Early Oscars winner predictions
By Julien Rodger
Predicting the winners for the big awards:
Best Supporting Actress – Jessie Buckley, Women Talking
This category looked like a wrap when Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans was here, but the recent news is she’s campaigning in lead leading an open field. With nobody qualifying for lead in Women Talking, giving Claire Foy or Jessie Buckley the win here is an opportunity for it to have an acting win. Minorities are always a threat in Supporting Actress so Hong Chau in The Whale and Dolly de Leon in Triangle of Sadness are options if they go that route.
Best Supporting Actor – Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All At Once
I’m skeptical of Everything Everywhere being a Best Picture frontrunner with its Marvel-like multiverse plot, but Quan’s re-emergence 38 year years after his Temple of Doom child role could make him a good story to win this award and giving the film a major win. It would also allow the Oscars to avoid the backlash of four white winners if Naomi Ackie and Michelle Yeoh don’t win Actress. Otherwise Brendan Gleeson for Banshees of Inshirin is a strong contender after long character actor career.
Best Actress – Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans
The competition is tough in her new category but on her 5th Oscar nomination Michelle may be an unstoppable train with a performance that looks to be high on emotional Oscar clip friendly scenes and in a warmer and more accessible film than Cate Blanchett’s Tár. Yeoh need Everything Everywhere to be a dominant Oscars player and with the recent history of musical biopic films Ackie could also be a player. Margot Robbie is the wild card as Damian Chazelle’s Babylon could hit or miss critically based on its frenetic trailer.
Best Actor – Austin Butler, Elvis
While Brendan Fraser has a great comeback story and role playing a 600 pound gay man, the Oscars are addicted to rewarding biopic roles, especially for musicians. Add in an immense amount of physical acting which played well for wins like Joaquin Phoenix in Joker and Will Smith in King Richard, and this is everything they like to give Oscars to.
Best Director – Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans
Spielberg has 8 Best Picture nominations and 3 Director nominations since Saving Private Ryan in 1998 without winning either big award, making him due to break through for his 3rd career Director win after that film and Schindler’s List. With other possible Best Picture wins being ones like Women Talking or Everything Everywhere All At Once that don’t necessary demand a Director win with it, this feels like his year.
Best Picture – Women Talking
In the end however, I’m struck by how since 2015 all but one winner feels topical, representative or “important” in some way in Spotlight, Moonlight, Green Book, Parasite, Nomadland and CODA. While the one exception in the Shape of Water shared The Fabelmans tribute to movies, the recent history suggests they’ll either reward asian representation in Everything Everywhere or women talking about abuse and patriarchal oppression in Women Talking. Everything Everywhere has a bigger mountain to climb genre wise, therefore Women Talking ends up the Spotlight-like winner of the year. With the film being conversational and relying on its script and acting, Polley wins Adapted Screenplay but cedes director to Spielberg.