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Here are your Oscar nomination predictions ...


It's that time of year. No, we're not talking about New Year's resolutions. We're talking about awards season. Next week, the much anticipated Oscar nominations will be announced. We wanted to preview who may be nominated for the top awards, so we called Glen Weldon. He's a co-host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour and movie critic. And he's with us now. Glen, thanks so much for joining us once again.

GLEN WELDON, BYLINE: Great to be here. Thanks.

MARTIN: So let's talk about the biggest prizes. I guess those are the ones that, you know, most people pay attention to. Which films and actors do you think are going to get nominated?

WELDON: OK. Well, for best picture, you've got three shoe-ins - "Everything Everywhere All At Once," "The Fabelmans" and "The Banshees Of Inisherin." Now, those three films appeal to very different parts of the Academy's voting base, but it'll be interesting to see which one walks away with it. But also look for "Tar" and "Elvis" and "Women Talking." "All Quiet On The Western Front's" coming up on the outside.

And, look. This was a very weird year. We all got out of the habit of going to the movies because of the pandemic. So the Academy, which, remember, is made up of people in the film industry, is very likely to reward those movies that got some butts back in seats, spectacle movies like "Avatar: The Way Of Water," "Top Gun: Maverick," maybe even "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

But in terms of acting nominations, best actress is definitely going to look like Cate Blanchett for "Tar," Michelle Yeoh for "Everything Everywhere All At Once" and Danielle Deadwyler for "Till." For best actor, Brendan Fraser is going to get a nod for "The Whale." Colin Farrell and his eyebrows will be nominated for "Banshees Of Inisherin," and you're going to get Austin Butler for "Elvis" in there as well.

MARTIN: So I think many people will remember, like, the Golden Globes was held earlier this month. And in the past, it's been seen as an indicator for what we're going to see at the Oscars. Is that still true?

WELDON: I mean, you're going to get some of the same nominations and winners, but that has less to do with the Globes and everything to do with the groupthink of Hollywood. You know, the Globes are a sham. They've always been a sham. They've never mattered. The last couple of years of scandals have exposed that. You want to look to other awards shows where the people who are voting have actual skin in the game, because I think those matter more, like the SAG Awards and the Critics Choice Awards, the Directors Guild Awards.

MARTIN: I get what you're saying about groupthink, and I get what you're saying about how the Globes has always been a sham. But we did see a diverse group of actors win the Globes' highest awards. Is that a trend that we are going to see continue?

WELDON: Very hopefully. I mean, the #OscarsSoWhite campaign was not so long ago, and that caused the academy to do something real. The Oscars is a much larger voting pool, and they've done real work adding younger and more diverse members. It's not a guarantee of anything on Oscar night, but it is hopeful.

MARTIN: Do you have predictions for possible snubs?

WELDON: I'll be looking to see if Michelle Williams gets a lead actress knob because her role in "Fabelmans" is a lead role. It is a big swing for her. But, you know, putting her in that category puts her up against Cate Blanchett in "Tar." So she's probably going to go home empty-handed on Oscar night.

MARTIN: OK. So let's bring up the icky thing. Last year's Oscars is, of course, remembered for the slap, when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock over a joke he made about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. And this year, Jimmy Kimmel is hosting. What do you expect?

WELDON: I mean, I think we're going to get some jokes about the slap right at the top of the ceremony. They won't be in particularly great taste, but they'll be there because they're going to try to defuse that whole situation. They have to. I do think Kimmel's a good choice because the most important thing about this whole prospect of turning works of art into competition with winners and losers is dumb. It's pointless. But it is fun. And that's what Kimmel can hopefully keep reminding folks - not to take any of this stuff too seriously.

MARTIN: That was NPR movie critic Glen Weldon. Glen, thank you so much.

WELDON: My pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Glen Weldon is a host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. He reviews books, movies, comics and more for the NPR Arts Desk.