This was a year when the movie industry tried to bounce back from the COVID-19 lockdowns and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is hoping that television audiences will tune in to the glittering, star-studded 95th Oscar ceremony, which will be held in Los Angeles on March 12 with Jimmy Kimmel hosting.
It will be broadcast live in Israel on the Yes network, starting at 3 a.m. Israel time on March 13 on the Yes Movies Drama Channel, and will be preceded by red-carpet coverage.
An edited version of the Oscars will be broadcast on Yes Movies Drama on March 14 at 9 p.m. Two of the Oscar-nominated movies are already available on Yes VOD, Everything Everywhere All at Once and Top Gun: Maverick.
The awards season this year got off to a sour start after the nominations were announced and the surprise nomination for British actress for Andrea Riseborough’s performance in a little-seen indie called To Leslie was met by indignation and controversy. Many felt that she should not have been nominated when actresses from higher-profile movies were passed over. This triggered an investigation into whether the film’s director’s friends broke any rules when they urged friends via email to vote for Riseborough in the nominating process. The irony is that the big Hollywood movie studios spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on FYC ads in the industry press and websites, which stands for For Your Consideration. These ads entreat voters to pick the stars and movies the studios are promoting. Riseborough and those who promoted her nomination were cleared of wrongdoing, but it was an ugly and undignified moment.
Now, onto my guesses for what will win this year. Most of the acting races are very tight, so maybe it’s time to turn to AI in some of the categories, but here are my best, fully human guesses.
There are 10 movies nominated in the Best Picture category this year. Top Gun: Maverick, the Top Gun sequel, Elvis, the Elvis Presley biopic; and Steven Spielberg’s coming-of-age drama, The Fabelmans, were seen early as front-runners but are now counted as also-rans. Ruben Ostlund’s Triangle of Sadness black comedy isn’t the kind of movie Oscar voters embrace, and the German film, All Quiet on the Western Front is a lock for Best International Feature. The blockbuster, Avatar: The Way of Water, is just along for the ride. Women Talking is a classy movie but it only has two nominations. Tar is a divisive film that takes aim at cancel culture, while The Banshees of Inishirin is a well-acted but underwhelming drama about Irish guys that plays like a Seinfeld episode with Emerald Isle scenery. But Everything, Everywhere All at Once is a feel-good action/comedy/drama/fantasy that charmed audiences and critics alike, and has at its center the historically underrepresented Asian community in Hollywood.
WINNER: Everything, Everywhere All at Once
They are known as the Daniels, and Everything, Everywhere All at Once’s co-directors, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, are considered to be a lock in this category.
Winner: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything, Everywhere All at Once
This a highly competitive category and the consensus is that it’s a contest between Cate Blanchett for her portrayal of an abrasive but extravagantly talented orchestra conductor in Tar, and Michelle Yeoh, an actress and martial artist who has starred in many action movies, and who plays a meek immigrant who is transformed by learning she is an immortal warrior in multiple universes tasked with saving the world. Blanchett definitely gives an Oscar-worthy performance; she has won two Oscars already. But the world fell in love with Yeoh when she starred in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000. In those days, actresses didn’t get nominated for martial-arts stories. In this face-off, Yeoh is a very appealing underdog, starring in an extremely popular movie. One more element in her favor is that Yeoh plays an extremely likable character, while Blanchett portrays an arrogant, unrepentant serial sexual predator, and Oscars generally go to those playing lovable people. A little Oscar-geek trivia: If Yeoh wins, she will be the third Bond girl to win an Oscar, following in the footsteps of Halle Berry and Kim Basinger. And an even more arcane piece of trivia: This is the first year two Bond girls have been nominated in this category at once, because Ana de Armas, who is nominated for her performance as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde, appeared in the most recent Bond film, No Time to Die.
WINNER: Michelle Yeoh, Everything, Everywhere All at Once
This is another close category, but once it would have been simple. Brendan Fraser gained a lot of weight to play an obese teacher in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale and not too long ago, that would have guaranteed him an award. But these days, actors in musical biopics seem to have the edge, which is good news for Austin Butler, who played the title role in Elvis. Paul Mescal is the new Irish acting sensation and was a surprise nominee for the indie drama, Aftersun, while fellow paddy Colin Farrell is up for The Banshees of Inishirin. British actor Bill Nighy is also nominated, for a wonderful turn in the movie, Living. But Americans will win this war.
WINNER: Austin Butler, Elvis
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
The most interesting race this year is probably Best Supporting Actress, which has shaped up as a contest between two veteran actresses who have never won an Oscar: Angela Bassett in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Jamie Lee Curtis in Everything, Everywhere All at Once. What is so terrific about both of them is that they are hitting career highs in their 60s and their acting is as lively and fun to watch as ever. But only one of them can win, so let’s take a closer look. Bassett has been nominated before, in 1994, for What’s Love Got to Do with It, the Tina Turner biopic, and she really should have won for that, so there is that dimension to her current nomination. Curtis has never been nominated, although she should have been for A Fish Called Wanda, in which she uttered many immortal lines such as, “I’ve worn dresses with higher IQs [than you].” Curtis comes from Hollywood royalty – her mother was Janet Leigh, the star of Psycho, and her father was Tony Curtis, star of Some Like It Hot – but she is so good that you tend to forget about that. Both have avoided scandals and have two of the longest-lasting marriages in Hollywood, Bassett to actor Courtney B. Vance and Curtis to Christopher Guest of This is Spinal Tap fame (by virtue of whose British aristocratic lineage, Curtis is the Right Honorable Lady Haden-Guest, a title she does not use). There’s no rational way to choose between these actresses, but Curtis did win the Screen Actors Guild Award, which is considered predictive of the Oscars.
Winner: Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything, Everywhere All at Once
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Yes, there are five nominees, but Ke Huy Quan, who made his acting debut nearly 40 years ago as the kid in Indiana Jones and the Temple Doom, has had quite a comeback year, winning more than 70 awards for Everything, Everywhere All at Once.
WINNER: Ke Huy Quan, Everything, Everywhere All at Once
Everything Everywhere All at Once is predicted to win the Best Original Screenplay Award, while Women Talking is likely to win in the Best Adapted category. Navalny should win for Best Documentary and All Quiet on the Western Front in the Best International Feature category.