Saturday, December 2, 2023

The Top Five Toughest Categories To Predict At This Year’s Oscars

Awards season is coming to a close, with SAG, WGA, and PGA coming around the corner. While most of the races seem to be sewn up (such as Best Animated Feature and Best Visual Effects), there are still a few categories that are tough to call at the moment. As we come down to the final days before Oscar night, let’s look at some of the categories coming down to the wire and are the hardest to predict the winner.


Everything Everywhere All At Once” has steamrolled the Best Film Editing category throughout this awards season. It’s a flashy editing showcase, highlighting every trick there is in grand fashion. The film has won critics’ prizes and even televised awards such as the BAFTA and CCA. We can also assume it will likely win the ACE Eddie award for Best Comedy Editing. Since 2010, the Best Film Editing winner at the BAFTAs has won the Oscar seven out of twelve times. Also, films that have won at least BAFTA and ACE have gone on to win the Oscar every time since 2010 (“The Social Network,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “Argo“). The only thing that could get in the way of this potential sweep is “Top Gun: Maverick.” “Top Gun: Maverick” hasn’t really been a factor in this category; so why is it a threat to “Everything Everywhere All At Once’s” opportunity to win? Firstly, it could win the ACE Eddie award for Drama Editing and secondly, the most significant factor is that “Everything Everywhere All At Once” isn’t nominated for Best Sound at the Oscars.

Since 2012, every film that has won the Best Film Editing Oscar has also won a coinciding Best Sound Mixing or Editing Oscar (the two combined into a single sound category in 2020). “Top Gun: Maverick” is nominated for Best Film Editing and Sound, unlike “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” So unless the stat breaks again this year, “Top Gun: Maverick” can possibly win Best Sound and take a sort of surprise win in Best Film Editing. “Top Gun: Maverick” currently leads in critics’ awards for Best Sound so a win here would make sense. We’re still waiting for the winners from the Cinema Audio Society and the Motion Picture Sound Editors. The problem is “Top Gun: Maverick’s” first major loss came at the BAFTAs, losing Best Sound to “All Quiet On The Western Front.” Since 2010, films that have won the BAFTA for Best Sound have won the Oscar ten out of twelve times (and in years with two sound categories, it won at least one that year). The problem with “All Quiet On The Western Front” is that although it could possibly win the Best Sound Oscar, it is not nominated for Best Film Editing. Currently, the possibilities are that “Top Gun: Maverick” continues the Best Film Editing/Sound winning combo, or there will be split wins for the first time since 2012. In that scenario, “Everything Everywhere All At Once” would win Best Film Editing, and “Top Gun: Maverick” or “All Quiet On The Western Front” would end up winning Best Sound.


The Golden Globes, Critics Choice, and BAFTAs all have had different winners this year for Best Original Score. The last time each televised award had a different winner leading up to the Oscar was in 2014. “Babylon” has led in critics’ wins all season and took home the Golden Globe. Since then, “Babylon” has been on a downward spiral. Chazelle’s film lost to “Tár” in this category at Critics Choice, which wasn’t even nominated for the Oscar. Then at BAFTA, “Babylon” lost to “All Quiet On The Western Front.” This is concerning for “Babylon” because between the Critics Choice, Golden Globes and BAFTA, the latter is the only precursor with the largest Academy overlap within its voting body. What keeps “Babylon” in the hunt is that people are passionate about its score. No matter how polarizing people think the film is, everyone agrees Justin Hurwitz’s score is undeniable. Surprisingly, the only category that “Babylon” has swept throughout the awards season has been Best Production Design. With a Best Picture nomination, “All Quiet On The Western Front” has the potential to win multiple categories on Oscar night, such as Best Sound and Adapted Screenplay.


The toughest category to predict this season (as per usual) has to be Best Documentary Feature. “All The Beauty And The Bloodshed” led wins among critics circles, with “Fire Of Love” following behind it. “Good Night Oppy” won the Critics Choice Award for Best Documentary only for it to miss making the Oscar shortlist all together. “Navalny” went on to win the BAFTA for Best Documentary putting it currently in the best position to win the Oscar. Since 2011, six out of the eleven Bafta winners have gone on to win the Best Documentary Feature Oscar. With everything going on in Ukraine and with voters maybe wanting to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Academy honoring a film like “Navalny” makes sense. It is not only a very timely documentary but also a very gripping film for audiences to watch. It surely can win voters over, but the Academy’s Documentary branch is known for making surprising choices. If it doesn’t manage to pick up another prize at PGA or ACE, and loses out to “Fire Of Love,” this will be a nail-biter all the way until the end.


Of course, we must remember to mention how much tighter of a race Best Picture is than people want to admit. Right now, it looks pretty good for “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” as it is leading the charge at this point of the season. It has won the most precursors, plus the prestipogues DGA award. The film also has the potential to win PGA and SAG this weekend to go along with its massive precursor haul. The film did perform terribly at BAFTA, which has given momentum to 7-time BAFTA winner “All Quiet On The Western Front.” The film could win up to five Oscars, including Best Picture, Cinematography, Score, Sound, and Adapted Screenplay. “All Quiet On The Western Front” doing great at the BAFTAs, slightly hurt “The Banshees Of Inisherin,” which missed out on expected Best Film and Best Actor wins. Martin McDonagh’s film is nominated for PGA, though, and can still have a really good day at SAG. With potential wins at PGA and SAG, “The Banshees Of Inisherin” can end up winning up to three Oscars, all of which would be above-the-line awards (Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress). After its DGA loss, Golden Globe-Drama winner “The Fabelmans” has fallen out of the conversation, but winning PGA, SAG and/or WGA would surely give it the spark it desperately needs. Steven Spielberg’s personal film realistically is only contending for Best Director and Best Picture but we’ll see if WGA decides to throw us a curveball. Although it’s the unlikeliest out of these choices, “Top Gun: Maverick” is still lingering in the conversation for Best Picture, especially if it wins PGA this weekend. But the over $1 billion blockbuster would have to win both PGA and WGA to even be in consideration for winning the Academy’s top prize at this point, especially considering the lack of support from the actor’s branch (still the largest branch of the Academy). “Top Gun: Maverick” struggling throughout to get wins in categories such as Best Film Editing and even missing a Best Cinematography nomination makes it hard to believe it would win the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar let alone Best Picture. Still, with less than a month away, anything can happen and it all begins this weekend.

What do you think are the most challenging categories to predict for this year’s Academy Awards? Do you believe any of the categories mentioned above are already sewn up? What categories did we not mention that is giving you a headache? Please let us know in the comments section below or on our Twitter account, be sure to check our latest Oscar predictions here.

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Giovanni Lago
Giovanni Lago
Devoted believer in all things cinema and television. Awards Season obsessive and aspiring filmmaker.

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