Final 2024 Oscar Predictions

Sunday the will mark the 96th annual Academy Awards. Many across the country will dress up, imbibe some wine, scarf down some cheese, and hopefully enjoy a great ceremony. I am here at the last minute to help you win your Oscar Poll and maybe rob you of some the uncertainty surrounding the awards. This year, like all others, there are some great races and some that have been sewn up beyond reasonable doubt for months. Unfortunately this year, the night's top prize falls into the latter category. Instead of hopeful, nervous tension as the last envelope is read, we will all but certainly be witness to Oppenheimer's coronation. What is left to be known is exactly how many total awards the film can win. That and some very intriguing best Lead Actor/Actress races to go along with a bunch of drama in the technical and writing awards. Should be a fun night over all. Last year I mentioned that I thought this was the best group of Best Picture nominees since the Academy expanded to a mandatory 10. This year's nominations are even better. Of my personal 10 Best Movies of the Year list, six of them are nominated, including my entire top 5. Three others are in my honorable mentions. This has never happened in the 15 years I have been doing this. So Kudos to the Academy there. And Kudos for you for taking an interest in the annual Super Bowl of Cinema. Let's tune in together on Sunday, March 10th, at the new time of 7pm eastern on ABC to see how it all shakes out. Meanwhile, here are my best guesses as how the awards fall!


American Fiction

Anatomy of a Fall


The Holdovers

Killers of the Flower Moon



Past Lives

Poor Things

The Zone of Interest

WILL WIN: Oppenheimer

MIGHT STEAL: I can't see anything stopping it. Maybe Poor Things?

SHOULD WIN: Oppenheimer*

SNUBBED: Great 10. I would put May December or All of us Strangers in over Maestro, but I think they did an awesome job.

ANALYSIS: Oppenheimer seems like a legitimate juggernaut. I put that I believe it should win, even though I think Killers of the Flower Moon is the best film of the year. I do think Oppenheimer is exactly the type of movie the Academy should bestow its greatest prize upon. It melds commercial success and artistic merit more than any film in recent memory, and it is the crowning achievement from one of the industry's greatest and most recognizable directors. It's the right choice if not quite the best movie by my estimation. If you're looking for intrigue, best to look elsewhere and this is likely sewn up. Anything else being inside that envelope would comfortably be the biggest surprise in the history of the show's big prize. Killers, Poor Things, The Holdovers, and most recently American Fiction have tried to measure up since award season started and none have been able to topple the giant at any major precursor. Lock it in and don't look at it again. Enjoy that it's going to a worthy film. 


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

MIGHT STEAL: No one. Scorsese, maybe?

SHOULD WIN: Nolan or Scorsese

SNUBBED: Greta Gerwig for Barbie 

ANALYSIS: The top 4 were locked in as far as I'm concerned as the boys directed the absolute hell out of their movies. The questioned remained of who would fill the fifth spot. Triet's name was one of the larger surprises on nomination morning, and while I love Anatomy of a Fall, there are better choices here. Most notably the ire of the masses could have been assuaged if Greta Gerwig got the nod here for Barbie instead. Anatomy is a fantastic film, but no one had to endure more production oversight and corporate bureaucracy than Gerwig did. And the fact that Barbie is as fierce and vibrant as it is deserves recognition. Celine Song also would have been a worthy choice, but in the end I'm not mad about this. Nolan, himself, is arguably more locked in than his movie is in Best Picture, and that's saying a lot. Scorsese does give the best work here, but this is a foregone conclusion. 


Annette Benning - Nyad

Lily Gladstone - Killers of the Flower Moon

Sandra Huller - Anatomy of a Fall

Carey Mulligan - Maestro

Emma Stone - Poor Things

WILL WIN: Lily Gladstone


SHOULD WIN: One of the stones

SNUBBED: The Benning performance is terrific in an average movie, but there's better choices. Give me Greta Lee (Past Lives), Margot Robbie (Barbie), Natalie Portman (May December) or Teyana Taylor (A Thousand and One) instead. 

ANALYSIS: If Lily Gladstone had stayed in the Supporting category, she would have won this with a yawn, but being in Leading makes this a very tough call. Emma Stone gives the flashier and more central performance. While Gladstone is the heart and soul of her film, Stone IS her film. It speaks to the power of Gladstone's presence in Killers of the Flower Moon that she is still in a dead heat with Emma Stone this late in the season. This is very reminiscent of last year's race in this category between Cate Blanchett and Michelle Yeoh. One where a previous winner who gave likely the best performance of the year is up against an outstanding performance and a great story. Last year the better story came out on top, and I believe the same will happen here. There is also a chance that with the 21 nominations between them, this could be the only award Poor Things or Killers of the Flower Moon take home. Which is not unheard of if you consider that Scorsese's last film, the Irishman, did just that, garnering 10 noms and leaving empty handed. This is the easily the most intriguing race of the acting awards, but the good news is that there is no bad answer. Unless Annette Benning wins. No offense intended. What is all the more interesting is that Sandra Huller might actually have given the best performance in the category, but is a distant third here. 


Bradley Cooper - Maestro

Colman Domingo - Rustin

Paul Giamatti - The Holdovers

Cillian Murphy - Oppenheimer

Jeffrey Wright - American Fiction

WILL WIN: Cillian Murphy

MIGHT STEAL: Paul Giamatti

SHOULD WIN: Paul Giamatti

SNUBBED: Andrew Scott for All of us Strangers

ANALYSIS: This is a happy times. Murphy is likely to win, but if he doesn't Paul Giamatti surely will and both of those are just great stories. Murphy gives the titular performance in the runaway Best Picture winner, and after watching Oppenheimer a second time, I can really get behind his win, if that comes to fruition. Giamatti is maybe even better in a role that seems written for him. The other three are also great and deserving of their nominations, but there are two tough to swallow pills that are missing. First off, Leonardo Dicaprio gives his most understated performance of his career in Killers of the Flower Moon and apparently too understated for the Academy's taste. But the real crime here is Andrew Scott who gives the best acting performance of the entire year, in my opinion, in All of us Strangers. But I love this crop and there are so many deserving first time nominees that I refuse to let it bring me down that they missed so tragically on a couple others. 


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

MIGHT STEAL: No one. Maybe Emily Blunt

SHOULD WIN: Da'vine Joy Randolph

SNUBBED: This is messy. Rachel McAdams (Are You There God, It's Me Margaret) and Julianne Moore (May December) come immediately to mind.

ANALYSIS: Woof! This is bad. Not the performances, those are all fine, but the only great performance of the bunch is Randolph's. If I were to pick 5 unnominated performances to replace these with, I would probably prefer my list of 5 over this. Some real head scratchers here. That said, all's well that ends well and Da'vine Joy Randolph winning would be wonderful. Watching the Holdovers a second time really revealed to me how important and affecting her performance was. A worthy winner. 


Sterling K. Brown - American Fiction

Robert DeNiro - Killers of the Flower Moon

Robert Downey Jr. - Oppenheimer

Ryan Gosling - Barbie

Mark Ruffalo - Poor Things

WILL WIN: Robert Downey Jr.

MIGHT STEAL: Ryan Gosling (but not really)

SHOULD WIN: This one keeps me up at night. I'll go with either RDJ or Ruffalo.

SNUBBED: I KNOW Charles Melton (May December) needs to be here. What I DON'T know is who I would kick out.

ANALYSIS: Long live comedy. I can't remember a year where there were three nominated turns in this category that would be considered a comedic performance, but here we are. For my money, Ruffalo, even more than Gosling, gives the funniest performance in any movie this year. I laughed at nearly every line he delivered. I think it's the most memorable performance in this category, but it's a little cartoonish and not very deep, so I can't see the Academy going for it all the way. This same logic can be applied to Ryan Gosling too. That's why this is such a runaway win for Downey Jr. The other performances are just as interesting, but not half as serious as his. The only one who really could make a claim at the award is Charles Melton who unfortunately missed out altogether. If film audiences were most upset about Barbie snubs. then critics were most upset that Melton missed out. Certainly the surprise performance of the year. What could have been.


American Fiction



Poor Things

Zone of Interest

WILL WIN: American Fiction

MIGHT STEAL: Barbie or even Oppenheimer

SHOULD WIN: Poor Things

SNUBBED: Killers of the Flower Moon

ANALYSIS: The Academy and I seldom see eye to eye on what constitutes good writing. Probably because the largest voting blocs of the Academy are actors. Take that as you will. American Fiction would be a fine winner, but my money for the best screenplay of the year isn't even here, in Killers of Flower Moon. Killers missed out, firstly, because Barbie should be in Original and not in Adapted, and again because of Zone of Interest, which I actually think is an inspired choice, but just misplaced in the way that better options existed. With Barbie over in this group there's some real drama here, but I'm giving the slight edge the surprise BAFTA winner, American Fiction. Oppenheimer is still very much in play as a third horse, and Poor Things has no shot even though it's absolutely the best of this group.  


Anatomy of a Fall

The Holdovers


May December

Past Lives

WILL WIN: Anatomy of a Fall

MIGHT STEAL: The Holdovers

SHOULD WIN: Past Lives

SNUBBED: This is an excellent group. No complaints.

ANALYSIS: Usually, every year, one of the writing categories is stacked and the other is comparably a little thin. This is not the case this year, even with Barbie being misplaced in Adapted, this is a great group. The Holdovers was a people's champion early on but it's been losing steam to the prestige French script that took Cannes by storm back in May. I do think Anatomy of a Fall will hold on to win, but won't be surprised by the sneaky Holdovers. All that said, Past Lives is actually the best of the five, but it's too subtle for the Academy's tastes. I know Maestro is my least favorite of the Best Picture group, but it is a banger script and I'm glad it's here. Credit where it is due.


El Conde

Killers of the Flower Moon



Poor Things

WILL WIN: Oppenheimer

MIGHT STEAL: Poor Things?

SHOULD WIN: Killers of the Flower Moon

SNUBBED: Barbie or Saltburn maybe. Beau is Afraid if anyone cared to pay attention to it. This is good.

ANALYSIS: Oppenheimer has this wrapped up with a bow and not a single person will bat an eye, but I am conflicted with it. Oppenheimer has absolutely some of the best visuals of the year, and the visual storytelling is potent in spurts, but there's also some coverage and framing issues throughout. Oppie is weird one in that it simultaneously has some of the best and worst cinematography of the nominees. Killers is just better. Marty simply understands the meaning of camera movement better than Nolan does. But he understands it better than basically everyone, so no knock on Nolan. At the end of the day the good will wash away the bad, and the invention of Black and White Imax film that Nolan chartered is important to factor in here too. All those movies look real good. I'll be happy for Hoyt Van Hoytema, even if Rodrigo Prieta was better this time around. (He also was DP on Barbie, could have been a double nominee)


Anatomy of a Fall

The Holdovers

Killers of the Flower Moon


Poor Things

WILL WIN: Oppenheimer

MIGHT STEAL: Anatomy of a Fall or The Holdovers

SHOULD WIN: I promise this is the last time but... Killers of the Flower Moon

SNUBBED: The Killer. Barbie. Air. But no real gripes

ANALYSIS: Oppenheimer's editing is great even if not always perfect. The movie feels like a montage for large chunks, the momentum rolls wonderfully, it's just real good. Killers is even better. I'm tired of hearing that a 3 hour movie can't have that great of editing, because that's not what editing is. I mean it is, but not really. Both Oppenheimer and Killers feel much shorter than they are. And more importantly they flow seamlessly. I really like the edit for Anatomy of a Fall too. We are drawn to each passing glance and each moment lingers with importance. It's clever. None of this matters. Get used to hearing the name Oppenheimer.


The Boy and the Heron



Robot Dreams

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse

WILL WIN: Spider-Man

MIGHT STEAL: The Boy and the Heron

SHOULD WIN: Spider-Man


ANALYSIS: I love Miyazaki and Ghibli, but this is Spider-verse. I am not exaggerating when I say that I think this is greatest achievement in animation that I have ever seen. To blend styles so poetically and cleverly, by itself, is an astounding feat. But then the base design is also so emotionally resonate and unique. I can't get over it. This just has to win. There is a narrative to reward Miyazaki as his impact on the industry cannot be overstated, but just not this time. 


Io Capitano

Perfect Days

Society of the Snow

The Teacher's Lounge

The Zone of Interest

WILL WIN: The Zone of Interest

MIGHT STEAL: The Teacher's Lounge, but absolutely not.

SHOULD WIN: The Zone of Interest

SNUBBED: Hard to say its a snub because its a Best Picture Nominee but, Anatomy of a Fall should be here.

ANALYSIS: The French, amiright? How does Anatomy of a Fall not become your country's official submission? All you did was cost yourself what would have likely been a win, and cost the viewers some drama. Without Anatomy here it's a walk-away for Zone of Interest. And that's great because it's literally a masterpiece and deserves some recognition. Nothing else here has even a puncher's chance to upset. 


20 Days in Mariupol

Bobi Wine: The People's President

The Eternal Memory

Four Daughters

To Kill a Tiger

WILL WIN: 20 Days in Mariupol

MIGHT STEAL: Four Daughters

SHOULD WIN: 20 Days in Mariupol

SNUBBED: I mean, as many as four of these could be different. American Symphony and Still: A Michael J Fox Movie are most glaring in their absence 

ANALYSIS: This category just keeps getting weirder. It's becoming increasingly more difficult to predict the nominations but what remains a trend is the lack of traction for documentaries about single American Figures getting nominated. I don't know that of itself is necessarily a bad thing, but this year it sure feels that way. Every year it seems now that we scratch our heads at this category on Nomination morning. None of it matters though because this so frequently goes to something tragic and topical, so 20 Days in Mariupol was all but assured the win anyway. They didn't wave all those Ukrainian flags for no reason after all.




Killers of the Flower Moon



Poor Things

WILL WIN: Poor Things

ANALYSIS: I just can't see the voters leaving it to a coinflip in Best Actress that Poor Things goes home empty handed. What we have here is two-horse race between Barbie and Poor Things and while I think Barbie's sets are unbelievable homages, Poor Things creates a twisted and surreal reimagining of our world that is fresh and creative. I just think outstanding invention triumphs over remarkable imitation here. But don't follow that logic too closely because I'm about to directly contradict it. Shout out to Wes Anderson who again gets snubbed here when everyone with at least one eye attached to a brain can see that his art design is always top five of the year. Asteroid City in, Napoleon out and this looks much better.



Killers of the Flower Moon



Poor Things

WILL WIN: Barbie

ANALYSIS: The same argument applies to the same films as above. Barbie VS. Poor Things, with Barbie brilliantly recreation of Barbie and friends' iconic wardrobe going up against the sheer innovation and ingenuity of Poor Things' resplendent costuming. But this time, even though Poor Things is probably slightly more than deserving, I gotta go with Barbie. People didn't dress up to go see Poor Things in theatres. People didn't cosplay as Bella Baxter and Duncan Wedderburn this Halloween. My sister in law did not have a Poor Things yellow themed bachelorette party this year. Barbie is still the moment at least as far as dress is concerned. I don't know if I actually believe that these two awards will split this year, in fact I kind of think they won't, but this just feels right. 





Poor Things

Society of the Snow

WILL WIN: Maestro

ANALYSIS: I'll concede, for sake of argument, that the movie Golda really does exist, even though I have no evidence to support that. But this is between Poor Things and Maestro. This time, however, I think Poor Things is running further behind. Regardless of one's feelings on Maestro and its inclusion in the Best Picture lineup, the make-up is amazing. It is undeniable. What can be denied is my own belief that Oppenheimer is nominated for hair and make-up. If that doesn't scream that the Academy loves this movie and that it is going to win Best Picture, then I don't know what does.


The Creator


Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part I


The Zone of Interest

WILL WIN: Oppenheimer

ANALYSIS: Oppenheimer is one of the most incredible achievements in sound that I have ever seen. And it is probably the second best use of sound this year. I am not being hyperbolic when I say that I think the Oppenheimer and The Zone of Interest are all time greats in this particular category. Oppenheimer's sound is more of a technical marvel while the Zone of Interest relies more on its sound. The soundscape in Zone of Interest is the reason the film is effective. Unfortunately the award is for "best sound" and not "most important use of sound" so I do think the voters' infatuation with Oppenheimer will carry it here in a category that it excels in. Both of those movies have such great sound that no one is even talking about Maestro as a potential option here, which is testament to the unbelievable job done by Oppie and Zone.


American Fiction

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Killers of the Flower Moon


Poor Things

WILL WIN: Oppenheimer

ANALYSIS: Oppenheimer's score is mesmerizing and it pervades the entire three hour runtime of the film. It is the most recognizable and most utilized score of the year. It is going to win. For my taste, I'll take Robbie Robertson's pulse-like, old western, backdrop in Killers of the Flower Moon, or even the dysfunctional music box diddy that Poor Things cranks out. There is no wrong answer between those three, but the Academy won't even entertain the other two. John Williams is the greatest film composer of his or any generation, but at this point he could accidentally fart into a kazoo and the academy would give him a nomination. Love him, but I would rather have Spider-verse here. 


"It Never Went Away" from American Symphony

"I'm Just Ken" from Barbie

"What Was I Made For?" from Barbie

"The Fire Inside" from Flaming Hot

"Wahzhahze (A Song for My People)" from Killers of the Flower Moon

WILL WIN: "What Was I Made For?"

ANALYSIS: It is during this category that I often like to remind people at my Oscar party that Peter O'Toole does not have an Oscar but the Three 6 Mafia does. Such is the nature of Best Original Song. Flaming Hot is technically an Oscar nominated movie whereas All of Us Strangers, for instance, is not. Fun. A Barbie song is going to win this. It will likely be " What Was I Made For?" but I will secretly be rooting for "I'm Just Ken." I always root for songs that actually appear in the film when I can. Not saying the Billie track isn't a great and important moment in the film, but it's the background noise for the scene, where as "I'm Just Ken" is a legitimate standout musical number and probably the best scene of the entire movie. 


The Creator

Godzilla Minus One

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part I


WILL WIN: The Creator

ANALYSIS: In some circles this will be the category that determines the Oscar poll winner. The VFX industry people are telling us it should be The Creator, but that doesn't mean the Academy voters are listening. If they watched the movies, I'm sure many will like Godzilla more and want to pick it on those merits. I have no idea how this one will fall, but I will trust that the message has gotten out there enough on The Creator and its stunning visuals. 


The After


Knight of Fortune

Red, White and Blue

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

WILL WIN: Henry Sugar

ANALYSIS: Henry Sugar is a Wes Anderson short film. That is both a pro and a con for its winning prospects. I think there is a cohort of the voting bloc that might want to reward the man's career with an Oscar here. That said, some other might bristle at the idea that he is a clear star in a field that is generally more grassroots in nature. In the end I do think Anderson is my best guess. 


Letter to a Pig

Ninety-Five Senses

Our Uniform


War is Over! Inspired by the Music of John and Yoko

WILL WIN: Ninety-Five Senses

ANALYSIS: I actually was able to see these in theatres and I liked them all and loved a few of them. I think Letter to a Pig might be too bleak and inaccessible, and it's also not in english. I think War is Over! is very populist and more emblematic of what the category usually goes for. But I just think Ninety-Five Senses marries the both of those worlds well enough that it gets over the hump. I could just be rooting because I think it is MY favorite of the group, but I do believe it can happen. 


The ABCs of Book Banning

The Barber of Little Rock

Island in Between

The Last Repair Shop

Nai Nai and Wai Po

WILL WIN: The Last Repair Shop

ANALYSIS: Man, IDK. I'm reading tea leaves and stabbing in the dark. If you read all the way to the end I think you should be able to forgive me. Have I not given you enough?

Ryan Garasich 3/8/24


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