The Professor's Oscars predictions

It's almost time for Tinseltown's biggest event of the year, with the 95th Oscars ceremony taking place on Sunday 12 March. There's nothing we all love more than trying to predict the winners, so this year we've got in the university's finest to cast his eagle eye over the categories.

Gianluca Sergi has decades of cineast experience - including addressing the Academy's own Board of Governors, which at the time included Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg! He teaches and researches on film in the Faculty of Arts at Nottingham. Take it away Gianluca:

Get the inside track on this year's Oscars runners and riders from our Hollywood expert

You may have never heard of one Yogi Berra.

He was a ball player for the New York Yankees baseball team in the late 40s and throughout the 50s, beloved by all fans for his famously whimsical one-liners worthy of the most acclaimed philosopher. "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." and "You can observe a lot by just watching" are but two of his hilariously baffling quotes.

Most likely, you have used at some point or other in your life one of his most famous lines: "It ain’t over till it’s over". It is with some apprehension that I write to you here countervening one of Berra’s admonitions, namely that "It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future."

Predicting the Oscars is an occupation that has entertained millions across the world since the first statuettes were handed out in 1929 at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. Oscar score cards are common in the US (you can help yourself to this year’s awards score card here). There's nothing like ‘I got it right and you didn’t’ bragging rights until next year’s ceremony.

Professor Gianluca Sergi

You can show faith in your favourites, beat down on the movies that just didn’t do it for you and pat yourself on the back for being such a knowledgeable movie buff (heck, you can even wear a tuxedo and call yourself a film connoisseur, if the mood takes you).

So here below are some predictions, with the warning - paraphrasing another famous line - that ‘I’ve worked with some who have won Oscars and with some who award them, but I am not one of them.’

Predicting the big five (Best Picture, Director, Actress, Actor and Screenplay)


Winner: Everything, Everywhere, All At Once. If voters keep their cool, this is the winner for 2023. A bold concept, a clever script and a great ensemble cast performance (all nominated, see more below) are the key ingredients for this remarkably unusual film that jumps worlds, timelines, and genres faster than you can say Oscar.

Threat: The Banshees of Inisherin is the kind of small enough, good enough movie that voters often like and may emerge as a surprise winner. Who knows, perhaps this is the year of the Irish.


Winner: It would be hard to argue against ‘the Daniels’ (directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) for this one. To keep a movie like Everything (I’m not going to type the full darn title a dozen times!) from unravelling is a major feat of movie engineering. To do so in a manner approaching coherence is worthy of an Oscar.

Threat: The one and only Steven Spielberg may squeeze in between the two Daniels for The Fabelmans. A movie about making movies by the most celebrated director this side of John Ford should never be discounted for this category.


Easiest prediction of the night!

Winner: Cate Blanchett for Tár. She has cleared the awards board so far for her cold and finely calculated performance as a complex, brilliant and gigantically flawed conductor. She is also very much the DNA of the movie, her towering presence felt in virtually every frame.

Threat: Michelle Yeo, especially if Everything turns out to be a bigger juggernaut than expected. Gianluca’s special (well, my one wild card suggestion): can I suggest you catch a different performance by 29-year-old Indian-British actress Alia Bhatt (well, born in Mumbai, British trained so you decide) in Gungabai Kathiawadi? This is a performance of amazing range and maturity. How the Academy missed this one altogether is a puzzle.


Not the easiest prediction as all five actors stand a decent chance of winning, all performed their character on screen admirably and all have an interesting story behind them.

Winner: The comeback story of Brendan Fraser is truly remarkable, as is his performance in The Whale. A win for Fraser would also be universally popular so expect him to triumph (and I use that word advisedly in view of his career struggles over the past decade or so). He is the one to cheer for.

Threat: All four other actors. Colin Farrell (another kind of comeback story), Bill Nighy (is there anybody more reliable than him right now?), Alvin Butler (portraying Elvis on screen is a fool’s errand, portraying him convincingly is the making of a star), and Paul Mescal (Aftersun is a little gem, Mescal’s performance is what makes it bigger than it is - and it may be the year of the Irish…) all stand a chance of winning.

Screenplay (original)

Winner: Everything should take this one for the sheer vertiginous heights of complexity in the script (I know, I am running out of adjectives. Go see the movie and then come back here to suggest some different ones please).

Threat: The quirky and funny nature of the Banshees script may pip Everything at the post (and it may be the year of the… ‘complete this sentence’).

Screenplay (adapted)

Winner: None of the nominated scripts has the boldness or complexity of its original counterpart category, but Women Talking (based on Miriam Toews’ novel) is the one most people are talking about (terrible pun, I know). Ensemble scripts are not easy to write and this one has the merit of working well in support of a great ensemble cast. Actors’ friendly scripts win Oscars so…

Threat: All Quiet on the Western Front. One of the most famous novels about the horrors of war (WWI) is once again adapted into a moving reminder that youth die first in conflict.

Frequently asked questions

The other main Oscars (in no particular order… and no offence to the others not listed below, but I assume you wish to finish reading this article before the actual Oscars take place…)

International film

Winner: This is pretty much sawn up for All Quiet on the Western Front (Germany), and deservedly so.

Threat: Argentina, 1985… but it is a long, long, long shot.


Winner: Again, All Quiet should win this one handsomely. The tonal choices are spot on throughout the movie, colour seeps in only when necessary, leaving the greys of uniforms and ominous skies to blend in with the muddy browns of the battlefields.


Winner: This is Top Gun: Maverick's to lose. The sound artists at Skywalker Sound did a great job in ensuring sound effects, music and dialogue are mixed in a way that harmonises them without one element stepping on the toes of the other two. This is Hollywood sound at its best.

Threat: All Quiet. The Lewis Milestone-directed 1930 version of the film still stands today as one of the best (and earliest) uses of sound in a movie. It is no surprise to see the new version take its place amongst the favourites this year. It could win if this becomes All Quiet’s night instead of Everything’s.


Winner: Justin Hurwitz’s score for Damien Chazelle’s extravaganza Babylon should walk away with this one. The movie relies so much on its score, both in the story and as commentary - as it is always the case with Chazelle’s movies - and Hurwitz meets the challenge very effectively.

Threat: John Williams’ score for The Fabelmans is one of the least John Williams-sounding score in a very long time. It is subtle, tender, and almost unassuming. A most refreshing and welcome surprise by the most celebrated film composer of our time, and it would be a pleasant outcome should he win… again.


Winner: Everything/Top Gun. This is a fun one to call, but also one of the most difficult. A number of nominees here would be worthy winners but two stand out: Everything (yes, again) and Top Gun: Maverick. The latter is edited to make your heartbeat faster in the flying sequences, and slower in the more intimate moments (which make up some of the best moments of the movie).

But Everything should win just for the sheer complexity of holding the film together. Editing footage so disparately filmed, jumping across times and places is a true feat worthy of an Academy Award.

Threat: whichever one of the two does not win!

Production Design

Winner: Once again, the visual period extravaganza that is Babylon should take the Oscar home for the production design team. The sets are worthy of the period Babylon is set in, and they are built and articulated like a fine watch to allow Chazelle’s fluid camera movement, as well as helping set the tone of the story, two of the hallmarks of great production design.

Threat: Elvis. Another period movie that, like other music biopics before it, needs to be very inventive with sets as well as being (or at least looking) as authentic as audiences would expect, and the movie achieves that for another director who, like Chazelle, loves a very fluid camera, Baz Luhrmann.

Visual Effects

Winner: Do you really need me to predict this one? Ok then, Avatar: The Way of the Water. I could write an article here on the amazing results of several years of experimentation, innovation and testing that show up on the screen in Cameron’s movie.

The WETA team in New Zealand sits atop the pantheon of visual effects companies right now, and rightly so. And as always with Cameron, nothing is left half-baked. He is famously - some may say fastidiously - a perfectionist, and Avatar’s visual effects are one of his most precise creations.

Threat: None whatsoever, but if pushed I’d say Top Gun: Maverick has that 1% chance.

Supporting actress

Winner: Can you lock an Oscar in a movie trailer? Can an actor in a Marvel movie ever win one such acting awards? Both questions will be answered with a resounding yes on the night of Sunday 12 February 2023. Ever since the first trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was released the mind of most Oscar voters was made up that Angela Bassett was the positive answer to those two questions.

Threat: Despite a very good year for supporting performances, no one is even approaching the favourite status that Bassett holds. However, do check out Stephanie Hsu (and Jamie Lee Curtis, also nominated in this category) in Everything. She is a real talent so expect her to be asked to the Oscars gig again very soon.

Supporting actor

Winner: Remember Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? No? I would not blame you. Key Hui Quan’s career got off to a great start with Spielberg’s movie only to come crashing down to the reality of being Asian in an industry that, at the time, had little or no room for Asian actors.

The delicious irony of his now almost certain Oscar is that it comes in a film (Everything…) that enables him to play the gamut of Asian roles on screen, from the comedic to the action hero all the way to the suave (yes, he can). Like Brendan Fraser’s this comeback story is one based on talent and resilience.

Threat: virtually none, and not because the other actors on this list are not good. This was a bumper year with great performances in this category, but none has the added poignancy and variety of the star of Everything.


Winner: All the Beauty and the Bloodshed. It is extremely rare for a documentary to win film festivals and this one won no less than Venice's Golden Lion last year. It is topical (opiods crisis) and has a strong central character to root for (the photographer Nan Goldin, who fought against one of the largest pharmaceutical corporations to expose the opiods crisis in the US).

It does not hurt to have one of the best directors of documentaries at the helm, Laura Poitras.

Threat: One of my favourite docs from last year, Fire of Love. A love story set against the backdrop of fiery volcanoes, need I say more? Watch it if you can.


Winner: Guillermo del Toro should take home the Oscar for his version of Pinocchio. His interpretation is closer to the Italian original tale (a much scarier and darker story that the better-known child-friendly Disney version) and the animation is both effective and inventive.

Threat: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is a delightfully animated movie and, frankly, it’d get my vote (but, as I said, I am not one of ’them’). Fun and inventive in equal measure (worth noting that A24 is behind both Marcel and Everything) it has a soul you cannot help but fall in love with. You don’t believe me? Then meet Marcel!

More from Gianluca

Catch up with Gianluca and long-time collaborator (and seven-time Oscar winner!) Gary Rydstrom in this episode of the Many Screens, Big Picture podcast, as they discuss their new book The Endless End of Cinema with host Paul Dergarabedian.

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