Oscar Experts Typing: Last-minute changes as we fret over these nail-biting races

Welcome to Oscar Experts Typing, a weekly column in which Gold Derby editors and Experts Joyce Eng and Christopher Rosen discuss the Oscar race — via Slack, of course. This week, we go over our final predictions and the handful of toss-up categories still keeping us up.

Christopher Rosen: Joyce, we’ve made it: The Season 3 finale of Oscar Experts Typing and the eve of the eve of the 2023 Oscars ceremony. It feels like only 12 months ago when “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was gearing up for its debut at the South by Southwest Film Festival, because it was. Now, it’s all but assured of winning multiple Oscars on Sunday night, including Best Picture. The game is for us to figure out just how many. When we did our “final” predictions earlier this week, I had it down for five: Best Picture, Best Director for Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan, Best Actress for Michelle Yeoh, Best Supporting Actor for Ke Huy Quan and Best Film Editing. In the 48 hours since we recorded, however, I’ve already added another: Best Original Screenplay. I remain stubborn in my feeling — let’s call it a general vibe — that “Everything Everywhere” will lose one of its categories for the Daniels, but it would be malpractice to pick against them at all. This kind of reminds me of last year’s crafts categories, where “Dune” was expected to dominate and did: Going into the ceremony, it made more sense to predict “Dune” for everything and be wrong on one or two than to overthink things. Martin McDonagh and the strength of “The Banshees of Inisherin” aside, why get cute in original screenplay when I’m already out on a limb in so many other categories. We both went against the odds in the short categories, I’ve got “Elvis” winning five Oscars, including Best Cinematography, and I picked against the grain in the music field as well. It’s possible I will still make another change: Best Original Song is, as we discussed, wide open — but I’m not sure “Hold My Hand” is it, even if “Naatu Naatu” is not. Tl;dr, my head is spinning a little bit. What about you, Joyce? What are your internal debates, and how do you see Best Actress in particular shaking out?

joyceeng: Well, “An Irish Goodbye” is now in first in Best Live Action Short, so we’re no longer fully contrarian, but I remain wary of “The Red Suitcase.” As you know, I have no confidence in “Naatu Naatu,” but I don’t have any more confidence in any of the other nominees, so I may stick this out and take the hit if it’s wrong. I’d probably switch to a wrong one anyway. And even though “Naatu Naatu” is serving “Husavik,” “RRR” had a rigorous campaign and I do think more voters have seen it — James Cameron loved it! — than they have seen a Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams Netflix comedy about Eurovision. The only thing I know about Best Actress is that no matter who wins, the stan wars will never cease. I currently still have Michelle Yeoh, who has the edge with the stronger film, but Cate Blanchett can pull this out. You know that voter logic of “Oh, X is definitely winning, so I’ll vote for Y”? I think it can apply to both of them. You could be like, “Cate’s won almost everything. I’m gonna vote for Michelle.” Or you could see what a beast “Everything Everywhere” has been and believe Yeoh’s the frontrunner — that’s certainly the feeling the past two weeks — so you throw a bone to Blanchett, whose film is not as strong. As we all know, Best Actress is the best place to award “TÁR,” a film the academy very much liked but doesn’t have a lot of avenues to a win like “Everything Everywhere” does (unless it somehow upsets in Best Cinematography, which would be the most tasteful). But I also feel like a lot of people want to say they played a hand in the coronation of the first Asian Best Actress winner. I’ll proffer two categories, one I’m still torn over and another not as much. Though I want to switch to “Women Talking,” I still have “All Quiet on the Western Front” in Best Adapted Screenplay at the moment. “Academy Award winner Sarah Polley” sounds right, but I’m worried she’ll be Greta Gerwig‘d. I’m not going to switch off of Kerry Condon in Best Supporting Actress, a Peak Chaos race (everyone say “thank you” to Michelle Williams for this highly entertaining pandemonium), but I’m seeing more and more folks jump to Jamie Lee Curtis while the Angela Bassett die-hards remain loyal to their queen (Ramonda). That’s to say nothing of the majority of anonymous ballots that are breaking the way of the two veterans, usually citing their lengthy careers and overdueness. We know these 30 ballots are drops in the bucket of the 9,600-strong membership, but can you see “Everything Everywhere” winning three acting Oscars? Something only two films have ever done.

SEE Oscar Experts slugfest: Our final winner predictions in all categories 

Christopher Rosen: We’re on opposite sides of Best Adapted Screenplay for now, because I’m holding on to Polley. It just feels right. But let’s dive into Best Supporting Actress. I agree, I have such doubts. Like Polley, Condon winning just feels right: She won BAFTA, stars in a top Oscar contender, and is facing off against two beloved industry veterans whose actual performances perhaps take a backseat to their narratives. No-brainer, right? But I’ve got many brains about this one. I do think Bassett is in third place now on account of the fact that “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is not a strong Oscar movie; if Bassett was going to win, she probably should’ve won at the SAG Awards. So then I’m left with Curtis vs. Condon. Again, I’m leaning toward Condon and have been for a long time, but Curtis has never stopped campaigning, is beloved Hollywood royalty, stars in the probable Best Picture winner, and gets to share all her scenes with the likely Best Actress winner. When I type it all down, it kind of feels unbeatable. With my switch in Best Original Screenplay, I now have “Everything Everywhere” winning six Oscars. But Curtis could make it seven and if this is going to be a massive night for the A24 juggernaut, Best Costume Design and Best Original Score have to be in play too, no? At this point, I think I’ll probably go down with the ship for Condon because I’ve been picking her for a while and I’m nothing if not stubborn (never forget Jeremy Strong in “Armageddon Time” for Best Supporting Actor). But I’m also not not saying I’ll end up switching to Curtis at the last minute, and if I do, Shirley Kurata might not be very far behind. How many Oscars do you think “Everything Everywhere” actually wins?

joyceeng: I have it at six right now, which would tie “The Hurt Locker” for the most wins by a Best Picture champ in the preferential era. I think it will win more than three but no more than six, mostly because the only film that’s won more than six in the last 13 years was “Gravity,” a tech monster. Funnily enough, that year yielded the biggest shutout of Best Picture nominees with the expanded lineup as five of them went home empty-handed, which could legitimately happen again on Sunday. I also can’t ignore the fact that BAFTA was a lot cooler on “Everything Everywhere,” so the guild adulation and international indifference may even out. Now that I’ve typed this all out, watch it win, like, eight Oscars. The dicey thing with JLC is that she’s the easiest acting win to drop of the three, but she’s in the more open category than Yeoh, who has the toughest competition of them all. There is a universe in which we end up with wins for Quan and Curtis but not Yeoh. We just watched Colin Farrell endure his version of that at BAFTA. It would be weird and the optics would, uh, not be great, but it’s entirely possible. Each race is different, and just because you love one person’s performance in a movie, it doesn’t mean you love all the performances in that movie. Speaking of Farrell, I’m sticking with Austin Butler in Best Actor, but I do want to slide Jenny’s owner into second, just to support him and also because he hails from a Best Picture nominee, unlike Brendan Fraser. I probably won’t since it’s meaningless in the end because if you ain’t first, you’re last. You mentioned “Everything Everywhere” possibly picking up score, another mystifying category. Will you return to your beloved “Babylon” by Sunday?

SEE Oscar Experts Typing: Does Michelle Yeoh have ‘Everything’ in her corner to win Best Actress?

Christopher Rosen: I haven’t gone back to “Babylon” in score — that does feel like one of the spots where “All Quiet on the Western Front” can emerge out of the trenches — but I did switch back to “Babylon” in Best Production Design while we’ve been typing. #NoDisrespecttoBenAffleck or Catherine Martin, but I interviewed Florencia Martin about my beloved “Babylon” and I can’t do her dirty like this. As a charter member of the “Babylon” Rules Fan Club (™), I simply must have what will probably be remembered as 2022’s best movie winning at least one Oscar. I’ll let you have the last word while I go look longingly at my 4K Blu-ray copy of “Babylon.” Any final comments before Sunday night?

joyceeng: The only thing more shocking than you not predicting “Babylon” for any wins was you not predicting it after interviewing its nominees. Alas, old habits die hard. I’ve also made a switch while we’ve been typing. I’ve returned to Polley. “Women (Are) Talking” is the weaker film, but I wonder if she just squeaks this out like another actor-turned-writer/director last year, Kenneth Branagh. Best Original Screenplay was soft last year and “Belfast” kinda fizzled as the season went on (not as badly as “Women Talking”), but it still grabbed the win over a Netflix hit that won a precursor. This is a terrible comp because they won different awards and “Belfast” was the strongest Best Picture nominee in the field. So I will abort this Typing before I go back to “All Quiet.” Which I still might.

Oscar odds for Best Supporting Actress
Who will win?

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