Social Network
2023 Oscars predictions: Tom Cruise's 'Top Gun: Maverick' will 'fly high' with best adapted screenplay award
March 11 2023, 08:00

It’s Hollywood’s biggest night. And this year, the gloves are off. (Figuratively speaking, that is.)

Will "Top Gun: Maverick" soar? Or does "Avatar: The Way of Water" sail off into a golden sunset?

Could "All Quiet on the Western Front" win the battle? Or might "Elvis" hit all the right notes? Does "Everything Everywhere All at Once" walk away with everything, or is there room left for "The Fabelmans?"

Enough with the questions. Here’s what you can expect at this Sunday’s 95th Academy Awards.


"All Quiet on the Western Front"

"Avatar: The Way of Water"

"The Banshees of Inisherin"


"Everything Everywhere All at Once"

"The Fabelmans"


"Top Gun: Maverick"

"Triangle of Sadness"

"Women Talking"

PREDICTION: "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

The absurdist sci-fi comedy-action film appears to have everything working in its favor. It leads all contenders with an impressive 11 nominations. It’s a critical and commercial success. And most importantly, it’s won all four of the industry’s top laurels: Producers Guild of America, Directors Guild of America (DGA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Writers Guild of America awards. "Everything Everywhere All at Once" centers on the concept of a multiverse – that is, an infinite number of universes.

"The Banshees of Inisherin," Martin McDonagh

"Everything Everywhere All at Once," Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, aka the Daniels

"The Fabelmans," Steven Spielberg

"Tár," Todd Field

"Triangle of Sadness," Ruben Östlund 

PREDICTION: "Everything Everywhere All at Once," the Daniels

Spielberg is the only previous nominee here, and he’s already prevailed twice – for 1993’s "Schindler’s List" and 1998’s "Saving Private Ryan." For much of the fall, his semi-autobiographical "The Fabelmans" was being touted as the project to finally bring him his third directing trophy. Unfortunately, reviews for the film have been solid but not quite spectacular – and it’s not seen as being a real threat in the best picture race. Meanwhile, the multi-layered "Everything Everywhere All at Once" presents the type of massive directorial achievement that the Academy usually likes to reward. The key bellwether DGA Award recent went to the Daniels. Expect the Oscar to go in the same direction.

Austin Butler, "Elvis"

Colin Farrell, "The Banshees of Inisherin"

Brendan Fraser, "The Whale"

Paul Mescal, "Aftersun"

Bill Nighy, "Living"

PREDICTION: Colin Farrell, "The Banshees of Inisherin"

You’re probably thinking that this is some kind of mistake - that I meant to write Butler for remarkably embodying the legendary Elvis Presley in "Elvis," or Fraser for his astonishing transformation into a reclusive, obese man in "The Whale." Those are the two whom most pundits are currently betting on. Butler has picked up the Golden Globe (drama) and BAFTA prizes. Fraser has the Critics’ Choice and SAG statuettes in his hand. So which one has the edge? I suspect that they’re almost evenly tied. And that vote-splitting paves the way for an upset by Farrell. 

He delivers a career best-performance in "The Banshees of Inisherin." The film is considerably more popular with the Academy than "Elvis" and "The Whale" – the latter of which missed both best picture and adapted screenplay nominations. My conversations with Academy voters indicate that there is strong support for Farrell, and some resistance to rewarding a relative newcomer like Butler and the comeback of Fraser, best known for films like "George of the Jungle" and "The Mummy." We haven’t seen a genuine best actor jaw-dropper since Adrien Brody won for "The Pianist" 20 years ago. This year’s contest is ripe for another – and all factors seem to favor Farrell.

Cate Blanchett, "Tár"

Ana de Armas, "Blonde"

Andrea Riseborough, "To Leslie"

Michelle Williams, "The Fabelmans"

Michelle Yeoh, "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

PREDICTION: Michelle Yeoh, "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

Blanchett has been this year’s awards juggernaut. She’s swept all the major critics’ prizes, as well as the Golden Globe (drama) and the BAFTA. She’s already a two-time Oscar winner, one for best supporting actress for 2004’s "The Aviator" and one for best actress for 2013’s "Blue Jasmine." Is she about to receive her third? In any other year, she probably would. 

However, this time she’s facing stiff competition from first-time nominee Yeoh in "Everything." Yeoh is a respected talent due for proper recognition. She has an exceptionally flashy role, and overcame Blanchett at the recent SAG Awards. Given all the love for "Everything" and the chance to make history by naming an Asian woman as best actress for the first time ever, expect the Academy to say "yes" to Yeoh.

Brendan Gleeson, "The Banshees of Inisherin"

Brian Tyree Henry, "Causeway"

Judd Hirsch, "The Fabelmans"

Barry Keoghan, "The Banshees of Inisherin"

Ke Huy Quan, "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

PREDICTION: Ke Huy Quan, "Everything Everywhere All at Once"


If you want to bet the house on anyone, you can bet on Quan. Not only does he have a sensational, scene-stealing role in "Everything," he’s still remembered for his childhood appearances in classics like 1984’s "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and 1985’s "The Goonies." His acceptance speeches at the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice and SAG ceremonies have been both heartfelt and humorous. It’s the "Quan" name inside the envelope.

Angela Bassett, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"

Hong Chau, "The Whale"

Kerry Condon, "The Banshees of Inisherin"

Jamie Lee Curtis, "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

Stephanie Hsu, "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

PREDICTION: Jamie Lee Curtis, "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

Angela Bassett was initially seen as the one to beat, after she collected trophies at both the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Awards. Then, Irish actress Kerry Condon went home with the BAFTA. And then Curtis pulled off a surprise victory as SAG. With "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" shut out of all major categories, Bassett’s prospects have diminished significantly. That leaves this as a showdown between Condon and Curtis. And Curtis looks like the most likely winner.

She’s a beloved Hollywood veteran who has never even been nominated by the Academy. She’s almost unrecognizable in a colorful yet dramatic role. She stars in the likely best picture champion. And her tearful acceptance speech at the SAG Awards provided her with major momentum right before Oscar voting started. My only concern is that the international voting bloc might go heavily for Condon, tilting the tally in her favor. But barring that, Hollywood’s most celebrated scream queen Curtis should be howling happily as she accepts the Oscar.

"All Quiet on the Western Front"

"Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery"


"Top Gun: Maverick"

"Women Talking"

PREDICTION: "Top Gun: Maverick"

I reached this conclusion by simple process of elimination. "Living" and "Glass Onion" missed the best picture lineup. "All Quiet on the Western Front" has previously been adapted for the screen, and war movies rarely win for their writing. There’s little enthusiasm for "Women Talking," which likely nabbed the 10th best picture slot, as it missed virtually everywhere else. That leaves "Top Gun: Maverick" the last script standing. 

It’s an unconventional choice. But it was the blockbuster of the year, and the Academy appears to have plenty of passion for it. This is the only place to reward it in a major category. Against all odds, "Top Gun: Maverick" should fly high with the adapted screenplay Oscar.

"The Banshees of Inisherin"

"Everything Everywhere All at Once"

"The Fabelmans"


"Triangle of Sadness"

PREDICTION: "The Banshees of Inisherin"

This award often goes to the most original screenplay, and that’s undoubtedly "Everything." However, I don’t expect that the Academy will give the film everything. "The Banshees of Inisherin" is an equally proficiently-penned script, and it relies more heavily on character dialogue than "Everything." Also, this is the best chance to reward "Banshees" scriber Martin McDonagh, who is destined to lose best director. In short, McDonagh should have words prepared as the Academy acknowledges him for inventing "Inisherin."

"Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio"

"Marcel the Shell with Shoes On"

"Puss in Boots: The Last Wish"

"The Sea Beast"

"Turning Red"

PREDICTION: "Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio"

This may actually be the biggest lock of the night. Del Toro’s delightful retelling of the classic "Pinocchio" boasts lovely and exquisite animation, outstanding voice acting and a beautiful musical score. It’s already won virtually every major animation award. 2017’s "The Shape of Water" brought del Toro Academy Awards for both best picture and best director. "Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio" might as well have been called "Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar" – for best animated feature.


"An Irish Goodbye"


"Le Pupille"

"Night Ride"

"The Red Suitcase"

PREDICTION: "An Irish Goodbye"

I always provide a bonus category, to give you an added advantage in your home and/or Oscar office pools. I’ve watched all five, and "An Irish Goodbye" is the cream of an excellent crop. It best follows the proper short film structure: character introduction, conflict, plot development and resolution. The acting is quite strong. And perhaps most significantly, it benefits from being the only English-language entry. Long story short: watch for "An Irish Goodbye" to say "hello" to the Oscar.