Oscar Predictions and Picks: Awards Season and the O-Bomb

Will Oppenheimer sweep the show?

Our Oscar predictions mark the welcome end to the half-year grind known as awards season. Babies have been kissed, ballots have been cast, and dignity has left the building. In an odd twist for the films of 2023, which featured the epic blockbuster bonanza of Barbenheimer, the season’s really been a one-movie show. Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer cleaned up all over the place. That will make for either a boring Oscar party or a really exciting one.

Most of the races seem like forgone conclusions. There are only a few categories that feel up in the air: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Sound, Best Animated Short, Best Documentary Short, Best Production Design, and Best Costumes. Everything else seems good and Oppenheimered.

Moreover, don’t expect voters to share the wealth between movies. Last year saw several Best Picture nominees go home empty handed as Everything Everywhere seemingly won everything all at once, ditto All Quiet on the Western Front. The “this film has to win something” mentality is a recipe for disaster on the Oscar predictions front.

All contributors at That Shelf were invited to submit their Oscar predictions, personal picks, and a few plugs for films they’d wished had been nominated. Responses were submitted by Bil Antoniou, Dakota Arsenault, Emma Badame, Colin Biggs, Deirdre Crimmins, Ethan Dayton, Larry Fried, Jason Gorber, Barbara Goslawski, Pat Mullen, Adam Schoales, Matthew Simpson, Courtney Small, and Rachel West.

 

Here are That Shelf’s fearless Oscar predictions and picks!

Best Picture

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

Okay, the Vegas odds payouts on nine of these nominees will be ridiculous if one puts money on anything but Oppenheimer, but place your bets smartly. Even though 2023 was an incredible year for movies, there was zero diversity in recognition outside the critics’ group awards. Oppenheimer has swept the field to the point where there really isn’t a clear second place film to challenge it. After scoring top prizes at (deep breath) the Golden Globes, Producers’ Guild, Directors’ Guild, SAG Awards, BAFTAs, and pretty much every industry guild on the arts and tech front (cinematographers, editors, sound), there is no corner of the industry that hasn’t endorsed it. These stats make it inevitable that Oppenheimer will amass the necessary 50% of the vote + 1 on the preferential ballot. (However, we asked Shelfers to rank their Best Picture choices in the same fashion, and Zone of Interest edged out a narrow win after a single-vote ballot fell out.)

 

Will win

Oppenheimer: Everyone

 

Should win

Adam: 1) Oppenheimer 2) Barbie 3) Anatomy of a Fall

Barbara: 1) Anatomy of a Fall 2) Past Lives 3) The Zone of Interest 4) Poor Things 5) Oppenheimer 6) American Fiction 7) Killers of the Flower Moon 8) Barbie 9) The Holdovers 10) Maestro

Bil: 1) The Zone of Interest 2) Anatomy of a Fall 3) Killers of the Flower Moon 4) The Holdovers 5) Past Lives

Colin: 1) Oppenheimer 2) Killers of the Flower 3) Poor Things

Courtney: 1) Killers of the Flower Moon 2) The Zone of Interest 3) Oppenheimer 4) Past Lives 5) Poor Things 6) The Holdovers 7) Anatomy of a Fall 8) American Fiction 9) Barbie 10) Maestro

Dakota: 1) The Zone of Interest 2) Oppenheimer 3) The Holdovers 4) Poor Things 5) Killers of the Flower Moon 6) Barbie 7) Past Lives 8) Maestro 9) American Fiction 10) Anatomy of a Fall

Deirdre: 1) Poor Things 2) The Holdovers 3) The Zone of Interest

Emma: 1) Oppenheimer 2) The Zone of Interest 3) Past Lives 4) Anatomy of a Fall 5) Poor Things 6) The Holdovers 7) Killers of the Flower Moon 8) American Fiction 9) Barbie 10) Maestro

Ethan: 1) Poor Things 2) Oppenheimer 3) American Fiction 4) Barbie 5) Past Lives 6) The Holdovers 7) Anatomy of a Fall 8) The Zone of Interest 9) Killers of the Flower Moon 10) Maestro

Jason: 1) The Zone of Interest 2) Killers of the Flower Moon 3) Oppenheimer 4) Maestro 5) Anatomy of a Fall 6) The Holdovers 7) American Fiction

Larry: 1) Past Lives 2) The Holdovers 3) Oppenheimer 4) American Fiction 5) Anatomy of a Fall 6) Poor Things 7) Maestro 8) Barbie 9) Killers of the Flower Moon 10) The Zone of Interest

Matthew: 1) Past Lives

Pat: 1) The Holdovers 2) The Zone of Interest 3) Poor Things 4) Barbie 5) Killers of the Flower Moon 6) Oppenheimer 7) Past Lives 8) Maestro 9) Anatomy of a Fall 10) American Fiction

Rachel: 1) Oppenheimer 2) Anatomy of a Fall 3) Poor Things 4) Killers of the Flower Moon 5) The Holdovers 6) Maestro 7) Past Lives 8) American Fiction 9) The Zone of Interest 10) Barbie

 

This for that

Adam says: Swap out The Holdovers for BlackBerry

Courtney says: Swap out Maestro for All of Us Strangers

Deirdre says: Swap out Maestro for Talk to Me.  It is legitimately a better film!

Larry says: Swap out The Zone of Interest for How to Blow Up a Pipeline

Pat says: Swap out Anatomy of a Fall for The Taste of Things (hee hee!) and American Fiction for All of Us Strangers

Best Director

The nominees: 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

See above. One of the safest bets of the night. Film bros, rejoice!

 

Will win

Christopher Nolan: Everyone

 

Should win

Justine Triet: Barbara, Emma

Martin Scorsese: Courtney

Christopher Nolan: Adam, Colin, Dakota, Larry, Matthew

Yorgos Lanthimos: Deirdre, Ethan, Rachel

Jonathan Glazer: Bil, Jason, Pat

 

This for that

Colin says: Swap out Jonathan Glazer for Greta Gerwig (Barbie)

Emma says: Swap out Martin Scorsese for Celine Song (Past Lives)

Actress in a Leading Role

The nominees: Annette Bening, Nyad; Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon; Sandra Hüller, Anatomy of a Fall; Carey Mulligan, Maestro; Emma Stone, Poor Things

One of the night’s best showdowns in the ceremony’s most beloved categories, Best Actress has some of the evening’s best drama. Emma Stone might be the favourite with a Golden Globe and BAFTA, plus a chorus of career-best reviews for her zany and totally original performance as Bella Baxter. She’s just the right balance of poised and unhinged, and it’s the showiest part—and voters love that. Stone already has a win under her belt for La La Land, so it’s possible that voters may feel it’s too soon to honour her again, especially when Lily Gladstone represents an historic win, as a Best Actress Oscar would be a first for an Indigenous performer. Besides history, Gladstone’s performance has the goods to entice Oscar voters with its brilliantly understated turn that speaks volumes through her silent screen presence. It’s a tough part that voters may recognize. Complicating matters is the fact that both Poor Things and Killers of the Flower Moon amassed great hauls in the nominations and are bound to win something on Sunday night. That’s not good news for industry veteran Annette Bening, who’s feat in Nyad isn’t quite getting the credit it deserves, while Sandra Hüller may be the wild card of the night – but if she didn’t win at the BAFTAS, which tends to be kinder to this sort of film, then she’s less likely to shake things up on Sunday. Stone or Gladstone: take your pick.

 

Will win

Lily Gladstone: Barbara, Colin, Courtney, Dakota, Deirdre, Ethan, Jason, Larry, Matthew, Pat, Rachel

Carey Mulligan: Adam

Emma Stone: Bil Emma

 

Should win

Annette Bening: Pat (sorry)

Lily Gladstone: Bil, Courtney, Emma, Jason, Matthew

Sandra Hüller: Adam, Barbara, Colin, Larry

Emma Stone: Dakota, Deirdre, Ethan, Rachel

 

This for that

Adam says: Swap out Annette Bening for Margot Robbie in Barbie

Courtney says: Swap Annette Bening for Greta Lee in Past Lives

Larry says: Swap out Annette Bening for Greta Lee in Past Lives

Pat says: Swap out Carey Mulligan for Aunjanue Ellis in Origin

 

Actor in a Leading Role

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

For a while, it seemed that Bradley Cooper had this thing in the bag. “Seemed” is the key word, since his Oscar campaign arguably overshadowed the quality of his performance and the admiration for it. He made the cardinal sin of admitting that he wanted it so badly, and there was just too much Bradley around town with him chasing votes for directing and writing as well. (He was successful in the latter category.) With a combined 12 nominations under his belt and probably no wins after Sunday, he’s inching dangerously close to Diane Warren territory.

In the other corner is Paul Giamatti, the guy who is doing somewhat better with the “overdue” status since he missed the cut for his beloved turn in Sideways. But his performance in The Holdovers is also getting praise as a career best. His loveable curmudgeon reminds people why he’s one of the best actors of his generation, but also among those most taken for granted. He is a major threat to win with a Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award among his accolades this season, and voters really love The Holdovers—but his co-star Da’Vine Joy Randolph has steamrolled the season while Giamatti’s only won here and there, so it’s possible that her win may be sufficient recognition for the film in the eyes of some voters.

That’s sort of the curiosity with Cillian Murphy’s mesmerizing performance in Oppenheimer: he carries nearly every frame of the film that’s all but assured to win Best Picture, but will Oppenheimer really win everything? He won on home turf at the BAFTAs and at the SAG Awards where the large voting body skews younger so there may be some asterisks beside his key wins that work in Giamatti’s favour.

Our writers are still rioting in the streets over the absence of All of Us Strangers’ Andrew Scott, but they took a moment to share their thoughts. (Justice for Andrew Scott!)

 

Will win

Bradley Cooper: Adam

Paul Giamatti: Pat

Cillian Murphy: Barbara, Bil, Colin, Courtney, Dakota, Deirdre, Emma, Ethan, Jason, Larry, Matthew, Rachel

 

Should win

Colman Domingo: Courtney

Paul Giamatti: Bil, Colin, Deirdre, Larry, Pat

Cillian Murphy: Adam, Barbara, Dakota, Emma, Ethan, Jason, Matthew, Rachel

 

This for that

Barbara says: Swap that insulting, reductive nineties sitcom gay man stereotype performance of Bradley Cooper’s in Maestro for Andrew Scott and  the subtle complexity of his incandescent performance in All of Us Strangers (and this is not just because of the sexual orientation of these characters – Cooper’s performance was too simple and mannered to be a standout of the year)

Emma says: Swap out Bradley Cooper for Andrew Scott in All of Us Strangers

Pat says: Swap out Cillian Murphy for Andrew Scott in All of Us Strangers (there can only be one Irishman!)

Rachel says: Swap out Bradley Cooper for Andrew Scott in All of Us Strangers

 

Actress in a Supporting Role

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

Quite possibly the surest call of the night. If Oppenheimer dominated the season, Da’Vine Joy Randolph obliterated the competition like a nuclear bomb. Her hilarious yet heartbreaking turn as the quick-witted and grieving cafeteria matron of The Holdovers checks all the boxes for a win in this category. Add the fact that she’s a character actor who’s gained a lot of notice in recent years for memorable turns, and there’s a clear sense that Randolph has one of those “right role, right time” moments to take her career to another level.

 

Will win

Da’Vine Joy Randolph: Everyone

 

Should win

Emily Blunt: Jason

Da’Vine Joy Randolph: Adam, Barbara, Bil, Colin, Courtney, Dakota, Deirdre, Emma, Ethan, Larry, Matthew, Pat, Rachel

 

This for that

Bil says: Swap out America Ferrera for Penélope Cruz in Ferrari

Colin says: Swap out Emily Blunt for Rachel McAdams in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

Courtney says: Swap out Jodie Foster for Julianne Moore in May December

Dakota says: Swap out Jodie Foster for Scarlett Johansson in Asteroid City

Pat says: Swap out America Ferrera for Juliette Binoche in The Taste of Things and Danielle Brooks for Julianne Moore in May December

 

Actor in a Supporting Role      

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

One of the night’s best Barbenheimer face-offs isn’t as fun as it felt this summer. Robert Downey Jr.’s cleaned up this season for his turn as Oppenheimer’s villain, while Gosling’s hilarious performance in Barbie is arguably the film’s secret ingredient. That will have to be Kenough for Canada’s favourite Ryan, though. It’s the Oppenheimer show on Sunday and Barbie’s lost steam after underperforming at the Golden Globes and getting shut-out at the BAFTA. But nobody does beach quite like you, Ryan!

 

Will win

Robert Downey Jr.: Everyone

 

Should win

Sterling K. Brown: Larry

Robert Downey Jr.: Adam, Bil, Emma, Ethan, Jason, Matthew

Ryan Gosling: Barbara, Colin, Courtney, Dakota, Deirdre, Jason, Pat, Rachel

 

This for that

Adam says: Swap out Robert De Niro (he’s had his time) for Matt Johnson in BlackBerry

Courtney says: Swap out Sterling K. Brown for Charles Melton in May December

Dakota says: Swap out Sterling K. Brown for Glenn Howerton in BlackBerry

Emma says: Swap out Robert De Niro for Paul Mescal in All of Us Strangers

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

The nominees: American Fiction, Barbie, Oppenheimer, Poor Things, The Zone of Interest

Here’s an interesting one. Warner Bros. campaigned Barbie as an original work despite openly crediting the source material on which it was based in all campaign materials. Folks in the industry debate how much “adaptation” is involved in building a story out from a toy’s world. But many jokes in Barbie rely on its connection to said source material, so (nerd moment) as someone who focused his Master’s on film adaptation, this call feels correct. But it also makes both screenplay categories something of a wild card since Barbie has been a key player in the original category until tonight, as everyone else accepted the campaign placement of “original.”

Greta Gerwig’s omission from the directing category arguably spotlights the fact that the strength of Barbie really is more due to its writing than its directing, and even a cynical fan must admire how she and Noah Baumbach pulled off the unenviable challenge of making a comedy based on a lucrative piece of corporate intellectual property while satirizing its problematic relationship with women’s rights and bodies, while also making something that toed the party line just enough to avoid getting shelved. She did it and that wasn’t easy, all the while earning over a billion dollars at the box office.

At the same time, the other nominees are adaptations in the traditional sense that rework literary pieces into cinema. American Fiction has won the most favour without having to compete with Barbie at other award shows—but, at the same time, its satire has been called “toothless” and “dynamite” with equal measure. And, of course, there’s the Oppenheimer show.

 

Will win

American Fiction: Barbara, Jason, Larry, Rachel

Barbie: Adam, Courtney, Deirdre, Emma, Matthew, Pat

Oppenheimer: Bil, Dakota, Ethan

Poor Things: Colin

 

Should win

American Fiction: Barbara, Bil, Courtney, Larry

Barbie: Colin, Ethan, Matthew

Oppenheimer: Adam, Dakota

Poor Things: Emma, Rachel

The Zone of Interest: Deirdre, Jason, Pat

 

This for that

Emma says: Swap out Barbie for All of Us Strangers

Pat says: Swap out Oppenheimer for All of Us Strangers

 

Best Original Screenplay

The nominees: Anatomy of a Fall, The Holdovers, Maestro, May December, Past Lives

With Barbie out of the way, the category switch likely cleared a path for the night’s other woman of the hour, Justine Triet. Her courtroom whodunit has a lot of fans and the writing keeps a viewer guessing long after it finishes. Sure, it may play like an arthouse Basic Instinct to some, while other viewers may think the dingo killed Sandra Hüller’s husband, but the fact that the film’s indebted to familiar genre movies is key to its eye-opening portrait of France’s loony judicial system. On the other hand, The Holdovers could triumph here for its classically composed comedy that warmed the hearts during holiday voting.

 

Will win

Anatomy of a Fall: Adam, Barbara, Bil, Courtney, Deirdre, Ethan, Jason, Pat, Rachel

The Holdovers: Colin, Dakota, Emma, Larry

May December: Matthew

 

Should win

Anatomy of a Fall: Adam, Barbara, Ethan, Rachel

The Holdovers: Colin, Deirdre, Jason, Pat

May December: Bil, Dakota

Past Lives: Courtney, Emma, Larry, Matthew

 

Best Documentary Feature

The nominees: Bobi Wine: The People’s President, The Eternal Memory, Four Daughters, To Kill a Tiger, 20 Days in Mariupol

Leave it to the doc branch to go rogue, but they picked one of the strongest categories while rejecting obvious contenders. Of the five incredibly worthy nominees, 20 Days in Mariupol has enjoyed the strongest presence throughout the season and has a healthy lead on the competition. The urgency of the story, its emotional wallop, and artistic bravery make it a smart choice for Oscar voters. Four Daughters seems to be gaining popularity, but I just can’t see the Academy awarding a hybrid film that features such a strong element of performance.

 

Will win

Bobi Wine: Bil

Four Daughters: Ethan

20 Days in Mariupol: Barbara, Colin, Courtney, Dakota, Deirdre, Emma, Jason, Larry, Pat, Rachel

 

Should win

The Eternal Memory: Larry

Four Daughters: Barbara, Bil, Courtney, Dakota, Emma, Ethan, Rachel

To Kill a Tiger: Deirdre, Pat

20 Days in Mariupol: Jason

 

This for that

Dakota: Swap out Bobi Wine: The People’s President for Beyond Utopia

 

Best Animated Feature

The nominees: The Boy and the Heron, Elemental, Nimona, Robot Dreams, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Like Best Actress, Best Animated Feature makes for one of the tougher Oscar predictions. Like the industry, we’re split on The Boy and the Heron and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Even fans of Heron admit that it isn’t Miyazaki’s best, but it may be the last chance to honour the veteran, who previously won for Spirited Away. Alternatively, Across the Spider-Verse has near unanimous praise for outdoing its Oscar-winning predecessor Into the Spider-Verse and it’s literally half of a movie. Might this be a Lord of the Rings scenario if voters know that Beyond the Spider-Verse is coming and can simply award it then? But let’s face it: Nimona and Robot Dreams deserve some love!

 

Will win

The Boy and the Heron: Colin, Courtney, Dakota, Emma, Ethan, Matthew, Pat, Rachel

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: Adam, Barbara, Bil, Jason, Larry

 

Should win

The Boy and the Heron: Adam, Deirdre

Nimona: Pat

Robot Dreams: Dakota, Jason, Larry, Rachel

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: Barbara, Bil, Colin, Courtney, Emma, Ethan, Matthew

 

This for that

Larry says: Swap out Nimona for The Peasants

 

Best International Feature

The nominees: Io Capitano (Italy), Perfect Days (Japan), Society of the Snow (Spain), The Teacher’s Lounge (Germany), The Zone of Interest (United Kingdom)

With nominations for Best Picture and Best Director in its tally, it seems inevitable that The Zone of Interest will win in this category on Sunday. It’s a smart choice in a strong field of contenders.

 

Will win

Perfect Days: Adam

The Zone of Interest: Barbara, Bil, Colin, Courtney, Dakota, Deirdre, Emma, Ethan, Jason, Larry, Matthew, Pat, Rachel

 

Should win

Perfect Days: Adam, Barbara, Larry, Rachel

Society of the Snow: Ethan

The Teachers’ Lounge: Dakota

The Zone of Interest: Bil, Colin, Courtney, Deirdre, Emma, Jason, Matthew, Pat

 

This for that

Emma says: Swap out Society of the Snow (which I liked BUT) for Fallen Leaves (Finland)

Pat says: Swap out Society of the Snow for The Taste of Things (France)

Rachel says: Swap out Society of the Snow for The Promised Land (Denmark)

 

Best Cinematography

The nominees: El Conde, Killers of the Flower Moon, Maestro, Oppenheimer, Poor Things

The Oppenheimer sweep will undoubtedly continue here as cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema seems poised to take his first win on nomination number two. It’s a heavy favourite, so a miss here could be to Oppenheimer what Sound Mixing was to La La Land

 

Will win

Killers of the Flower: Matthew

Oppenheimer: Adam, Barbara, Bil, Dakota, Colin, Courtney, Emma, Ethan, Jason, Larry, Pat, Rachel

Poor Things: Deirdre

 

Should win

El Conde: Matthew

Killers of the Flower Moon: Jason

Maestro: Pat

Oppenheimer: Adam, Bil, Colin, Dakota, Deirdre, Emma, Larry

Poor Things: Barbara, Courtney, Ethan, Rachel

 

Best Costumes

The nominees: Barbie, Killers of the Flower Moon, Napoleon, Oppenheimer, Poor Things

One of two Barbie vs. Poor Things smackdowns. Voters frequently pair their votes for Best Costumes and Best Production Design, so predict smartly.

 

Will win

Barbie: Barbara, Courtney, Dakota, Emma, Larry

Napoleon: Adam

Poor Things: Bil, Colin, Deirdre, Ethan, Jason, Pat, Matthew, Rachel

 

Should win

Barbie: Adam, Colin, Courtney, Dakota

Killers of the Flower Moon: Bil

Napoleon: Matthew

Poor Things: Barbara, Deirdre, Emma, Ethan, Jason, Larry, Pat, Rachel

 

Best Production Design

The nominees: Barbie, Killers of the Flower Moon, Napoleon, Oppenheimer, Poor Things

Both Barbie and Poor Things imagine fully realized worlds: one rooted in nostalgia and branding, and the other in a mix of past, present, and steampunk future. The other three are finely detailed period works, but anyone who votes Napoleon deserves the guillotine.

 

Will win

Barbie: Adam, Colin, Dakota, Emma, Larry, Pat

Poor Things: Barbara, Bil, Courtney, Deirdre, Jason, Matthew, Rachel

 

Should win

Barbie: Adam, Bil, Colin, Courtney, Dakota, Deirdre, Pat

Oppenheimer: Matthew

Poor Things: Barbara, Emma, Jason, Larry, Rachel

 

Best Film Editing

The nominees: Anatomy of a Fall, The Holdovers, Killers of the Flower Moon, Oppenheimer, Poor Things

Oppenheimer was three hours, but it moved so quickly that I couldn’t even feel my hemorrhoids!” – Brutally Honest Oscar Voter #4

 

Will win

Killers of the Flower Moon: Adam

Oppenheimer: Barbara, Bil, Colin, Courtney, Dakota, Deirdre, Emma, Ethan, Jason, Larry, Matthew, Pat, Rachel

 

Should win                                                     

Anatomy of a Fall: Barbara, Bil, Larry, Matthew

Killers of the Flower Moon: Jason

Oppenheimer: Adam, Colin, Dakota, Pat, Rachel

Poor Things: Courtney, Deirdre, Emma, Ethan

 

Best Sound

The nominees: The Creator, Maestro, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, Oppenheimer, The Zone of Interest

Here’s another one to gauge Oppenheimer’s domination of the night. The film’s soundscape is epic Nolan-esque bombast, but The Zone of Interest creates the dramatic tension of its environment by conveying the horrors of the Holocaust through the sound design. It really all depends how voters conceive of merit in this case.

 

Will win

Oppenheimer: Barbara, Bil, Colin, Courtney, Dakota, Deirdre, Emma, Ethan, Jason, Larry, Matthew, Pat

The Zone of Interest: Adam, Rachel

 

Should win

Maestro: Jason

Oppenheimer: Adam, Barbara, Colin, Emma, Larry

Mission: Impossible: Deirdre

The Zone of Interest: Bil, Courtney, Dakota, Ethan, Matthew, Pat, Rachel

 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

The nominees: Golda, Maestro, Oppenheimer, Poor Things, Society of the Snow

Even people who hate Maestro must admit that the make-up job is swell, but will a controversial schnozz sink it?

 

Will win

Maestro: Adam, Dakota, Emma, Jason, Larry, Pat

Oppenheimer: Barbara, Ethan, Rachel

Poor Things: Bil, Colin, Courtney, Deirdre, Matthew

 

Should win

Maestro: Adam, Bil, Dakota, Jason, Pat

Poor Things: Barbara, Colin, Courtney, Deirdre, Emma, Rachel

Society of the Snow: Ethan, Larry, Matthew

 

This for that

Dakota: Swap out Golda for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

 

Best Music – Original Score

The nominees: American Fiction, Indiana Jones: John Williams Cuts and Pastes Again, Killers of the Flower Moon, Oppenheimer, Poor Things

How John Williams milked another nomination is so ridiculous that we’ll forgive the voters’ American Fiction nomination, but no film has much chance against Oppenheimer. A posthumous win for Robbie Robertson’s extraordinary work in Killers of the Flower Moon would be a welcome upset.

 

Will win

Killers of the Flower Moon: Adam, Courtney

Oppenheimer: Barbara, Bil, Dakota, Deirdre, Emma, Ethan, Jason, Larry, Matthew, Pat, Rachel

Poor Things: Colin

 

Should win

Killers of the Flower Moon: Barbara, Courtney, Pat

Oppenheimer: Adam, Bil, Dakota, Emma, Ethan, Jason, Larry, Matthew, Rachel

Poor Things: Deirdre

 

Best Music – Original Song

The nominees: “The Fire Inside” (Flamin’ Hot), “I’m Just Ken” (Barbie), “It Never Went Away” (American Symphony), “Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People)” (Killers of the Flower Moon), “What Was I Made for?” (Barbie)

Billie Eilish seems poised for Oscar number two, but at least this song isn’t nearly as bad as the one from No Time to Die. “The Fire Inside” could be the wild card if Barbie splits the vote. If anyone can write a killer banger in homage to Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, it’s Diane Warren.

 

Will win

“What Was I Made for?”: everyone

 

Should win

“I’m Just Ken”: Adam, Barbara, Colin, Dakota, Deirdre, Jason, Pat, Rachel

“It Never Went Away”: Emma

“Wahzhazhe”: Larry, Matthew

“What Was I Made for?”: Bil, Courtney, Ethan

 

This for that

Dakota: Swap out “The Fire Inside” for “Camp Isn’t Home” from Theater Camp

 

Best Visual Effects

The nominees: The Creator, Godzilla Minus One, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, Napoleon (lol)

A dead heat toss-up between The Creator and Godzilla. One must again congratulate the voters for staying awake during Napoleon. Thanks for taking one for the team, guys.

 

Will win

The Creator: Adam, Bil, Dakota, Jason, Pat, Rachel

Godzilla Minus One: Colin, Courtney, Ethan, Larry, Matthew

Mission: Impossible: Deirdre, Emma

 

Should win

The Creator: Adam, Courtney, Dakota, Emma, Jason

Godzilla Minus One: Bil, Colin, Deirdre, Ethan, Larry, Matthew, Rachel

Mission: Impossible: Pat

 

Best Documentary Short Film

The nominees: The ABCs of Book Banning, The Barber of Little Rock, Island in Between, The Last Repair Shop, Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó

While The Last Repair Shop’s Ben Proudfoot won this award two years ago for The Queen of Basketball, his co-nominee Kris Bowers has yet to win despite extraordinary work in the documentary branch and music branch alike. And let’s be real: it’s one of the best short documentaries I’ve ever seen. It’s deeply moving, and the most accessible work of the bunch—an impeccably crafted doc that taps the viewer right in the heart while making a genuinely intelligent point about the ways in which the arts transform people’s lives. The ABCs of Book Banning is the wild card, though, given that it boasts Sheila Nevins’ first personal nomination after being the one of the biggest players in documentary…ever. She’s ushered several docs to the Oscars as executive producer and she’d probably win if this were to be strictly a doc branch vote. Like Repair Shop, ABCs also has a timely hook that’s hard to deny, but Repair Shop has the edge.

 

Will win

The ABCs of Book Banning: Colin, Dakota

The Barber of Little Rock: Courtney

Island in Between: Ethan

The Last Repair Shop: Jason, Larry, Pat, Rachel

 

Should win

The ABCs of Book Banning: Jason, Larry, Rachel

The Barber of Little Rock: Colin

Island in Between: Ethan

The Last Repair Shop: Courtney, Dakota, Pat

 

Best Live Action Short Film

The nominees: The After; Invincible; Knight of Fortune; Red, White, and Blue; The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

The key to predicting this category is to either pick the worst short or the first one on the ballot. Voters probably do the latter, which is easier than actually watching the films. In the former guess, that could bode well for Red, White, and Blue, which is way worse than Napoleon. Alternatively, Henry Sugar offers a chance to finally make an Oscar winner out of Wes Anderson. That’s a tough temptation to deny, even if the film isn’t his best work.

 

Will win

Red, White, and Blue: Jason

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar: Colin, Courtney, Dakota, Emma, Ethan, Larry, Pat, Rachel

 

Should win

Invincible: Pat

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar: Courtney, Dakota, Emma, Ethan, Jason, Larry, Rachel

 

Best Animated Short Film

The nominees: Letter to a Pig, Ninety-Five Senses, Our Uniform, Pachyderm, WAR IS OVER! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko

This one is a really tough call, but WAR IS OVER! and its ALL CAPS bombast hit the sweet spot in terms of nostalgia and technical finesse. There really isn’t a clear consensus on this category in terms of what people actually like best. It’s a strong group that really could go any way depending upon taste.

 

Will win

Letter to a Pig: Jason

Ninety-Five Senses: Courtney, Rachel

WAR IS OVER! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko: Dakota, Ethan, Larry, Pat

 

Should win

Letter to a Pig: Pat

Ninety-Five Senses: Larry, Rachel

Our Uniform: Courtney, Dakota

WAR IS OVER!: Ethan, Jason

 

The 2025 Oscars will introduce an award for Best Casting. If 2023 had an Oscar for this category, what film do you think would have been the winner?

Adam: Oppenheimer (that cast is pretty much perfect)

Barbara: All of Us Strangers

Colin: Poor Things

Courtney: May December

Dakota: Oppenheimer

Deirdre: The Blackening

Emma: Oppenheimer (though I think All of Us Strangers, The Holdovers, or May December would’ve been deserving!)

Larry: Oppenheimer

Matthew: Oppenheimer

Pat: Killers of the Flower Moon

Rachel: Oppenheimer

 

Who Are You Rooting for Most on Oscar Night?

Adam: I know it’s the basic answer, but I’m rootin’ for my boy Chris and Oppy. It made me fall in love with movies again in a year I was starting to wonder if they could ever move me like they used to.

Barbara: Everyone connected to Anatomy of a Fall. I hope Messi the dog (shut out for best supporting actor as Snoop!) shows up

Bil: Anyone involved in The Holdovers

Colin: Oppenheimer

Courtney: Billie Eilish for Best Original Song

Dakota: Either The Zone of Interest for Best Sound or Wes Anderson for Best Live Action Short

Deirdre: Poor Things! I need weirdo cinema to get some representation here.

Emma: Lily Gladstone and Cillian Murphy!

Larry says: ROBOT DREEEEEEEAAMMSSSSSSSSS

Matthew says: FILMMAKING

Pat says: Nisha Pahuja/To Kill a Tiger.

Rachel says: Poor Things, Cillian Murphy, and for Zone of Interest to lose every category but sound

 



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