2023 Oscar slugfest: Gold Derby’s newest freelancers predictions

“We have so much to talk about, so let’s just get straight into it,” declares Gold Derby senior editor Rob Licuria as he introduces some of our newest freelancers to discuss where the 2023 Oscar race stands before the onslaught of precursors begins this weekend with the DGA Awards announced on February 18 and BAFTA Awards unveiled on February 19.

Licuria is joined by contributors Jack Mahanes, Sebastian Ochoa Mendoza, Brian Rowe, Hunter K. Taylor and Christopher Tsang who are unleashed to debate what film might take down early frontrunner “Everything Everywhere All at Once” in Best Picture, the nail-biting Best Actress and Best Actress races, whether current favorites Ke Huy Quan and Angela Bassett can be overcome in the supporting categories. The discussion culminates in a passionate plea for their one “on the cusp” dark horse contender in their category of choice. Watch our 2023 Oscar video slugfest with sizzling predictions above.

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“I really do think that ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ pretty much has this in the bag. I feel like every other nominee there’s like at least one flaw against it,” Rowe says to kick off the discussion about the big question mark surrounding Best Picture, which in recent years has become so much less predictable because Oscar voters choose its film of the year through a preferential ballot rather than a simple plurality vote. “it got the most nominations and seemed to be getting into categories; pretty much everything it could. So there seems to be a lot of love for this movie. It just keeps hanging on. It will have been almost to almost a year after it premiered at South by Southwest that it’ll be winning all these Oscars on March 12th. I think that’s the winner right now. I don’t know what can beat it,” he says.

“‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ I think over-performing by getting a lot of nominations that it wasn’t expected to get shows how strong it is as a whole,” Mahanes agrees. “But I also think back to ‘Power of the Dog’ doing the exact same thing last year, and getting a lot of nominations that we didn’t expect. And then I think once the nominations came out, we all thought, oh, well, it’s obviously going to be ‘Power of the Dog,'” he says, referring to how eventual winner “CODA’ crept up on the initial frontrunner to claim the big prize on the night,” he says. If there’s a potential spoiler, Taylor says it is most likely “The Banshees of Inisherin” that might triumph on Oscar night. “I think the only one would potentially be ‘Banshees’ just because I can see it getting a lot of twos and threes on the preferential ballot. Some people think that maybe ‘Everything Everywhere’ might not be as accessible to certain academy members, that certain demographic that we hear about,” he argues.

“I think ‘Power of the Dog’ suffered for the same reason that ‘Roma’ did, which is like it’s a movie that a lot of people respect more than they’re very passionate about,” Ochoa Mendoza suggests. “I think the reason why ‘Everything Everywhere’ is particularly strange and kind of on its own is because it already is a passion pick. You know, this is the kind of movie that you could see coming in as a late surge, because there’s a sudden surge of passion for this movie.” Tsang is more cautious, arguing that it’s unwise to assert that any film is the absolute frontrunner at this early stage in the Oscar race. “I am not falling for that trap again that I always fall for every year where the film but the most nominations at the Oscars that has a frontrunner status, this early before all the guilds announced, is going to go all the way,” he says with a grin, adding that this year, the academy did something it doesn’t normally do, by going “for the blockbuster movies,” both of which are sequels, he says, referring to “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Top Gun: Maverick,” “so that could ultimately be reflected in their winner,” he says.

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UPLOADED Feb 15, 2023 10:00 am