HOLLYWOOD—One week people, in just one week awards season will come to an end with the Academy Awards being handed out. We’ve chatted about Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director. There is just one more category to discuss: Best Picture. However, a few new developments have since unfolded in the recent week. The only locked race right now appears to be Best Supporting Actor where I can 100 percent say Ke Huy Quan will walk away with the golden man.

However, Supporting Actress is now a race between Angela Bassett and Jamie Lee Curtis, Best Actress is between Michelle Yeoh and Cate Blanchett and Best Actor is between Austin Butler and Brendan Fraser. Best Director I think is locked up for Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan. So with Best Picture does that mean “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a lock? I think people suspect that after its sweep at the Screen Actors Guild Awards this past weekend, but I would argue SAG while a major predictor of where Oscar is headed has been wrong plenty of times before.

So let’s talk about the nominees: “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Elvis,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “The Fabelmans,” “Tàr,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Triangle of Sadness” and “Women Talking.” So there was a total of 10 movies nominated for Best Picture and guess what I hate it. I absolutely hate that the Academy expanded the number of contenders. It has been 5 for years and it needs to return to that. I know this was done as a direct slap in the face to “The Dark Knight” that was not nominated when it ABSOLUTELY SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED!

We all know half of these films have no chances of taking home the top prize. I mean I’ll call it now, “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Elvis,” “Triangle of Sadness” and “Women Talking” are not winning Best Picture. Add “Avatar: The Way of Water” to that list. It is the highest grossing movie of 2022 in addition to the third highest grossing flick of all time, but the Academy is not giving James Cameron that Oscar for Best Picture people. So that leaves us with “Tàr” which is a critical darling, but it is not a public success so that limits its chances for me. “All Quiet on the Western Front” earned a bevy of nominations, but I suspect its more technical awards the movie will be showered with not the big one of the night.

So that leaves us with “The Fabelmans,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and “Top Gun: Maverick.” I personally loved Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans.” I think I have a direct connection to the narrative that is so powerful and resonates for me, but the movie is not getting that buzz it deserves despite being a commercial success. This means two movies are battling it out: “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and “Top Gun: Maverick.”

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” has won the Golden Globe Award, Critics Choice Award and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Ensemble/Best Picture. Here is the problem with the SAG win, “Top Gun: Maverick” was not nominated for the Outstanding Ensemble in a Motion Picture, but it absolutely should have been. And if it was, I think that movie would have won. That is the problem with this two-person race. Yeah, its two films vying for the top prize where “Everything Everywhere All at Once” has all the momentum and looks like a lock for the Best Picture Oscar, but just because something is a lock does not mean it will win.

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is decisive. Some people love the movie, some people hate the movie. They found it confusing and hard to get through. It is not universally loved and with the Academy Awards having that preferential ballot when it comes to voting for Best Picture could seriously hurt this film. Why? I see more people ranking “Top Gun: Maverick” as its #1 choice for Best Picture. I mean that movie was not just a commercial success it was a critical success. That is something that none of the other nominees of Best Picture has. I haven’t spoken to one person who disliked or had something bad to say about “Top Gun: Maverick.” Even if you don’t love Tom Cruise, you cannot argue with what he did with that movie that was damn impressive people. As so many people have been saying since its release in May, the sequel nearly 35 years later may have saved Hollywood as people flocked to the theater to see the hotly anticipated sequel over and over again.

I’m calling for a major upset, but one that people will be happy with the result. I see “Top Gun: Maverick” winning the prize for Best Picture over current favorite “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” If you were just voting for the Best Picture not on a preferential ballot, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” would win, but that’s not how the top prize is voted for; its based on preference and people cannot hide what it is they love and “Top Gun: Maverick” is going to take the prize. Let’s just remember some of the biggest upsets in Best Picture history, “Crash” winning over “Brokeback Mountain,” “Moonlight” winning over “La La Land,” “Shakespeare in Love” winning over “Saving Private Ryan.” It looks like another moment is about to be added to the list.