Whoops! We overestimated Oscar odds for ‘The Whale,’ Viola Davis, Danielle Deadwyler …

Never underestimate the ability of the academy to deliver some truly jaw-dropping citations (and omissions) on Oscar nominations morning. The announcement of the nominees for the 95th ceremony certainly did not disappoint in that respect, as major contenders in the Best Picture, acting, and technical categories were overlooked in favor of some unexpected picks. See the list of contenders we wrongly predicted below.

SEE 2023 Oscar nominations full list: ‘Everything Everywhere’ leads with 11, including Best Picture

One of our biggest blunders was overestimating the strength of Darren Aronofsky‘s “The Whale.” While the film did land three major nominations for lead Brendan Fraser, supporting player Hong Chau, and Makeup and Hairstyling, our combined odds also expected it to nab slots in Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay for Samuel D. Hunter, who brought his play of the same name to the screen. Perhaps precursors BAFTA and Critics Choice led us astray by nominating the film in their Screenplay categories, as did the Producers Guild of America for including “The Whale” in its 10 nominees.

The Best Actress category also threw us for a major loop. Our third and fourth place predicted nominees — Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”) and Viola Davis (“The Woman King”) — were both snubbed in favor of Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”) and Andrea Riseborough (“To Leslie”), who we collectively ranked just outside the top five in sixth and seventh place, respectively. Deadwyler had earned key citations at precursors BAFTA, SAG, and Critics Choice, while Davis had those three plus the Golden Globes, which makes their omissions even more confounding. Williams has been missing out on key nominations for “The Fabelmans” all season, hitting Critics Choice and the Globes but missing BAFTA and SAG. Riseborough landed not a single major precursor nomination — save at the Independent Spirit Awards — but had a late-breaking surge of support from fellow actors online during the pivotal period of nominations voting.

WATCH our exclusive video interview with Andrea Riseborough (“To Leslie”)

Despite these missteps, there were quite a few categories where our savvy users predicted the lineup perfectly. Those included Actor, where there was mass panic over who to put in the up-for-grabs fifth slot after Austin Butler (“Elvis”), Fraser, Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), and Bill Nighy (“Living”). While most prognosticators did correctly pick Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”) in the end, a smattering opted for Tom Cruise (“Top Gun: Maverick”), Felix Kammerer (“All Quiet on the Western Front”), or SAG nominee Adam Sandler (“Hustle”). Our collective users also went five-for-five in Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, and Visual Effects.

Below, see a list of all of the contenders we thought would make the cut, but were ultimately left off.

NOT BEST PICTURE
“The Whale”

NOT BEST DIRECTOR
Edward Berger, “All Quiet on the Western Front”

NOT BEST ACTRESS
Danielle Deadwyler, “Till”
Viola Davis, “The Woman King”

NOT BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Paul Dano, “The Fabelmans”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Good Nurse”

NOT BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Whale”
“She Said”

NOT BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Top Gun: Maverick”
“Avatar: The Way of Water”
“The Fabelmans”

NOT BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“The Woman King”

NOT BEST FILM EDITING
“The Fabelmans”
“Avatar: The Way of Water”

NOT BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
“Babylon”

NOT BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

NOT BEST SCORE
“Women Talking”
“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”

NOT BEST SONG
“Ciao Papa” from “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”

NOT BEST SOUND
“Everything Everywhere All at Once”

NOT BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“My Father’s Dragon”

NOT BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Descendant”

NOT BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
“Decision to Leave”

NOT BEST ANIMATED SHORT
“New Moon”
“Save Ralph”

NOT BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
“The Flagmakers”
“38 at the Garden”
“Holding Moses”

NOT BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
“Warsha”
“Nakam”

PREDICT the 2023 Oscar winners through March 12

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