It’s shaping up to be a big night for ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ at the Oscars

Stephanie Hsu in Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)

I can almost guarantee that 2023 Academy Awards won’t be as exciting as last year’s event.

There will be no Round 3 of the Will Smith vs. Chris Rock Smackdown on Sunday when the Oscars are handed out on Hollywood’s biggest night. Neither are expected to attend the event that will be televised on ABC at 7 p.m. “Countdown to the Oscars” begins at 5:30 p.m., also on ABC.

If you remember or maybe a better question is how could you forget what happened live on stage last year? Smith sauntered onto the Oscar and slapped Rock across his mouth for making a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith for Round 1.

Rock, a much smaller man, did not retaliate in the moment. He waited nearly a year to have his moment about the subject publicly as the climax of his latest comedy special on Netflix, which was released on the streamer last week.

Believe me, Rock landed more than one metaphorical blow to Smith in Round 2. The highly profane bit was scathingly funny, and yet it was nearly as off-putting as watching a bully physically pummel a victim.

Still, if you are movie buff, the Oscars are worth tuning into for the stars and their fashions, the glamour and the glitz, the songs and dancing,the jokes and the skits, and, of course, the outcome of the Academy’s voting.

ABC late-night star Jimmy Kimmel is back to host his third Oscars and has jokingly said he’ll whip anyone who attempts to slap him.

Indy favorite “Everything Everywhere All at Once” leads the pack with 11 nominations, while “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “The Banshees of Inisherin” each received nine. “Elvis” received eight.

While I wasn’t as charmed by “Everything Everywhere All at Once” as it seems the entire film industry was, I think it is stacking up to be a big night for the little movie that could.

However, just when everyone is certain the voting is going one way, the Oscars have been known to step up and surprise.

Here’s my best guess at which films, filmmakers, and stars will be honored in selected categories.

For a complete list of nominations, go to

Best Picture

Will Win: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Dark Horse: “The Banshees of Inisherin”
Should Win: “The Fabelmans”

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” has become the favorite down the the Oscar stretch, nosing out “The Banshees of Inisherin,” which held that distinction when the nominations were announced. Personally, if I had a vote, it would go to “The Fabelmans.”

Best Director

Will Win: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Dark Horse: Martin McDonagh for “The Banshees of Inisherin”
Should Win: Steven Spielberg for “The Fabelmans”

To me, “Best Picture” and “Best Director” awards should go hand in hand. Splitting the vote on the two categories seems double-minded to me.

Best Actress

Will Win: Michelle Yeoh for “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Dark Horse: Cate Blanchett “Tar”
Should Win: Michelle Yeoh for “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

It seems odd to call two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett a dark horse, but Michelle Yeoh’s performance was the glue that held the whacky “Everything Everywhere All at Once” together.

Best Actor

Will Win: Brendan Fraser for “The Whale”
Dark Horse: Colin Farrell for “The Banshees of Inisheerin”
Should Win: Austin Butler for “Elvis”

I think the story behind Fraser’s comeback performance in “The Whale” is too good for Oscar voters to ignore. Any other year, Farrell would likely be the favorite, but to me Butler’s work in “Elvis” was fantastic. Nearly everyone who saw the film has their own personal view of Elvis Presley in their mind’s eye. Butler had to fight through all of that just to make an impression in the movie. I can’t wait to see what Butler does next.

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win: Angela Bassett for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
Dark Horse: Jamie Lee Curtis for “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Should Win: Kerry Condon for “The Banshees of Inisherin”

I adored Kerry Condon in “The Banshees of Inisherin,” but Angela Bassett’s turn in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was a powerful performance that grounded the super-hero film in a way we rarely see in the genre. However, don’t count out Jamie Lee Curtis for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” She did a wonderful job in a zany movie.

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win: Ke Huy Quan “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Dark Horse: Barry Keoghan for “The Banshees of Inisherin”
Should Win: Ke Huy Quan “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Ke Huy Quan’s performance in “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was my favorite part of the film, and the feel-good story of him successfully returning to acting as an adult after being featured in films like “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “The Goonies” as a kid in the 1980s is second only to Fraser’s comeback story with “The Whale.” I thought Barry Keoghan was great in “The Banshees of Inisherin,” too. He was funny yet poignant.

Best Animated Film

Will Win: “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”
Dark Horse: “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”
Should Win: “Avatar: The Way of Water”

I know, I know “Avatar: The Way of Water” isn’t nominated in this category, but it should be. Even though it uses motion-capture performances, it’s still basically an animated movie. “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” is the odd’s on favorite, and it’s the best of the three recent animated Pinocchio movies. I love stop-motion animation, and the film is gorgeous, though a little stale. I liked “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” so much more than I anticipated and just a smidge more than “Turning Red,” which I personally preferred to “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” and “Avatar: The Way of Water.” I liked “The Sea Beast” better than those two, as well.

Best Cinematography

Will Win: “All Quiet on the Western Front”
Dark Horse: “Tar”
Should Win: “Elvis”

“Elvis” looked like a heightened fever dream, dynamic and majestic. Hailing from near Memphis, I probably identify with this movie too much to be objective, but I found the movie just a joy to look at. Likewise “Tar” is shot so well and interestingly for a film that features a rather mundane setting, but the way Cate Blanchett is framed on screen adds to the impact of her deft performance. “All Quiet on the Western Front” is a fine remake that’s stunningly atmospheric. I think this is where the movie will be honored beyond Best International Film, which it is a shoo-in for.

Best Visual Effects

Will Win: “Avatar: The Way of Water”
Dark Horse: “Top Gun: Maverick”
Should Win: “The Batman”

I’m admittedly biased in this category as Batman fan for as long as I can remember, but you can’t argue that “The Batman” didn’t put special effects to great use. However, it’s even harder to argue with the Oscar going to “Avatar: The Way of Water.” The entire movie is a visual effect. I’d like to see “Top Gun: Maverick” upset “Avatar” in this category, but I just don’t see it happening.

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