Colin Farrell and Austin Butler are comfortable among the Best Picture nominees, but Brendan Fraser is also a big part of the Best Actor Oscar.
We’ll keep updating these predictions throughout awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for our 2023 Oscars picks. The final vote will take place between March 2 and 7, 2023. The 95th Academy Awards will air on Sunday, March 12th and will air live on ABC at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT.
Check out our initial thoughts on what to expect at the 95th Academy Awards.
State of the species
On the morning of the Oscar nominations, four expected contenders entered the field. In the Best Actor race, films nominated for Best Picture always have an advantage. Celebrated titles such as “The Banshees of Inisherin” (nine nods) and musical biopic “Elvis” (eight), starring Globe-winners Colin Farrell (comedy) and Austin Butler (drama), are preceded by the weepy Critics Choice. winner Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”), which received a second nomination for supporting actress Hong Chau and a third nomination for makeup and hair.
Darren Aronofsky’s drama about a man in poor health who hopes to reconnect with his daughter was considered a hit by the adapted screenplay and picture, but fell short. Both “Banshees” and “The Whale” premiered in competition at this year’s Venice Film Festival, where Farrell beat out Fraser for the Volpi Cup award. Farrell’s poignant portrayal of a lovable junkie who can’t accept all the changes in his provincial life is a reminder that he’s one of the great actors never nominated.
While the recurring narrative surrounding Fraser continues full steam ahead, “The Whale” is a harder pill to swallow. The Academy isn’t usually bothered by actors in fat suits (Gary Oldman won Best Actor in 2017 for donning one as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour”), but the film doesn’t bring the same level of empathy to Fraser’s obese character. and her eating disorder, as the actor does. Fraser hit every point in the campaign, charming as ever but still raising questions about handling a sensitive topic that affects so many people. This delicate dance may or may not be in her favor.
As for the rest of the group, “Elvis” star Austin Butler is holding strong, though the summer biopic campaign has taken a soft break as the cast and crew mourn the recent death of Lisa Marie Presley. British veteran Bill Nighy has finally received his first nomination after decades of celebrated film and theater work. Her poignant work in Oliver Hermanus’ “Living” deals with legacy and gave Nighy a step up from her scene-stealing turn in “Love Actually,” which saw legions of gleeful viewers every holiday season.
Jeremy Pope (“The Inspection”), Hugh Jackman (“The Son”) or SAG nominee Adam Sandler (“Hustle”) did not find support for fifth place. Instead, up-and-coming actor Paul Mescal, 26, received his first Oscar nomination for his performance as a depressed father in Charlotte Wells’ acclaimed indie Aftersun, after being thrust into the critical and BAFTA spotlight. Deserved.
The nominees are listed below in order of probability of winning.
Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
Austin Butler (“Elvis”)
Brendan Fraser (The Whale)
Bill Nighy (“Live”)
Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”)
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