Mid October Oscar Buzz: The Top 25 Contenders

A lot keeps changing in this race as films keep getting seen by the critics, and their buzz grows or shrinks. Again, a lot of these films haven’t opened yet, but here are the reigning champs for what needs to be on your list this year.

1) The Fablemans

Still many people are predicting this as a clear front runner across the board. One of the biggest changes was the announcement that the studio is campaigning Michelle Williams in the lead category. I don’t think she’ll get it, and the voters will ignore the campaign and nominate her in supporting where she belongs. Aside from obvious nominations in Picture, Director, and Supporting Actress, this is almost a lock for Original Screenplay (one of the few Spielberg has ever bothered to do, this time alongside Tony Kushner), Supporting Actor for Paul Dano, and probably Editing. Less obvious nominations might be Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor for Judd Hirsch or Seth Rogen, Best Original Score, and Best Cinematography. It depends on how deep the love is across the board.

2) Women Talking

This Sarah Polley directed female ensemble has been gaining steam, with some who didn’t like The Fablemans as much calling this one its biggest competition. A nomination for Best picture is looking like a lock, while a nomination for Sarah Polley is becoming more and more likely (and also for her Adapted Screenplay). In Supporting Actress, two cast members are making a play, with Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley both gaining steam. Can they both get it? If not, who wins out? As a long shot, Ben Whishaw could end up in Supporting Actor.

3) The Whale

Still very much in the race. This is one that will likely be one of the 10, but not the winner for Picture. Darren Aronofsky is a possibility in Director, with three actresses vying for Supporting between Sadie Singh, hong Chau, and Samantha Morton. And don’t forget that Adapted Screenplay nomination, and probably Makeup. The reason this is so high is Brendan Fraser is very much the front runner still to win Best Actor this year.

4) The Banshees Of inusharon

Martin McDonaugh (who last saw Oscar’s go nuts for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing MO) is back with a film looking good for a Best picture nomination, and also the first nomination ever for Colin Farrell. I know it feels like he was nominated before, but he wasn’t. Brendan Gleeson, who is basically a co-lead is going to have a tough time squeezing into Actor, and might get his first nomination in Supporting. It’s category fraud, from what I understand, as his performance is lead, but we have a Lakeith Stanfield/Daniel Kaluyya situation where something has to give. Also, look for this to get nominations in Original Screenplay, as well as Cinematography. Ireland is the setting, and that gorgeous countryside should help it in that category. i woudln’t be surprised if Original Score came along with this too.

5) Everything Everywhere All At once

While I’m becoming more and more convinced it won’t win anything, it still likely will be one of the ten, and Michelle Yeoh is very much a front runner in the Actress race. It also could see nominations for Original Screenplay, and in both Supporting Actor and Actresss. It will be nominated. There’s just too much love for this film still.

6) Tar

Just opening this weekend in limited release, the Todd Field film (his first since 2006’s Little Children) is certain to get Cate Blanchett a Best Actress nomination. That’s a lock. I hear the subject matter is difficult, and she’s a bit of a complicated character, so Picture is looking like a tight squeeze, and even Todd Field in director is a long shot. Screenplay, Editing, and other categories look shaky as an October release might lead Tar to be more like Spencer than anyone would care to admit. I ahve it this high, because there’s a strong chance Blanchett wins her third Oscar this year.

7) Top Gun Maverick

The film people will not shut up about. It really is guaranteed nothing outside of Visual Effects and Sound, but I’ve seen people pushing Tom Cruise in Actor, and people swear this will be one of the 10. the problem with that is, there are too many sequels trying to get into the top 10, and they can’t all fit. one sequel would be rare. Four would be insane.

8) Till

I’ve been hearing great things about this film, and I consider it a dark horse for Director and Picture. While Whoopi Goldberg seems to be in too small of a role to get attention, people can’t stop praising Danielle Deitweiler for her performance, and we will have to see how far that can carry this film.

9) Avatar: The Way Of Water

unlike Top Gun Maverick, the first film did manage a shitload of Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Certainly, it will get Visual Effects and Sound, but Cinematography, Makeup, and production Design aren’t out of reach. The biggest problem is that it won’t get any support from the actors branch, so best Picture is not guaranteed.

10) She said

I have heard, despite the review embargo, that this film is really good. It seems to be a long shot for acting nominations, but the timely nature of the film could put it in Picture, and it’s likely a lock for Adapted Screenplay.

11) Babylon

This one is really hard to always put on my list since it is 100% sight unseen. No one has seen this because Damien Chazelle decided to skip all the festivals. However, in spite of that, his track record in getting his films Oscar nominations is 3/3. Babylon is looking good as a potential contender in multiple races if the reviews hold up. Picture, Director, Best Actress for Margot Robbie, and possibly Supporting Actor for Brad Pitt are likely. once the film is seen, the technical categories will become more obvious, as it’s hard to guess from trailers, when it’s not even a sequel to anything.

12) Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Speaking of Sequels, I did tell you there are multiple vying for attention, and the possibility that Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther sequel is as good, if not better than the original, and pays tribute to the deceased Chadwick Bozeman, keeps this in the running. of course, once again, Visual Effects, and Sound. But the original managed a ton of other nominations, so Costume Design, Production Design, Score, Cinematography, and Editing all depend on how good the film is. Acting? People are loving Angela Bassett’s monologue in the trailer, but will it be enough to get her in the supporting actress race?

13) All Quiet On The Western Front

Germany’s submission this year for foreign language feature has solid reviews, and the backing of Netflix. Drive My Car snuck into the race last year, and Parasite is a recent winner. So people are always looking for that new breakthrough in international feature. Considering the technical achievements here, it could walk away with several nominations, including Cinematography, Editing,Sound, and Visual Effects, not to mention Adapted Screenplay.

14) The Glass Onion

The sequel to knives out is getting a rare wide theatrical release despite being a Netflix release. Most critics who have seen it say it is better than the original, which had a ton of buzz, even though it came up short. I’m not sure what else other than Screenplay it seems likely to get. That all depends on how much love the film receives.

15) Empire Of Light

Sam mendes’ new film seems to have tepid receptions with most critics focused on the performances by Olivia Coleman and Michael Ward. it’s still a film about cinema, meaning Hollywood people could push this further than expected like with Mank, giving it that 10th spot. Right now, it just has an outside chance at a few things, with Coleman the most likely choice.

16) Elvis

Believe it or not, this is still a very strong contender. Not really for Picture, or even Director, but Austin Butler has a solid chance at being one of the five. The buzz has been holding and he seems to still be getting talked about. Add to that likely nominations in Costume and Makeup, and Elvis might defy it’s summer release date.

17) The Woman king

The film no one really knows what to do with, except the fact that it has a super high RT score and did better than expected at the box office. The category is too crowded for Viola Davis this year, and there are too many supporting actresses to pick just one. There’s no real consensus here, which means its most likely nominations are in Costume Design or Production Design.

18) White Noise

This Noah Baumbach film got a mixed reception but with Netflix behind it, I’m not fully counting it out. It’s a dark horse for just about everything, but it still is alive. Adam Driver seems like the most likely choice.

19) Decision To Leave

Another foreign title looking for acceptance outside the International Feature category. There is no guarantee, but from what I understand, this is a solid lock for at least an international Feature nomination.

20) Triangle Of Sadness

This Cannes winner features a giant segment full of shit and vomit, and I don’t know where it would end up. It keeps getting referenced as in the running, and even Gold Derby has it above 100-1 odds, indicating that they think it has an outside chance at Best Picture. Does it? Really?

21) Bones And All

Despite the reviews, and my inclusion on this list, I think this might land in Original Score. That’s it. It’s a cannibal film, which will be hard to stomach for most voters. Plus, it’s three hours long. Good luck with that campaign.

22) Bardo

Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s film premiered, didn’t get great reviews, but is supposedly getting recut. So we will see if a shorter, tighter cut of this film does anything for anyone. That’s why I’m keeping this on my list.

23) I Wanna Dance With Somebody

I know this is sight unseen, and I might be the only one still pushing this, but I’m keeping this Whitney Houston biopic on here until it gets a critical consensus. I know Jennifer Hudson missed out last year with Respect, but her film didn’t have a Christmas release.

24) The Son

Yes, it is technically a spiritual follow up to The Father, so you would think it would be higher on the list. Earl buzz on this is not good. Laura Dern seems totally out of the supporting actress race. Like I said last time, it seems the only remote possibility is a nomination for Hugh Jackman, and that’s looking like a tight squeeze.

25) The Batman

New to my list, as I didn’t include this last time, I feel like The Batman still is a strong technical contender, with nominations looking likely for a few categories. It would be a sin to not nominate Michael Giacchino’s score simply because this film came out earlier in the year. There are several supporting actor performances worth noting, but by keeping this film in the conversation, it really helps prop up likely nominees Colin Farrell and Paul Dano, who will get nominated for other things this year.

Here are my current Oscar Predictions:


The Fablemans

Women Talking


She Said



Everything Everywhere All At Once

The Banshees Of inusharon

The Whale

Empire Of Light

(I will likely drop Empire Of Light once someone has actually seen either Avatar or Black Panther)


Steven Spielberg (The Fablemans)

Sarah Polley (Women Talking)

Damien Chazelle (Babylon)

Martin McDonaugh (The Banshees Of inusharon)

Darren Aronofsky (The Whale)


Brendan Fraser (The Whale)Co

Colin Farrell (The Banshees Of inusharon)

Austin Butler (Elvis)

Gabriel LaBelle (The Fablemans)

Hugh Jackman (The Son)


Cate Blanchett (Tar)M


Michelle Yeoh (everything Everywhere All At Once)

Danielle Deitweiler (Till)

Margot Robbie (Babylon)

Naomi Aoki (I Wanna Dance With Somebody)


Paul Dano (The Fablemans)

Judd Hirsch (The Fablemans)

Brendan Gleeson (The Banshees Of inusharon)

Brad Pitt (Babylon)

Ben Whishaw (Women Talking)


Stephanie Szu (Everything Everywhere All At Once)

Claire Foy (Women Talking)

Jessie Buckley (Women Talking)

Sadie Singh (The Whale)M


Michelle Williams (The Fablemans)

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