Predictions for the best pictures of the Oscars 2023

Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans is proving to be the favorite after Venice, Telluride and TIFF, but certain blockbusters still stand out.

We’re constantly updating these predictions throughout awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all of our 2023 Oscar picks. Final voting will take place March 2-7, 2023. And finally, the 95th Oscars show on Sunday, March 12 will air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT.

Our Awards Editor, TV & Film Marcus Jones is currently deputizing for Anne Thompson on Oscars Predictions Updates. Here are her preliminary thoughts on what to expect at the 95th Academy Awards.

The state of the race

We’ve finally reached the tipping point where most of the films likely to be nominated for Best Picture have been screened, but it’s still hard to say which 10 titles are guaranteed to make the category – with one big exception.

For the past decade, the Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award has gone to a film that was later nominated for Best Picture. This year that award went to Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, which is now the leader in this category. To date, Spielberg has directed 12 films that have been nominated for Best Picture. In fact, a nomination for The Fabelmans, his most personal film to date, would see Spielberg break his own record as the producer with the most nominations in the Academy’s top category (11 to date).

First and second places for the TIFF 2022 People’s Choice Award were Sarah Polley’s female ensemble drama Women Talking and Rian Johnson’s latest crime novel Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Though the former was already buoyed by its strong showing at the Telluride Film Festival, the latter’s well-received world premiere at TIFF seemingly gave it Netflix’s best shot at a Best Picture nomination, following films like Bardo, Blonde, and White Noise ‘ debuted at the Venice Film Festival to mixed reviews; Nonetheless, much like its predecessor, The Crowd Darling is a consumer-friendly film first and an academy-friendly film second. “Women Talking” will get another boost from NYFF in the coming weeks as its cast and script lay the groundwork for a best picture slot.

"triangle of sadness" is Ruben Ostlund's new comedy that has been sold to Neon in Cannes.

“Triangle of Sadness”


The 2022 Cannes Film Festival continues to have an increasing impact on the awards race in the wake of Parasite, with this year’s Palme d’Or winner Triangle of Sadness gaining more favor through its North American premiere at TIFF. Other Cannes competition entries that won awards at the festival include A24’s Close, which won the hearts of viewers at Telluride and is now the Belgian Oscar nomination, and MUBI’s Decision to Leave. Korean author Park Chan-wook won a Best Director award for his elegant noir, which was well received by TIFF. Both films need wider screening before their best picture prospects can be better assessed, but the potential is there.

One Cannes premiere, however, has been in contention for the category well before the fall festivals: Top Gun: Maverick remains the top blockbuster with a shot at a Best Picture nomination (which would be Tom Cruise’s first nomination as producer). ). Paramount’s long-awaited sequel has become a global phenomenon, grossing nearly $1.5 billion worldwide and spreading optimism about the future potential of cinemas in a post-pandemic world.

Several other star vehicles have best picture momentum due to the excitement surrounding their performances. Like Top Gun: Maverick, the A24 hit Everything Everywhere All at Once was a rare sign of optimism for the box office, grossing over $100 million worldwide on a budget of $25 million. Enthusiasm for the film is widespread in the industry — but it’s Michelle Yeoh’s performance and awards campaigns that stick in her mind in any best picture conversation, especially now that many of the other films premiering now haven’t have great attraction. One that does is The Woman King, a showcase for two-time Best Actress nomination Viola Davis, which premiered on TIFF’s first weekend and was already the number one with a gross of $19 million by the end of the festival one was in america .

Meanwhile, The Fabelmans has company in the film-about-filmmaking trend with Empire of Light, carried by all-time nominee Olivia Colman. Similarly, Todd Field’s first film in 15 years, TAR, builds his psychological thriller around a powerful performance from two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett. And “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Elvis,” “Living,” and “The Whale” are all fueled by performances by leads who appear to be earning their first Best Actor nominations.

Jovan Adepo plays Sidney Palmer in Paramount Pictures' Babylon.

Jovan Adepo plays Sidney Palmer in Babylon.

Scott Garfield

However, as this is a take on the Best Picture nominees, it’s worth noting that big films are on the horizon. The New York Film Festival premieres of ‘Till’ and ‘She Said’ could stir up the Best Actress race, with Damien Chazelle’s Hollywood epic ‘Babylon’ just around the corner.

However, if the overall narrative about this year in cinemas is how certain films keep the theatrical experience alive, then the two perspectives to really pay attention to are Avatar: The Way of Water and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever “. highly anticipated sequels from two Best Picture nominees. With both titles, the question remains whether they will manage to be as good as the films before them.

The candidates are listed below in alphabetical order. Only films we’ve seen are considered frontrunners (TIFF contenders like “Fabelmans” couldn’t be shown for those of us who couldn’t attend at the end of the Emmys season).

“Kingdom of Light”
“Everything everywhere at once”
“Top Gun: Maverick”
“Triangle of Sadness”
“Women in Conversation”

“Armageddon Period”
“Avatar: The Way of Water”
“The Banshees of Inisherin”
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
“decision to go”
“The Fable Men”
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”
“She said”
“The whale”
“The Woman King”

Long shots:
“Bones and All”
“Cha Cha Real Smooth”
“Don’t worry darling”
“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”
“The Inspection”
“I want to dance with someone”
“Lady Chatterley’s Lover”
“My Policeman”
“The Light Blue Eye”
“Three Thousand Years of Longing”
“The son”
“White noise”
“The wonder”

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Lindsay Lowe

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