Ranker Rundown, 2023 Oscars Edition: Banshees, Mavericks, And Multiverses, Oh My!

Voting Rules

Vote up the questions that make this year's Oscars worth watching for the answers.

Editor's Note: Voting and Reranking have been closed.

Twelve months of movies and it has come down to these 10, at least as far as the Oscars go: All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Tár, Top Gun: Maverick, Triangle of Sadness, and Women Talking.

The acting categories feature no fewer than 16 first-time nominees, while a living legend is gunning for her third Oscar. The likes of Brendan Fraser, Michelle Yeoh, and Ke Huy Quan are trying to put a perfect finishing touch on their personal Hollywood comeback stories. An arthouse multiverse action-comedy is the unexpected front-runner for the top prize. And the whole time people will be wondering if maybe, just maybe, one star is going to go on stage and slap the sh*t out of another.

Whatever reason you may or may not be watching on March 12, there will be no shortage of narratives to follow at this year's Academy Awards ceremony. Here's what to look for.

  • 1

    Which Of 2022's Triumphant Comebacks Will The Academy Recognize?

    Which Of 2022's Triumphant Comebacks Will The Academy Recognize?
    Photo: The Whale / A24

    Comeback stories are just a standard part of the Hollywood story, but even by Hollywood standards, 2022 stands out. You had Ke Huy Quan, briefly a child star in such pop-culture landmarks as The Goonies and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, returning with a major role in a best picture front-runner that might deliver him an Oscar for best supporting actor even though he was gone from the acting profession for most of the prior three decades.

    Quan's co-star Michelle Yeoh fits the bill as well. En route to front-runner status in the best actress category, Yeoh reminded people what made her an action-movie legend long before Everything Everywhere All at Once came calling.

    And then there’s Brendan Fraser, the eminently lovable '90s action star who fell out of the spotlight for years before turning heads with his dramatic turn in Darren Aronofsky’s big-screen adaptation of The Whale. Ranker voters knew it all along, voting Fraser at No. 1 on the list of actors who deserved to be on the A-list for a lot longer than they were. Those who have worked with Fraser, both in his movie star prime and in more recent years, seem to agree he deserves all the success and hardware he can get.

    Verdict: And the Oscar goes to: Brendan Fraser, Ke Huy Quan, and Michelle Yeoh.

    296 votes
  • Finally A Nominee, Will Jamie Lee Curtis Make Some Family History?
    Photo: Everything Everywhere All at Once / A24

    Jamie Lee Curtis was born and raised in Hollywood royalty, for better or worse. When she finally became an icon in her own right in her movie debut, John Carpenter’s Halloween, it was easy to link her cinematic lineage back to her motherPsycho’s Janet Leigh. After all, how many iconic mother/daughter scream queen duos are there?

    After getting typecast, for a time, in just that type of role (Prom Night, The Fog, Terror Train), Curtis moved on and built a great career for herself - and eventually, in recent years, even reprised the role of Laurie Strode that made her a star decades earlier. But Oscar glory has remained elusive. In fact, she ranks pretty highly among Ranker voters of the best actresses who have never won an acting Oscar. Will her supporting turn in Everything Everywhere All at Once change that?

    If nothing else, she has now officially matched both of her parents with exactly one Oscar nomination. For Leigh, it was Psycho; for JLC’s father Tony Curtis, it was for The Defiant Ones (yep, he was overlooked for both Sweet Smell of Success and Some Like It Hot). Will she become the first member of her royal Hollywood family to officially take home the gold?

    Verdict: Yep! Jamie Lee Curtis is officially an Oscar winner, taking the prize in a slight upset over presumptive favorite Angela Bassett.

    196 votes
  • Will 'Everything Everywhere All at Once' Continue Its Meteoric Rise With A Best Picture Win?
    Photo: A24

    The Daniels - Kwan and Scheinert - are the brains behind one of the most unlikely Oscar front-runners in recent memory. Or ever, really. That in itself is unlikely, considering that the directing duo’s collective feature resume prior to 2022 was one movie about a magical farting corpse, and another (solo-directed by Scheinert) about a man who gets screwed to death by a horse. Everything Everywhere All at Once is certainly in line with those shared sensibilities, featuring impishly naughty humor and a wistfully earnest sense of melancholy filtered, this time, through a multiverse framework.

    It became not only one of the year’s most popular action movies, but also A24’s biggest box-office hit ever. It relaunched the career of former Goonie and Indiana Jones sidekick Ke Huy Quan and revitalized that of action icon Michelle Yeoh in a starring role originally intended for none other than Jackie Chan. The devoted following for a niche sci-fi martial arts comedy was no surprise, but the momentum that propelled it to Oscar front-runner status certainly was. 

    EEAAO earned a field-leading 11 nominations, which puts it in a 25-way tie for the fourth-highest total in Oscar history. If it were to take home the best picture statuette, it could be considered - depending on how one categorizes The Shape of Water - the first sci-fi movie to ever do so. That would also continue a real, if intermittent, trend of niche upstarts soaring to the top prize, following in the footsteps of The Artist, Parasite, and CODA.

    Verdict: Yep. It wasn't quite a clean sweep, but close enough. EEAAO won seven Oscars: best picture, director, original screenplay, lead actress, supporting actress, supporting actor, and editing.

    140 votes
  • Will The Long-Overdue Angela Bassett Become Marvel's First Oscar-Winning Star?
    Photo: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever / Walt Disney Studios

    The unofficial Career Oscar is a longstanding Academy tradition, handed down to the likes of Al Pacino (Scent of a Woman), Paul Newman (The Color of Money), Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), and most recently Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) - living legends who’ve missed out on the big prize for decades finally getting their long-deserved academy recognition, even if it’s not quite for the “right” role. No knock on those performances (Newman in particular), but all of those actors had been passed over for multiple iconic performances before they took home the gold.

    Odds are Angela Bassett will be added to that list this year, and in doing so, she’ll be adding a historical footnote to the books - at least in as much as Marvel will leave a historical footprint to begin with. If she wins for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, she will become the first actor to win an Oscar for a Marvel movie (she’s already Marvel’s first acting nominee) and the third to win for a comic book film, following the Jokers Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix. Like those other belated Oscar winners, Bassett has been one of the best in the business for a long time. Though she only had one prior nomination (for What’s Love Got to Do With It), she was equally worthy for the likes of Sunshine State, Malcolm X, Strange Days, or Waiting to Exhale, to name a few. Does she bring it in Wakanda Forever? Of course she does, but it’s not exactly the role that will define her legacy.

    Verdict: No - Bassett is, sadly, still Oscar-less, as Jamie Lee Curtis snagged the best supporting actress prize.

    168 votes
  • Will Colin Farrell Cap Off The Year Of Colin Farrell With An Oscar?
    Photo: The Banshees of Inisherin / Searchlight Pictures

    Oscar tradition dictates that Jessica Chastain, last year’s winner for best actress, will likely present the trophy for this year’s best actor category. Colin Farrell is the odds-on favorite to win it, meaning the Dolby Theatre stage could give us the Miss Julie reunion we’ve been waiting for. (Ava didn’t count, on account of the whole “tree falling in the forest” thing.)

    But if producers had a greater sense of poetry, they’d let Tom Cruise present the award - not just because it would be a gracious nod to the contender who landed just on the outside looking in, but because of the specific way his career intersected with Farrell’s. When Farrell first emerged thanks to his breakout role in the war drama Tigerland, he was quickly touted as “The Next Tom Cruise.” He fit the profile - young, charismatic, dark-haired heartthrob (albeit with a much cuter accent). Just a couple years later, there he was starring alongside Cruise as his not-quite-villainous adversary in Steven Spielberg’s prescient masterpiece Minority Report.

    Farrell did not become the next Tom Cruise - in part because There Can Be Only One Tom Cruise, and in part because, aside from the superficial similarities, he is very different from Cruise. Instead, Farrell became one of the best actors of his generation, but did so while most of mainstream America was not paying attention. To name just a few great performances: The Lobster, Ondine, The New World, The Beguiled, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Intermission, Widows. And then of course there’s In Bruges, with Farrell’s brilliant tragicomic collaboration with Martin McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson setting the stage for his next brilliant tragicomic collaboration with Martin McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin, for which he (finally) earned his first Oscar nomination, which may very well turn into his first Oscar win.

    But that movie is only part of the story of his 2022. Farrell truly had One Of Those Years, with four great performances in four very, very different movies. There was his understated work in After Yang, one of the year’s best sci-fi movies, and easily one of the most underrated movies of the year. There was the gripping true-story drama Thirteen Lives. And of course we got to see Farrell go full big-city gangster in The Batman, the scenery-chewing standout in a movie full of well-cast Gotham scoundrels.

    Verdict: Nope. No Oscar for Farrell, as Brendan Fraser took home the best actor prize for The Whale.

    130 votes
  • Will Guillermo del Toro Add Yet Another Category To His Oscar Haul?
    Photo: Pinocchio / Netflix

    The path from eccentric horror artisan to mainstream Hollywood heavyweight (and regular Oscar contender) has been a circuitous one for Guillermo del Toro. One never gets the sense that Oscar approval has ever been one of his primary objectives; after all, you don’t build a lifelong collection of grotesque esoterica and monster-movie kitsch if you’re trying to come off as respectable. Yet respectable he has become, at least in the eyes of the academy - though, crucially, he’s reached that point by remaining committed to his own passions.

    Throughout his career, he’s toggled between small-scale supernatural stories and bigger-budget horror- and fantasy-infused action blockbusters. His first taste of Oscar love was his second horror fairy tale about the Spanish Civil WarPan’s Labyrinth (a spiritual companion to The Devil’s Backbone), which took home three of its six Oscar nominations. Over a decade later, his ascension was officially complete when The Shape of Water won best picture and he took home best director. Two years after that, his next film, a remake of Nightmare Alley, earned four more Oscar nominations, including for best picture. And now, a year later, del Toro is once again a top contender at the Oscars - but this time for a different category altogether. His stop-motion take on Pinocchio - the second and superior of the two Pinocchio movies that came out in 2022 - is up for the best animated feature prize. It may be the best of the lot, but it still faces stiff competition from, among other things, Pixar’s Turning Red. The animation juggernaut has won the best animated feature Oscar a whopping 11 times in the category’s 21 years of existence. Let’s see if del Toro can keep them from making it 12-for-22.

    Verdict: Yes! That's another Oscar for Guillermo. Next year, let's see if he can write an original song and check that category off his list.

    89 votes