Trying to pick an Oscar winner based on awards season

James Cameron (avatar) and Baz Luhrman (elvis) are conspicuously absent from the directors category. There is still no sign of Tom Cruise as best actor Top Gun: Maverick to win almost universal acclaim. And Jordan Peeles nopeAnd The Woman Kingdirected by Gina Prince-Bythewood and starring Viola Davis, were left out completely by a stunning oversight.

So who will win? Well, at face value, the best actor category has become a dead heat between Colin Farrell and Austin Butler, both of whom have each won three of the top pre-Oscar awards including the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice, BAFTAs and National Awards of the Examination Board.

But Brendan Fraser’s win at the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards last week for his brilliant performance The whale splits this race into a three-way sprint. It’s just a pre-Oscar win, but it’s the most critical: Of all the pre-Oscar awards for actors, the SAG voting base is closely tied to the Oscars. That gives weight to the win.

Over the past decade, the Academy’s voting membership has increased by almost 65 percent to a total of around 9,500 eligible voters, largely due to an aggressive campaign by the Academy to attract women, people of diverse backgrounds and international filmmakers to its books win .

Leading the Oscar race: Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis at last week's Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Leading the Oscar race: Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis at last week’s Screen Actors Guild Awards.Credit:Chris Pizzallo/AP


Despite these shifts, however, Oscar voting still appears to be dominated by the Hollywood establishment — as Fraser’s odds suggest (though his campaign is also fueled by strong comeback narrative). Though there’s competition in the best director category, Steven Spielberg remains a rock-solid contender because Hollywood has a history of favoring its most prominent sons.

Australia’s Best Actress runner-up, Cate Blanchett, faces the same challenge as Farrell and Butler: She had won six wins for Michelle Yeoh’s four in awards season, but Yeoh gained a crucial advantage in the Oscar race when she last weekend won the SAG award.

Yeoh’s win, plus a win for Everything everywhere at once Directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert at last month’s Directors Guild Awards also hinted at a possible “clean break” for the film at the Oscars. It goes into the night with 11 nominations, more than any other film.

The biggest prize of the evening, the Oscar for best picture, is perhaps the easiest to predict: that of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert Everything everywhere at once is by far the favorite of the award season. After winning Best Picture at the Producers Guild Awards, there’s a 70 percent chance, based on the story, that Oscar will follow suit.

Returning presenter Jimmy Kimmel on the Oscars stage in 2018.

Returning presenter Jimmy Kimmel on the Oscars stage in 2018.Credit:Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Not surprisingly, most pundits are anticipating the clean break. Strike, warned deadline is Respected industry analyst Pete Hammond this week would mean “defying all statistical odds in all of history, at least recent history, of the 95 years of the Academy Awards.”

The 95th Academy Awards will be broadcast on Channel 7 and 7plus on Monday 13 March. Trying to pick an Oscar winner based on awards season

Jaclyn Diaz

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