From the infamous Will Smith slap last year to the "La La Land"/"Moonlight" upset, the annual Oscar awards are synonymous with pivotal pop culture moments. This year, the highly-prized Best Picture category promises a taste of that iconic, award season drama.
With 23 different categories attempting to award some of the most acclaimed films around the globe in production design, visual effects, original score, film editing, directing, cinematography and many more, it can be difficult to determine which films will rise to the top.
"It's a tough year to know," said junior film and media production student and Hollywood Invades Tempe Crew marketing director Isaac Barrio in an email. His pick for the Best Picture category is Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert's "Eveything Everywhere All at Once," which, according to Barrio, "would really be a great win for 'Indie' film creators."
Shot in under 40 days with a budget of only $25 million and produced by emergent film production studio A24, "Everything Everywhere All at Once" would be an unusual choice for best picture, but far from undeserved. Its impressive filmmaking, unique story and visual effects have made it the frontrunner this season.
The Hollywood Reporter, ScreenRant, and RogerEbert.com all consider it the most likely winner.
"For a film to come from a company and pair of directors that started off very indie to make it to such a reward is a moment that can highlight the future of the box office and aid in the direction of cinema as a whole," Barrio said.
Still, every year, the Best Picture award catches audiences off-guard. After all, out of the hundreds of films that come out annually, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences choosing an individual outstanding movie to call the "best" of that year is a high distinction.
Sachin Sahoo, a chemical engineering graduate student and member of The Film Club at ASU, chose "Avatar: The Way of Water," as the film most likely to win out of the movies he'd seen already.
"I liked the whales, it was sick," Sahoo said. "But ... I'm more passionate about 'Elvis' and 'The Fabelmans,' they definitely fit my sensibilities a lot more."
Typically, there are two types of nominees for Best Picture — fan favorites that more people may have gone to watch at the box office that performed well both outside and inside of the filmmaking sphere, or the film festival debuted, critically acclaimed and often times lesser-known by everyday film goers works.
While the selection for the year's Best Picture is made up of several fan favorites like James Cameron's "Avatar: the Way of Water," Baz Luhrmann's "Elvis," and Joseph Kosinski's "Top Gun: Maverick," it's "Everything Everywhere All At Once," that is considered one of the top contenders out of the fan favorites.
Joe Briones, a junior studying management, said in an email "Everything Everywhere All At Once," is also the favored winner of Hollywood Invades Tempe Crew.
"We all enjoyed that movie very much," Briones said. "The cinematography was stunning, the score was heart dropping, the actors' chemistry was authentic and real, and the editing was beyond excellence!"
"Everything (the directors) did to create the film was done with incredible detail," said CJ Metz, a junior studying film and media production and a member of Maroon and Gold Entertainment, in an email. "Not to mention the incredible representation, (the film) juggles so much emotional, comedic, and intellectual components into two hours and 19 minutes."
Outside of the more popular nominees, Edward Berger's "All Quiet on the Western Front," Martin McDonagh's "The Banshees of Inisherin," Todd Field's "Tár," and Sarah Polley's "Women Talking," stand a decent chance at victory as well.
Past Best Picture winners such as "Nomadland," "12 Years a Slave" and "Green Book," have set a high standard that is often only achieved through the big budgets of major production studios. They also tend to be dramatic films with heavy subject matter with either historical or realistic settings that rarely stray from their genre standard.
Yet more recent victories such as "The Shape of Water" and "Parasite," have broken pattern by introducing elements of fantasy and horror into the category.
Smaller production companies have done well too, with A24 seeing its first major Oscar victory when "Moonlight" won Best Picture in 2017. This may suggest that the title of Best Picture is more assured victory for "Everything Everywhere All at Once" than it has been for the film's predecessors.
The Academy Awards will air Sunday, March 12, 2023, at 5 p.m. MST on ABC.
Edited by Claire van Doren and Piper Hansen.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com and follow @anxieteandbread on Twitter.
Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.
Analisa Valdez is a reporter with the Echo, focusing on covering the arts and entertainment world. Analisa has been apart of the State Press for two and a half years and is in her third year at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.