Final Predictions For The 2024 Oscars

Casey Medeiros ’25 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

The 96th Academy Awards are on March 10, 2024, and it’s time to predict who will win in all 23 categories.

Best Picture:

Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures
  1. Oppenheimer
  2. The Holdovers (Focus Features)
  3. Poor Things (Searchlight)
  4. American Fiction (MGM)
  5. Anatomy of a Fall (Neon)
  6. The Zone of Interest (A24)
  7. Killers of the Flower Moon (Apple/Paramount)
  8. Barbie (Warner Bros.)
  9. Past Lives (A24)
  10.  Maestro (Netflix)

Oppenheimer has seemed to be the frontrunner since its release in July, where it made almost a billion dollars at the box office while being one of the most critically acclaimed movies of the year. Since then, the film’s many precursor wins during awards season only strengthen its frontrunner status. Oppenheimer is about as close to a lock as you could get for Best Picture, winning the top prize at all of the major precursors: the Golden Globes, BAFTA, SAG, PGA, and the Critics’ Choice Awards, in addition to having the most Oscar nominations of any film this year with 13. However, nothing is ever truly a lock due to the ranked-choice voting system that the Oscars use for Best Picture. This voting system favors films that are more broadly liked across the Academy instead of receiving the most number one votes, which could help reward a crowd-pleaser such as The Holdovers. Nevertheless, Oppenheimer is going into the Oscars with a seemingly unstoppable combination of box office success, precursor domination, and a timely narrative, which should be more than enough to push it to the Best Picture win.

Will Win: Oppenheimer

Could Win: The Holdovers

Should Win: Barbie OR Oppenheimer

Biggest Snubs: May December, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Best Director:

Cillian Murphy (left) and Christopher Nolan (right) on set for Oppenheimer. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures
  1. Christopher Nolan – Oppenheimer
  2. Yorgos Lanthimos – Poor Things
  3. Martin Scorsese – Killers of the Flower Moon
  4. Jonathan Glazer – The Zone of Interest
  5. Justine Triet – Anatomy of a Fall

Best Director is yet another category that seems like a lock this year, with Christopher Nolan taking virtually every directing prize so far this year for Oppenheimer. He managed to make a three-hour biopic about the man who created the atomic bomb into a critical and commercial success, and people seem to be ready to reward his achievement in doing so. The Academy has also never awarded Christopher Nolan and he is widely viewed as “overdue” for an Oscar. Another factor contributing to his frontrunner status is the absence of a clear runner-up for detractors to unite behind, which doesn’t seem to matter anyway due to the seeming lack of detractors overall. As a result, it seems almost certain that the Academy will recognize Christopher Nolan for both his massive achievement this year and his entire body of work with an Oscar win.

Will Win: Christopher Nolan – Oppenheimer

Could Win: Yorgos Lanthimos – Poor Things

Should Win: Christopher Nolan – Oppenheimer

Biggest Snubs: Greta Gerwig – Barbie, Celine Song – Past Lives

Best Actor:

Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures
  1. Cillian Murphy – Oppenheimer
  2. Paul Giamatti – The Holdovers
  3. Bradley Cooper – Maestro
  4. Jeffrey Wright – American Fiction
  5. Colman Domingo – Rustin

Best Actor has been one of the more interesting categories this year, as at the beginning of awards season many believed it would be Bradley Cooper’s year to win for Maestro. However, it has seemingly become a two-horse race between Cillian Murphy for Oppenheimer and Paul Giamatti for The Holdovers. Going into the SAG awards it seemed to be a coin toss for who had the edge: Murphy had won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama, as well as the BAFTA, whereas Giamatti had won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical and the Critics’ Choice award. But after the SAG award went to Cillian Murphy, he has become the frontrunner for the win. His performance does fit the typical mold of a Best Actor win in some ways: a biopic performance from a respected long-time actor who has never received awards attention before, but it would be a lot subtler of a performance than last year’s Best Actor winner Brendan Fraser in The Whale. However, while Paul Giamatti also has the career narrative going for him, a largely comedic performance winning would be even more unconventional of a win. This is why it seems likely that the Academy will go with the face of one of the biggest movies of the year and the likely Best Picture winner and award Cillian Murphy. 

Will Win: Cillian Murphy – Oppenheimer

Could Win: Paul Giamatti – The Holdovers

Should Win: Cillian Murphy – Oppenheimer OR Paul Giamatti – The Holdovers

Biggest Snub: Andrew Scott – All of Us Strangers, Zac Efron – The Iron Claw

Best Actress

Lily Gladstone in Killers of the Flower Moon. Photo courtesy of Apple Original Films and Paramount Pictures.
  1. Lily Gladstone – Killers of the Flower Moon
  2. Emma Stone – Poor Things
  3. Sandra Hüller – Anatomy of a Fall
  4. Annette Bening – Nyad
  5. Carey Mulligan – Maestro

Best Actress seems to be the biggest toss-up of the above-the-line categories this year, with the race seemingly between Lily Gladstone and Emma Stone. At the beginning of awards season, there seemed to be a slight chance that voters would recognize Sandra Hüller’s outstanding multilingual performance in Anatomy of a Fall or Annette Bening’s career narrative and being “overdue” by awarding her for her work in Nyad, but neither has managed to garner any significant precursor support. Instead, the precursors have been split by Emma Stone and Lily Gladstone. Emma Stone has picked up the Golden Globe for Comedy/Musical, the Critics’ Choice, and the BAFTA for her fantastic performance in Poor Things, while Lily Gladstone has won the Golden Globe for Drama and the SAG award for her quietly powerful performance in Killers of the Flower Moon. Lily Gladstone has also won a lot of regional and national critic awards, and she also seems to have momentum with her SAG win being both during the Oscar voting window and the last major precursor before the Oscars. Emma Stone would seem to have the edge based on exclusively major precursor awards and the fact that her performance is more of a typical Oscar performance, but she is already an Oscar winner for La La Land. At 35 years old, will some voters feel it’s too early to give Emma Stone another Oscar? On the other hand, Lily Gladstone is likely the only place voters could have the chance to award Killers of the Flower Moon, and she would also make history as the first Native American woman to win Best Actress. However, some view Lily Gladstone’s role as a supporting performance and feel she should have been campaigned for Supporting Actress. The race is close, but the momentum seems to have shifted towards Lily Gladstone, and it seems like voters may want to award her with her first Oscar before awarding Emma Stone her second.

Will Win: Lily Gladstone – Killers of the Flower Moon

Could Win: Emma Stone – Poor Things

Should Win: Lily Gladstone – Killers of the Flower Moon

Biggest Snubs: Margot Robbie – Barbie, Fantasia Barrino – The Color Purple

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Downey Jr. in Oppenheimer. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.
  1. Robert Downey Jr. – Oppenheimer
  2. Ryan Gosling – Barbie
  3. Robert De Niro – Killers of the Flower Moon
  4. Sterling K. Brown – American Fiction
  5. Mark Ruffalo – Poor Things

Robert Downey Jr. has won every major precursor award this awards season for his performance as Lewis Strauss in Oppenheimer, and there is no reason to think he won’t also win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Sure, Ryan Gosling gave an instantly iconic and memorable performance as Ken in the other half of “Barbenheimer”, and Robert De Niro’s chillingly evil performance in Killers of the Flower Moon would be a chance for the Academy to once again honor one of the greatest actors ever, but neither have shown that there is enough support behind them to win. Plus, after two previous Oscar nominations, the Academy seems to want to honor Robert Downey Jr.’s first prestige performance after his role as Iron Man with his first Oscar win.

Will Win: Robert Downey Jr. – Oppenheimer

Could Win: Ryan Gosling – Barbie

Should Win: Ryan Gosling – Barbie OR Robert Downey Jr. – Oppenheimer

Biggest Snubs: Charles Melton – May December, Glenn Howerton – BlackBerry

Da’Vine Joy Randolph in The Holdovers. Photo courtesy of Focus Features.
  1. Da’Vine Joy Randolph – The Holdovers
  2. Emily Blunt – Oppenheimer
  3. Danielle Brooks – The Color Purple
  4. America Ferrera – Barbie
  5. Jodie Foster – Nyad

It’s rare to see such precursor domination as that displayed by Da’Vine Joy Randolph for her performance in The Holdovers. She has won virtually every single precursor, both the major televised ceremonies AND the national and regional critics groups. Besides, the actress who is in second place with only a handful of critics group wins is Rachel McAdams for Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, and she isn’t even nominated at the Oscars. While at the start of awards season, people theorized that Danielle Brooks would win for her role in The Color Purple, which landed her a Tony nomination when she played it on Broadway – and now an Oscar nomination for the film adaptation – or that Emily Blunt, who had never been nominated before, would win for Oppenheimer, these narratives never materialized. Instead, Da’Vine Joy Randolph emerged as the frontrunner and swept awards season, and next on the list for her to sweep is the Oscars.

Will Win: Da’Vine Joy Randolph – The Holdovers

Could Win: Emily Blunt – Oppenheimer

Should Win: Da’Vine Joy Randolph – The Holdovers

Biggest Snubs: Rachel McAdams – Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Julianne Moore – May December

Best Original Screenplay:

A still from Anatomy of a Fall. Photo courtesy of Neon.
  1.  Anatomy of a Fall (Justine Triet & Arthur Harrari)
  2. The Holdovers (David Hemingson)
  3. Past Lives (Celine Song)
  4. May December (Samy Burch)
  5. Maestro (Bradley Cooper & Josh Singer)

Will Win: Anatomy of a Fall

Could Win: The Holdovers

Should Win: The Holdovers

Biggest Snubs: Bottoms, Saltburn

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Jeffrey Wright in American Fiction. Photo courtesy of MGM Studios.
  1.  American Fiction (Cord Jefferson)
  2. Barbie (Greta Gerwig & Noah Baumbach)
  3. Oppenheimer (Christopher Nolan)
  4. Poor Things (Tony McNamara)
  5. The Zone of Interest (Jonathan Glazer)

Will Win: American Fiction

Could Win: Barbie OR Oppenheimer

Should Win: Barbie

Biggest Snubs: All of Us Strangers, Killers of the Flower Moon


Best Animated Feature

  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
  • The Boy and the Heron
  • Elemental
  • Nimona
  • Robot Dreams


Best International Feature

  • The Zone of Interest (United Kingdom)
  • Society of the Snow (Spain)
  • Perfect Days (Japan)
  • The Teachers’ Lounge (Germany)
  • Io Capitano (Italy)


Best Documentary Feature:

  • 20 Days in Mariupol
  • Four Daughters
  • Bobi Wine: The People’s President
  • The Eternal Memory
  • To Kill a Tiger


Best Film Editing:

  • Oppenheimer
  • Anatomy of a Fall
  • Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Poor Things
  • The Holdovers


Best Costume Design:

  • Poor Things
  • Barbie
  • Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Oppenheimer
  • Napoleon


Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

  • Maestro
  • Poor Things
  • Oppenheimer
  • Society of the Snow
  • Golda


Best Production Design:

  • Barbie
  • Poor Things
  • Oppenheimer
  • Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Napoleon


Best Cinematography:

  • Oppenheimer
  • Poor Things
  • Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Maestro
  • El Conde


Best Sound:

  • Oppenheimer
  • The Zone of Interest
  • Maestro 
  • Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning
  • The Creator


Best Visual Effects:

  • Godzilla Minus One
  • The Creator
  • Napoleon
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
  • Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning


Best Original Song:

  • “What Was I Made For?” – Barbie (Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell)
  1. “I’m Just Ken” – Barbie (Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt)
  2. “Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People)” – Killers of the Flower Moon (Scott George)
  3. “The Fire Inside” – Flamin’ Hot (Diane Warren)
  4. “It Never Went Away” – American Symphony (Jon Batiste and Dan Wilson)


Best Original Score:

  • Oppenheimer
  • Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Poor Things
  • American Fiction
  • Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny


Best Animated Short:

  • War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John and Yoko
  • Ninety-Five Senses
  • Letter to a Pig
  • Our Uniform
  • Pachyderme


Best Live Action Short:

  • The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
  • Red, White, and Blue
  • The After
  • Knight of Fortune
  • Invincible


Best Documentary Short:

  • Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó
  • The Last Repair Shop
  • The ABCs of Book Banning
  • The Barber of Little Rock
  • Island in Between


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