Envelopes please: Time to predict Sunday’s Oscars

WTOP's Jason Fraley predicts the Oscars (Part 1)

The 95th annual Academy Awards air this Sunday night on ABC, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

It’s a battle of blockbusters vs. indie gems — and hopefully no one will slap anyone this year.

If you still need to catch up, here’s a guide to how you can watch this year’s top nominees.

Which of your favorite movies have the best shot at winning? Are any upsets brewing?

Time for some official Oscar predictions by WTOP Film Critic Jason Fraley:

Best Picture

Nominees: “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Elvis,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “The Fabelmans,” “Tár,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Triangle of Sadness,” “Women Talking.”

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” has won everything everywhere at DGA, PGA, SAG and WGA. There’s an outside chance that ranked preferential ballots could cause older members to pick a more traditional alternative like “The Fabelmans” or “Top Gun: Maverick” (Steven Spielberg thanked Tom Cruise for saving the industry), but “E.E.A.A.O.” is as close to a lock as it gets, providing a litmus test for just how bonkers Oscar is willing to go.

Prediction: “Everything Everywhere All At Once”

Spoiler: “Top Gun: Maverick”

Best Director

Nominees: Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”), Todd Field (“Tár”), Ruben Östlund (“Triangle of Sadness”)

A lack of women is jarring with snubs for Gina Prince-Bythewood (“The Woman King”) and Charlotte Wells (“Aftersun”), the year’s best director. Without them, I’ll pick The Daniels, who won at DGA and could become just the third duo ever to win. I admire directors swinging for the fences, but I worry future filmmakers will learn the wrong lessons of quantity over quality. I’d love a Spielberg upset for his most personal film, “The Fabelmans.”

Prediction: The Daniels (“Everything Everywhere All At Once”)

Spoiler: Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”)

Best Actor

Nominees: Austin Butler (“Elvis”), Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”), Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”), Bill Nighy (“Living”)

Despite a terribly miscast Tom Hanks, Austin Butler embodied The King in “Elvis,” becoming a frontrunner champion at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs. Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”) stepped on his blue-suede shoes by winning SAG, so now the race is all shook up. This one is too close to call, but I think Butler holds on like Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which rode a Best Picture nomination like “Elvis,” unlike “The Whale.”

Prediction: Austin Butler (“Elvis”)

Spoiler: Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”)


Best Actress

Nominees: Cate Blanchett (“Tár”), Ana de Armas (“Blonde”), Andrea Riseborough (“To Leslie”), Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”), Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

Michelle Williams could have won her first Oscar if she slid over to Supporting Actress like Viola Davis in “Fences,” but Best Actress is too competitive. Cate Blanchett was the early frontrunner with countless critics circles, but she’s already won two Oscars for “The Aviator” and “Blue Jasmine,” causing a momentum shift to the overdue Michelle Yeoh, who just won at SAG for playing a dozen different versions of her same character over time.

Prediction: Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All At Once”)

Spoiler: Cate Blanchett (“Tar”)


Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: 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”)

The most feel-good story this award season has been watching the resurgence of Ke Huy Quan, who we all adored as Short Round in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and Data in “The Goonies.” Like Yeoh, he impressively played countless versions of the same role, earning wins at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice and SAG. Barry Keoghan has gone viral for his heartbreaking scene, but co-star Brendan Gleeson will split the “Banshees” vote.

Prediction: Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All At Once”)

Spoiler: Barry Keoghan (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)


Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: 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”)

After wins at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards, Angela Bassett looked unstoppable as grieving Queen Ramonda, until SAG picked Jamie Lee Curtis for “E.E.A.A.O.” Both feel like make-up “career” Oscars for Tina Turner and Laurie Strode, which could cause a last-minute upset by BAFTA champ Kerry Condon. In the end, I think the Academy tries to fix its botched Chadwick Boseman tribute by picking Bassett as Rihanna sings “Lift Me Up” live.

Prediction: Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”)

Spoiler: Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)


Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: “The Banshees of Inisherin” (Martin McDonagh), “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), “The Fabelmans” (Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner), “Tár” (Todd Field), “Triangle of Sadness” (Ruben Östlund)

From a screenplay-structure standpoint, Tony Kushner, Todd Field and Ruben Östlund are hard to beat, but Academy voters often like to reward brash originality, which means this is a race between The Daniels and Martin McDonagh. If voters decide to “spread the wealth,” we could see a “Banshees” win for Original Screenplay just so “E.E.A.A.O.” doesn’t sweep every category. It’s that sparkling of a screenplay, even if the tone is not for everybody.

Prediction: The Daniels (“Everything Everywhere All At Once”)

Spoiler: Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)


Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: “All Quiet on the Western Front” (Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson and Ian Stokell), “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” (Rian Johnson), “Living” (Kazuo Ishiguro), “Top Gun: Maverick” (Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, Christopher McQuarrie, Peter Craig and Justin Marks), “Women Talking” (Sarah Polley)

The year’s most accurate film title is “Women Talking,” as it is indeed an ensemble of women talking, but the film is about so much more. Sarah Polley’s dialogue-heavy treatise will likely be awarded Adapted Screenplay to offset the injustice of an all-male Best Director lineup. If I had to pick a spoiler it would be “All Quiet on the Western Front,” which won a record seven BAFTAs, but that overseas success doesn’t always translate across the pond.

Prediction: Sarah Polley (“Women Talking”)

Spoiler: “All Quiet on the Western Front” (Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson and Ian Stokell)

Follow my live tweets @JFrayWTOP starting at 8 p.m. Sunday for the 95th annual Oscars.

See the full list of nominees here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley predicts the Oscars (Part 2)
Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up