The 95th Academy Awards take place Sunday night. NewsdayTV's Rafer Guzmán predicts this year's winners.

At last year’s Academy Awards, the Best Picture contest came down to two movies: Jane Campion’s moody Western, “Power of the Dog,” and the indie drama “CODA.” Before the show aired, I predicted: “Whatever else happens during the broadcast, this top Oscar category should be a nail-biting moment.”

Something else happened, all right.

After Will Smith strode onstage and slapped host Chris Rock midway through the evening, nobody was biting any nails over the award for Best Picture — our mouths were hanging open from shock. The show devolved into such chaos that night (remember Smith’s unhinged acceptance speech for Best Actor?) that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is still figuring out how to respond. Smith got hit with a 10-year ban from the Oscars, and recently the Academy announced that a “crisis team” will be present at this year’s ceremony. Details on said team are scarce, but according to Academy CEO Bill Kramer it’ll handle “anything that we may not anticipate.”

Assuming all goes well Sunday (8 p.m. on ABC/7), returning host Jimmy Kimmel — in his third outing — will probably keep the mood light and safe. This post-traumatic Oscar show is surely not the time for pointed barbs and touchy subjects. Nevertheless, he’ll have to acknowledge that slap, plus a few other elephants in the Dolby Theater.

To start, there’s the fracas over Andrea Riseborough, whose nomination in the little-seen drama “To Leslie” prompted an Academy review of the movie’s campaign tactics. Then there’s the Oscars’ snubbing of two powerful performances by Black women, Danielle Deadwyler in “Till” and Viola Davis in “The Woman King.” Speaking of women, there aren’t any at all in the directing category — and that’s despite a year that saw a lot of them, from Maria Schrader (“She Said”) to Sarah Polley (“Women Talking”) to Charlotte Wells (whose “Aftersun” earned a nod for lead actor Paul Mescal).

As for who’ll get the gold, here’s the short version: “Everything Everywhere All at Once” will win just about everything, everywhere. That oddball indie film (featuring Michelle Yeoh as a laundromat-owner who zigzags through the multiverse) should turn several of its 11 nominations into prizes, including for Best Picture. The more it wins, the slimmer the chances for "The Banshees of Inisherin,” Martin McDonagh’s prestige comedy-drama, to take home a statue. As for last year’s big-budget blockbusters, “Top Gun: Maverick” has a good shot at Film Editing and Sound, while James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” seems like a lock for Visual Effects.

Here are my picks for Sunday’s 95th Academy Awards:


Tallie Medel, left, and Stephanie Hsu in "Everything Everywhere All...

Tallie Medel, left, and Stephanie Hsu in "Everything Everywhere All at Once." Credit: A24 Films/Allyson Riggs

“All Quiet on the Western Front"

“Avatar: The Way of Water"

“The Banshees of Inisherin"


“Everything Everywhere All at Once"

“The Fabelmans"


“Top Gun: Maverick"

“Triangle of Sadness"

“Women Talking"

WHO SHOULD WIN “Tár." A steely-eyed study of gender, sexuality, power and cancel culture, this is the year’s most relevant and resonant film.

WHO WILL WIN “Everything Everywhere All at Once." No stars, no superheroes, but an original story and a diverse cast — and audiences loved it! By that measure, this is the best picture indeed.


Brendan Fraser in ' "The Whale" will win Best Actor.

Brendan Fraser in ' "The Whale" will win Best Actor. Credit: A24 Films

Austin Butler, "Elvis”

Colin Farrell, "The Banshees of Inisherin”

Brendan Fraser, "The Whale"

Paul Mescal, "Aftersun"

Bill Nighy, "Living"

SHOULD WIN Fraser. After years of little-seen acting work, Fraser rebounds with his powerful performance as a morbidly obese loner. Even buried under prosthetics, the onetime Hollywood hunk still shines.

WILL WIN Fraser.


Michelle Yeoh in  "Everything Everywhere All at Once" will win...

Michelle Yeoh in  "Everything Everywhere All at Once" will win Best Actress. Credit: A24 Films/Allyson Riggs

Cate Blanchett, "Tár"

Ana de Armas, "Blonde"

Andrea Riseborough, "To Leslie"

Michelle Williams, "The Fabelmans"

Michelle Yeoh, "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

SHOULD WIN Blanchett. She’s as good as she’s ever been — maybe better — but her dismissive acceptance speech at the Critics Choice Awards (she called it a “televised horserace”) may work against her.

WILL WIN Yeoh. She’d be the first woman who identifies as Asian to take home this award.


Ke Huy Quan in  "Everything Everywhere All at Once" will...

Ke Huy Quan in  "Everything Everywhere All at Once" will win Best Supporting Actor. Credit: A24 Films/Allyson Riggs

Brendan Gleeson, "The Banshees of Inisherin"

Brian Tyree Henry, "Causeway"

Judd Hirsch, "The Fabelmans"

Barry Keoghan, "The Banshees of Inisherin"

Ke Huy Quan, "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

SHOULD WIN Ke Huy Quan. Remember when he told Indiana Jones to cover his heart? The kid watched his acting career dry up as an adult, but he’s back in a moving performance that captured hearts all over again.



Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." Credit: Marvel Studios

Angela Bassett, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"

Hong Chau, "The Whale"

Kerry Condon, "The Banshees of Inisherin”

Jamie Lee Curtis, "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

Stephanie Hsu, "Everything Everywhere All at Once”

SHOULD WIN Bassett. As the imperious Queen Ramonda, she brings a touch of solemnity to an otherwise lightweight Marvel movie.

WILL WIN The odds favor Curtis, who won at the Screen Actors Guild. But don’t rule out Bassett, who won the Golden Globe.


Daniel Kwan, left, and Daniel Scheinert on the set of "Everything...

Daniel Kwan, left, and Daniel Scheinert on the set of "Everything Everywhere All at Once." Credit: A24 Films/Allyson Riggs

“The Banshees of Inisherin," Martin McDonagh

“Everything Everywhere All at Once," Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

“The Fabelmans," Steven Spielberg

“Tár," Todd Field

“Triangle of Sadness," Ruben Östlund

SHOULD WIN Spielberg. Few moviegoers might agree with this choice, but the old master does an undeniably beautiful job telling a deeply personal story.

WILL WIN Kwan and Scheinert. Known simply as Daniels, they’d be only the third duo to win this Oscar, following Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins (“West Side Story”) and the Coen Brothers (“No Country for Old Men”).


The movie "RRR" features the song “Naatu Naatu,” which has become...

The movie "RRR" features the song “Naatu Naatu,” which has become an international favorite. Credit: AP

"Applause" from "Tell It like a Woman”

"Hold My Hand" from "Top Gun: Maverick"

"Lift Me Up" from "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"

“Naatu Naatu" from "RRR"

“This Is a Life" from "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

SHOULD WIN “Lift Me Up.” As sung by a gutsy Rihanna (who'll perform it at the ceremony), this theme serves as both Marvel power ballad and moving tribute to the movie’s could-have-been star, Chadwick Boseman.

WILL WIN “Naatu Naatu.” It’s become an international favorite — go find the dance-video made by a South Korean ambassador — and it already nabbed a Golden Globe.


"Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio" features Gepetto, left, (voiced by David...

"Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio" features Gepetto, left, (voiced by David Bradley) and Pinocchio (voiced by Gregory Mann). Credit: Netflix

"Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio"

"Marcel the Shell with Shoes On"

"Puss in Boots: The Last Wish"

"The Sea Beast”

"Turning Red”

SHOULD WIN “Pinocchio.” Using fluid stop-motion and a top-notch voice cast (Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz), del Toro takes a Disneyfied story back to its dark roots.

WILL WIN “Pinocchio.”

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