Is Everything, Everywhere, All At Once Still The Frontrunner? A Look at the Best Picture Oscar Race.
by Tyler Wanke
The “Big 5” festivals have wrapped and we have a much better idea of what this years Oscars race is going to look like. Here at Purely Kino, we want to give you the best Oscar analysis we can, so be sure to follow us all throughout awards season for the most up to date insight on Film’s biggest night. Today, I want to take a look at where the Best Picture race stands as of October 2022.
Right now I think there are 5-6 films that I would categorize as “locks” for a Best Picture Nomination. The Fabelmans, Top Gun: Maverick, The Banshees of Inisherin, Women Talking, Everything Everywhere All at Once and Babylon. Everything after that could or could not make it in based on a variety of intrinsic (the movie itself) and extrinsic (social developments) factors.
The real question here is if Everything Everywhere All at Once is still Tthe frontrunner for Best Picture. To be frank, it’s sort of a tough question to answer for two main reasons: Its Q1 2022 release date, and its appeal among various age demographics.
Looking at when Best Picture winners tend to be released in theatres has been a pretty good recent indicator at best picture success. Taking out the Nomadland year where the ceremony was pushed back to April and Nomadland didn’t get a wide release until that February, all but one film that has won best picture in the last 10 years has been released in the second half of the year (July-December). Looking back at the early 2000s, Only Gladiator, Crash and The Hurt Locker came out pre July (May, May and June respectively). The last film to come put pre-June and win best Picture? Parasite.
Parasite’s win wasn’t only unusual because of its May release date, It became the first non-English film to win the award and seemingly represented a shift away from the older whiter gatekeepers of the Academy. Parasite was catapulted by a massive online presence that transcended the interest of even the most average filmgoer to become a phenomenon and make Bong Joon-Ho a name that not just film junkies know.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is arguably more creative and more accessible than Parasite was, but it was released in March. The last film to win Best Picture with a March release date was The Godfather in 1972. The only other winner I saw in my research with a March release date was The Sound of Music in 1965. Even with the long odds of March against it, it feels like it also maintaining momentum amongst younger audiences with older style films that fit the status quo of winners like Babylon and The Fabelman’s potentially being a winner with the older crowd.
So that question still remains, is it still the frontrunner for picture. It really is all about who you ask. An older crowd would say that Fabelmans is coming for the crown. The younger generation is looking to repeat Parasite and CODA with its challenging of the status quo. I want to believe that the younger generation is right. Everything Everywhere All at Once is a shoe-in for editing and some Oscar Nominations. I think if it is nominated for picture and takes home the editing Oscar, its the next Godfather.
Still, Fabelman's is nothing to take lightly. After its premiere at TIFF and seeing it win the Peoples Choice award, the film is looking to be a strong contender that fits more clearly into the mold of a Best Picture winner. A love letter to the filmmaking experience from one of the most distinguished directors of all time is the stuff that Oscar voters eat up, but, once again, it’s a status quo movie, and the last 5 years have shown a movement away from the status quo.
Other films have things going for it but I don’t see as legitimate contenders to win the award. Women Talking will aim at the barren adapted screenplay category and actress awards, Babylon feels a lot like American Hustle where we could see ten nominations because of Damien Chazelle’s early Oscar success, but I could also easily see it missing every award its nominated for. Top Gun Maverick feels like Mad Max Fury Road. I think it will clean up in the technical categories but won’t win any of the important predecessors that would turn it into Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Even Banshees doesn’t feel like anything more than a screenplay lock and possibly both actors cancelling each other out in lead (unless they campaign one for lead and one for supporting)
Everything else that we see now as potential Best Picture nominees could easily become victims of circumstance. 2 examples of this are The Whale and The Woman King. Both films with general acclaim and support behind them but just as much controversy that could tank their chances. I think we need at least another month to determine how 6-10 is going to look. It would be interesting to see if Netflix misses out on Picture this year as well. After Bardo opened to mixed/negative reviews, it seems its best chance is All Quiet on the Western Front, a German language remake of the classic anti-war film.
Once the Holiday season rolls around, I think well get a better idea on a lot of those bottom half films in the race. I also think that this is going to be a major turning point year overall. If a film like Everything Everywhere All at Once wins, we will have 3 of the 4 previous winners be uniquely different Oscar stories. If The Fabelmans wins, I think that the tug-of-war match between the old guard and the young voters will continue its back and forth into the 2020s.
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