Ranking Your Best Picture Nominees by Likelihood They Will Win

It’s OK to care!

Will Leitch
4 min readJan 24

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The Oscar nominations came out this morning. Oscar nominations are silly because all awards shows are silly, but of all the awards shows, the Oscars are unquestionably both the silliest and the most serious. The Academy Awards may fail at this goal constantly, but they do at least try to honor the objectively best movie of the year: You’re never going to see Transformers nominated for Best Picture, no matter how many people go to watch it. (I do not believe this to be the case for other awards shows.)

Plus, as the actual experience of going to the movies feels forever under attack — how many people in your life tell you, “Oh, jeez, I don’t remember the last time I want to the movies!” because in my life it is a lot — anything that honors this most truly global of art forms is fine in my book. People are going to be talking movies for a month or so? OK by me!

So, to kick off the fun, here’s a quick back-of-napkin ranking of the 10 films nominated for Best Picture, by their likelihood to actually win the award. This isn’t my personal ranking: I’ll put that at the end of the post. But this is a quick guess as to what will win. From least likely to most …

10. Women Talking. The biggest surprise nominee, Sarah Polley’s, well, talky drama also received a screenplay nomination, but no acting nominations. No one will be unhappy seeing Polley win a nomination, but this is the furthest of longshots.

9. Elvis. No longer known as “the movie where Tom Hanks got Covid,” the brash Baz Luhrmann musical features a terrific Austin Butler performance, a terrible Tom Hanks performance and so, so much Baz Luhrmann-ing. It is a bit of a coup to win a nomination, but Butler’s likely win will have to suffice.

8. Avatar: The Way of Water. You sort of have to nominate a movie that almost singlehandedly saved the holiday box office, but if the first one wasn’t going to win (and it didn’t), this one’s not going to.

7. Top Gun: Maverick. Jerry Bruckheimer, Oscar nominee. As much fun as it would be to see Tom Cruise win his first Oscar ever, but for producing, this is an ultimately “wow, if 1986 You could see what’s going to happen in 2023” moment.

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Will Leitch

I write about these tumultuous times 2x a week. Author of five books, including “How Lucky.” NYMag/MLB.. Founder, Deadspin. https://williamfleitch.substack.com