Which Oscars will ‘Elvis’ Win?

Elvis has been one of the most unique Oscar-nominated films of recent years. When it released in June of 2022, there had already been at least two films poised to be Best Picture contenders released – Everything Everywhere All At Once and Top Gun: Maverick. Elvis looked to only be in contention for its lead Austin Butler, and maybe a few tech categories. Then, something began to change, and the legend of Elvis Presley was embraced once again.

Elvis‘s stock grew and grew from a potential contender to a strong frontrunner in a number of categories, even picking up a few surprise nominations along the way. The film holds the frontrunner and the underdog status simultaneously in a number of their categories. Elvis is in a unique position this year as it could win the most awards, or zero awards, and both are entirely plausible circumstances.

Here is how I have Elvis‘s Oscars night playing out.

Best Picture

There was once a time when Elvis was thought to be the “good will” nominee of the bunch as many people would root for the film because of the name attached and the people behind it. Clearly, that sentiment has gone to Everything Everywhere All At Once in overwhelming fashion. I still think Elvis is a top 5 contender, but at this point of the race, it almost doesn’t matter.

Prediction: Loss

Best Actor – Austin Butler

At 31, Austin Butler is two years older than the youngest-ever Best Actor winner Adrian Brody (29), and a win here would tie him with Maximillian Schell (Judgement at Nuremberg) as the fourth youngest Best Actor winner ever. However, with Paul Mescal also breaking into the Best Actor race, Butler isn’t seen as the “young newcomer”; he is unequivocally a front-runner.

As Kenzie Vanunu said in her article covering this year’s Best Actor race, it is down to Butler and The Whales Brendan Fraser. After the BAFTA and SAG split, it makes the margin between these two much smaller. That being said, as highlighted in Kenzie’s article, the last time the Oscar went to a sole SAG winner was when Matthew McConaughey won for Dallas Buyers Club and the last time the Oscar went to the BAFTA winner was much more recent with Anthony Hopkins winning for The Father OVER SAG winner Chadwick Boseman. With the recent expansion of SAG, there has to be more stock put in BAFTA as a precursor, and that BAFTA win didn’t come easy with Butler taking it over Colin Farrell for the much-awarded The Banshees of Inisherin.

We can’t ignore that the Academy loves its real people, and there are very few more beloved than Elvis Presley. In 2017, when the quartet of Casey Affleck, Emma Stone, Mahershala Ali, and Viola Davis won, they all were original characters not based on real people; the last time it happened before that was in 1998 with Robin Williams, Helen Hunt, Jack Nicholson, and Kim Basinger. Ke Huy Quan has his award practically locked up, none of the Supporting Actresses are playing real people, and the only one of the Best Actresses is Ana de Armas (who isn’t winning). So it’s safe to say that Butler definitely gets a massive boost here.

While Fraser has passion behind his performance (not so much his film), there is just far too much for him to overcome to win the Oscar. The Best Actor Oscar hasn’t been won without a Best Picture nomination since Jeff Bridges won for Crazy Heart, and I just don’t see Fraser pulling it off for this film. Butler takes it.

Prediction: Win

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

Elvis was able to take BAFTA for Best Makeup & Hairstyling away from not only All Quiet on the Western Front – a movie that exceeded expectations in both nominations and wins – but from the other Oscar frontrunner in this category, The Whale. While the prosthetics created in The Whale are unbelievable, it is the world that is created with the Makeup & Hairstyling in Elvis that is truly breathtaking. This past season, we saw an acting win and a Makeup & Hairstyling win go almost hand-in-hand, and I think that will happen this year as well.

Prediction: Win

Best Editing

The Academy often seems to think that the most editing is the best editing, so it’s no surprise that this category is a battle between Everything Everywhere All At Once and Elvis. Over the past couple of weeks, however, Everything Everywhere All At Once has really managed to pull ahead of the other nominees winning the America Cinema Editors (ACE) Award and the BAFTA, while Elvis only managed an ACE win. It is still clearly between these two films, and with how well editing is utilized in both films it could come down to the wire. But the pedigree that Everything Everywhere All At Once has, even outside of those two wins, is too much to overlook.

Prediction: Loss

Best Cinematography

Mandy Walker’s history-making win as the first female to win at the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Awards is nothing to look away from. Even though the predicted winner All Quiet on the Western Front wasn’t present, Elvis‘s techs were always going to be something to look out for given the zaniness with which Baz Luhrmann makes his films. I think Elvis is in a close second, but the British Society of Cinematographers (BSC) and BAFTA win for All Quiet on the Western Front show international love for the cinematography in that film.

Prediction: Loss

Best Sound

While the sound design and mixing is impeccable in Elvis, this is a case in which a film suffers greatly from the Oscars not having two Sound categories. With the loss to All Quiet on the Western Front at the BAFTA, and the loss to Top Gun: Maverick at the Cinema Audio Society Awards (CAS), it’s safe to say it won’t pick up a win in this category.

Prediction: Loss

Best Costume Design

Everything Everywhere All At Once picked up steam, beating out Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (and thus, icon Ruth E. Carter) for this award at the Costume Designers Guild (CDG) Awards, but there are two words standing in its way: Catherine Martin. The now nine-time Oscar nominee and four-time winner has always won this award paired alongside Best Production Design. That being said, even if she doesn’t win the Production Design Oscar this year, it is pretty safe to say that she will take home Best Costuming after winning CDG and more importantly, BAFTA.

Prediction: Win

Best Production Design

As mentioned above, I think this will be the first time in Catherine Martin’s career that she wins an Oscar solo. Babylon has won the Art Directors Guild (ADG) Award and the BAFTA, while Elvis has only managed a win at the Set Directors Society of America (SDSA) Awards. There is certainly still a chance as this film is likely in second place, but it’s a low one.

Prediction: Loss

As of right now, I have Elvis winning three Oscars. This might not seem like much given the 8 total nominations, but with three wins, it could be one of the top three most-awarded films of the night. Naturally, it could win more or less than three, but it feels safe to say that by the end of Sunday night, Elvis will be an Oscar-winning film.

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