(And the Inevitable Feeling I will be Wrong about Everything…)
Look, awards season is coming up fast. It makes sense for me to start thinking about who’s going to be taking home those golden dudes this year and what awkward situation those weird little celebrities are gonna get into this time. I already know I’m gonna get some of this wrong, but it’s the Oscars—the Academy will get it wrong too. So I’m not gonna feel guilty about it when Maestro ends up winning Best Picture (and I crumble up my prediction list covered with tears).
I am going to let you in on MY predictions for the next Oscar season. The real nominations won’t be announced until January 23rd, 2024, so we’re still in the early days. But come on, don’t blame me for doing this, a kid’s gotta have some fun when there’s nothing going on in Tinseltown. I never won this prediction game at the movie theater I used to work at, just letting you know that now. But trust me bro, I have Letterboxd.
Hollywood is at a very weird standstill at the moment, having just settled the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike and now still dealing with the lingering Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strike. Actors should be fairly paid, but the greedy Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) is still holding out. I mention this because of not only how much it affects how many awards films we’ll be seeing next year, but as of currently, a lot of the actors will NOT be able to promote their films on the awards circuit. This doesn’t include actors in films produced by studios such as NEON and A24. since those studios have agreed to the same demands that SAG-AFTRA (also representing the interests of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) is asking of from the AMPTP. Oscar campaigns for actors are a big deal to the awards season, and the lack of campaigning this year will heavily affect some chances when it comes to who gets that golden statue.
Wait, before we get to all of the nitty gritty of what will be going down this year in the Dolby Theatre, let me try to remember what happened last year… oh yeah Everything, Everywhere, All at Once won almost everything (deservedly so). We also saw the great Angella Bassett being robbed of an Oscar to *checks notes* Jamie Lee Curtis. Andrea Riseborough knew how to get her powerful Hollywood friends to throw her into the leading actress nominees for a film I still feel like is locked up in a vault somewhere. The Whale ended up getting more Oscars than Tár, and I think that’s really hilarious to think about (but don’t tell a film bro that). Also, we need to make sure that the Will Smith-ian slap joke is finally dead, please Academy, please Jimmy Kimmel. That reminds me of another thing I would like to add: we really need to get fucking rid of Jimmy Kimmel.
There are a ton of films getting buzz during the festival circuit this year, and a lot of them are going to translate into Oscars gold. Some of these include: Killers of the Flower Moon, Maestro, Poor Things, The Holdovers, American Fiction, Barbie, Oppenheimer, Saltburn and Anatomy of a Fall. I really wish Past Lives would be in the conversation more, since it’s an especially beautiful film. But then again, I’m not the one in charge, or else Brendan Fraiser would be winning an Oscar every year. I think Maestro, Oppenheimer, Poor Things, and Killers of the Flower Moon will be the powerhouses of the season, putting that out there now. Barbie will also pop up in the conversation as the academy wants to put a crowd pleaser in the conversation just like they did with Top Gun: Maverick last year. Other films geared towards the academy are failing to gain any traction in the race though. This includes Priscilla, The Color Purple, The Killer, Ferrari, Dumb Money, Fair Play, Napoleon, Dream Scenario and Next Goal Wins. Not to say those films aren’t acclaimed by any means, I’m pumped for all of them, but they haven’t really hit their mark in the festival circuit like others have.
So my predictions for the 2024 Oscars are very random and scattered. I’m sorry I’m not Variety (I’m lowkey better than them). First off, one category that sticks out as a sore thumb to me is the Supporting Actor category, since it’s crazy competitive. I feel that Robert Downey Jr (Oppenheimer), Robert De Niro (Killers of the Flower Moon) and Ryan Gosling (Barbie) are gonna be the main ones battling it out while Mark Ruffalo (Poor Things) chills out in the corner.
Really all of the categories this year are quite competitive, it’s a big year for film. We got features from directors such as Martin Scorsese, Greta Gerwig, David Fincher, Michael Mann, Christopher Nolan, Sofia Coppola, Ridley Scott and Yorgos Lanthimos among others. But I think Martin Scorsese will be the one to take home the gold for Best Director as the academy slept on The Irishman when it came out and he’s not getting any younger at this point.
When it comes to leading actors, I think Bradley Cooper is the front runner for this award, as the academy is very much in favor of Cooper after A Star is Born. But with competition from Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer), Leonardo DiCaprio (Killers of the Flower Moon), Jeffrey Wright (American Fiction), Colman Domingo (Rustin) and Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers), it’s going to be really tough to tell who’s in the race at this point. Also shoutout to Jacob Elordi (Saltburn, Priscilla) for taking the Robert Pattinson route of chilling as a teen heartthrob for a bit before being promoted as THE talented young fellow that randomly pops up every awards season. He’s come a far way from The Kissing Booth. Also, I can already tell that Best Actresswill be a duel between Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon) and Emma Stone (Poor Things), with both having really phenomenal career-defining performances. Poor Carey Mulligan (Maestro), it’s gonna be her time to shine in one of these years ahead. When it comes to the technical awards, Oppenheimer is going to be the front-runner for winning these categories, as it will repeat what All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) won for the most part last season.
I also want to put this out there now, even though I already think “What Was I Made For” from Barbie will be winning Best Original Song, I would love to see “I’m Just Ken” performed. That would be the event of a lifetime, and get the Academy its much needed boost in ratings. Best animated feature will be going to Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, I can already tell since the last installment won an Oscar and there was so much buzz surrounding this one as well. The Boy & The Heron seems to have lost its festival capital, as Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement film has turned into just another Studio Ghibli entry when Miyazaki backtracked from his career decision. For Best Adapted Screenplay, I’m thinking American Fiction because of how well it was received at Toronto and the acclaimed book it was based off of. But why is Barbie not in this category? It baffles me that the team behind the film is trying to be recognized in the Original Screenplay category and not Adapted, unless Ruth Handler was secretly a ghostwriter for Noah Baumbach.
All in all, there’s a lot to take in this awards season, with some old faces that cinephiles love dearly such as Scorsese or Nolan, but also some welcomed newcomers like Celine Song (Past Lives) who deserve more credit for their work. Oh yeah, I almost forgot the main entree of the night, what everyone will talk about the morning after the Oscars: the Best Picture Winner. Look, it’s four months away, so a lot will change from this point in time to that crazy eventfully uneventful night. There could be more buzz surrounding films, some rotten tomatoes unexpectedly thrown a film’s way (looking at you Saltburn), or even controversy by yet another talented face that comes out. But the film I believe will win best picture for the 2024 Oscars will be Poor Things. Yeah, there I said it. It’s the one film I’ve been noticing keeping its award season traction, while others such as Maestro and Killers of the Flower Moon have already been questionable in some ways. There you go now, go fill in your Oscar ballots early academy members, because ya boy just did your homework for you. Check back and see what I got wrong when that night in March comes around next year, I know I will (not).
Noah Darling is a Sophomore Cinema Photo Major who has already started planning his Oscars watch party. He can be reached at [email protected].