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The CHIRP Blog

KSanders writesKyle Predicts the 96th Academy Awards

by Kyle Sanders

During a segment of the 86th Academy Awards, host Ellen DeGeneres rallied a few A-list celebs (and Lupita Nyong'o's brother) to pose for an Oscars selfie that broke the internet with over 3.4 million retweets on what was then known as Twitter.

Would you believe that incident took place exactly ten years ago? Time certainly flies, but quite frankly, it hasn't been too kind to that selfie (remember "Brangelina?").

But what of that year's nominated films and winners? In the decade since, can you recall that 12 Years a Slave won Best Picture? Or that American Hustle--one of the most nominated films that year--went home empty handed?

Perhaps the only memorable takeaway was Frozen's Oscar-winning song "Let It Go," cementing its place high atop its mountainous pedestal as the go-to track for any musical theater major trying to prove their vocal chops on karaoke night.

But just like the words sung by Idina Menzel (or "Adele Dazeem" as John Travolta referred to her during that telecast), "the past is the past." It's 2024, and there's a new crop of films up for awards this year.

Surprisingly, this is the first time I saw all Best Picture contenders before the nominations were announced, providing me time to check out some of the sporadic nominees like Nyad, The Color Purple, Rustin, and Godzilla Minus One, as well as some of this year's nominated shorts.

Which films and performances are likely to win? Check out my predictions of some of the major categories below!

Best Animated Feature:

A Toss-Up: The Boy and the Heron, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Happy Just to Be Here: Elemental, Nimona, Robot Dreams

With all due respect to the three "happy just to be here" nominees, I think this race really comes down to Hayao Miyazaki's comeback, The Boy and the Heron, and the box-office smash Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

While an early Golden Globe and recent BAFTA win helps Miyazaki's chances, the sequel to the Oscar-winning Into the Spider-Verse picked up Best Animated Film trophies from the Annie Awards and the Producers Guild--a perfect combo that could help web-sling this movie up to the podium on Oscar night!

Best International Feature:

The Safe Bet: The Zone of Interest (UK)

Happy Just to Be Here: Io Capitano (Italy), Perfect Days (Japan), Society of the Snow (Spain), The Teacher's Lounge (Germany)

MIA: Anatomy of a Fall (France)

Despite winning the Golden Globe in the same category back in January, Palme d'Or winner Anatomy of a Fall is oddly left out of this race. Fine by me, because that leaves Jonathan Glazer's haunting The Zone of Interest a greater chance of winning.

It would be eerily ironic if the Academy ignores this film, which is set in the confines of a Nazi officer's family home where the horrors of the Auschwitz death camp take place within earshot. It would also be the first time the United Kingdom has ever won for Best International Feature!

Best Supporting Actor:

The Safe Bet: Robert Downey Jr. (Oppenheimer)

The Dark Horse: Ryan Gosling (Barbie)

Happy Just to Be Here: Sterling K. Brown (American Fiction), Robert De Niro (Killers of the Flower Moon), Mark Ruffalo (Poor Things)

MIA: Willem DaFoe (Poor Things), Charles Melton (May December)

After seeing Oppenheimer last summer, I figured Robert Downey Jr.'s juicy role as historical villain Lewis Strauss would receive Oscar attention, and after securing wins at the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, and the Screen Actors Guild (just to name a few), he appears set to win his first Oscar (from two previous nominations).

His only competition could be Gosling's scene stealing performance in Barbie...but I doubt it's "Kenough" to beat Downey!

Best Supporting Actress:

The Safe Bet: Da'Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers)

Happy Just to Be Here: Emily Blunt (Oppenheimer), Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple), America Ferrera (Barbie), Jodie Foster (Nyad)

Missing in Action: Claire Foy (All of Us Strangers), Julianne Moore (May December)

Foster was fun, Blunt was superb, and Brooks and Ferrera each had a standout moment in their respective films, but this is Randolph's year.

Like Downey Jr., Da'Vine Joy Randolph's performance as a boarding school cook mourning the death of her son has swept every Supporting Actress award handed out so far, so I don't expect much of an upset in this category. I also just really loved that film, and hope it's recognized for at least something!

Best Actor:

The Safe Bet: Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer)

The Dark Horse: Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers)

Always the Bridesmaid: Bradley Cooper (Maestro)

Happy Just to Be Here: Colman Domingo (Rustin), Jeffrey Wright (American Fiction)

Missing in Action: Nicolas Cage (Dream Scenario), Leonardo DiCaprio (Killers of the Flower Moon), Andrew Scott (All of Us Strangers)

I was expecting more of a showdown between Cillian Murphy and Paul Giamatti, but it's looking more like Cillian will prevail here, having won at the Golden Globes, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild ceremonies.

It's not surprising though, as portraying an historical figure is always great fodder for the Academy. Case in point: three performances in this category were based on real people. But of the three, it's Murphy's performance as J. Robert Oppenheimer that's likely to take home the Oscar.

As for the ever-nominated Bradley Cooper -- better luck next time (or perhaps a better prosthetic nose)! 

Best Actress:

A Toss-Up: Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon), Emma Stone (Poor Things)

The Dark Horse: Sandra Hueller (Anatomy of a Fall)

Always the Bridesmaid: Annette Bening (Nyad), Carey Mulligan (Maestro)

Missing in Action: Natalie Portman (May December), Greta Lee (Past Lives), Margot Robbie (Barbie)

Bening's performance in Nyad was perhaps the most physically demanding role of all the nominees, but she's the only one here whose film isn't nominated for Best Picture, so her chances are slim.

While Mulligan received some early buzz, it faded rather quickly. This year's Best Actress winner will follow last year's pattern: between a former Oscar winner (Stone) and a first-time nominee whose win would be historic (Gladstone).

Both women won Golden Globes in their respective genre category, while Stone took home the BAFTA and Gladstone the SAG award. Based on performance, my guess would be Stone, but I can't fathom a world where she has two Oscars under her belt (sorry--just not a fan!).

While Gladstone's role was--in my opinion--too quiet to be considered "leading," the momentum for making her the first Native American to win is gaining traction.

If you ask me, the best performance came from Hueller, who had one hell of a year starring in TWO Best Picture nominees (the other being The Zone of Interest), so I'm still holding out for her. This category is certainly anyone's guess!

Best Director: 

The Safe Bet: Christopher Nolan (Oppenheimer)

Happy Just to Be Here: Jonathan Glazer (The Zone of Interest), Yorgos Lanthimos (Poor Things), Martin Scorsese (Killers of the Flower Moon), Justine Triet (Anatomy of a Fall)

Missing in Action: Greta Gerwig (Barbie), Alexander Payne (The Holdovers), Celine Song (Past Lives)

This is a solid list of directors! I know a lot of people were peeved about Greta Gerwig being left off, but c'mon, even if she was nominated, she'd still lose to Nolan.

A notable filmmaker who has captivated audiences with his brilliant storytelling for decades, this is his second nomination for Best Director (eighth overall), and if there was ever a time for the Academy to award him, my guess is they'll do so for this critically-acclaimed blockbuster.

Plus, he recently won at the Directors Guild Awards, which is typically a sure sign of winning the Oscar!

Best Picture:

The Safe Bet: Oppenheimer

The Dark Horse: Barbie

Happy Just to Be Here: American Fiction, Anatomy of a Fall, The Holdovers, Killers of the Flower Moon, Maestro, Past Lives, Poor Things, The Zone of Interest

Aside from the eye-rolling inclusion of Maestro, I'd say this year's batch of Best Pic nominees is one of the strongest in the Academy's history! All are worthy of recognition, with a mix of comedy, drama, romance, satire, and relevance.

But since the start of Awards Season, Oppenheimer has cleaned up, with big wins from the Golden Globes, Critic's Choice, BAFTA's, Producers Guild, and even a SAG award for Best Ensemble.

I guess it's possible that the biggest box-office draw of the year, Barbie, could pull enough votes (especially given the attention of the nominations it did NOT receive), but the Academy loves a historical epic with serious, dramatic flair, and Oppenheimer certainly provides that. It's also a technical marvel, so expect hearing Oppenheimer's name called a lot on Oscar night!

Will my predictions come true? Find out when the 96th Annual Academy Awards take place on March 10th at 7 PM/6PM CST on ABC and various streaming platforms!

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Categorized: Movies

Topics: academy awards

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