From Best Director to Best Picture, here are our top 2024 Oscar predictions

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Published Mar 7, 2024 at 05:47 PM

Reading time: 6 minutes

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As we approach the 96th Academy Awards ceremony, which will be taking place on Sunday 10 March 2024 and is predicted to be yet another Barbenheimer triumph, let’s dive into the whirlwind of uncertainty that is the Oscars. Our hypothetical crystal ball might need a reboot, leaving us wondering who’ll shine on Sunday, and who’ll nonchalantly claim something along the lines of ‘it’s an honour just to be nominated’ before hitting the afterparty’s drinks stash. In other words, we’re unleashing our inner That’s So Raven to bring you our 2024 Oscar predictions in this year’s ceremony’s six major categories—Best Picture, Best Director, and the acting quartet. Plus, we’ll spice things up with a dash of personal picks for who should be the undeniable victors at the Oscars 2024.

Since movies were better than ever this year, expect a lot of tight races. Two Barbie tunes vying for Best Song also qualify as a battle of the sexes as Billie Eilish takes the Oscar stage to sing ‘What Was I Made For?’ and Ryan Gosling counters with ‘I’m Just Ken’.

Best Director nominees

Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer 

Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon

Justine Triet, Anatomy of a Fall 

Jonathan Glazer, The Zone of Interest 

Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things

Let’s momentarily set aside any notable directorial snubs that may have stirred controversy in the context of the Best Director nominations—undoubtedly, this lineup stands out as one of the most robust in recent years. Each of these five filmmakers presents a compelling case for a deserving victory.

For some, this is their first time in the category, marking a significant rise in the industry. Others see it as the culmination of a protracted journey for their personal work. Meanwhile, for a seasoned cinema veteran, it’s a triumphant moment in a long and illustrious career, proving that late-career projects can still be impactful.

It’s noteworthy that Christopher Nolan remains one of the few contemporary directors whose name carries significant weight above the title. His dedication to film as a format and the theatrical experience has earned him goodwill among his peers. Surprisingly, he has only received one previous nomination for Best Director for Dunkirk. Under Nolan’s direction, what could have been another conventional biopic transforms into something epic, existential, intimate, and intensely cinematic.

Best Director predictions

A podium moment for either Martin Scorsese or Christopher Nolan would be fantastic, considering how these filmmakers are at their best, but Yorgos Lanthimos has been the talk of the town recently.

Best Supporting Actress nominees

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers 

Emily Blunt, Oppenheimer

America Ferrera, Barbie

Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple

Jodie Foster, Nyad 

Occasionally, a nominee emerges as the clear frontrunner in their category, collecting accolades from critics’ groups and various awards ceremonies. As the Oscars approach, a sense of inevitability envelops their victory.

Best Supporting Actress predictions

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, already a recipient of several awards for her outstanding performance, is now in the running for an Oscar. Her notable role is in The Holdovers, where she portrays Mary Lamb, the head cook at a boys’ boarding school set in 1970s Massachusetts. Her portrayal of this character has garnered acclaim and recognition, making her a standout contender in the upcoming Oscar ceremony.

Best Supporting Actor nominees

Robert Downey Jr., Oppenheimer

Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things 

Sterling K. Brown, American Fiction 

Ryan Gosling, Barbie 

Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon

Once again, the staggering talent exhibited by these actors is mind-blowing. Considering that all five have a wealth of decades-long solid work under their belts.

Best Supporting Actor predictions

As the awards season unfolded, the prospect of a Charles Melton versus Robert Downey Jr. showdown loomed large, especially with Downey gaining early acclaim from critics’ groups and the Gotham awards. The narrative shaped up to be a battle between the young, hot newcomer and the seasoned veteran who navigated the trials of early fame. However, Downey’s Golden Globes triumph and Melton’s absence from the Oscar nominations altered the trajectory.

Since then, in the cinematic realm of Oppenheimer, bereft of traditional villains, Downey has been sweeping accolades—Critics Choice, BAFTA, and SAG awards. The momentum suggests an impending Oscar addition to his already illustrious collection. Choosing a winner in this category is a conundrum, with each nominee making a compelling case. The only substantial competition for Downey Jr. in terms of voter enthusiasm seems to be Mark Ruffalo, whose performance resonated even with those on the fence about Poor Things, particularly with his spectacular character transformation.

But hey, seriously, Downey Jr. has somehow managed what we’ll call a third comeback. The actor’s initial resurgence saw his return to the industry following widely publicised challenges, securing a nomination for Tropic Thunder. Yes, that’s right – Then came the Marvel era, turning him into a ‘bankable’ star and establishing RDJ as the original face of a multi-gajillion-dollar cinematic universe. And now, with his compelling performance as the vengeful Lewis Strauss in Nolan’s biopic, the revelation strikes: “Oh, shit! Downey can really act!”

We’re in a tough spot having to pick between Downey Jr. and Ruffalo. However, while both delivered outstanding performances, there’s a particular inclination towards the latter, especially for his impactful role in Poor Things.

Best Actress nominees

Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon

Annette Bening, Nyad

Emma Stone, Poor Things

Carey Mulligan, Maestro

Sandra Hüller, Anatomy of a Fall

Oddly enough, the ‘baby’ of the group here—Emma Stone—is the only one to have previously won in this category.

That being said, if Stone won again this year, I wouldn’t really be upset, given that the Best Actress and the Best Actor races are the two tightest contests of the night. Since Killers of the Flower Moon will likely be shut out in all of the other major categories, a win by Lily Gladstone—who establishes a formidable presence in the company of Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro in the film—would be a great way for Academy voters to honour one of the most compelling films of 2023.

Gladstone’s chances of winning an Oscar got a big boost when she won a SAG award, beating Stone. Stone’s odds are also affected by her past win for La La Land in 2016. The Oscars are known for being tough on actors winning more than one award, making it even harder for the actress to clinch the trophy this year.

Best Actress predictions

In a cinematic revelation, Gladstone’s role in the movie is nothing short of captivating. As the narrative unfolds, her portrayal brings a unique depth and authenticity to the character, adding layers of emotion and nuance to the storyline. In this historic moment, the actress could soon be crowned as the first Indigenous performer to win Best Actress. There’s a notable anticipation, with a prevailing sense that the Academy is eager to break through this significant barrier.

Yet to suggest that Gladstone is the frontrunner simply because her win would be breaking ground is simply absurd and ignores the reason that she was nominated in the first place. Killers of the Flower Moon is filled with rich work from Native and non-Native actors alike, all of whom are rallying to bring Scorsese’s vision of an American tragedy to life.

They’re the broken heart and bruised soul of the film. And the cascade of praise and recognition from other awards-giving bodies (notably SAG), in addition to the numerous moving speeches Gladstone has given already, has primed her to walk away with a statuette come Oscar night.

Best Actor nominees

Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer

Jeffrey Wright, American Fiction

Colman Domingo, Rustin

Bradley Cooper, Maestro

Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers

Going into the awards season, this seemed to be the one category that was up in the air—you could guess who was likely to make the cut for the five nominees, but not necessarily who was going to be the frontrunner. But two actors have proven themselves especially worthy of the honour, with Giamatti seemingly destined to take the Oscar early on with Best Actor trophies from the critics organisations in Boston and Chicago, the NBR, the CCAs, and the Golden Globes for Best Actor In A Comedy.

And while Murphy took the Best Actor Golden Globe in Best Actor on the drama side, his crucial turn this awards season came when his peers awarded him the top honour at the BAFTAs and the SAG Awards.

Best Actor predictions

Stepping into the spotlight with undeniable prowess is obviously Cillian Murphy. The Irish actor has certainly benefited from the overall love that Oppenheimer has received over the past six months. His total immersion into the body and bruised soul of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the dark knight of the atomic age, is a thing of beauty and terror that will keep you on edge. Nothing in his previous work prepares you for this tour de force. Nothing except for the six seasons Murphy starred as the impossibly blue-eyed and dangerously sexy gangster Tommy Shelby on Peaky Blinders. Those legions of Peaky fanatics in the Academy might be just the edge Murphy needs to enter the Oscar winners’ circle.

Best Picture nominees

American Fiction

Anatomy of a Fall

Barbie

The Holdovers 

Killers of the Flower Moon

Maestro

Oppenheimer

Past Lives

Poor Things

The Zone of Interest

The sheer range represented in this lineup is kind of astounding. Barbie is nestled next to The Zone of Interest, while Poor Things holds a close sit beside Killers of the Flower Moon. This variety of films has allowed a number of ‘smaller’ and international titles to become a part of the Oscar conversation.

While it’s highly unlikely Oppenheimer will sweep the Oscars and win statuettes in all of its leading 13 nominated categories—although a sweep of the top awards is completely in reason—a win for Best Picture seems to be all but a formality.

So who should win? The correct answer is eight out of the ten listed contenders. We’ll let you guess which two are the outliers. But in any year in which Oppenheimer wasn’t nominated, either Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon or Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things would be likely walking away with a Best Picture win. But honestly, given the bounty of this year’s Oscars crop? I feel like we’ve already won something… The Academy’s efforts to diversify its membership. And how it undoubtedly played a pivotal role in this evolution. This inclusivity has allowed smaller and international films to not only find a place in the conversation but also to contend for the prestigious Oscar awards.

As the countdown to the ceremony begins, the anticipation is palpable, and the celebration of cinematic achievement promises to be a memorable one.

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