Mon, May 20, 2024

The Oscar Will Go To…

Editor’s note: Watching movies has been part of our family as much as gathering around the dinner table. By the time our son was in second grade, he was a fan of great motion pictures, including Gone with the Wind, Singing in the Rain, Funny Face, African Queen, and any movie with Hepburn and Tracy. Aren’t we lucky that ABD has Dylan James who also appreciates the classics and keeps us up on future classics including the local movie productions? We hope you entered our Oscar competition for a chance to win some award-winning popcorn. If not, you can still order from for your family’s future movie-watching.

After months of campaigning, reviews, trophy-pushing, and forced smiles, Oscar night is finally upon us. Hollywood’s most coveted evening will be one of the last good days for an industry disorganized (more on that in the coming weeks) and will recognize just a few of the biggest achievements in film over the past year.

Pursuant to my previous article on “Oscar addiction” and Augusta Business Daily’s first-ever Oscar competition, here are my predictions for the top categories on Sunday’s big night:

Best Picture

The Nominees are:

  • American Fiction
  • Anatomy of a Fall
  • Barbie
  • The Holdovers
  • Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Maestro
  • Oppenheimer
  • Past Lives
  • Poor Things
  • The Zone of Interest


Oscar night will see the culmination of “Barb-enheimer,” a commercial fusion capitalizing on the parallel releases of Barbie and Oppenheimer last summer. Naturally, these two films will probably win the most awards of the night, but will one of them take the top prize?

The 8 other nominees in this category show a wide range of storytelling, from fantastical farce (Poor Things), suspenseful crime thriller (Anatomy of a Fall, Killers of the Flower Moon), small-scale emotional drama (The Holdovers, Past Lives), historical drama (The Zone of Interest, Maestro), and contemporary satire (American Fiction).

I’m betting on Oppenheimer. In addition to being an all-around crowd-pleaser, it returns Oscar to the days of the big-budget epic (a la Ben-Hur or Lawrence of Arabia) winning the gold. This will break from the newer tradition of Oscar thinking smaller, as most of the past several Best Picture winners have been small-scale dramas (CODA, Nomadland, and Green Book). The Academy members know they have a safe pick here; no one will think “THAT won Best Picture?”

My Prediction: Oppenheimer

Best Actor

The Nominees Are…

  • Bradley Cooper, Maestro
  • Colman Domingo, Rustin
  • Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers
  • Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer
  • Jeffrey Wright, American Fiction


The competition is between Paul Giamatti and Cillian Murphy. Giamatti won over many a heart with his frumpy, marshmallow-centered Mr. Hunham in The Holdovers, but it is Murphy’s isolated depiction of the harrowed J. Robert Oppenheimer – the face of the big winner – that will prevail.

My Prediction: Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer


Best Actress

The Nominees Are…

  • Annette Bening, Nyad
  • Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Sandra Huller, Anatomy of a Fall
  • Carey Mulligan, Maestro
  • Emma Stone, Poor Things


Annette Bening’s campaign team has chosen to rally support based on the fact that she has never won an Oscar, but let’s be frank: no one saw Nyad.

The race is between Emma Stone as a literal and metaphorical re-invented woman in Poor Things and Lily Gladstone as a dying Osage wife in Killers of the Flower Moon. I think it will go to Gladstone both because of the breadth of her character and the story surrounding her nomination. Gladstone would be the first Native American winner of this award, and it would be for a bone-chilling performance, bearing witness to the atrocities committed against the Osage people in the film. There is historical and social weight to this decision, and it would be matched by the merit of Gladstone’s performance. The Academy will have one more ‘first’ under its belt.

My Prediction: Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon


Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees Are…

  • Sterling K. Brown, American Fiction
  • Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Robert Downey, Jr., Oppenheimer
  • Ryan Gosling, Barbie
  • Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things


Is there any competition? It’s Robert Downey, Jr. He’s won every other award, and whether you liked his performance or not, it’s time for him to win. This is the right performance at the right time for him.

Tip of the hat to Robert De Niro for his commanding role as King Hale in Flower Moon, and to Ryan Gosling and Mark Ruffalo for their bumbling, hilarious performances. This Is Us alum Sterling K. Brown also shined as the black sheep of the Ellison family in American Fiction. Just a great slate of nominees all around.

My Prediction: Robert Downey, Jr., Oppenheimer


Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees Are…

  • Emily Blunt, Oppenheimer
  • Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple
  • America Ferrera, Barbie
  • Jodie Foster, Nyad
  • Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers


It’s great to see Augusta native, Danielle Brooks, nominated in this category, but this Oscar belongs to Da’Vine Joy Randolph for The Holdovers. Her role as Mary is of a woman thawing; her spirit iced by the death of her son and melted by the camaraderie of her co-worker and his student. It is an arc of resilience that plucks at the heartstrings like a guitar.

My Prediction: Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers

Best Director

The Nominees Are…

  • Justine Triet, Anatomy of a Fall
  • Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer
  • Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things
  • Jonathan Glazer, Zone of Interest


Christopher Nolan is just one of the five seasoned pros nominated in this category, and, like Downey, Jr., the consensus is that this is his time to receive his first Oscar. Nolan’s vision for Oppenheimer is one that translates well both to audiences and to Oscar voters.

Martin Scorsese has only won a single Oscar for Best Directing, and sadly he will come up short on Oscar night. Anatomy of a Fall director Justine Triet becomes only the ninth woman in history to be nominated for this category. Greek-born Yorgos Lanthimos is up for his second nomination in this category for the fantasy-comedy Poor Things, and Brit Jonathan Glazer earned his first directing nod for the holocaust-drama Zone of Interest.

My Prediction: Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer

Because of my penchant to geek out and show off, here are my predictions in all 23 categories. Next week, we’ll see how much of an “expert” I am with calling these.

What are your picks? Who do you think will win? We hope you entered our contest for a chance to win WePop gourmet popcorn for your next movie experience!

Dylan James graduated from the Savannah College of Art & Design with a BFA in Dramatic Writing. He has studied both the ‘show’ and ‘business’ aspects of show business since childhood, and writes through sociological analysis, seeking relevance in the art and commerce for the moment.

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