Way-Too-Early 2024 Oscar Predictions

First, a huge congratulations to Everything Everywhere All At Once on winning Best Picture at the 2023 Oscars. It was a long journey and for the entire year, this weird and whacky film managed to hold off the giants to not only lead in nominations, but win Best Picture on top of it. While the 2022/23 season just ended, that doesn’t mean we stop here at Oscars Central as the 2023/24 season is already kicking off.

Here is my early look at the 2024 Oscar race.

Best Picture


  1. The Color Purple
  2. Killers of the Flower Moon
  3. Barbie
  4. Oppenheimer

The adaptation of the musical The Color Purple is in an early position to be one of the best films of the year. The musical is a Tony Award winner with a stacked cast that will likely garner a ton of nominations both above and below the line, and could be one of the highest nomination getters of the ceremony; also, the previous adaptation of the novel was nominated for eleven Oscars itself. Martin Scorsese’s epic western Killers of the Flower Moon would have been a massive contender this past year had it come out, and a new year doesn’t change that.

Yes, I currently have Barbie as a frontrunner. Is this wishful thinking? Sure, but as we have seen with Everything Everywhere All At Once making a massive splash in this Oscars race this year, maybe this kind of eccentric filmmaking is in. However, even if this is wishful thinking, it’s not the most unreasonable prediction. The entire cast and crew, from writer-director Greta Gerwig and partner-cowriter Noah Baumbach to the leads Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, have all been embraced by the Academy with nominations for their previous work. Not to mention from the small bit that has been seen of this, the technical achievements could be off the charts as well. It definitely seems within the realm of possibility.

Oppenheimer rounds out the front runners because while I am confident that this film will get in, it is going to have to be more than just a tech player. It’s a good thing Christopher Nolan has already shown this will be his most ambitious film yet.

In the hunt:

  1. Dune: Part 2
  2. Past Lives
  3. Maestro
  4. May December

Dune: Part 1 went home with six Academy Awards and was a massive box office success, and Dune: Part 2 looks to do the exact same. It will find its way into the lineup solely for being the technical achievement of the year. A24 scored massively in 2022/23, racking up awards all season thanks to their pride and joy Everything Everywhere All At Once, and with the news surrounding Past Lives out of Sundance, they look like they could have the next big awards player on their hands.

Maestro is Bradley Cooper’s sophomore feature as a triple threat (director, writer, and star). While his first feature (A Star is Born) managed to only garner one win out of its eight nominations, it still was a highly praised film that at one point felt like a frontrunner for Best Picture. Nothing leads me to believe this one won’t be in the running as well. May December follows a couple in turmoil after an actress comes to do research on their past. Directed by Todd Haynes and led by a cast that includes Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, May December has what it takes to land a Best Picture nomination.

Last in:

  1. The Holdovers
  2. Saltburn

Alexander Payne’s newest dramedy The Holdovers is looking to do better, much better, than his previous film Downsizing. Telling the story of an unlikeable teacher who has to supervise a trouble-making student seems like something right up Payne’s alley. Oscar-winner Emerald Fennell is going back to the English aristocracy with Saltburn. Her previous film managed to do well at the Oscars, picking up five nominations and a win for Fennell in Original Screenplay, and Saltburn could be her next trip to film’s biggest night.

Next Up (Alphabetical by Film):

  • Asteroid City
  • The Bikeriders
  • Blitz
  • Dumb Money
  • Ferrari
  • How Do You Live?
  • The Iron Claw
  • The Killer
  • Lee
  • Napoleon
  • Nyad
  • One Life
  • Poor Things
  • Saltburn
  • Spaceman
  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
  • Strangers

Best Director

Top 5:

  1. Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon
  2. Greta Gerwig, Barbie
  3. Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer
  4. Blitz Bazawule, The Color Purple
  5. Hirokazu Koreeda, Monster

For the second year in a row, I have Martin Scorsese as the early front-runner for his western epic Killers of the Flower Moon, and I actually think it is better that his film got pushed back given that Jane Campion had just won Best Director last year for a western. For Marty, this giant-scale picture has the makings of being one of the last of its kind, and will likely be the last time this legendary director will make a film of this scale. Right behind him, however, is Greta Gerwig for Barbie. Gerwig is coming off a massive snub missing the best director nomination for Little Women, and from the little that has been seen of Barbie, it looks like this could be the true director flex of the year. In the short teaser – which should automatically win her the Oscar and every other award imaginable – it is clear how vibrant this film will be and the vast array of set pieces mixed with what is sure to be some incredibly stylistic directing leaves me to believe she has the best chance of taking down Mr. Marty.

Christopher Nolan seems to be at his most ambitious with Oppenheimer, even going as far as creating a nuclear explosion without CGI – trust me, I don’t get it either. However, Nolan was only nominated for Best Director once in his career for Dunkirk (2018), so he will need to work hard to earn a nomination. Blitz Bazawule has very few credits to his name, but that didn’t stop Warner Brothers from hiring him to direct the musical adaptation of The Color Purple. While he might be a newcomer, the cast and crew behind this film could be the vehicle to get the filmmaker his first nomination.

Someone who is a little more well-known, but still new to awards recognition is Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda. This past year we saw the “first-time international best director nomination” tradition stay true with Ruben Östlund getting his first nomination for directing Triangle of Sadness. Koreeda is a well-known director and, with his newest film Monster, could be the one to follow in this pattern.

Next up (Alphabetical by Film):

  • Wes Anderson, Asteroid City
  • Jeff Nichols, The Bikeriders
  • Steve McQueen, Blitz
  • Craig Gillespie, Dumb Money
  • Denis Villeneuve, Dune: Part 2
  • Michael Mann, Ferrari
  • Hayao Miyazaki, How Do You Live?
  • David Fincher, The Killer
  • Ellen Kuras, Lee
  • Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Our Apprenticeship
  • Celine Song, Past Lives
  • Bradley Cooper, Maestro
  • Todd Haynes, May December
  • Ridley Scott, Napoleon
  • James Hawes, One Life
  • Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things
  • Sofia Coppola, Priscilla
  • Emerald Fennell, Saltburn
  • Andrew Haigh, Strangers

Best Actress

Top 5:

  1. Fantasia Barrino, The Color Purple
  2. Margot Robbie, Barbie
  3. Carey Mulligan, Maestro
  4. Natalie Portman, May December
  5. Regina King, Shirley

Fantasia Barrino is getting to play the character that gained Whoopi Goldberg her first Oscar nomination and the role that earned Cynthia Erivo and LaChanze their first Tony wins. It’s safe to say this is a highly decorated role. Plus, this is a role she knows having performed it on Broadway herself in 2007-2008 (she was the first American Idol winner to be featured on Broadway). The film adaptation is positioning itself to be a highly nominated film, and Barrino could be on her way to her first Oscar nomination and win.

Behind her, Margot Robbie is very close, playing the titular role in Barbie. In the little that has been seen, this looks like it could be the role of her career. Carey Mulligan recently missed out on an Oscar nomination for She Said, but that won’t be the case this year as she is playing Felicia Montealegre, the love interest opposite Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein in Maestro.

Natalie Portman stars in May December and is playing an actress researching a former tabloid romance for an upcoming film. The actress hasn’t been nominated since Jackie in 2017, and this former winner could find her way back into the race. Another former winner, Regina King, is looking to be back into Oscars consideration with Shirley, a biopic about the first black U.S. congresswoman, Shirley Chisholm.

Next up (Alphabetical by Film):

  • Saoirse Ronan, Blitz
  • Zendaya, Challengers
  • Kate Winslet, Lee
  • Greta Lee, Past Lives
  • Emma Stone, Poor Things
  • Cailee Spaeny, Priscilla
  • Rosamund Pike, Saltburn

Best Actor

Top 5:

  1. Bradley Cooper, Maestro
  2. Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon
  3. Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers
  4. Anthony Hopkins, One Life
  5. Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer

Nine-time Oscar loser Bradley Cooper looks like he might change his fate by playing legendary composer Leonard Bernstein in his upcoming film Maestro – one he is also directing and writing. Leonardo DiCaprio has been out of the Oscar race for a while now, picking up his last nomination for Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019), and this time he has teamed up with Martin Scorsese for a western epic that will give him a better shot at the Oscar nom than the Adam McKay asteroid movie did.

Paul Giamatti has worked with Alexander Payne in the past, and their newest collaboration, The Holdovers, could earn Giamatti his first nomination in almost two decades. In this film, he is playing a truly unlikeable teacher who remains on campus over Christmas supervising students that can’t go home for the holidays. Anthony Hopkins just won his second Oscar for The Father, and it looks as though there is no slowing down for the elder actor as he stars in One Life in which he plays real life British humanitarian, Nicholas Winton, a man who helped rescue hundreds of children from the Nazis in World War II.

Christopher Nolan doesn’t have a history of getting his actors nominated for awards, but Oppenheimer could prove to be different. Cillian Murphy is a veteran actor who is deserving of an acting nomination, and with this film looking to be a story centered around J. Robert Oppenheimer, Murphy could be on his way to his first nomination.

Next up (Alphabetical by Film):

  • Adam Driver, Ferrari
  • Zac Efron, The Iron Claw
  • Michael Fassbender, The Killer/Next Goal Wins
  • Jonathan Majors, Magazine Dreams
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Napoleon
  • Colman Domingo, Rustin
  • Adam Sandler, Spaceman
  • Andrew Scott, Strangers
  • Timothee Chalamet, Wonka

Best Supporting Actress

Top 5:

  1. Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon
  2. Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple
  3. Taraji P. Henson, The Color Purple
  4. Julianne Moore, May December
  5. Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers

Lily Gladstone plays one of the main protagonists in Killers of the Flower Moon. Her role in this film has been highly anticipated for quite some time, and this could be the exact role that thrust Gladstone into Academy stardom. Next, we have a pair of actresses from The Color Purple with Danielle Brooks and Taraji P. Henson. Henson is an Oscar nominee for her performance in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, while Brooks is a recent Tony nominee for the same role she’s playing in the film. The Color Purple could be an acting showcase (just like the 1985 film before it) and will likely pick up a number of nominations; the hardest question is where they will come from. Given that Brooks got the Tony nomination for playing Sofia, as did Felicia P. Fields before her, and Oprah Winfrey earned an Oscar nomination for this character, I think she is a safe bet. Henson on the other hand is playing Shug Avery, the role which garnered an Oscar nomination for Margaret Avery and a Tony nomination for Elisabeth Withers.

Julianne Moore is playing Gracie Atherton-Yoo whose life begins to collapse when Natalie Portman’s Elizabeth Berry begins to research her marriage for her upcoming role. The multi-nominated actress has not been nominated since her win for Still Alice (2014), but that could change with Todd Hayne’s newest film. The Holdovers appears to have a small cast, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph could wind up earning herself a nomination playing a mom the head cook of a New England school who recently lost her son to the Vietnam War.

Next up (Alphabetical by Film):

  • America Ferrera, Barbie
  • Aunjanue Ellis, The Color Purple
  • Shailene Woodley, Dumb Money
  • Penelope Cruz, Ferrari
  • Lily James, The Iron Claw
  • Tilda Swinton, The Killer
  • Vanessa Kirby, Napoleon
  • Claire Foy, Strangers

Best Supporting Actor

Top 5:

  1. Ryan Gosling, Barbie
  2. Jesse Plemons, Killers of the Flower Moon
  3. Colman Domingo, The Color Purple
  4. Willem Dafoe, Poor Things
  5. Jonathan Pryce, One Life

If no one will say it, I’ll say it: Ryan Gosling is one of the most versatile and best actors in Hollywood, a star who knows how to achieve every dramatic beat, while also having a perfect understanding of comedic timing making him one of the funniest actors working. In Barbie, he has a real chance to shine playing Ken, and the rumblings out of the test screenings say that he is the standout of the cast.

Jesse Plemons recently picked up his first nomination for The Power of the Dog, a quiet and subtle performance. His role in Killers of the Flower Moon will likely not be that. Starring in Martin Scorsese’s western epic, Plemons has a great shot at receiving his second nomination. Colman Domingo plays the main antagonist of The Color Purple in Mister, a role that could earn one of the most consistent actors in Hollywood his first Oscar nomination.

In Poor Things, Willem Dafoe plays a character who brings back to life a young woman by putting the brain of her unborn child in her lifeless body. Sounds weird, yes, but if anyone can pull off this film, it’s Yorgos Lanthimos, and if anyone can pull off this performance, it’s Willem Dafoe. The only time Jonathan Pryce has ever been nominated, it was opposite Anthony Hopkins, and in One Life, Pryce is once again playing opposite Hopkins. This time, he stars as Martin Blake, a friend of Hopkins’s Nicholas Winton, who helps Winton rescue children from the Nazis pre-World War II.

Next up (Alphabetical by Film):

  • Harris Dickinson, Blitz
  • Corey Hawkins, The Color Purple
  • Paul Dano, Dumb Money
  • Sebastian Stan, Dumb Money
  • Seth Rogen, Dumb Money
  • Jeremy Allen White, The Iron Claw
  • Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Andy Samberg, Lee
  • Matt Bomer, Maestro
  • Charles Melton, May December
  • Will Arnett, Next Goal Wins
  • Robert Downey Jr., Oppenheimer
  • Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things
  • Barry Keoghan, Saltburn
  • Paul Mescal, Strangers

Best Original Screenplay

Top 5:

  1. Past Lives
  2. Maestro
  3. Asteroid City
  4. Saltburn
  5. The Holdovers

When Past Lives was garnering universal praise out of Sundance, it was primarily for debut writer-director Celine Song’s script. A24 will need to give it a real campaign, but this rom-com could be something to keep an eye on this season. For Bradley Cooper’s previous film A Star is Born he teamed up with past Oscar winner Eric Roth to adapt the script. For Maestro, he dipped back into the Oscar pool and chose Josh Singer who previously won for his work on Spotlight (2015) to co-write the script with him.

Wes Anderson is teaming up once again with Roman Coppola (son of Frances Ford Coppola) for his newest film Asteroid City. While The French Dispatch was praised, it didn’t muster any love from the Academy, and seven-time nominee Wes Anderson will want to change that.

Saltburn is written by previous winner Emerald Fennell which is enough to consider it in this category. This film is said to be a mystery thriller about obsession within an aristocratic English family. Who could be a better match to write this script than a former star of the hit show, The Crown? If there is something Alexander Payne knows how to do, it’s get his film nominated in a screenplay category. Four of the eight films he has directed have gone on to be nominated for their screenplay, with two of them (Sideways and The Descendants) winning. The only issue is that The Holdovers is not a film he will have a writing credit on, but that didn’t stop his black-and-white family drama Nebraska (2013) from earning a screenplay nomination, and I don’t think it’ll hurt The Holdover‘s chances here.

Next up (Alphabetical by Film):

  • Air
  • Drive Away Dykes
  • The Iron Claw
  • May December
  • Napoleon
  • Our Apprenticeship

Best Adapted Screenplay

Top 5:

  1. Barbie
  2. Killers of the Flower Moon
  3. The Color Purple
  4. How Do You Live?
  5. Poor Things

When casting announcements for Barbie were surfacing, there was one constant amongst all of the actors: they all talked about how this script was one of the best they had ever read. Written by director Gerwig and her partner Baumbach, Barbie could give each of these filmmaking giants their first wins. Similar to The Fabelmans last year, Killers of the Flower Moon is written by not only a multi-nominated screenwriter but co-written by a director who doesn’t normally write their own scripts. Martin Scorsese will be penning this film alongside Eric Roth, the king of movie adaptations.

The Color Purple seems like a safe bet: adapting a Tony-winning play that could have multiple acting nominations, into a feature film. Hayao Miyazaki is a legend in filmmaking, winning an Oscar for Spirited Away (2001) and an honorary one in 2015. His latest film How Do You Live? is said to be the director’s last, and he has never picked up a nomination outside of the Best Animated Feature category. Poor Things is a different twist on the legendary story of Frankenstein and could be just insane enough a premise to garner a second nomination for Tony McNamara.

Next up (Alphabetical by Film):

  • Across the Spider-Verse
  • Dumb Money
  • Dune: Part 2
  • Ferrari
  • The Killer
  • Long Day’s Journey Into Night
  • Next Goal Wins
  • Oppenheimer
  • Strangers

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