Guide to Ubysweep your Oscars ballot

Oscar nominations are out, and that means your most annoying friends are too.

If you don’t have a Letterboxd account, haven’t been to a movie theatre since 2019 or aren’t deep in film Twitter hot takes, have no fear. I, your new annoying friend, am here to help you ace your Oscar ballot this year.

Full disclosure, I have not seen every one of these movies, but these awards are as much about the publicity and buzz than they are the movies anyways!

Best Picture

With 10 nominees, there’s a lot to weed through in this category, but several pre-Oscars awards shows are indicating a favourite - Everything Everywhere All at Once (EEAOO herein).

EEAOO is a multiverse-hopping, heart-wrenching movie about a Chinese immigrant mom navigating her relationship with her husband and daughter. The film won the top prize at the Producers Guild, Directors Guild and Screen Actors Guild Awards, putting it in a strong position to win the biggest award come Oscars night.

A more toned-down competitor is The Banshees of Inisherin, a dark-comedy metaphor for the Irish civil war. Come for commanding performances, stay for the mini donkey, leave because you’re a little grossed out by a guy cutting off his fingers (spoiler alert but now you have been warned).

Top Gun: Maverick is also nominated, a crowd-pleasing blockbuster about planes... but mostly that one clip of Miles Teller doing a chest bump. Tom Cruise is nominated as a producer, and the mega-star could pull a lot of second choice votes — best picture is voted on via a ranked choice ballot.

Best Director

Oscar darling Steven Spielberg is a frontrunner in this race with his semi-autobiographical movie The Fabelmans. I haven’t seen this film, but it’s a movie about a famous movie-maker’s coming of age while making movies — so I think it’s a pretty safe Oscars choice.

The Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), the directing team behind EEAOO, are the spoiler pick here — their guild wins put them in a good spot to topple the titan Spielberg.

Best Actress

This has been a two-way race all season, between Cate Blanchett as the titular domineering conductor in Tár and Michelle Yeoh as mother Evelyn Wang in EEAOO. Blanchett’s momentum has been building, winning several major awards leading up to the Oscar nom, so she’s likely a safe pick.

Andrea Risebourough is a last minute entrant to the category for her performance in To Leslie, a small movie about a woman rebuilding her life after winning the lottery then quickly losing the money. When I say small I mean it — the movie made $27,000 when it first opened in October.

Riseborough was nominated thanks to a well timed celebrity publicity push — so effective that the Academy investigated the campaign for misconduct. They decided to let her stay in the race.

Best Actor

Awards bodies have been split in this category. Brendan Fraser gives a lauded performance in The Whale, and a comeback story alongside great speeches could propel him. If you trust Reddit’s pick, go with Fraser.

Austin Butler just hasn’t been able to shake the Elvis voice — a method acting extravaganza that could endear the Academy. If you like chaos, pick him.

Colin Farrell is an industry vet and plays a loving, heartbroken friend in The Banshees of Inisherin. He won a Golden Globe, but with Butler and Fraser in the race I don’t think his dark comedic performance is by any means a lock to win.

Exciting news for Phoebe Bridgers fans who refuse to believe the engagement is off — Paul Mescal is also nominated for his role as a struggling young dad in Aftersun, though he’s been a shaky fifth pick this season, so I wouldn’t expect a win.

Best Supporting Actress

In this category, the top pick is Angela Bassett in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, who’s been building momentum and giving fantastic speeches at smaller awards ceremonies. In this case her win wouldn’t just be for this film, but for doing the thing her whole career.

I remain Stephanie Hsu-hive — she killed me as a villain of infinite proportions in EEAOO — but I acknowledge that it’s probably a long shot for her to win.

Best Supporting Actor

If there’s a category with a lock, it’s this one. Ke Huy Quan plays Waymond Wang in EEAOO, a goofy dad turned interdimensional agent turned pining movie star.

Quan is making his return to acting after 20 years away, and awards bodies have been loving his comeback story — though it's important to note the same industry’s lack of roles for young Asian actors led to his departure in the first place.

The category also shows the Academy’s affinity for Banshees, with both Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan earning nominations. While it’s unlikely either of them wins here, I’d look for a potential Banshees win for original screenplay.

Craft Categories

Craft categories — think lighting, editing, cinematography, costumes — are all over the map this year.

Avatar: The Way of Water is a safe pick for visual effects (because it’s basically animated), but these are a great place to go with your heart, or at least your judgement of the film from a Google Images search, on this year’s ballot.

I hope this overwrought guide helps you and your ballot this Oscars season — now to figure out how to (il)legally stream the show.