Betting on Oscar: the 2023 Academy Award nominated flicks worth taking a flutter on

Cate Blanchett conducts as Lydia Tár in Todd Field's TÁR

It’s that time of year again, folks! The 95th Oscar nominations have been announced and the race for the coveted golden statuettes is officially on. As always, there are a few sure things, a few critical favourites, and a few wild cards that could shake things up. So, if you’re looking to put a little money on your predictions, here’s a gambler’s guide to the Academy Awards 2023, to be held on March 13.

Let’s talk about the big categories. Best Picture is always a tricky one to call. The Banshees of Inisherin, Martin McDonagh’s Ireland-set dark comedy has been garnering rave reviews, but Netflix’s All Quiet on the Western Front could be a surprise win – although The Banshees… probably has the edge. The German language war epic could also be money in the bank for the Best International Feature category. 

The other front runner is Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan’s Everything Everywhere All at Once, the multiverse indie that has scooped the lion’s share of noms this year. Genre movies tend to do badly at this rather po-faced industry bash, but perhaps this little movie will buck the trend. That’s probably where we’d place our bet.

In the Best Director category, it looks like it’s a two-horse race between Martin McDonagh for Banshees… and the two Daniels for Everything…, although Oscar royalty Steven Spielberg could be an auto-pilot win for the Academy, for his semi-autobiographical The Fablemans.  Remember it also won Best Picture at the Golden Globes, which confirms Spielberg is an outside bet worth making

It’s worth noting that in the past, films that have won big at other awards shows, such as Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG), and BAFTA, have a tendency to shine at Oscar’s party. Pay particular attention to the SAG Awards as there’s a significant crossover between it and the Oscars voting block.

Oscar royalty Steven Spielberg could be an auto-pilot win for the Academy…

In the Best acting categories, there are a few good bets, like Colin Farrell for The Banshees… and Cate Blanchet for Tár. But Michelle Yeoh for Everything… is definitely worth a punt. We suspect Yeoh would be a very popular win. Austin Butler’s turn as The King could also shake thing up.

When it comes to the Animated Feature Film category, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio looks to be the obvious recipient, although both Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and The Sea Beast, another Netflix original, are worth speculating on. The latter would be a well deserved, left field winner, and that’s where we’d plunk down our chips. Puss probably hasn’t performed well enough at the box office to curry Oscar favour.

The Oscar race is always unpredictable, and there’s always a chance for a surprise upset. If you’re looking for the safest bets, keep an eye on the critical favourites, and those movies that have been lauded at other awards shows. But why play it safe?

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favour!

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