Awards season is officially upon us. The Oscar nominations have been revealed, and we now know the shortlists for every single category. But who is going to win big on March 12 and who is going to go home empty handed?
Below, we're going to run the rule over what promises to be one of the closest Best Picture races in years. The Academy's decision to expand the shortlist to 10 movies in 2022 has allowed the spotlight to shine on even more features – but there are a handful of frontrunners dominating the conversation as we approach March’s ceremony.
We'll also address the other major categories – Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress – from the event, including the big favorites, possible underdogs, and which movies and actors we think could be giving speeches on stage at the 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
Good luck trying to call this one. There are three favorites to take home Best Picture this year, with The Fabelmans – Steven Spielberg's semi-autobiographical drama – currently leading in some circles. Seen as the traditionalist Academy pick (it's a movie about the love of cinema, which is essentially Academy catnip), it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the filmmaker’s latest release take home both the top prize and Best Director.
But there are two intriguing films with serious momentum behind them. The Banshees of Inisherin scooped up the Golden Globe for Best Comedy or Musical and is bolstered by a series of acclaimed acting performances, including Colin Farrell’s lead role as Padraic, that are picking up awards buzz. Come Oscar night, this could be the overwhelming favorite to land Best Picture – and Fabelmans feels like it's lost a bit of steam in recent weeks.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is perhaps the biggest fan favorite. While that often counts for naught by the time the name on the envelope is read out, it would be a feel-good story to see a film with a predominantly Asian cast (and, in Ke Huy Quan, an actor who was largely ignored by Hollywood for decades) to win Best Picture. The story of multiverse mayhem may skew a little too high concept for the Academy, but its 11 nominations proves it's got appeal across the board. For now, EEAAO is the firm favorite.
As for the other contenders, Tár, All Quiet on the Western Front, Elvis, and Women Talking have had plenty of awards chatter but shouldn't trouble the winners. Avatar: The Way of Water and Top Gun: Maverick – two of the most successful movies of all time at the box office – round out the Best Picture shortlist alongside Triangle of Sadness.
- Martin McDonagh - The Banshees of Inisherin
- Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert - Everything Everywhere All at Once
- Steven Spielberg - The Fabelmans
- Todd Field - TAR
- Ruben Östlund - Triangle of Sadness
Steven Spielberg has now been nominated a whopping eight times for Best Director. Whether he takes home the award for the third time (having previously won for Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan) is another debate entirely.
The Fabelmans' subject matter – loosely stemming from Spielberg’s own childhood – may sway the Academy, though the voters have tended to gravitate towards new voices in the past decade or so.
If that’s the case again, Everything Everywhere All at Once directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (AKA The Daniels) could win Best Director. In the wrong hands, their movie could have been a sprawling mess. It’s to the pair’s credit that they were not only able to emotionally anchor the film, but also bring out career-best performances from much of its cast.
Barring any real shocks, The Daniels and Spielberg should be the only realistic contenders. But we shouldn’t discount Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin) or Todd Field (Tár), who each delivered extraordinary work in the past 12 months. Ruben Ostlund was a surprise inclusion - but no less deserved - for helming Triangle of Sadness, though it was disappointing to see no female director nominated at all this year.
- Austin Butler - Elvis
- Colin Farrell - The Banshees of Inisherin
- Brendan Fraser - The Whale
- Paul Mescal - Aftersun
- Bill Nighy - Living
At one point, this felt like Brendan Fraser’s award to lose. His comeback performance as Charlie, a reclusive and obese English professor aiming to reconnect with his estranged daughter, in The Whale gained plenty of plaudits on the festival circuits in 2022.
Colin Farrell’s turn as Padraic, a man who is forced to confront the sudden end of a years-long friendship, in The Banshees of Inisherin has gained more traction as of late, however. A Golden Globe win has put in firmly in the box seat – and we think he’ll win come Oscars night.
The main rival to Farrell and Fraser is Austin Butler’s transformative performance in Elvis. Butler’s rich, physical portrayal never fell into impression territory and his subtle tweaks as Elvis’ health worsened could tip the scales in his favor as the Academy tends to go for historical figures in a close-run race (see: Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, and many, many more besides that).
Meanwhile, it's great to see Bill Nighy (Living) and first-time nominee Paul Mescal (Aftersun) sneak on to the shortlist. Both deserve the attention and each deliver striking performances that are well worth seeking out.
- Cate Blanchett - Tar
- Ana de Armas - Blonde
- Andrea Riseborough - To Leslie
- Michelle Williams - The Fabelmans
- Michelle Yeoh - Everything Everywhere All at Once
As is fast becoming a running theme for this year’s Oscars, the award for Best Actress is seemingly only between a couple of names – with no real outright favorite.
Cate Blanchett and her virtuoso performance as fictional composer Lydia Tár has won plaudits from across the industry, though Michelle Yeoh is currently running her close thanks to her role as a mother who has to navigate the multiverse in Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Going by recent trends, Blanchett’s role feels a little more in tune – pun not intended – with what the Academy wants from a Best Actress winner: a singular, film-carrying performance filled with trauma, strife, and chewy dialogue. Crucially, it exists in that little Oscars bubble a little away from the mainstream glare which, again, makes it feel like the perfect fit.
But if anyone can smash expectations, it’s Michelle Yeoh. Her decades-long career in Hollywood has been building up to a moment like this and, with Blanchett winning in 2013, it might be Yeoh’s turn to get her flowers.
Elsewhere, Michelle Williams continues the trend of Fabelmans plaudits, while early favorite Ana de Armas (Blonde) made it on too but isn't being talked about as a likely winner. The pair are outsiders next to Andrea Riseborough's surprise nomination for To Leslie, which hadn't really garnered huge critical acclaim up until now.
Best Supporting Actor
- Brendan Gleeson - 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
There won’t be a dry eye in the house if Ke Huy Quan takes home Best Supporting Actor for Everything Everywhere All at Once. On the night, it could also be the first sign of a surprising EEAAO sweep – something to keep an eye on. Quan's the hot favorite following his Golden Globes victory.
The Banshees of Inisherin is blessed with wonderful talent, so it’s no surprise to see Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan talked about as a pair of actors with big chances. There’s a chance votes could be split between the duo, cementing Quan’s Judd Hirsch (The Fablemans) leapt ahead of castmate Paul Dano, and Brian Tyree Henry rounds out the list in slightly surprising fashion after playing the mechanic who befriends lead Lynsey (Jennifer Lawrence) in Causeway.
Best Supporting Actress
- Angela Bassett - Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
- Hong Chau - The Whale
- Kerry Condon - Banshees of Inisherin
- Jamie Lee Curtis - Everything Everywhere All at Once
- Stephanie Hsu - Everything Everywhere All at Once
Might Marvel pick up its first-ever acting Oscar? Angela Bassett stole the show as fiery Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, threading the needle between an isolated ruler and a grieving mother to outstanding effect.
Bassett is the leading name in some corners, though Kerry Condon is outstanding in the Banshees of Inisherin and the movie is already on the lips of many voters, whereas Wakanda Forever has been predominantly missing from awards chatter. Everything Everywhere All at Once pair Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu were nominated as, too as, too, was Hong Chau (The Whale). We'e got to give the edge to Angela Bassett here, though for a standout performance.