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My Crystal Ball is Broken: The Results of My Way Too Early 2023 Oscar Best Picture Nominee Predictions

The 2023 Oscar nominations have been announced, and as always there has been some shock and surprises over what got in and what got snubbed. But what my readers have really been anticipating is finding out how I did with My Way Too Early 2023 Best Picture Predictions.

I first made ill-advised and way too early predictions many years ago, but I can't find the article, so it must have been done for a now defunct site. I did them again in 2019 for the 2020 Academy Awards nominees. The idea is that I make the predictions shortly after the Oscar ceremonies, and try to make wild guesses on what will get nominated at the start of the next year.

It is quite the challenge when you consider that most of the Oscar hopefuls have not been screened by anyone by that time, and in many cases, haven't even been finished being made, so there is no way of knowing their quality or what will be their critical or audience reception. In some cases, a movie that I predict will be a nominee doesn't even get released that year due to various possible delays. Also early in the year, there are likely several Oscar hopefuls that I don't even know about, because the buzz for them doesn't start until the fall festivals start showcasing them.

If you look at all those challenges and factors, it isn't horrible that I got three out of ten in my 2019 predictions.

But I did even better this year, with still a losing percentage but getting four correct predictions out of my 10. It helps that this year the Academy Awards actually used all 10 of their possible slots. 

The reality is these predictions are almost entirely luck, because again I almost never know the actual quality of a movie or have any idea how it will connect with the culture. But that is part of the fun making bold declarations of what will be considered the best of the year by a bunch of celebrities that sometimes watch the actual movies. 

To add to the fun, I want to look back at what I got right, and what I got horribly wrong.

My Correct Predictions for the 2023 Oscar Best Picture Nominations:

Everything Everywhere All At Once: This movie was actually released early in the year, so I already was able to see how it was becoming a huge independent hit with audiences, and was getting rave reviews from critics. This is a rare time where I had a pretty good idea that it would have enough momentum and prestige to become an easy Oscar Best Picture nomination. I also think it still has a shot at winning Best Picture, but some of that momentum seems to have faded slightly. I obviously think it should win, since it was my choice for best movie of 2022.

Elvis: I considered this one of my longshot picks when I made it, but it ended up being a box office hit, Austin Butler got tons of praise for his portrayal of Elvis Presley, and the Academy still loves their biopics about white rock musicians as proven in the recent past with Bohemian Rhapsody. Baz Luhrmann makes enough bold directorial decision to elevate this above a standard picture, but being a biopic keeps it among the 'safe' territory that many voters still like to hang out.

The Fabelmans: I have learned you never bet against a legend like director Steven Spielberg, plus Hollywood loves to celebrate movies that are about them and the making of movies. This has all the elements that woo the Academy. Sadly, it did not woo the movie-going public as it flopped in the box office, but everyone should really track down this personal and heartfelt movie. It also made my top ten best movies of the 2022 list.

Women Talking: I was right about this picture getting the nomination, but completely wrong about it being a dramedy. I was a big fan of Miriam Toews other novels A Complicated Kindness and The Flying Troutmans, which were family dramas about Manitoban Mennonite families that were stuffed with humour and quirk. This story is much darker and serious, but still explores lot of her common themes like dogma, women's role in religion and how a voice can be stifled. I haven't read the book or seen the movie yet, but both were packed with critical acclaim. I am also pumped that the nomination means some props for two creative Canadians in talented director Sarah Polley and Toews who wrote the novel the movie is based.

My Incorrect Predictions for the 2023 Oscar Best Picture Nominations:

The Woman King: If you want evidence that some right-wing YouTubers and bloggers are overreacting with their fury over a supposed 'woke' Hollywood, this picture missing out on any nominations is an incriminating one. It was an old-school, big scale, lavishly constructed, sweeping historic fiction epic similar to previous Best Picture winners like Braveheart and Gladiator, but set in Africa with most of leads consisting of Black females. This should have been a shoo-in if certain whiners were correct about the state of movies.  It just missed my top ten of 2022, and has a riveting star performance from Viola Davis. If you missed it, this really is worth tracking down.

Don't Worry Darling: Olivia Wilde nailed it with Booksmart, and so I thought this would be another hit, especially with the terrific Florence Pugh in the lead. But this movie is an absolute mess that never even figures out its world building, and has reveals that just add more questions. The moment that I watched it, I knew I failed with this pick.

Amsterdam: This is another one where I was banking on the pedigree of the director and the stacked star-power. But David O. Russell has seemed to misplaced his Oscar magic, and the movie relies more on trotting out stars than having anything engaging for them to do. Way back when making the predictions this looked like a solid pick, but it shows how much things change when you actually see the movie.

She Said: Another example that the Woke Hollywood label is ridiculously exaggerated, because a movie about the #MeToo movement should have been a easy nomination in such a scenario. Like The Woman King, I really liked this one, and it did make my best of 2022. The Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan performances were riveting, and it was a fascinating look at journalism and how the story can consume the reporter. It was a crucial movie for exposing the abuse hidden in Hollywood, but also a great reminder of the importance of investigative journalism.

Killers of the Flower Moon: I still stand by the latest Martin Scorsese picture being an easy pick, but just not for the 2023 Oscars, since it still hasn't come out. It looks like it is eyeing a debut for the Cannes Film Festival, so I already have a pick for the 2024 Best Picture Oscar nominees.  

Babylon: Damien Chazelle has a strong record for his pictures getting nominations, but this movie turned out to be way too divisive. It ended up being on both Best of lists and Worst of lists, and the mixed reaction likely dissuaded voters, even if it is another one all about making movies and Hollywood. Though it being a more negative depiction probably alienated voters too.

The Movies I Missed for the 2023 Best Picture Oscar Nominations:

All Quiet on the Western Front: While we did get an international Best Picture winner in Parasite recently, the snubbing of RRR shows that the academy still tends to ignore most of the movies that don't come out of Hollywood. This was the major reason this movie was not on my radar. and there is a strong chance I wasn't even aware of it yet. Now, it looks like one of the frontrunners to win.

Avatar: The Way of Water: I doubted James Cameron. The original got a Best Picture nomination, but I assumed this one would not measure up and I actually believed would end up being a box office flop. I was completely wrong on everything about this movie, and I even loved it so much that it also made my top ten list for 2022 movies.

The Banshees of Inisherin: I don't think I even knew this was a movie back when I made my picks. If I did, I may have considered it since director Martin McDonagh has got his pictures nominated in the past.

Tar: I did know about this movie, but director Todd Fields previous pictures have been very divisive, and he hasn't directed a picture in quite some time., so all those factor caused me to not consider this one a strong choice. I was way off, since this was one of the most critically acclaimed movies of the year, and probably has an outside chance of winning.

Top Gun: Maverick: I assumed the way delayed sequel to a corny 1980s action picture was not only going to be a box office flop, but didn't have any chance at even being in the running for a nomination. Well, I was horribly wrong. This was another great movie that made my best of 2022 list. It was a smart move nominating a huge box office hit as the Academy tries to remain culturally relevant.

Triangle of Sadness: This is another one under the 'I didn't even know it was a movie when making my picks' category, but even if I did, I never would have considered this one. Director Ruben Ostlund does have many critically acclaimed movies to his credit, but this being his first English language movie meant he may not have been on the radar of many voters. This was the year of several 'eat the rich' type movies, so this is a great pick as a showcase of what are major cultural talking points.

There you go. It was not an example of my great prophetic skills with only four correct out of 10 picks, but considering how unpredictable a fate of a movie can be and that I didn't know anything about most of the movies' quality when predicting, I think I did pretty well. I'm ready for 50% next year!

What movies were you shocked got nominated for best picture?