Watching the 2023 Oscars: A Year of Reckoning

Tara Taghizadeh


After the unforgivable slap seen and heard around the world at last year’s Oscars ceremony, questions remain: namely, whether the Academy did enough to punish Will Smith for the attack on Chris Rock, and, given the general decline in viewership, are awards ceremonies still relevant?

Of course, the greatest slap in the face to Will Smith – pardon the pun -- would have been if Chris Rock had hosted this year’s Oscars, but Rock turned down the offer. The talented Jimmy Kimmel will no doubt have a field day addressing last year’s brouhaha and that the industry is still reeling from its effects.

Rock initially took the high road and declined to respond to the abuse he suffered on worldwide TV, but recently, during a Netflix special, he shot back at Smith and his wife and, doing what Rock does best, skewered them publicly via his comedic talent. Rock had the last laugh.

But the Academy clearly did not do enough. Banning Smith for 10 years doesn’t properly address his inappropriate actions – but perhaps the fact that Smith has dug his own grave in many regards -- and in many circles -- is punishment enough.

The other question that hinders the ultimate success of the Oscars – and awards shows in general – is that of declining viewership -- younger generations seem less enthralled by these ceremonies, a fact that Hollywood will have to address soon as ratings wane and generations Y and Z are reluctant to tune in to watch the film industry pat itself on the back.



Regardless, fine films are still being made, and this year offered great turns from veteran and new actors and filmmakers alike. In a year of awards show surprises – where Asian-American stars have made history and the problem of a lack of diversity doesn’t seem to taint the industry as it did previously – this year’s Academy Awards no doubt promise surprises of their own.

Historically, the Oscars listen to the beat of a different drummer – the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, or S.A.G. Awards do not necessarily predict who will walk away with an Oscar. There have been plenty of upsets at the Oscars – such as CODA winning best picture last year (who knew?).

And this year, even though Everything Everywhere All at Once has swept up most of the major awards thus far, there might still be upsets on Sunday night.

This is Highbrow Magazine’s list of films and filmmakers who deserve to win an Oscar, and those who will most likely win.



--Best Picture:

Deserves to Win: The Banshees of Inisherin

Will Most Likely Win: The Banshees of Inisherin – or in an upset: Everything Everywhere All at Once


--Best Actor:

Deserves to Win: Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin)

Will Most Likely Win: Brendan Fraser (The Whale)



--Best Actress:

Deserves to Win: Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Will Most Likely Win: Cate Blanchett (Tar) -- or in an upset: Michelle Yeoh


--Best Supporting Actor:

Deserves to Win: Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Will Most Likely Win: Ke Huy Quan



--Best Supporting Actress:

Deserves to Win: Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Will Most Likely Win: Angela Bassett (Wakanda Forever) -- or in an upset: Stephanie Hsu


--Best Director:

Deserves to Win: Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans)

Will Most Likely Win: Steven Spielberg



--Best Original Screenplay:

Deserves to Win: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Will Most Likely Win: Everything Everywhere All at Once


--Best Adapted Screenplay:

Deserves to Win: Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson, Ian Stokell, All Quiet on the Western Front

Will Most Likely Win: Sarah Polley, Women Talking



--Best International Film:

Deserves to Win: Argentina 1985

Will Most Likely Win: All Quiet on the Western Front



Author Bio:

Tara Taghizadeh is Highbrow Magazine’s founding editor and publisher.


For Highbrow Magazine


Image Source:

--Robert Couse-Baker (Pxhere, Creative Commons)

--Budiey (Flickr, Creative Commons)

--Gage Skidmore (Wikimedia, Creative Commons)


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