Oscar predictions: Colin Farrell or Paul Mescal? Who will win and how well will the Irish do?

Oscar predictions: Colin Farrell or Paul Mescal? Who will win and how well will the Irish do?

It’s all done bar the counting. With the final-deadline ballots of almost 10,000 Oscars voters submitted in the early hours of March 8th, the fate of this year’s winners has been set in stone. 

Irish movie fans will be watching out for how domestic stars fare following a record-breaking 14 nominations. 

But with other awards-seasons wins spilt, and no clear frontrunners in many categories, there has rarely been a bigger Oscars year to expect the unexpected. 

Could we even see a tie in one of the major categories? It’s very rare, but has happened six times – most notably in 1969, with Katharine Hepburn for A Lion in Winter and Barbara Streisand for Funny Girl.

Best Picture

Tom Cruise as Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the air in Top Gun: Maverick.
  • All Quiet on the Western Front 
  • Avatar: The Way of Water 
  • The Banshees of Inisherin 
  • Elvis 
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once 
  • The Fabelmans 
  • TÁR 
  • Top Gun: Maverick 
  • Triangle of Sadness 
  • Women Talking 

Having returned to a ten-nominee format, Best Picture has been a more unpredictable call in recent years. This is compounded this year by a dearth of obvious frontrunners and the fact the award is decided by a preferential ballot – much like the Irish electoral system – where the Academy votes in order of preference. What does this mean for The Banshees of Inisherin? There’s a lot of love for Banshees, which could see it benefiting from the ballot system.

It will need every transfer it gets to win against Everything Everywhere All at Once, the multiverse adventure that swept the Screen Actors Guild awards and crucially the Producers Guild Awards, which corresponds closest to Oscars Best Picture category. It would be foolish to make such a tight year a two-horse race, and Steven Spielberg’s semi-biographical The Fabelmans and much-admired WW1 drama All Quiet on the Western Front (Best Picture at the BAFTAS) remain in contention. There’s a lot of love, too, for Top Gun: Maverick.

The Frontrunner: Everything Everywhere All at Once.

The Contender: The Banshees of Inisherin.

Best Director 

Kerry Condon in The Banshees of Inisherin.
  • Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin) 
  • Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Everything Everywhere All at Once) 
  • Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans) 
  • Todd Field (TÁR) 
  • Ruben Ostlund (Triangle of Sadness)

Martin McDonagh is regarded as third favourite in this category for his fine work on the story of two friends whose lives are upended when one decides to abruptly end the friendship. Pundits are favouring a win for Everything’s the two Daniels, enjoying a wave of momentum following their Directors Guild of America win. The great Steven Spielberg is also in the running.

The Frontrunner: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.

The Contender: Steven Spielberg.

Actress in a Leading Role 

Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh, and Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All at Once.
  • Cate Blanchett (TÁR) 
  • Ana De Armas (Blonde) 
  • Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie) 
  • Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans) 
  • Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once) 

Based on awards season so far, this looks to be a contest between Blanchett and Yeoh, who is now the one to beat following her BAFTA win.

Her chances may be bettered by the fact that the much-loved Blanchett has two Oscar wins. If there’s an upset here it could be to the benefit of Riseborough, whose endorsement by fellow stars has stirred debate.

The Frontrunner: Michelle Yeoh.

The Contender: Cate Blanchett.

Actor in a Leading Role 

  • Austin Butler (Elvis) 
  • Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin) 
  • Brendan Fraser (The Whale) 
  • Paul Mescal (Aftersun) 
  • Bill Nighy (Living) 

With two of our native nominees in this category it will be of huge interest to Irish Oscar-watchers. Colin Farrell has been picking up critics best-of lists for months, but Austin Butler appears to have the edge following his surprise BAFTA win last month. This is widely regarded as a three-horse race that’s too close to call, with Brendan Fraser also very much in the running.

Notwithstanding Mescal’s performance in the brilliant Aftersun, Farrell’s work in Banshees is for my money the best in this category in a career-defining year, where he also shone in The Batman, After Yang and Thirteen Lives.

The Frontrunner: Austin Butler.

The Contender: Colin Farrell.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Brendan Gleeson attends “The Banshees of Inisherin” UK Premiere at the 66th BFI London Film Festival at The Royal Festival Hall on October 13, 2022 in London, England.
  • Brendan Gleeson (The Banshees of Inisherin)
  • Brian Tyree Henry (Causeway) 
  • Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans) 
  • Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin) 
  • Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once) 

Another category of major Irish interest, with two of our finest in contention for Banshees. The danger for both Gleeson and Keoghan here is that the double nomination could split Academy votes in two very powerful performances. Keoghan pulled off a great win at the BAFTAS for what has become a very popular performance. It’s worth noting, though, that Ke Huy Quan is regarded as a frontrunner here for a movie that has only been building momentum in recent weeks.

The Frontrunner: Ke Huy Quan.

The Contender: Barry Keoghan.

Best Supporting Actress 

  • Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) 
  • Hong Chau (The Whale) 
  • Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin) 
  • Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once) 
  • Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once) 

Ireland – and especially her home county of Tipperary – will be rooting for Condon, who is the heart and soul of Banshees. Her BAFTA win, though a surprise, shows the swell of support among her peers. Watch out for Bassett and the much-loved Curtis, who has never been nominated before. I’m backing Tipp for the win against the odds in an extremely tight category.

The Frontrunner: Kerry Condon.

The Contender: Jamie Lee Curtis.

Best International Feature 

Leading lady Catherine Clinch in An Cailín Ciúin – Ireland’s nominee for Best International Feature
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (Germany) 
  • Argentina, 1985 (Argentina) 
  • Close (Belgium) EO (Poland) 
  • The Quiet Girl (Ireland) 

What a remarkable achievement from husband and wife team Colm Bairéad (writer-director) and Cleona Ní Chrualaoi (producer) to bring their small Irish-language drama all the way to the Oscars in one of the most competitive years for this category. In many ways the wins are already there – but I still wouldn’t bet against this being a history-making night for An Cailín Ciúin, which is that rare perfect film.

The Frontrunner: All Quiet on the Western Front.

The Contender: The Quiet Girl.

Best Original Screenplay

  • The Banshees of Inisherin 
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once
  • The Fabelmans 
  • TÁR 
  • Triangle of Sadness 

Broad love for Banshees could see Martin McDonagh’s darkly funny script take Oscar home here – particularly if it gets squeezed out in the Best Picture and Director categories. But Everything Everywhere looms as a major threat, particularly after winning in this category at last week’s Writers Guild of America awards. A broader electorate for the Oscars could see McDonagh come through.

The Frontrunner: The Banshees of Inisherin.

The Contender: Everything Everywhere All at Once 

Best Adapted Screenplay 

All Quiet on the Western Front.
  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery 
  • Living 

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