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Oscars 2024: Who will win and who should win

We are now in the month of March, which means that the Academy Awards, commonly known as the Oscars, are just around the corner. The awards will celebrate the best in film for 2023. It was an exciting year for film with a wide variety of exciting films. On March 10, we will find out which films are the best of the best. Until then, we can predict what those films will be. The nominations came out on Jan. 23, and there have been a lot of back and forth predictions since then. Some winners seem almost set in stone, while others could still be considered a bit of a toss up. That is what makes predicting the winners so exciting. Like every year, my predictions between the release of this article and the actual Oscars could easily change. However, at this moment, these predictions follow the direction where I currently believe the awards are going. In addition, I feel the need to honor the movies that I believe should win. I have seen a fair amount of the nominated films this year, and while there may be some predicted winners I enjoy, they are not all going to necessarily be my top picks. I want to give my personal top picks their time in the spotlight. Without further ado, here are my predictions for what will win the major categories at the Oscars, and what would win if I had it my way.

Best Picture: The biggest category of the night, both in terms of importance and in terms of nominees. There are ten films that are vying for the gold statuette at the end of the night and each of them would be worthy of it. Nevertheless, when it comes to the likely winner, “Oppenheimer” seems to hold that distinction. It is one of the rare films that is both a blockbuster and a critical darling, and that is an achievement in and of itself. Precursor awards have been loving this historical drama filled with passionate acting, exciting special effects, and an interesting overview of an important moment in history. Therefore, because of all of that previous love, it seems that “Oppenheimer” will be the big winner. However, while I did not dislike the film, it would not be the big winner in my book. I prefer more grounded films that put more emphasis on the story over the visuals. That is why I would want “The Holdovers” to win Best Picture. I found it to be a heartwarming film that captured my attention all the way through. The characters were terrific and I liked every turn that the story made. I liked plenty of the nominees, but “The Holdovers” was easily able to stand on top.

Best Actor: While not always the case, the Oscars often like the portrayal of real life figures in the acting categories. They like to see a character that we know the big details about and learn about what really made them who they are. That is one of the reasons that Cillian Murphy will likely win for playing the titular role in “Oppenheimer.” The other reason, along with indications from precursor awards, is that he gave a portrayal that was both truly serious and also emotional. He was an exciting element of an already thrilling film, and the Oscars are going to eat that up. Personally, I did enjoy Murphy’s performance. However, like with my Best Picture choice, I want to give this award to “The Holdovers” as I really enjoyed Paul Giamatti’s performance as a curmudgeon professor that opens up his heart. So far, he is looking to be the runner up behind Murphy, but I would want to see Giamatti go all the way. On paper, it looks to be a straightforward part. However, Giamatti made the part feel so natural as we learned more about his character’s life. He gave this character passion and I wanted to learn more about that character. Giamatti was the perfect choice for his part and even though he is not the most likely choice, I would like to see him rewarded for what he has done.

Best Actress: Sometimes, a flashy performance can be what gets people’s attention. The acting choices become more obvious and the in-your-face aspects of the character can be hard to ignore. That is why it looks like Emma Stone will take home the Best Actress Oscar for “Poor Things” as a woman brought back to life and goes on a journey of rebirth, mentally and sexually. Stone’s performance was wild and unlike anything most of the Oscar voters have probably seen before. Not to mention, Stone already has an Oscar for her performance in “La La Land,” which means we already know that the Academy likes her. Therefore, it looks like a statuette coming her way. Nevertheless, in my opinion I would want to reward the quieter and more serious performance given by Lily Gladstone in “Killers of the Flower Moon,” where she played a Native American woman dealing with the murders taking place in her tribe. Gladstone’s performance is the type that tugs at your heart strings. There is a deep sadness to her character and Gladstone makes all of the emotions feel real. She absolutely leaves her mark on this film and her character is the one that you want to follow. It is not out of the question for Gladstone to win, but in my opinion, she is a clear winner.

Best Supporting Actor: It can be tough to be memorable in a supporting role, but all of the men in this category have succeeded that goal. There are a wide variety of actors nominated, which is what makes this category exciting. That being said, at the end of the day, it is becoming clear that Robert Downey Jr. will take home the Oscar for playing government official Lewis Strauss in “Oppenheimer”. Downey Jr. had a commanding presence in the short amount of time he had on screen. This was a film with a lot of supporting performances, so it can be difficult to stand out. Even so, Downey Jr. was able to be a memorable part of a big film. He has been nominated twice before, and after his superhero stint, the Oscars will want to reward his effort and his career with this award. So not only is there the talent, but the narrative. Interestingly enough, I would want to go with a bigger Oscar darling for my winner. Robert De Niro’s performance as a villainous crime boss in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” It was a sinister performance that could give you chills, which is what made it so fascinating. He was a truly sociopathic character that was shocking in his actions. De Niro really gave this character his all and expertly portrayed his behaviors. It is almost hard to believe the character is real, but De Niro was able to make him come to life again. While he has fairly been recognized for his acting for decades, I think he deserves even more recognition for what he was able to do for this film.

Best Supporting Actress: I am going to be perfectly candid, it is a weak year for supporting actress. I am not saying these women are not talented. They are all wonderful actresses who did a great job with what they were given. However, I did not think any of their performances were that meaty and they were not the parts I thought about the most. Supporting Actress nominees from some recent previous years had a stronger showing as far as I could tell. Despite those opinions, these women have received some great love for their roles. In particular, Da’vine Joy Randolph has received universal acclaim for her role as a grieving cafeteria worker in “The Holdovers.” Of all of the categories, this is the most sure prediction, as Randolph has been sweeping practically all of the precursor awards and everyone has become obsessed with her. Rightly so, I should say. She had a caring presence in her role that made audiences want to be her friend, and she also had heartbreaking moments as she dealt with the loss of her son. Her performance can make anyone think deeply about someone they have lost. I really enjoyed her part as well as she was able to make the most in the small amount of screen time she had. Her character opened up more as the film went on to the point that you wanted to give her a hug by the end. Like I said before, I would have wanted to see more of her and her acting as I felt the supporting actresses were not given enough this year. Even so, I would not be upset at all if, or should I say when, she wins.

Best Director: The director is what helps the film come to life. Any film can have a good store, or even a mediocre story, but it’s the director’s job to take whatever story they are given and turn it into a great movie. This year, it looks like the director being rewarded will be none other than the one that directed the predicted Best Picture winner “Oppenheimer,” Christopher Nolan. Nolan has a long filmography of projects that display his superb directing skills. He makes complex films that keep you on your toes and absolutely thrill you. “Oppenheimer” was no exception. Eyes were glued to the screen due to the different ways the film was directed. From showing parts in black and white to elaborate dream sequences to shocking explosions, this film was filled with energy. I have made it clear by now that “Oppenheimer” was definitely not my favorite film from the nominees of the year. However, even I cannot deny the remarkable directing job done. I found the actual story to be just okay, but the visuals and the way everything tied together on screen was a sight to behold. Nolan is an artist that weaves everything together to create a beautiful and unique picture. “Oppenheimer” was one of those films where you could watch it on mute and probably still have a good viewing experience. Nolan deserves recognition for his work, and it looks like he will get exactly that.

Best Original Screenplay: One of the best parts of all of these new movies is seeing all of the new and inventive stories that are showcased. It is amazing what these writers can come up with. That is why I see Original Screenplay as one of the most important awards given out. This year, it looks like the award will go to “Anatomy of a Fall,” a captivating story of a woman on trial for murdering her husband. It is an intense story with a gripping main character. There is a somber air to it that Academy voters loved. The Academy often enjoys these moody thrillers, and considering the previous love given to this screenplay, it makes sense that it will be rewarded. However, as I have been saying before, I would want the love to go to the story of “The Holdovers.” It almost feels impossible to compare these two screenplays as the only thing they have in common is that they are not adaptations. One is the harsh look at a big mystery, the other is one of growth that will make you feel happy around the holidays. It is like day and night. Nevertheless, I want to award “The Holdovers” because it had a story that appealed more to me personally and I felt there was a lot of interesting characterization and small plot twists that made the screenplay very tight. I would not be upset if “Anatomy of a Fall” won, but “The Holdovers” had such a well-done script that it should be rewarded.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Adapting a screenplay can be challenging work, as the screenwriter has to take existing material and make it new while still making sure it makes sense. The Best Adapted Screenplay race is currently one of the tightest ones of awards season, or at least of the categories that I am talking about. This category is probably one where my prediction may change. At this moment, it looks like the award is going to go to Cord Jefferson’s adaptation of “American Fiction”. This may seem like an interesting choice considering some more popular films are in this category, but the aspect of screenplay should be emphasized here in this satire of society. People see Oppenheimer for the intensity and the directing. They likely will not think “wow, what a great screenplay” because dialogue can be a bit of an afterthought. That is not the case with “American Fiction,” and that is something critics and precursor awards have noticed. The prediction comes from the attention that has previously been given to this screenplay, but it is also because of how noticeable the screenplay is with this film. It is a story-driven film where the screenplay makes up all of the action. The screenplay is what people have been thinking about, which is why it will get the award, and why it is worthy of one. While I am not covering all of the categories, I could not make this article without mentioning “American Fiction” at least once. This smart film that makes fun of the way white people devour sob stories from black people was hilarious and thought-provoking. It was full of witty dialogue and fun escalations, while also taking the time to deal with the main character’s cynicism for life as he deals with familial issues. The film is well-made and that is all thanks to the screenplay.

Obviously, these are not all of the categories at the Oscars. However, there are 23 categories and only so much space I have to write. If you are desperate to know my thoughts on Best Cinematography or Best Score, you are going to have to reach out to me personally. While there was some predictability in the categories listed, it is still fun to do the research and try to figure out what will win. There was an interesting selection of films from this year, from the serious to the funny, the historical to the modern. A lot of these films deserve a watch as they carry out some great messages. If you have not watched them yet, try to watch them before the big day. However, if you don’t have the time before then, the films deserve a watch anyways. There should be something for everyone from this year’s selection of movies. After seeing enough, you will be able to form some opinions of your own. Also, no matter how many you see, you should still tune into the Oscars on March 10 on ABC to see all of the excitement and action that is in store. Through the uncertainty of predictions, one thing is for sure: the Oscars are going to be a night of fun, glamour and the most energetic celebrations.

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