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An Oppenheimer sweep? Predictions for the 2024 Oscars

We’re nearing the end of another awards season, and that means that it is almost time for the most prestigious awards in Hollywood to be handed out. The 96th Academy Awards will be held on 10 March at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, recognising and awarding the very best films of the past year. The nominations were announced on 23 January, with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer topping the list with 13, whilst Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things come in a close second with 11. Here, I will set out my predictions for who I believe will win in each of the major categories, whilst also putting forward arguments for the films that I believe SHOULD win.  

Best Picture 

Winner: Oppenheimer  

Should Win: Anatomy of a Fall 

Oppenheimer is undeniably a fantastic film, and it is long overdue for one of Nolan’s films to win Best Picture. For these reasons, I believe that the story of the atomic bomb’s creation will win the headline award of the evening, and whilst it is certainly deserved, I can’t help but believe that Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall deserves the win. Oppenheimer certainly made me feel very tense, but Triet’s unique take on the courtroom drama genre left me reconsidering what I had just seen. Did she kill him? Does it even matter? What is ‘truth’ in the face of bias? It is a superb film and just deserves the win a bit more than Oppenheimer. 

Actor in a Leading Role 

Winner: Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer) 

Should Win: Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers) 

There is broad consensus that the Leading Actor award is a shoo-in for Cillian Murphy for his excellent portrayal of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Murphy damn near perfected Oppenheimer’s uniquely soft voice and mannerisms, and his delivery of the final line in the film will never cease to send goosebumps up my arm. That is how good I believe Paul Giamatti was in The Holdovers. His portrayal of the curmudgeonly boarding schoolteacher Paul Hunham was astounding, bringing a level of depth and emotion to the character that just outstrips Murphy in this case. Murphy may be the bookies’ favourite, but I wouldn’t count Giamatti out just yet.  


Actress in a Leading Role 

Winner: Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon) 

Should Win: Sandra Hüller (Anatomy of a Fall) 

This was the most difficult choice for me to make. Lily Gladstone is a phenomenally talented glass-ceiling-shattering actress who undeniably stole the show in Killers of the Flower Moon, which is an even more impressive feat when you’re working alongside acting legends like Robert DeNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio. Honestly, I would be more than happy to see either Gladstone or Sandra Hüller win the Oscar here, but I just believe that Hüller’s performance as the accused Sandra Voyter is the best performance of the year, in any category. Her monologue has stuck in my head for months after watching the film, and she gives nothing away regarding her innocence throughout.  


Actor in a Supporting Role 

Winner: Robert Downey Jr. (Oppenheimer) 

Should Win: Robert Downey Jr. (Oppenheimer) 

There’s nothing I can say about RDJ’s performance as Lewis Strauss in Oppenheimer that has not been said already. In a career that includes playing Tony Stark and Charlie Chaplin, this is his best performance yet. RDJ brought out an almost villainous side to his acting that I did not expect at all, actively making audiences root against Strauss’ scapegoating campaign. There is no true contest in this category. Whilst I loved the hilarity of Ryan Gosling in Barbie and Mark Ruffalo in Poor Things, these performances do not hold a candle to RDJ in this regard. The easiest money one could make is by betting on RDJ to win this category.  

Actress in a Supporting Role 

Winner: Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers) 

Should Win: Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers) 

Another easy pick for me. Having already won a Golden Globe for her bittersweet performance of grieving mother Mary Lamb in The Holdovers, Randolph is the only logical choice in an otherwise slightly disappointing list of nominees. There is a tenderness and grounded nature to her character that makes her stand out from the cantankerous personalities of the other two main characters in the film. The level of humanity she brings to Mary’s life is incredible, and I will be extremely shocked if she does not win.  


Best Director 

Winner: Justine Triet (Anatomy of a Fall) 

Should Win: Martin Scorsese (Killers of the Flower Moon) 

As I believe Anatomy of a Fall sadly will not (but should) win Best Picture, I believe that the category of Best Director will be the Academy’s way of recognising the film’s excellence. Nevertheless, the way that Killers of the Flower Moon is shot and pieces the story of the Osage murders together is nothing short of perfection. Of course, we should expect nothing less from a director as legendary as Scorsese, but even then, Killers is a step beyond anything he’s released in recent years. The direction of the film is just mind-bogglingly good. Scorsese deserves the win here. A quick side note Celine Song was snubbed here: Past Lives deserved so much more recognition from the Academy.  


Writing – Original Screenplay 

Winner: Anatomy of a Fall 

Should Win: The Holdovers 

Anatomy of a Fall will win in this category; the dialogue of the film is razor-sharp, balancing wit with sincerity in a way that many films could only dream of achieving. The courtroom scenes alone put the film on par with Twelve Angry Men, arguably the greatest courtroom drama of all time. So then, why do I think The Holdovers should win? My answer I don’t truly know. There was just something so human about the script, and the way we see these three characters interact with, challenge, and change each other evoked so many emotions. It may not have the critical appeal of Anatomy of a Fall, but The Holdovers is the real winner of this category.  


Writing – Adapted Screenplay 

Winner: Oppenheimer 

Should Win: Oppenheimer 

There isn’t much for me to say here. Just give Christopher Nolan his Oscar already.  


Music – Original Score 

Winner: Ludwig Göransson (Oppenheimer) 

Should Win: Ludwig Göransson (Oppenheimer) 

This score changed lives and elevated Oppenheimer to dizzying heights. For goodness’ sake, ‘Can You Hear the Music’ has been called unplayable by Göransson himself due to the 21 tempo changes in the piece. The score of Oppenheimer is one of the best film scores in years and wholly deserves this award.  


Music – Original Song 

Winner: ‘What Was I Made For?’ – Billie Eilish (Barbie) 

Should Win: ‘Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People)’ – Osage Tribal Singers (Killers of the Flower Moon) 

‘What Was I Made For?’ recently won Song of the Year at the GRAMMYs, and it is clear to see why. It succinctly sums up the human experience and is one of my favourite needle drops in film history. If Barbie is going to win any category, it will be this one. Nevertheless, when ‘Wahzhazhe’ plays in the last scene of Killers, it is haunting. The message that would be sent to Hollywood if this song were to win Best Original Song would be incredible, and that’s why it is my pick for Best Original Song.  




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