The Oscars 2024 nominations are here and the internet is abuzz with speculation about who will be taking home the top prize at the 96th Academy Awards.
Ahead of March's event, we've decided to pick apart the main categories in the hopes of figuring out who will win on the night itself.
Below, we'll run through historical trends and industry chatter to help predict the winners of Best Picture, Best Director, and the four main acting categories. Oppenheimer may be leading the way with 13 nominations, but should we be expecting a clean sweep or will the likes of Poor Things, The Holdovers, and Barbie reign triumphant?
So join us as we talk big favorites, outsiders, and possible shocks and snubs in our Oscars 2024 predictions.
Anatomy of a Fall
Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer – one half of the all-conquering 'Barbenheimer' double-bill – was a tour de force upon its release, proving wildly popular with both critics and audiences alike.
The biopic of Robert J. Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb played so astutely by Cillian Murphy, has received nods all throughout the Oscars' main categories this year and feels like the sort of rare prestige heavyweight movie event that the Academy loves so much.
Its nearest rival appears to be Poor Things, which has been picking up steam (and awards aplenty) in recent weeks. Still, this is Oppenheimer's to lose – and we aren't expecting shock wins for The Holdovers, Barbie, or even Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon – a film that was among the early frontrunners for Best Picture.
Justine Triet, Anatomy of a Fall
Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon
Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer
Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things
Jonathan Glazer, The Zone of Interest
One statistic is very telling when it comes to this category: Almost 75% of historical Best Picture winners have also seen their director pick up the award for Best Director on the same night.
On historical trends alone, Christopher Nolan should win Best Director for the first time. Of course, a shock can always be sprung and, in Scorsese, Triet, Glazer, and Lanthimos, this is potentially the strongest lineup we've seen in years – with each filmmaker delivering modern classics in their own inimitable style.
Bradley Cooper, Maestro
Colman Domingo, Rustin
Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers
Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer
Jeffrey Wright, American Fiction
Cillian Murphy has been touted as the strong favorite for Best Actor and we don't disagree. For one, the Academy often laps up biopics or those playing historical figures (see Bohemian Rhapsody for evidence of that). But it's also this year's standout performance: a deft portrayal of a man caught at a crossroads of history, one who is stripped of honor and dignity in the most humiliating of circumstances. Murphy has also been mopping up awards, including at the Golden Globes, which helps his chances plenty.
Pour one out, then, for The Holdovers' Paul Giamatti. His turn as Mr. Hunham has been slowly picking up momentum in wider circles lately. Its unfortunately staggered release might count against it, however.
Bradley Cooper, Colman Domingo, and Jeffrey Wright each delivered – in our estimations – career-best performances or close to it. In another year, they might have prevailed.
Annette Bening, Nyad
Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon
Sandra Huller, Anatomy of a Fall
Carey Mulligan, Maestro
Emma Stone, Poor Things
Probably the closest big-name race is the one for Best Actress. Emma Stone and Lily Gladstone are neck and neck among some bookmakers when it comes to who will be taking home the gong.
A strong indicator will be the upcoming SAG awards as they frequently provide a bellwether for the eventual winners at the Oscars. For example, Jamie Lee Curtis picked up momentum after the event and eventually took home Best Supporting Actress. Whoever wins there will likely win at the Academy Awards.
Right now, it's a toss-up, but Lily Gladstone and her delicate, yet fierce, portrayal of Mollie Burkhart has been talked about for almost a year now and has all the hallmarks of a career-defining performance that should get the nod from the Academy.
Best Supporting Actor
Sterling K Brown, American Fiction
Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon
Robert Downey Jr, Oppenheimer
Ryan Gosling, Barbie
Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things
Another strong clutch of actors and, yet, there's only one name everyone is talking about.
Robert Downey Jr. is surely set to take home his first Oscar for his role as the vindictive, career-driven Lewis Strauss. Much like last year with Ke Huy Quan's win, this could be an early sign that Oppenheimer is set to sweep the board on the night itself, though the other actors in the category should be commended – especially Mark Ruffalo and Robert De Niro. One, Ruffalo, shows he can do pretty much anything asked of him on the screen, while De Niro proves age is but a number by still operating at the peak of his powers in a deliciously evil, oily performance in Killers of the Flower Moon.
Best Supporting Actress
Emily Blunt, Oppenheimer
Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple
America Ferrera, Barbie
Jodie Foster, Nyad
Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers
With apologies to Emily Blunt's outrageously talented forehead vein in Oppenheimer, this award is pretty much all wrapped up for Da'Vine Joy Randolph to take home on the night. Her touching performance as cook Mary in The Holdovers contains an unshakeable depth that has caught the attention of several awards bodies already this season. America Ferrera's Barbie monologue was among the most memorable of last year, but we can't see that performance troubling the winners come Oscars night.
Take a look ahead to this year's biggest films with our movie release dates calendar too.