2023 Oscar nominations predictions slugfest: Editors go toe-to-toe on the Big 8 categories [WATCH]

With nominations for the 95th Academy Awards nominations poised to be announced this coming Tuesday, January 24, at the ungodly West Coast hour of 5:30 a.m. PT (and the somewhat more godly 8:30 a.m. ET), Gold Derby editors Denton Davidson, Marcus James Dixon, Daniel Montgomery and Ray Richmond were inspired over the weekend to get together and share their individual forecasts with each other and the world in the eight most-debated heavyweight categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress/Supporting Actress, Best Actor/Supporting Actor and Best Adapted/Original Screenplay. Watch the editors’ slugfest video above and then be sure to make or update your own Oscar picks at Gold Derby.

Kicking things off with Best Picture, the quartet largely stuck with the Gold Derby odds-on top 10, in order, of “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “The Fabelmans,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “TÁR,” “Elvis,” “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Women Talking” and “The Whale,” with a few notable exceptions in spots 9 and 10. Daniel admits he’s taken “Women Talking” out of his own top 10 and replaced it with “Glass Onion” “as much as it breaks my heart, because that movie has really tanked everywhere it’s been eligible except the Critics Choice Awards.” Marcus has also scratched “Women Talking” along with “The Whale” and penciled the Indian blockbuster “RRR” into the 9th slot. because “there’s such huge online support for the film. I wonder how much of that will translate to Oscar voters.” He also added “Babylon” in 10th.

Denton, meanwhile, concurs with Marcus that “The Whale” should be out of the mix and instead inserted “The Woman King.” “I think that’s a respected movie, and there’s very little diversity in this top 10, so I just feel like there needs to be something.” he declares. From the diversity angle, Denton also “wouldn’t be shocked” if “Till” got nominated, believing the last two spots “could go a lot of different ways.” Ray, meanwhile, boringly went with the 10 predictions as they presently stand on Gold Derby, though he reserved the right to change it up before Tuesday, particularly when it came to “She Said” and “RRR.” He thinks “Women Talking” is a shoo-in since “there’s a little bit of tokenism at play here, and voters will want to get something with ‘women’ in the title in the top 10. It’s that arbitrary.”

Moving on to Best Director, there was some disagreement about both the potential nominees and the order. The only pair that all four editors thought were safe bets were Golden Globe winner Steven Spielberg for “The Fabelmans” and Critics Choice victor the Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Ray went against the Gold Derby predictions grain by eliminating Todd Field for “TÁR” and Edward Berger for “All Quiet on the Western Front,” opting instead for James Cameron for “Avatar: The Way of Water” and Baz Luhrmann for “Elvis.” Daniel has the Daniels winning at this point “not just because they’re my namesake but because ‘The Fabelmans’ has been weaker than we thought it would be earlier in the season.”

SEE Oscars Best Director odds: Edward Berger (‘All Quiet on the Western Front’) enters top 5 after BAFTAs windfall

When it comes to the Best Director race, Marcus is of the opinion that “the safe thing to do is always pick four of the five DGA (Awards) nominees and then kind of go your own way on the fifth. So, I’m matching up with them with Spielberg, Daniels, Martin McDonagh (for “The Banshees of Inisherin”) and Field, then going with Berger here for the fifth.” Denton notes, “I have our top five (Spielberg, Daniels, Field, McDonagh, Berger), though I think Field might be the most vulnerable. It’ll be interesting to see how much the academy likes ‘TÁR.’ The thing about Edward Berger is, the academy loves to nominate an international director.”

There was a lot of healthy debate among the editors surrounding Best Actress. where the predictions on Gold Derby favor Cate Blanchett for “”TÁR,” Michelle Yeoh for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Danielle Deadwyler for “Till,” Viola Davis for “The Woman King” and Michelle Williams for “The Fabelmans,” with Ana de Armas hovering just underneath in sixth for “Blonde.” Denton declares, “I have Cate winning, but I can see a scenario where Michelle (Yeoh) wins. I feel like Cate Blanchett is our generation’s Meryl Streep, someone who has been nominated a thousand times but doesn’t win most of them because she’s always acknowledged.” De Armas’ having been embraced in the BAFTA and SAG Awards nominations also convinced Denton to include her for the Oscars over Williams. Marcus is still clinging to Williams making the nominations cut in fifth place but admits, “I can see a scenario where she gets in for supporting (instead).”

Daniel sees Blanchett and Yeoh as “the only two I feel are locks for nomination. Everyone else, there’s a scenario where they miss.” Ray simply blew up his predictions entirely, admitting he “drank the Andrea Riseborough Kool-Aid” in supporting the late dark horse candidacy of the star of the low-budget indie “To Leslie,” believing she will land the fifth nominee slot. “I want to be on the record that in case the shock happens, I foresaw it,” he confesses.

Then in the Best Actor race, the editors are in agreement that the top four on the Gold Derby list – Brendan Fraser for “The Whale,” Austin Butler for “Elvis,”  Colin Farrell for “The Banshees of Inisherin” and Bill Nighy for “Living” – are pretty much locks for nomination, though Marcus remains iffy on Nighy. The discussion mostly surrounded the fifth slot and the surprising strength of Paul Mescal for “Aftersun,” whom Marcus has replaced with Tom Cruise for “Top Gun: Maverick.” His rationale: “We know ‘Top Gun’ is going to get a lot of nominations, including Best Picture – and have the voters seen ‘Aftersun’?” Daniel acknowledges he’s “had a hunch” about Mescal for a while, though at the same time he admits he’s “not super confident in it. It could go a number of different directions. Adam Sandler has a ghost of a chance” (for “Hustle”).”

Denton admits that “the fifth spot is very confusing for me” but discloses has Mescal penciled in for the moment. He sees Fraser as the favorite following his Critics Choice Awards triumph but notes that “Austin is the most transforming” potential nominee. Ray admits he vacillates between this being a two-man and a three-man race and offers, “I have Brendan winning, but I can absolutely be convinced of Butler’s winning. Historically, the academy has really loved actors and actresses playing iconic musical figures from the past.”

The Oscars ceremony takes place Sunday March 12 from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood with host Jimmy Kimmel, airing live on ABC and streamed on ABC.com live at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET.

PREDICT the 2023 Oscar nominees through January 24

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