2023 Academy Awards Predictions — Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary, Best International Film

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

Best Animated Feature

  • Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
  • Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
  • The Sea Beast
  • Turning Red

Will Win: Pinocchio

Could Win: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Dark Horse: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio has been the odds-on favorite in this category for months now. It is improbable that anything will best it. The one thing I can think that has changed this race in the intervening weeks is the somewhat surprising financial and critical success of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.

Still, I find an upset unlikely. Pinocchio has been winning all of the precursors (including the BAFTA and Golden Globe), which has effectively shut the other films out of the race. As much as Marcel the Shell with Shoes On and Turning Red are well-liked, they are nowhere near the place Pinocchio is in this race (and, for what it’s worth, Pinocchio and The Sea Beast are both Netflix releases, so we can assume Netflix has put their campaigning weight behind the former).

Best Documentary Feature

  • A House Made of Splinters
  • All that Breathes
  • All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
  • Fire of Love
  • Navalny

Will Win: Fire of Love

Could Win: All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Dark Horse: Navalny

Some people are counting Fire of Love out of this race, and I’m not sure why. Yes, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is the favorite and is coming from an Academy-tested director in Laura Poitras (who won for 2014’s Citizenfour). But Fire of Love is winning precursors (the DGA, most notably). It is also somewhat noteworthy that All the Beauty did not receive a Producers Guild award nomination; Fire of Love did. I think there is a path for Fire of Love to win.

It certainly has a better case than All That Breathes (which is very good, by the way) and A House Made of Splinters. The latter is something of an outlier, with very few precursor noms, aside from the Independent Spirits. Navalny, meanwhile, has hung in the race with its recent BAFTA win – although, I don’t see it as a heavy contender the way Fire of Love and All the Beauty are (but this is judged solely on the eye test).

Best International Film

  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Argentina, 1985
  • Close
  • Eo
  • The Quiet Girl

Will Win: All Quiet on the Western Front

Could Win: Argentina, 1985

Dark Horse: Eo

This category appears like a no-brainer. One of these things is not like the other. All Quiet on the Western Front has multiple nominations that span many different branches of the Academy. No other film in this category can say this. Expect most Academy members to have All Quiet first on their ballot.

The Quiet Girl is persona non grata, and, despite co-winning the Cannes Grand Prize, Close is similarly quiet. Argentina, 1985 did win the Golden Globe, but the Globes and the Academy do not always align in this category. I would hold out hope that Eo might slip into this race, but it is simply not a film on the scale of All Quiet. But Eo and Argentina, 1985 are both fairly good films (better than All Quiet, in my opinion), so seek them out all the same.

As always, thanks for reading!

—Alex Brannan (Twitter, Letterboxd, Facebook)


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