/Oscars predictions  
Promotional material for "Oppenheimer."

Oscars predictions  

By Carter James 

Awards season for me is like March Madness for others. All year long I stay informed about prospective awards films in anticipation of Sunday night. If you’re lost about who and what will be winning this year, I’m your guy. I’ll be going over my predictions for above the line categories: Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Actress and both screenplay categories.  


This is the easiest picture prediction I’ve given. It’s “Oppenheimer.” Since July, I have been saying this and now I’m 99% sure it’ll win. There’s no competition. No other film has won best picture at a precursor except for “Poor Things.” If that’s considered to be #2 in the race, then the gap is huge. Some might bring up “Barbie” as a potential winner, but it’s had a weak awards season—usually only winning for Original Song and Production Design at precursors. Statistically, it’s in “Oppenheimer’s” favor. In the last five years, a movie has to win at least one guild related precursor to win best picture. “Oppenheimer” has won BAFTA and DGA.  


Also a done deal. Christopher Nolan is winning for “Oppenheimer.” He has won every major precursor to date: Golden Globes, Critics Choice, DGA and BAFTA. The only other people who could upset are Yorgos Lanthimos for “Poor Things” and Johnathan Glazer for “The Zone of Interest.” I wouldn’t bet against Nolan because this should be an easy prediction for everyone. 


This is where things get interesting. It’s a two-horse race between Cillian Murphy for “Oppenheimer” and Paul Giamatti for “The Holdovers.” Bradley Cooper’s chances for “Maestro” died early into awards season. Jeffery Wright for “American Fiction” and Colman Domingo for “Rustin” gave great performances, but all the passion for them was for a nomination. Murphy and Giamatti are still a tossup because they have been swapping wins at previous shows. The SAG awards are soon, so whoever wins will be who I predict. For right now, my prediction is Murphy. Despite Giamatti having a stronger season than expected, “Oppenheimer” is not the same film without Murphy, and I feel like he’ll pull through in the end. My personal pick would be either Murphy or Giamatti. They’re both so great that I can’t choose one.  


Another tight race here, but I have a strong feeling about who will win. Emma Stone has been winning here and there for “Poor Things,” but I believe, come Oscar Sunday, Lily Gladstone will win for “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Gladstone gives arguably the best performance of the year, and the narrative of her becoming the first indigenous actor to win Best Actress does not need to be understated. The passion for Stone is real, but I don’t believe her performance is great enough to warrant a second Oscar for her. It would be nice to see Saundra Huller get a surprise win for “Anatomy of a Fall,” as she’s phenomenal and unforgettable. Don’t count on Carey Mulligan winning anytime soon. She’s good in “Maestro,” but this isn’t even close to one of her best performances. Annette Bening for “NYAD” is such a fake nomination to me. Yeah, she’s good, I guess, but this took away from plenty of deserving actors, such as Greta Lee, Fantasia Barino and Margot Robbie. I’m sticking to my guns in this category, Gladstone is my prediction and pick. 

Supporting Actor 

Robert Downey Jr. for “Oppenheimer” is my prediction and pick. Next, please. He’s had an uncontested season. Ryan Gosling isn’t happening for “Barbie.” I like everyone in this category and am even glad that Sterling K. Brown got a surprise nomination for “American Fiction,” but the winner of this category is obvious. 

Supporting Actress 

This is a weird category to say the least, not because we don’t know who will win. Da’Vine Joy Randolph for “The Holdovers” is my prediction and pick. She has literally won every precursor and critics group I can think of. It’s a weird category because of who was nominated. America Ferrara was nominated for her monologue in “Barbie.” Jodie Foster got nominated for “NYAD” because people actually love the movie? Danielle Brooks is amazing in “The Color Purple,” but the movie has no love behind it. Emily Blunt is great in “Oppenheimer” but her winning is a non-problem for the movie’s award chances. If I were a voter, I would’ve pushed for Sandra Huller to be nominated for “The Zone of Interest.” She gives a better performance here than she does in “Anatomy of a Fall.” 

Original Screenplay 

I believe there’s room for surprises in this category, but I’m swaying one way for my prediction. “Anatomy of A Fall” has been the winner of this category most of the season and I don’t have a reason to bet against it now. I would love a surprise win for “Past Lives,” though. It’s a shame that it’ll most likely walk away with zero wins.  

Adapted Screenplay 

Here’s my risky prediction. I think “American Fiction” will win. Sure, “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie” are strong in this category, but “American Fiction” keeps on surprising when you least expect it. The BAFTA win reaffirmed my belief, so I’ll stick to my guns. Honestly, I would be fine with any film winning. I obviously love “Oppenheimer.” “Barbie” is sharply written. “Killers of the Flower Moon” is strong throughout. “The Zone of Interest” is genius. When it comes down to the winner, “American Fiction” is fresh and different enough to set apart from the rest.

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