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A&E predicts the 2024 Academy Awards

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Amber Wang / Thresher

By Basma Bedawi , Jay Collura and Arman Saxena     3/5/24 10:23pm

It’s March already, meaning it is time to examine the Academy Awards, an event sure to be full of awkward moments, baffling losses and confounding decisions, once again hosted by Jimmy Kimmel for some reason. However, the 96th Academy Awards Ceremony has something special going for it — this past year was an excellent one for film. It will be difficult in many categories for the Academy to make a bad choice, though there certainly are some categories the Thresher A&E section feels strongly about. Here are our picks for who will win at the 96th Annual Oscars and who actually deserves it.

Actor in a Leading Role

Who Should Win: Jeffrey Wright, “American Fiction”



Who Will Win: Cillian Murphy, “Oppenheimer”

This category is one of the hardest to pick. There really is no bad choice here: Every single nominee produced incredible performances, melding seamlessly into their roles and creating some of the best movies of the year. Jeffery Wright as best actor is definitely a hot take — “American Fiction” did not make cultural waves the way many of the nominated films have. But with last year’s Oscars performance categories awarding wins to long under-appreciated actors and actresses, it feels right to have one more. 

Wright has quietly been part of many incredible films, just this year carrying multiple scenes in “Asteroid City.” In “American Fiction,” Wright essentially plays two characters, each commenting on the other. It is far beyond time for Jeffry Wright to get his flowers. However, the academy will likely grant the role to Cillian Murphy for his haunting performance in one of the largest movies of the year. Murphy embodied Opppenheimer through and through so, while not a bad decision, it might not be the best. — Basma Bedawi

Actress in a Leading Role

Who Should Win: Lily Gladstone, “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Who Will Win: Lily Gladstone, “Killers of the Flower Moon”

The most difficult to predict of the acting categories, this category will come down to the two stones: Emma Stone and Lily Gladstone. While Stone has won Best Actress at the BAFTAs and the Critics Choice Awards, Lily Gladstone won at the Screen Actors Guild, which is exactly what Michelle Yeoh had won when she won in this category last year. Stone is a previous winner as well (for “La La Land”), and the passion to award her likely won’t be as strong as it will be for Gladstone, who has already made history as the first Indigenous woman nominated in the category. Both are very worthy, though, so either way one of the best performances of the year will be awarded here. — Arman Saxena

Best Picture

Who Should Win: “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Who Will Win: “Oppenheimer”

It is rare that I have seen all of the best picture nominees before they are announced, and even rarer that I actually enjoy everything that has been nominated. I do not think that the academy can pick a film that I dislike, though I certainly feel stronger about some films than others. “Killers of the Flower Moon” is a film I have written about at length, both in this article and in my original review, but is still deserving of praise for being the film from last year that I am still wrestling with. The lengthy runtime gives the film enough time to properly outline a tragedy in a way both reflective of the U.S.’s ugliness and Scorsese’s own commitment to violence in his previous works, summarized wonderfully in arguably the most poignant ending of 2023. 

The historical importance of the film is what makes it the best candidate to be canonized by the Academy, as it feels reflexive in a way few Hollywood productions are. However, “Oppenheimer” is seemingly unstoppable, and for good reason, as it manages to draw comparison to big budget action films despite the fact it is almost solely composed of conversations. The film’s magnitude and scale creates a similar impending dread in the audience while the sharp dialogue keeps the film quick on its feet, making it a much more accessible and likable film than “Flower Moon.” While I don’t believe it is as impactful or important, it is certainly worthy of the win it will likely get, as it is similarly reflexive and emblematic of 2023 in film. — Jay Collura 

Directing

Who Should Win: Christopher Nolan, “Oppenheimer”

Who Will Win: Christopher Nolan, “Oppenheimer”

There really is not an incorrect answer in the Best Directing category this year. The two standouts, however, are Martin Scorese and Christopher Nolan. “Killers of the Flower Moon” is a meditative reflection by Scorese on both his own and his country’s history with violence that is successful only because of his commitment to these realities. Similarly, “Oppenheimer” only works because Nolan fully commits to depicting a barrage of historical moments in tense, reflective terms. Both directors are deserving for their masterful control over their respective productions and their detailed ensembles, but Nolan has yet to receive canonization in the form of an Academy Award, a fact that gives him the edge in both my mind and likely in the minds of Academy voters. — Jay Collura

Actor in a Supporting Role

Who Should Win: Charles Melton, “May December” (not nominated)

Who Will Win: Robert Downey Jr, “Oppenheimer”

While Robert Downey Jr. is fantastic in “Oppenheimer” and is basically all-but guaranteed to win here, the best supporting performance of the year wasn’t even nominated by the academy. I wouldn’t have expected Reggie from “Riverdale” to turn in one of my favorite performances of last year, but Melton’s phenomenal work as Joe in Todd Haynes’ criminally underrecognized “May December” is deeply nuanced and introspective. His vulnerability is at the core of making the film as heartbreaking as it is. — Arman Saxena

Actress in a Supporting Role

Who Should Win: Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “The Holdovers”

Who Will Win: Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “The Holdovers”

The best supporting actress this year feels like a no-brainer. No one else in this category comes close to Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s quietly powerful and undeniably compelling performance in “The Holdovers.” Randolph is a scene stealer in the film; there is never a moment she is on screen without purpose and intention. Having already won a Golden Globe for her role, she seems to be gearing up for another well deserved win. — Basma Bedawi

Animated Feature Film

Who Should Win: “The Boy and the Heron”

Who Will Win: “Across the Spider-Verse”

It is unfortunately uncommon to find that two of the best films of the year are both animated and recognized by the Academy solely in that category — but that’s the case this year. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” represents a monumental achievement in Western animation, as it demonstrates a Hollywood studio fully committing to breaking boundaries in the animated form. This subversiveness, combined with a reflective metanarrative about Marvel comic’s most popular character, creates an incredibly engaging watch that is both gorgeous and thought-provoking, which will likely earn “Across the Spider-Verse” an Academy Award. However, “The Boy and the Heron” fully commits to a similar reflectiveness and boundary-pushing animation, creating a detailed contemplation on legendary filmmaker Hayao Miazaki’s career and what it means to be a human. With “Across the Spider-Verse” feeling inherently incomplete as a part one, “The Boy and the Heron” deserves to take home the Oscar for its full commitment to depicting the human experience. — Jay Collura

Original Song

Who Should Win: “What Was I Made For?,” “Barbie”

Who Will Win: “I’m Just Ken,” “Barbie”

“What Was I Made For” is a song so good — it recently won the Song of Year at this year’s Grammys — that it would be a genuine disservice to not award it best original song. While “The Fire Inside,” written for “Flamin’ Hot” — yes, the movie about the creation of the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto — is surprisingly catchy, it feels too much like it was written specifically for a department store dressing room. Jon Batiste is incredibly soulful in “It Never Went Away” but generally does not wow in the same way that other songs nominated this year do. There is nothing bad to say about “Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People);” it is the perfect song to end “Killers of the Flower Moon” on. Composed by Osage Nation members, it is unique from any other song nominated in recent memory. “What Was I Made For” just barely inches it out, though, with Billie Eilish creating a song for “Barbie” that would be considered amazing in or out of the context of the movie. However, with the overall hype and cultural influence that “I’m Just Ken” made, it will probably sneak a win for this category to the dismay of many (including Ryan Gosling). - Basma Bedawi

LIGHTNING ROUND PREDICTIONS

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Who Should Win: “Anatomy of a Fall”

Who Will Win: “Anatomy of a Fall”

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Who Should Win: Jonathan Glazer, “Zone of Interest”

Who Will Win: Christopher Nolan, “Oppenheimer”

International Feature Film

Who Should Win: “Monster” (not nominated)

Who Will Win: “Zone of Interest”

Cinematography

Who Should Win: Robbie Ryans, “Poor Things”

Who Will Win: Hoyte van Hoytema, “Oppenheimer”

Production Design

Who Should Win: James Price, Shona Heath, and Zsuza Mihalek, “Poor Things”

Who Will Win: Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer, “Barbie”

Documentary Short

Who Should Win: “The ABCs of Book Banning”

Who Will Win: “The ABCs of Book Banning”

Makeup and Hairstyling

Who Should Win: “Society of the Snow”

Who Will Win: “Poor Things”

Sound

Who Should Win: “The Zone of Interest”

Who Will Win: “Oppenheimer”

Original Score

Who Should Win: “Oppenheimer”

Who Will Win: “Oppenheimer”

Visual Effects

Who Should Win: “Godzilla Minus One”

Who Will Win: “Godzilla Minus One”

Editing

Who Should Win: “Anatomy of a Fall”

Who Will Win: “Oppenheimer”

Costume Design

Who Should Win: “Poor Things”

Who Will Win: “Barbie”

Documentary Feature

Who Should Win: “20 Days in Mariupol”

Who Will Win: “20 Days in Mariupol”

Animated Short

Who Should Win: “Ninety-Five Senses”

Who Will Win: “Letter to a Pig”



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