2023 Academy Awards Predictions — Best Actress and Best Actor

These are our 2023 Oscar predictions for Best Actor and Best Actress, part of a series on this year’s awards. Check out full predictions in all Oscar categories.

Best Actress

  • Ana de Armas – Blonde
  • Cate Blanchett – Tár
  • Andrea Riseborough – To Leslie
  • Michelle Williams – The Fabelmans
  • Michelle Yeoh – Everything Everywhere All at Once

Will Win: Cate Blanchett

Could Win: Michelle Yeoh

Dark Horse: Ana de Armas

Best Actress this year has essentially been a two-horse race from the very start. Blanchett has been the front-runner, with Michelle Yeoh just on the outside looking in. I keep expecting Yeoh to pick up a major win and tilt the scale a bit here, but it just hasn’t happened yet. Watch out for the SAGs on this front. Until then, Blanchett is the odds-on favorite.

Meanwhile, Williams’ stock has been diminishing all year (I was slightly surprised she even received a nomination with folks like Viola Davis waiting in the wings). Andrea Riseborough’s last-minute push was received with odd scrutiny which I think ruined whatever extreme outside shot she had at winning (frankly, a win was really never in the cards in the first place). Ana de Armas, on the other hand, has a lot more traction than most anticipated, considering how poorly received Blonde was. She could win in spite of this reception (but I wouldn’t bank on it).

Best Actor

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

Will Win: Brendan Fraser

Could Win: Austin Butler

Dark Horse: Colin Farrell

Brendan Fraser’s Oscar campaign most readily brings to mind the Mickey Rourke campaign for The Wrestler. In my recollection, Rourke was the early front-runner in the 2009 Best Actor race. He won the Golden Globe and the BAFTA. And Rourke had a similar narrative to Fraser’s this year. Both were actors who had somewhat faded from the spotlight and who were cast in Darren Aronofsky films, case studies focused intently on these actors’ performances.

Rourke ended up losing the SAG and then the Oscar to Sean Penn. This is where the narratives between the two races diverge. Fraser, by contrast, is up against an ingenue performer in Austin Butler, whose awards stock has only continued raising as the weeks move on. Where once Nighy and Farrell seemed like viable dark horse contenders, this now appears to be a two-horse race through and through.

I give the edge here to Fraser, just given his career narrative. But the mixed reception for The Whale and Butler’s consistency could tip the scales. The SAG award will give a lot of clarity as to who is the top dog going into Oscar night. An Austin Butler SAG win will signal a big shift in the race.

As always, thanks for reading!

—Alex Brannan (Twitter, Letterboxd, Facebook)


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