Notes on the 2024 Oscars

Best Picture

Another very strong batch of films this year; I enjoyed all of them to varying degrees and don’t recognize a dud in the bunch. Each of my top 3 personal picks for best movie of the year are here, along with a couple more from my top 15. At this point in the race, it seems Oppenheimer is the clear frontrunner with Killers Of The Flower Moon as a distant dark horse. Its presence here with Barbie calls to mind the Barbenheimer craze that came to define 2023 in cinema. Awarding a box office juggernaut like Oppenheimer with Best Picture will give the Academy an opportunity to appeal to a broader audience, as they have been trying to do for years.

My Prediction: Oppenheimer
My Vote: Oppenheimer
Overlooked: All Of Us Strangers

Best Director

A strong batch of candidates here, with a similar narrative to Best Picture as Nolan is assuredly the one to beat with Scorsese — still one of our finest living filmmakers — firmly in second place. Nolan has been putting out such consistently high quality work for 25 years now that I’m personally very excited for him to be taking home his first Academy Award. That it’s for one of his most accomplished works in Oppenheimer is a nice cherry on top. It would have been nice to see Greta Gerwig or Sean Durkin here, who each have a trio of features under their belts that demonstrate a high watermark for quality.

My Prediction: Christopher Nolan
My Vote: Christopher Nolan
Overlooked: Sean Durkin – The Iron Claw

Best Actor

This category looks to be a two horse race between Murphy for Oppenheimer and Giamatti for The Holdovers. Two respected actors who have done excellent work for years but have yet to take home Oscar gold — though Giamatti was nominated as Best Supporting Actor in Cinderella Man. At this point, I think Murphy has the wind at his back and will be heading up to the stage for the Best Actor trophy. His haunted performance in Oppenheimer gives that movie so much of its undeniable power and while Giamatti is certainly affecting in The Holdovers, it doesn’t have the same level of impact.

My Prediction: Cillian Murphy
My Vote: Cillian Murphy
Overlooked: Nicolas Cage – Dream Scenario

Best Actress

Best Actress also seems to be coming down to two performers — Lily Gladstone and Emma Stone — who have been trading off awards this season. Regardless of who wins, Gladstone’s nomination marks the first time an Indigenous American actress has been nominated for an Academy Award. I’m sure she’ll give a heck of a speech if she ends up winning but I feel like Stone has the lead at this point. Her performance in Poor Things is likely my favorite acting in all of 2023 and I imagine the voting pool for Actress will also find it similarly irresistible.

My Prediction: Emma Stone
My Vote: Emma Stone
Overlooked: Phoebe Dynevor – Fair Play

Best Supporting Actor

My Prediction: Robert Downey Jr.
My Vote: Robert Downey Jr.
Overlooked: Charles Melton – May December

Best Supporting Actress

My Prediction: Da’Vine Joy Randolph
My Vote: Da’Vine Joy Randolph
Overlooked: Ayo Edebiri – Bottoms

Some fun choices here; I’m delighted the Academy felt Ryan Gosling was good Kenough to be nominated for Barbie. Supporting Actor is especially strong, with Ruffalo putting in career-best work for Poor Things and De Niro reminding us through a monstrous character why he’s still one of the greats. But Downey Jr. seems difficult to overcome in this category, shining brilliantly in a villainous role after playing the heroic Iron Man for numerous MCU entries. Sadly, Supporting Actress is more underwhelming this year and Randolph has virtually gone undefeated in this category during awards season, so her win seems like one of the strongest locks of the night.

Best Original Screenplay

My Prediction: The Holdovers
My Vote: The Holdovers
Overlooked: Afire

Best Adapted Screenplay

My Prediction: Oppenheimer
My Vote: Oppenheimer
Overlooked: Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse

Best Animated Feature Film

My Prediction: Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse
My Vote: Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse
Overlooked: Suzume

Best International Feature Film

My Prediction: The Zone Of Interest
My Vote: The Zone Of Interest
Overlooked: Fallen Leaves

Best Documentary – Feature

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

My Prediction: 20 Days In Mariupol
My Vote: 20 Days In Mariupol
Overlooked: Lakota Nation vs. United States

Best Documentary – Short Subject

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

My Prediction: The ABCs Of Book Banning
My Vote: The Last Repair Shop
Overlooked: —

Best Live Action Short Film

  • The After
  • Invincible
  • Knight Of Fortune
  • Red, White And Blue
  • The Wonderful Story Of Henry Sugar

My Prediction: The Wonderful Story Of Henry Sugar
My Vote: The Wonderful Story Of Henry Sugar
Overlooked: —

Best Animated Short Film

  • Letter To A Pig
  • Ninety-Five Senses
  • Our Uniform
  • Pachyderme
  • War Is Over! Inspired By The Music Of John And Yoko

My Prediction: Letter To A Pig
My Vote: Pachyderme
Overlooked: —

Best Production Design

My Prediction: Barbie
My Vote: Barbie
Overlooked: Asteroid City

Best Cinematography

My Prediction: Oppenheimer
My Vote: Oppenheimer
Overlooked: Saltburn

Best Costume Design

My Prediction: Barbie
My Vote: Poor Things
Overlooked: A Haunting In Venice

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

My Prediction: Maestro
My Vote: Poor Things
Overlooked: Barbie

Best Original Score

My Prediction: Oppenheimer
My Vote: Oppenheimer
Overlooked: The Boy And The Heron

Best Original Song

  • “The Fire Inside” from Flamin’ Hot
  • “I’m Just Ken” from Barbie
  • “It Never Went Away” from American Symphony
  • “Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People)” from Killers Of The Flower Moon
  • “What Was I Made For?” from Barbie

My Prediction: “What Was I Made For?”
My Vote: “What Was I Made For?”
Overlooked: “Camp Isn’t Home” from Theater Camp

Best Sound

My Prediction: Oppenheimer
My Vote: The Zone Of Interest
Overlooked: The Killer

Best Film Editing

My Prediction: Oppenheimer
My Vote: Oppenheimer
Overlooked: How To Blow Up A Pipeline

Best Visual Effects

My Prediction: Godzilla Minus One
My Vote: Godzilla Minus One
Overlooked: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Enjoy the show!