Who Will Win (And Who Should Win) At The 2024 Oscars

If I was Billy Crystal, this is where I’d introduce my predictions for the Oscars through timely song parodies about the nominated films. Something like turning “oppa Gangnam Style” into “Oppenheimer Gangnam Style.” Or making Barbie ballad “I’m Just Ken” about power couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez: “I’m just Ben / Where I see love, Jen sees Dun-ken.” But I’m not Billy Crystal (god willing, I will be some day), so I’ll just get to my picks for the 96th Academy Awards, which air this Sunday, March 10, at 7 p.m. EST on ABC.

Let’s begin with some quick hitters.

Best Visual Effects: Godzilla Minus One
Best Film Editing: Oppenheimer
Best Costume Design: Barbie
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Maestro
Best Cinematography: Oppenheimer
Best Production Design: Barbie
Best Sound: Oppenheimer
Best Original Song: “What Was I Made For?” from Barbie
Best Original Score: Oppenheimer
Best Animated Short Film: War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko
Best Live Action Short Film: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
Best Documentary Short Subject: The Last Repair Shop
Best Documentary Feature: 20 Days in Mariupol

Best Animated Feature Film

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

Will Win: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Should Win: The Boy and the Heron

Only twice in the 2010s did Best Animated Feature Film not go to a Disney project (which includes Pixar). The trend continued into the 2020s with Soul and Encanto, but last year, the Oscar went to Guillermo del Toro’s magnificent Pinocchio; now, for the first time since Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Happy Feet in the mid-2000s, Disney won’t win two years in a row. It’s a toss-up between The Boy and the Heron, the possibly final masterwork from Hayao Miyazaki, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the sequel to previous winner Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Expect a repeat.

Best International Feature Film

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

Will Win: The Zone of Interest
Should Win: Perfect Days

For four out of the past five years, Best International Feature Film (formerly Best Foreign Language Film) has gone to a movie that was also nominated for Best Picture. It happened for Roma, Parasite (which won), Drive My Car (which should have won), and last year’s All Quiet on the Western Front, and it will happen for The Zone of Interest. I slightly prefer Perfect Days, a lovely day-in-the-life drama from German director Wim Wenders about a man who cleans toilets in Japan (it’s more poignant than it sounds, I swear), but The Zone of Interest is a lock. Now, if France had submitted Anatomy of a Fall

Best Adapted Screenplay

American Fiction
Poor Things
The Zone of Interest

Will Win: American Fiction
Should Win: Poor Things

This one is for the bloggers. Cord Jefferson wrote for Gawker (RIP) before transitioning to television (including Watchmen, Master of None, and The Good Place) and film. American Fiction is his feature-length debut, and after winning Best Adapted Screenplay at the British Academy Film Awards and Best Screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards, he’s poised to take home Best Adapted Screenplay as well. The script never totally coalesces for me (the satire is dampened by the relationship drama), and Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s Barbie could surprise, but American Fiction has math on its side.

Best Original Screenplay

Anatomy of a Fall
The Holdovers
May December
Past Lives

Will Win: Anatomy of a Fall
Should Win: Past Lives

My siding with Past Lives isn’t a slight against Anatomy of a Fall. Past Lives was my favorite film of 2023, a nuanced love story about life’s what ifs (and a reminder of when social media was good). But even I won’t be dissapointed when Anatomy wins. Justine Triet and Arthur Harari’s screenplay for the courtroom thriller is absorbing, well crafted, and at times, funny, with a centerpiece argument that’s as compelling as any scene among the nominees. Did she do it? If the “she” is Triet and the “it” is win an Oscar, yes, she did it.

Best Supporting Actress

Emily Blunt (Oppenheimer)
Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple)
America Ferrera (Barbie)
Jodie Foster (Nyad)
Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers)

Will Win: Da’Vine Joy Randolph
Should Win: Da’Vine Joy Randolph

Da’Vine Joy Randolph won Best Supporting (or its equivalent) at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, BAFTA Awards, and basically every other awards show this season. After years of doing knockout work on High Fidelity, People of Earth, and short-lived favorite Selfie, she’ll take home the Oscar, too.

Best Supporting Actor

Sterling K. Brown (American Fiction)
Robert De Niro (Killers of the Flower Moon)
Robert Downey Jr. (Oppenheimer)
Ryan Gosling (Barbie)
Mark Ruffalo (Poor Things)

Will Win: Robert Downey Jr.
Should Win: Robert De Niro

Robert Downey Jr. survived drug addiction and the Marvel machine. The Academy loves a comeback story, and this story ends with RDJ holding an Oscar (shout out to Robert De Niro giving one of his best performances ever, which is saying something, and Ruffalo as the world’s poutiest f*ck boy, though).

Best Actress

Annette Bening (Nyad)
Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon)
Sandra Hüller (Anatomy of a Fall)
Carey Mulligan (Maestro)
Emma Stone (Poor Things)

Will Win: Lily Gladstone
Should Win: Lily Gladstone

Lily Gladstone gets the Oscar, both for her towering performance in Killers of the Flower Moon (she’s an even more commanding screen presence than Leonardo DiCaprio in the film), and because I can’t wait to hear her acceptance speech. Must-see TV.

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper (Maestro)
Colman Domingo (Rustin)
Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers)
Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer)
Jeffrey Wright (American Fiction)

Will Win: Cillian Murphy
Should Win: Paul Giamatti

Bradley Cooper has the chance to do the funniest thing (get so mad about losing that he personally attacks the Oscars music director and plays off the winner, which he spent six years learning to do). I would love for Giamatti to win Best Actor; this category almost never goes to a comedic performance, and he is hilarious (and heartbreaking) in The Holdovers. The Oscars needs more farting and poor football-throwing representation. Think of the In-N-Out photo! But there’s nothing underwhelming about Cillian Murphy’s performance, either. The defining image of Oppenheimer isn’t the nuclear explosion or the parade of character actors or even Florence Pugh’s CGI dress. It’s Murphy’s haunted face. The Irish actor doesn’t know what a meme is, but he’ll soon know what it’s like to be an Oscar winer.

Best Director

Jonathan Glazer (The Zone of Interest)
Yorgos Lanthimos (Poor Things)
Christopher Nolan (Oppenheimer)
Martin Scorsese (Killers of the Flower Moon)
Justine Triet (Anatomy of a Fall)

Will Win: Christopher Nolan
Should Win: Jonathan Glazer

The Directors Guild of America Awards has been around since 1948. In all that time, there have been only been eight instances where the winner of Outstanding Directing – Feature Film hasn’t also been named Best Director at the Oscars. This year’s winner at the DGAs? Christopher Nolan, who was up to the task of depicting “the most important f*cking thing to happen in the history of the world.” The big night for Oppenheimer continues. Speaking of…

Best Picture

American Fiction
Anatomy of a Fall
The Holdovers
Killers of the Flower Moon
Past Lives
Poor Things
The Zone of Interest

Will Win: Oppenheimer
Should Win: Oppenheimer (I’m a realist)

There are three tiers of Best Picture nominees:

Tier 1: it’s nice to just be invited (American Fiction, Anatomy of a Fall, The Holdovers, Maestro, Past Lives)
Tier 2: there’s a chance, but it would be a shocking upset (Barbie and Killers of the Flower Moon)
Tier 3: the frontrunners (Oppenheimer, Poor Things, and The Zone of Interest).

Aw, who am I kidding? I’m trying to build up suspense, but there isn’t any: Best Picture is going to Oppenheimer.

As noted by Vanity Fair, Oppenheimer, a well-deserved critical and commercial hit, won the top prize at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Directors Guild Awards, Producers Guild Awards, and the British Academy Film Awards The last time that happened? Argo, which said go f*ck yourself to the competition. Oppenheimer is Christopher Nolan’s third film to be nominated for Best Picture — it will be the first to win.