Upon a Studio”
“27”
“Humo”

Best Live Action Short
“Good Boy”
“The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar”
“The After”
“Invisible Border”
“Knight of Fortune”

Best Cinematography
Hoyte van Hoytema (“Oppenheimer”)
Rodrigo Prieto (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
Robby Ryan (“Poor Things”)
Matthew Libatique (“Maestro”)
Lukasz Zal (“The Zone of Interest”)

Best Costume Design
Holly Waddington (“Poor Things”)
Jacqueline Durran (“Barbie”)
Jacqueline West (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
Ellen Mirojnick (“Oppenheimer”)
Janty Yates and David Crossman (“Napoleon”)

Best Documentary Feature
“American Symphony”
“20 Days at Mariupol”
“Beyond Utopia”
“Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie”
“Eternal Memory”

Best Documentary Short
“Last Song from Kabul”
“The ABCs of Book Banning”
“The Last Repair Shop”
“The Barber of Little Rock”
“Deciding Vote”

Best Editing
Jennifer Lame (“Oppenheimer”)
Yorgos Mavropsaridis (“Poor Things”)
Kevin Tent (“The Holdovers”)
Nick Houy (“Barbie”)
Thelma Schoonmaker (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)

Best International Feature Film
“The Zone of Interest” (Jonathan Glazer, UK)
“The Taste of Things” (Tràn Anh Hùng, France)
“Society of the Snow” (J.A Bayona, Spain)
“The Teachers’ Lounge” (İlker Çatak, Germany)
“Perfect Days” (Wim Wenders, Japan)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Kay Georgiou, Sian Grigg, Kazu Hiro & Lori McCoy-Bell (“Maestro”)
Mark Couler, Nadia Stacey & Josh Weston (“Poor Things”)
Luisa Abel, Jason Hamer, Jaime Leigh McIntosh & Ahou Mofid (“Oppenheimer”)
Ana López-Puigcerver, Belén López-Puigcerver, David Martí, Montse Ribé (“Society of the Snow”)
Karen Hartley, Suzi Battersby (“Golda”)

Best Production Design
Sarah Greenwood & Katie Spencer (“Barbie”)
Shona Heath, James Price & Szusza Mihalek (“Poor Things”)
Ruth De Jong & Claire Kaufman (“Oppenheimer”)
Jack Fisk & Adam Willis (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
Adam Stockhausen, Kris Moran” (“Asteroid City”)

Best Original Score
Ludwig Göransson (“Oppenheimer”)
Robbie Robertson (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
Jerskin Fendrix (“Poor Things”)
Daniel Pemberton (“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”)
Joe Hisaishi (“The Boy and the Heron”)

Best Original Song
“Barbie” (“What Was I Made For?”)
“Barbie” (“I’m Just Ken”)
“The Color Purple” (“Keep It Movin'”)
“Rustin” (“Road to Freedom”)
“American Symphony” (“It Never Went Away”)

Best Sound
Willie Burton, Richard King, Kevin O’Connell & Gary A. Rizzo (“Oppenheimer”)
Richard King, Steve Morrow, Tom Ozanich, Jason Ruder & Dean Zupancic (“Maestro”)
Johnnie Burn (“The Zone of Interest”)
Tony Lamberti, Lee Orloff, Andy Nelson & Bernard Weiser (“Ferrari”)
Dan Kenyon, Ai-Ling Lee, Kevin O’Connell & Nina Rice (“Barbie”)

Best Visual Effects
Jonathan Bullock, Charmaine Chan, Ian Comley & Jay Cooper (“The Creator”)
Kosuke Taguchi & Takashi Yamazaki) (“Godzilla Minus One”)
Simon Hughes (“Poor Things”)
Félix Bergés, Pau Costa & Laura Pedro (“Society of the Snow”)
Theo Bialek, Stephanie Ceretti, Alexis Wajsbrot & Guy Williams (“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3″)

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