Likeliest, Well-Fortified, Semi-Inevitable (7)

Chris Nolan‘s Oppenheimer (Universal, 7.21)
Alexander Payne‘s The Holdovers (Focus Features, 11.10.23)
Greta Gerwig‘s Barbie (Warner Bros., 7.21)
Ridley Scott‘s Napoleon (Apple)
Martin Scorsese‘s Killers of the Flower Moon (Apple / Paramount)
Bradley Cooper‘s Maestro (Netflix)
Michael Mann‘s Ferrari (STX)

Semi-Likely (4)

Celine Song‘s Past Lives (A24)
Ben Affleck‘s Air (Amazon, 4.5)
Matt Johnson‘s BlackBerry (IFC Films, 5.12)
Emerald Fennell‘s Saltburn (Amazon/UA releasing)

And The Rest…(10)

David Fincher‘s The Killer (Netflix)
Wes Anderson‘s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (Netflix)
Sofia Coppola‘s Priscilla (A24)
Blitz Bazawule‘s The Color Purple (Warner Bros., 12.20)
Todd HaynesMay December
Yorgos LanthimosPoor Things (Searchlight)
Ari Aster‘s Beau Is Afraid(A24, 4.21)
Sean Durkin‘s The Iron Claw (A24)
Yorgos LanthimosAnd (Searchlight — anthology film)
Jonathan Glazer‘s The Zone of Interest.

Conclusion: It’s not my natural inclination to define or classify films according to the cultural heritage or ethnicity of their creators — in my eyes good cinema is good cinema. But it does seem to appear that 2023 will gradually become known as The Year of the Resurgence of Older White Male Filmmakers. We all understand that older white males are bad (i.e., inheritors of an evil legacy) and deserving of cultural belittling and dismissal and perhaps even punishment, but Club Diverse can’t win each and every year.

Martin Scorsese, 80
Chris Nolan, 52
Alexander Payne, 62
Ridley Scott, 85
Ben Affleck, 51
Matt Johnson, 36
Bradley Cooper, 49
Michael Mann, 80

To ethnically round out the Best Picture roster, Blitz Bazawule‘s The Color Purple will almost certainly have to be factored in.

Celine Song‘s Past Lives, which premiered at Sundance ’23, could emerge as a strong contender. I don’t see Greta Gerwig‘s Barbie as an awards-level effort but let’s wait and see.

Keep in mind that anyone can guess or strategize their head off but no one knows what’s coming. Not really. The deeply loathed Everything Everywhere All At Once was NOWHERE on anybody’s predictions list this time last year.

Kevin Costner‘s Horizon trilogy won’t start shooting until April (i.e., next month ) so it seems unlikely to become a ’23 release.