2024 Oscars: My Predictions

Here are my predictions for each of the categories for the 2024 Oscars. I hope you enjoy the show and all of the movies this year!
2024 Oscars Movies
2024 Oscar Movies

Here are my predictions for how the 2024 Oscars will be awarded in the ceremony this Sunday, March 10.  These predictions are based, in part,  on my Initial Analysis, What Others Think and Overall Ranking of the movies (see those posts for details).  But I also recognize two important facts – one is that my analysis of movie quality is obviously incomplete since I haven’t seen any of the movies.  And second, is that there are many other factors that go into the Academy member’s votes, including personal feelings and political pressures.  Since I am not a member of the Academy, nor really, a major player in the industry, I do not fully understand the personalities and politics involved.  

Nevertheless, my track record over the last six years hasn’t been too bad – significantly better than chance.  Here are my results so you can decide how far to trust my judgments:

2023: 11/23 (48%)

2022: 10/23 (43%)

2021: 14/23 (61%)

2020: 8/24 (33%) – a bad year for me

2019: 15/24 (63%)

2018: 16/24 (67%)

For an overall average of 53%.  (Random chance would yield a little less than 20%).  So, I invite the reader to peruse my predictions and then, of course, make your own based on how you think things will go down.  So here we go, by category. (Note: this year I’m making both a primary prediction and a “backup”.  Obviously, in officially judging my accuracy only the “primary” prediction counts.  Nonetheless, most of the time a race is decided by a coin toss, so having a backup to help explain your reasoning seems sound.)

2024 Oscars: Oscar Shorts

I don’t pay much attention to these three categories only because I have limited time and resources and viewing these 15 nominees is often very difficult.  So I make my predictions based, more or less, on the titles, the subject matter, and what limited buzz I’ve been able to read.

Documentary Short Subject: The Last Repair Shop (The ABCs of Book Banning)

Animated Short Film: WAR IS OVER!… (Letter to a Pig)

Live Action Short Film: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (Red, White and Blue)

2024 Oscars: Special Interest Categories

Animated Feature Film:  The Boy and the Heron (Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse)

Disney used to win this category without much competition, but recently their efforts have not been real successful. Their entry this year, Elemental is just not performing well – it is ranked at the bottom.  The real competition appears to be between the action sequences in Spider-Man… versus the more subtle story telling and hand-drawn animation from Japan of The Boy and the Heron.   It’s a toss-up but I’m guessing they will align with the critics on this one.

Documentary Feature: 20 Days in Mariupol (To Kill a Tiger)

Although critics liked To Kill a Tiger better than 20 Days in Mariupol, I’m betting that they will go with a symbol of support for Ukraine.

International Feature Film: The Zone of Interest (Perfect Days)

If an International Feature candidate also gets nominated for Best Picture, it is a pretty good indicator that the Academy is leaning in their favor. So even if it doesn’t win Best Picture, it will likely take this category.  Critics also like that film.  Audiences preferred the one from Japan, Perfect Days.

2024 Oscars: Minor Categories

Original Song: “What Was I Made For” from Barbie (“I’m Just Ken” from Barbie)

I blew this category last year big time.  The Academy didn’t pick either Lady Gaga or Rihanna, nor the song from the Best Picture film.  Instead they went with an unknown song (in the West anyway) from an obscure, but actually very good film from India, RRR.  So this is a crapshoot category.  However, since Oppenheimer doesn’t have an entry, I’m going to say they will pick one of the Barbie songs – and I’m betting they will go with the big name singer, Billie Eilish.

Original Score: Oppenheimer (Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny) 

I got this one wrong last year I think because I had seen Banshees…, liked the movie and the music.  This year I haven’t seen any of them and I’ve heard only some of the music, so I might be a little less biased.  I’m guessing that the Oppenheimer juggernaut will run into this category.  Both Goransson (Oppenheimer) and Williams (Indiana Jones…)  have won Oscars before  and this is the first nomination for the other three. I’m assuming familiarity with the Academy members breeds camaraderie, and influences votes.

Sound: Oppenheimer (The Zone of Interest)

Last year All Quiet on the Western Front sort of swept the minor/technical categories, and that would augur well for The Zone of Interest.  But this year, Oppenheimer received nominations in most of the technical categories as well as the major ones.  Additionally, it is rated second or third by both critics and the viewing public.  There is no reason Oppenheimer should lose this category.

Makeup and Hairstyling: Poor Things (Oppenheimer)

I guessed this one correctly last year with The Whale but this is the category that can definitely go sideways.  While Oppenheimer is a candidate, and I might normally predict it to win, I think this will be a win for Poor Things just because it needs to win something and the visual design features are awfully interesting.  Society of the Snow, the International Feature entry from Spain, is a left field nomination, which this guild is famous for, but along with Golda it doesn’t receive enough other love to give it traction.  And Maestro receives lukewarm reception from critics and near-bottom ratings from the viewing public.

Costume Design: Barbie (Poor Things)

Like Makeup, Costume Design can be one of those outliers.  Last year I preferred Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,  which won, but I predicted the juggernaut, Everything Everywhere All At Once, which didn’t.  This year I think it’s a crapshoot between Oppenheimer, Poor Things and Barbie.  I’m guessing though that by the time voters get down to costumes, they are going to realize they’ve given Oppenheimer enough awards and I think they will go with one of the other two.  But, maybe, psychology will go more with Barbie – I mean, isn’t dressing up what the doll was all about?

Production Design: Oppenheimer (Barbie)

I got this one right last year with All Quiet on the Western Front.  This year the nominees are exactly the same in this category as they were for Costumes.  And so it is tempting to apply the same reasoning.  But this is a case where, based on what little I’ve seen so far, Oppenheimer appears to be a more crafted film.  So I predict it will win with Barbie my second choice.

Visual Effects: Godzilla Minus One (Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One)

Last year there was an unusual alignment of events where all the nominees in this category were also nominated in other categories, with All Quiet on the Western Front nominated even for Best Picture.  This year three of the five nominees were nominated only in this category and the other two received one or two minor nominations – more of the typical nomination pattern.  But this is the one significant area where the Academy can recognize a popular film and there is nothing receiving more critical and audience support than Godzilla Minus One.  The Mission Impossible… film is the runner up using the same criteria.

Cinematography: Oppenheimer (Killers of the Flower Moon)

I correctly predicted this one last year with All Quiet on the Western Front. Using the same logic, the momentum of so many nominations, it will probably go to Oppenheimer, although voters might get tired of constantly checking the same box and go with either Poor Things or Killers of the Flower Moon.

Film Editing: Oppenheimer (Killers of the Flower Moon)

I also predicted this one correctly last year with Everything Everywhere All At Once.  Since Editing is the art that is so unique to movies, I’m guessing the same logic applies here as in Cinematography.

2024 Oscars: Major Categories

Supporting Actor: Robert Downey Jr., Oppenheimer (Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon)

Probably good performances by all, but the Oppenheimer steamroller will likely win this one.  Choosing a backup is more than difficult as Poor Things and Killers of the Flower Moon are equivalent in critical and popular support, so sort of a coin toss.  I picked De Niro simply because he’s a bit older and nearing the end of his career.

Supporting Actress: Emily Blunt, Oppenheimer (Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers)

Ditto on the Oppenheimer steamroller: Emily Blunt will take this one. If anyone else has a chance it has to be Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers), based on the fact that the movie scores better than the other three with both critics and audiences.

Leading Actor: Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer (Bradley Cooper, Maestro)

I didn’t even think Brendan Fraser (The Whale) had any kind of chance last year.  But this year I’m going with the overall Oscar buzz and what all my data tells me: Oppenheimer wins again with Cillian Murphy.  Bradley Cooper has been nominated for acting Oscars 3 other times but has never won, but his vehicle this year, Maestro, just isn’t cutting the mustard.  Nonetheless, Cooper is a  key player in the industry and commands a lot of respect.  So second choice is between him and Giamatti (The Holdovers) who was nominated for Supporting Actor 19 years ago.  His vehicle is a solid performer, but he certainly isn’t getting the Oscar buzz of the others. This is the first nomination for both Domingo (Rustin) and Wright (American Fiction), and their films aren’t rated quite as highly as the others.

Leading Actress: Emma Stone, Poor Things (Lily Gladstone, Flowers of the Killer Moon)

My favorite category…. Last year I correctly predicted Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All At Once). And I made that call largely because she had two other cast mates in the nomination slate making it an “ensemble” film which Hollywood typically likes very much.  This year, though, the ensemble argument doesn’t weigh as much in this race – one of the nominees is flying solo and the other four have just a single nominated acting partner.  In what is probably the tightest race of this year’s acting Oscars, and the hardest to predict, we have:  Annette Bening (Nyad) who has four other Oscar nominations but is in what is probably the weakest film of the five.  On the other end Sandra Huller (Anatomy of a Fall) is in what appears to be a pretty good film, but has received her first nomination and doesn’t have any other nominated castmates to boost her status.  This is Lily Gladstone’s (Killers of the Flower Moon) first nomination also and I’m sure the Academy would love to recognize the first Native American in a well regarded movie. Carey Mulligan (Maestro) was terrific in Promising Young Woman, but her vehicle this year just isn’t pulling a lot of critical and, especially, audience love.  And that leaves Emma Stone (Poor Things), four time Oscar acting nominee (and winner for La La Land) whose performance this year has provoked all kinds of reactions due to its unusual demands.  This is a tough one and could go any which direction. But I’ll stand by my predictions until Sunday night!

Adapted Screenplay: Barbie (Oppenheimer)

My pick last year, All Quiet on the Western Front, lost to Women Talking, and after seeing both movies, I understood why.  The Writing categories are often where Academy voters use slightly different criteria for making decisions.  This year, the competition is very tight and it could go to any one of them.  But I’m guessing that this is the area where they make up for slighting Barbie in some of the other categories, like directing and acting.  My backup is the juggernaut pick!

Original Screenplay: Past Lives (Anatomy of a Fall)

By a pretty good margin, critics rated Past Lives the top movie of all 38 nominated films, and, although it didn’t receive any acting or directing nominations, or any minor nominations for that matter, the writing was spectacular enough to move it into the Best Picture race.  So that’s my pick.  Choosing a backup is even more difficult as all my indicators suggest that Anatomy of a Fall and The Holdovers are essentially equal in the minds of critics, viewers, and the Academy.  Maestro is a possibility, but only because Bradley Cooper is a commanding Hollywood figure, not because it is a great movie, apparently.  And May December just didn’t garner enough Oscar love to move the dial in its favor.

Director: Christopher Nolan for Oppenheimer (Martin Scorsese for Killers of the Flower Moon)

Last year I ignored the overwhelming Oscar recognition pattern and picked The Banshees of Inisherin over Everything Everywhere All at Once and I blew the predictions for both Director and Best Picture.  I’m not going to make that mistake this year.  Clearly the Oppenheimer juggernaut is going to work its way into these two biggest categories, and that will be my first pick.  Christopher Nolan has been nominated once for directing, twice for scripts, and twice for Best Picture before this year, but has never won.  The critical and commercial success of Oppenheimer will change that.  This is a first time nomination for Justine Triet (Anatomy of a Fall) as well as Jonathan Glazer (The Zone of Interest), and the second direction nomination for Yorgos Lanthimos (Poor Things) – so these folks maybe haven’t paid up their dues quite yet and have more opportunities in the future.  Of course, Martin Scorsese (Killers of the Flower Moon) is a Hollywood icon, and has been nominated for directing nine times before this one, winning only once.  So it is possible that, now in his 80s, the Academy will give him what might be his last Oscar.  I’m picking him as my backup.

Best Picture: Oppenheimer (Poor Things)

Oppenheimer, plus Barbie, in one weekend almost saved the movie theater industry and the film has been accorded critical, audience, and awards season acclaim.  It is my pick to win in 9 of its 12 other categories, and my backup pick in two more.  (The only category I think it will outright lose is Costumes!). So, like nearly all of the rest of the Oscar prognosticators, I’m picking Oppenheimer to win the Best Picture Oscar.  The really hard part is picking a backup, but I wonder if it’s necessary.  Since everyone is almost certain of an Oppenheimer win, what’s the point?  If there is a second, it comes down to Poor Things, because of its intense support from the Academy, Past Lives, because critics thought it was the best film of the year, or The Holdovers because of favorable viewer support.  Since the format of this essay requires a backup, I’m going to pick Poor Things simply because the Academy seems to like it more than the others.

Those are my picks.  After the Oscar ceremony, Sunday night, I will write a recap and fess up to my poor judgments…

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