Film reviews and more since 2009

My predictions for the 95th Academy Awards
By: Steve Pulaski

Let’s hope the 95th Academy Awards are better than the 94th Academy Awards. The bar couldn’t be lower. Beyond the infamous slap heard around the world, last year’s ceremony was piss-poor all around. From not televising eight awards, to sidelining the three hosts for long periods of time, and zipping through the “In Memoriam” montage faster than a multiversal trip in Everything Everywhere All at Once, the Academy should be downright ashamed of themselves for how last year’s ceremony was conducted. It was brutal, forgettable, and a complete affront to Oscar devotees like myself.

When I gave my predictions last year, I prefaced by saying that my excitement for the annual awards show has dwindled. This is part of what I wrote:

Movies and shows are consumed in such a hasty way these days. No longer do you need to put on pants and drive to the theater. You can start anything on Netflix, figure out you don’t like it within ten minutes, and then hit the “back” arrow on your remote and bounce to the next item. Watching a movie has literally become a more weightless task. By not throwing real dollars down, to rent the DVD or buy a ticket, there’s not the usual barrier that demands such an investment.

Between that sad fact, the dwindling ratings of each Oscars telecast, and the constant negative buzz that does everything in its power to sideline the attention on the movies themselves, I was in a glum mood. I still feel those things, but this year, I’m primed to say that the batch of nominees is stronger and the buzz is a little more palpable — a crowdpleaser being heavily favored to win Best Picture certainly helps morale.

Low and behold, despite my morose attitude, I had my best year ever, getting 19 of the 23 categories correct. Even that was overshadowed by the moment burned in many of our memories.

Per usual, I have my predictions. Feel free to follow along or use them to win your Oscar pool. For bragging purposes, here are my records for predicting the Academy Awards over the last five years:

90th Academy Awards – 18-6
91st Academy Awards – 11-13
92nd Academy Awards – 17-7
93rd Academy Awards – 15-8
94th Academy Awards – 19-4

Without further adieu, here is my attempt at 23-0.

Predicted winners will be in bold.

Best Picture (click on the titles of the films for my respective review):

All Quiet on the Western Front,” Malte Grunert, Producer

Avatar: The Way of Water,” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers

The Banshees of Inisherin,” Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and Martin McDonagh, Producers

Elvis,” Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick and Schuyler Weiss, Producers

Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert and Jonathan Wang, Producers

The Fabelmans,” Kristie Macosko Krieger, Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner, Producers

Tár,” Todd Field, Alexandra Milchan and Scott Lambert, Producers

Top Gun: Maverick,” Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, David Ellison and Jerry Bruckheimer, Producers

Triangle of Sadness,” Erik Hemmendorff and Philippe Bober, Producers

“Women Talking,” Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Frances McDormand, Producers

All signs point to Everything Everywhere All At Once taking home the Academy’s top prize this year. I’m perfectly content with that. It’s been far too long since a wacky, weird crowd-pleaser was nominated, let alone won. Quite frankly, this is the strongest list of nominees in recent years (the only one unseen by me at this time is Women Talking). The weakest of the crop, in my opinion, is Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, but I don’t hate that it made the cut. If I had it my way, I’d probably give the nod to Tár or Everything Everywhere All at Once.


Best Director 

Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)

Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”)

Todd Field (“Tár”)

Ruben Östlund (“Triangle of Sadness”)

A Steven Spielberg “upset” wouldn’t be the most shocking thing in the world, given how The Fabelmans represents the two elements of film the Academy tends to appreciate: personal stories and a wave of Old Hollywood nostalgia. That said, this is the Daniels’ category to lose. Their fiercely original movie catapulted them to another echelon.


Best Lead Actor

Austin Butler (“Elvis”)

Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)

Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”)

Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”)

Bill Nighy (“Living”)

The Brendan Fraser vs. Austin Butler debate rages on. At the moment, Fraser has all the momentum. He’s easily the best part of The Whale, an otherwise mediocre and troublingly cruel movie. But Butler’s transformation into the King of Rock n’ Roll was a tour-de-force performance, and given the Academy’s deep-seated love for performances of icons, I’m staking my chips on him taking home the Best Actor statue.

Best Lead Actress

Cate Blanchett (“Tár”)

Ana de Armas (“Blonde”)

Andrea Riseborough (“To Leslie”)

Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”)

Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

A Michelle Yeoh victory would really be something special. Everything Everywhere All at Once is her first leading role after decades of commendable work in Hong Kong cinema. Eyes will be on her, deservedly. But even without a win, her late-career trajectory is likely to be altered for the better. Ana de Armas’ performance as Marilyn Monroe would typically be the chalk if the film itself wasn’t so polarizing for critics and audiences. I tabbed Cate Blanchett to win shortly after seeing Tár and I’m not hedging my bet.


Best Supporting Actor

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”)

In my opinion, this category is absolutely stacked. I loved Brian Tyree Henry’s performance in Causeway, although I assume that’s the one with which people are least familiar (it’s worth a free trial of Apple TV+, FYI). Barry Keoghan added a comedic element to an already absurd darkly funny movie in The Banshees of Inisherin. However, Ke Huy Quan has everything swirling in his favor: the comeback-from-retirement story, the likability, and most of all, a winsome performance.


Best Supporting Actress

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”)

Of all the major categories, Best Supporting Actress is probably the biggest toss-up. Late buzz seems to favor Angela Bassett, the first ever acting nomination for a Marvel movie. Stephanie Hsu has a case to be made, for she provides the strongest emotional catalyst in Everything Everywhere All at Once. Personally, I’d give it to Hong Chau. Chau’s performance in The Whale was complicated and moving. My prediction is for Jamie Lee Curtis, although I’d argue if that’s the outcome, it’s more of a legacy win, as her performance in the Daniels’ multiverse dramedy was good but nothing special.


Best Adapted Screenplay

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Screenplay by Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson & Ian Stokell

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” Written by Rian Johnson

“Living,” Written by Kazuo Ishiguro

“Top Gun: Maverick,” Screenplay by Ehren Kruger and Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie; Story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks

“Women Talking,” Screenplay by Sarah Polley


Best Original Screenplay

“The Banshees of Inisherin,” Written by Martin McDonagh

“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Written by Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert

“The Fabelmans,” Written by Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner

“Tár,” Written by Todd Field

“Triangle of Sadness,” Written by Ruben Östlund

Best Cinematography 

“All Quiet on the Western Front”, James Friend

“Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths,” Darius Khondji

“Elvis,” Mandy Walker

“Empire of Light,” Roger Deakins

“Tár,” Florian Hoffmeister

All I’ll say, it should’ve been Babylon.


Best Documentary Feature Film 

“All That Breathes,” Shaunak Sen, Aman Mann and Teddy Leifer

“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed,” Laura Poitras, Howard Gertler, John Lyons, Nan Goldin and Yoni Golijov

“Fire of Love,” Sara Dosa, Shane Boris and Ina Fichman

“A House Made of Splinters,” Simon Lereng Wilmont and Monica Hellström

“Navalny,” Daniel Roher, Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller and Shane Boris


Best Documentary Short Film 

“The Elephant Whisperers,” Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga

“Haulout,” Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaev

“How Do You Measure a Year?” Jay Rosenblatt

“The Martha Mitchell Effect,” Anne Alvergue and Beth Levison

“Stranger at the Gate,” Joshua Seftel and Conall Jones


Best Film Editing

“The Banshees of Inisherin,” Mikkel E.G. Nielsen

“Elvis,” Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond

“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Paul Rogers

“Tár,” Monika Willi

“Top Gun: Maverick,” Eddie Hamilton


Best International Feature Film 

“All Quiet on the Western Front” (Germany)

“Argentina, 1985” (Argentina)

“Close” (Belgium)

“EO” (Poland)

“The Quiet Girl” (Ireland)

My age-old rule-of-thumb for Best International Film: If a film is nominated for both the International Film and Picture category, it will win International Film. It happened with Parasite. It happened last year with Drive My Car. It will surely happen with All Quiet on the Western Front.


Best Original Song 

“Applause” from “Tell It Like a Woman,” Music and Lyric by Diane Warren

“Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick,” Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga and BloodPop

“Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Music by Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler and Ludwig Goransson; Lyric by Tems and Ryan Coogler

“Naatu Naatu” from “RRR,” Music by M.M. Keeravaani; Lyric by Chandrabose

“This Is a Life” from “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Music by Ryan Lott, David Byrne and Mitski; Lyric by Ryan Lott and David Byrne

Many were shocked that RRR, the internationally acclaimed Bollywood epic, didn’t nab a Best Picture nominee. I think “Naatu Naatu” is the one statue it will take home on Sunday. Having said that, I would’ve loved to see Justin Hurwitz’s outstanding “Voodoo Mama” get the win here. No other song that I’ve heard in any movie in 2022 captured the explosive energy, fireworks, and rising action of a scene nor era than Hurwitz’s anthem in Babylon. It will remain my ringtone for a long, long time.

Best Production Design 

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Production Design: Christian M. Goldbeck; Set Decoration: Ernestine Hipper

“Avatar: The Way of Water,” Production Design: Dylan Cole and Ben Procter; Set Decoration: Vanessa Cole

“Babylon,” Production Design: Florencia Martin; Set Decoration: Anthony Carlino

“Elvis,” Production Design: Catherine Martin and Karen Murphy; Set Decoration: Bev Dunn

“The Fabelmans,” Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara

Experts are saying Elvis. Many critics are predicting All Quiet on the Western Front. Give me Babylon.


Best Visual Effects

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller, Markus Frank and Kamil Jafar

“Avatar: The Way of Water,” Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon and Daniel Barrett

“The Batman,” Dan Lemmon, Russell Earl, Anders Langlands and Dominic Tuohy

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Geoffrey Baumann, Craig Hammack, R. Christopher White and Dan Sudick

“Top Gun: Maverick,” Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson and Scott R. Fisher


Best Animated Feature Film 

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,” Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson, Gary Ungar and Alex Bulkley

“Marcel the Shell With Shoes On,” Dean Fleischer Camp, Elisabeth Holm, Andrew Goldman, Caroline Kaplan and Paul Mezey

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” Joel Crawford and Mark Swift

“The Sea Beast,” Chris Williams and Jed Schlanger

“Turning Red,” Domee Shi and Lindsey Collins

Somebody needs to explain to me how/why Marcel the Shell with Shoes On can qualify for “Best Animated Feature” but Richard Linklater’s Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood is exempt, no questions asked.


Best Animated Short Film

“The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse,” Charlie Mackesy and Matthew Freud

“The Flying Sailor,” Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

“Ice Merchants,” João Gonzalez and Bruno Caetano

“My Year of Dicks,” Sara Gunnarsdóttir and Pamela Ribon

“An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It,” Lachlan Pendragon

Best Costume Design 

“Babylon,” Mary Zophres

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Ruth Carter

“Elvis,” Catherine Martin

“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Shirley Kurata

“Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris,” Jenny Beavan


Best Live Action Short

“An Irish Goodbye,” Tom Berkeley and Ross White

“Ivalu,” Anders Walter and Rebecca Pruzan

“Le Pupille,” Alice Rohrwacher and Alfonso Cuarón

“Night Ride,” Eirik Tveiten and Gaute Lid Larssen

“The Red Suitcase,” Cyrus Neshvad

Best Makeup and Hairstyling 

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Heike Merker and Linda Eisenhamerová

“The Batman,” Naomi Donne, Mike Marino and Mike Fontaine

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Camille Friend and Joel Harlow

“Elvis,” Mark Coulier, Jason Baird and Aldo Signoretti

“The Whale,” Adrien Morot, Judy Chin and Anne Marie Bradley


Best Original Score 

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Volker Bertelmann

“Babylon,” Justin Hurwitz

“The Banshees of Inisherin,” Carter Burwell

“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Son Lux

“The Fabelmans,” John Williams

I’ll accept a Babylon win for Best Original Score as a substitute for “Voodoo Mama” by Justin Hurwitz getting snubbed for Best Original Song.

Best Sound

“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Viktor Prášil, Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Lars Ginzel and Stefan Korte

“Avatar: The Way of Water,” Julian Howarth, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Dick Bernstein, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers and Michael Hedges

“The Batman,” Stuart Wilson, William Files, Douglas Murray and Andy Nelson

“Elvis,” David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson and Michael Keller

“Top Gun: Maverick,” Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon and Mark Taylor


I got the Chartreuse liqueur on hand and my ballot locked. Here’s to a beautiful, memorable Sunday!

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About Steve Pulaski

Steve Pulaski has been reviewing movies since 2009 for a barrage of different outlets. He graduated North Central College in 2018 and currently works as an on-air radio personality. He also hosts a weekly movie podcast called "Sleepless with Steve," dedicated to film and the film industry, on his YouTube channel. In addition to writing, he's a die-hard Chicago Bears fan and has two cats, appropriately named Siskel and Ebert!

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