Entertainment industry experts' Oscar forecasts for the 2024 Academy Awards

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This year's 96th Academy Awards, airing on Sunday, will feature a diverse group of nominees, including blockbuster hits, seasoned Hollywood stars, fresh faces, and multiple highly-anticipated dramas vying for recognition. The 2024 Oscar nominations are expected to make for an intriguing evening, and entertainment professionals have already begun speculating about the winners in the major categories.

Which film will be awarded the Oscar for best picture?

According to the Academy Awards, Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer" is the top contender for the best picture Oscar. The film, which tells the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the renowned nuclear physicist credited as the "father of the atomic bomb," has received 13 nominations, making it the leading nominee this year.

The movie has already won all the precursor awards during this award season, including equivalent categories at the Critics Choice and Golden Globe Awards, as well as from the Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild, Producers Guild, and British Academy. These awards serve as strong indications of how the movie will perform in the best picture category on Sunday.

According to Lilliana Vazquez, a television presenter and lifestyle expert, there would be a significant disappointment if 'Oppenheimer' fails to win, as it has already been highly praised. She believes that when all the different guilds unanimously recognize a film, it becomes a strong contender in its category, as well as for the actors and actresses involved.

It is uncommon for movies to receive such widespread backing from the industry, and those that do often end up winning the top honor at the Oscars, as seen with past films such as "Argo" and "Slumdog Millionaire".

According to Erik Davis, the managing editor at Fandango, the movie "Oppenheimer" is a strong contender for the best picture award due to its various accomplishments in areas such as storytelling, acting, cinematography, editing, and score. Davis also notes that it has been a while since there has been such a clear fan favorite.

According to Davis, the culmination of all the elements in 'Oppenheimer' is what ultimately sets it apart as a top contender for the best picture category. It goes beyond being a mere source of entertainment and excels in every aspect, making it deserving of an Oscar.

The sentiment was echoed by Vazquez.

According to her, "Oppenheimer" is a guaranteed success as it resonates on multiple levels. The film's style, screenplay, and performances are all of exceptional quality. Unlike some independent films that may be difficult to comprehend, this particular topic is relatable to everyone.

The movie "Oppenheimer" will be in competition for the best picture award, among nine other films including "American Fiction," "Anatomy of a Fall," "Barbie," "The Holdovers," "Killers of the Flower Moon," "Maestro," "Past Lives," "Poor Things," and "The Zone of Interest."

According to experts, it is unlikely that any of the mentioned titles will surpass Nolan's film. They also mention that if "Oppenheimer" were to lose in this category, it would most likely be the biggest surprise of the evening.

According to Aramide Tinubu, a TV critic at Variety, "Oppenheimer" is a versatile film that has resonated with a wide audience. She also mentions that historical dramas tend to capture attention. While "The Holdovers" may have historical elements, it is a quieter film in comparison. In America, there is a preference for blockbuster films.

Possible dark horse contenders for the top award of best picture could potentially be Alexander Payne's heartwarming hit "The Holdovers," Justine Triet's multilingual legal thriller "Anatomy of a Fall," or Yorgos Lanthimos' unconventional science fiction comedy "Poor Things," which also received 11 Oscar nods following "Oppenheimer."

According to Joyce Eng, an entertainment journalist and senior editor at Gold Derby, an industry blog site that predicts Hollywood awards, the most intriguing aspect of this year's race is the uncertainty surrounding the runner-up position. Eng and Christopher Rosen, the site's digital director, co-host the "Gold Derby Show" podcast where they analyze and make predictions for award season.

Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer In this still from "Oppenheimer," released by Universal Pictures, actor Cillian Murphy is featured. Photo credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures via AP.

According to Rosen, the predicted success of "Oppenheimer" in the category of best picture can be attributed not only to its dominance in the awards scene thus far, but also to its strong qualities as a potential winner. As a biographical film set in a historical context, it received positive reviews and was well-received in theaters. Both Eng and Rosen believe that the film's initial status as an underdog may have also contributed to its appeal.

According to Rosen, "Oppenheimer" was often overshadowed by "Barbie" in terms of box office revenue and media attention, especially during the summer. This gave it the appearance of an underdog, despite it being a highly successful film. Rosen described "Oppenheimer" as a "perfect consensus movie" and a "steamroller" in terms of its popularity and critical acclaim.

According to Eng, there is no tiredness associated with being a leader. He believes this is crucial.

Who is predicted to receive the Oscar for best actor?

The competition for best actor is similar to the race for best picture, and experts generally agree on the predicted winner. According to them, Cillian Murphy, who played the titular role in "Oppenheimer," is expected to receive this award due to the film's immense success and Murphy's previous victories at the SAG Awards and BAFTAs. This suggests strong backing from industry professionals who also vote for the Oscars.

According to Eng, it is difficult to compete with Murphy who has won two significant awards. The only award Cillian has not won on television was the Critics Choice, where he lost to Paul Giamatti. This may have created the perception that the competition is closer than it truly is.

Out of the last 13 Academy Awards, 8 have been won by actors portraying real-life individuals. Vazquez points out that there is a strong audience attraction towards narratives based on true events.

According to Rosen, portraying a real-life individual is often advantageous for actors competing for the best actor award. With "Oppenheimer" being the top contender for Best Picture, it's highly likely that Cillian Murphy would have won the award. The fact that he has already won several precursor awards further supports this prediction. While it is not impossible, it would be unexpected if he were to lose on Oscar night.

Murphy and Giamatti are both contenders in this category, with Giamatti nominated for his starring role as a disillusioned teacher at a boarding school in "The Holdovers," which has been highly acclaimed. These two seasoned actors are receiving their first Oscar nominations for best actor, with Giamatti's recognition coming nearly two decades after being famously overlooked in this category for his performance in Payne's 2004 comedic drama "Sideways."

There have been suggestions that Giamatti's overdue win for best actor is plausible, especially since he and Murphy have already received awards for both comedic and dramatic acting at the Globes. As the rest of the awards season progresses, they have become each other's biggest competition.

According to Davis, both men have been recipients of this award at multiple award ceremonies. Therefore, it appears that the competition in this category is primarily between these two individuals. While Paul Giamatti has also been recognized, Cillian Murphy has slightly edged him out, potentially due to the success of his project, 'Oppenheimer', which is seen as a top contender and has achieved significant recognition this year.

The nominees for the Academy Award for best actor include Bradley Cooper for his role in "Maestro," Colman Domingo for "Rustin," and Jeffrey Wright for his performance in "American Fiction."

Which actress will take home the Oscar for best actress?

The upcoming Sunday's Academy Awards has sparked a lot of discussion on who will come out on top in the race for Best Actress, with Lily Gladstone and Emma Stone being the frontrunners for their outstanding performances in "Killers of the Flower Moon" and "Poor Things" respectively. Both actresses have received critical acclaim for their roles, making it a highly contested competition.

According to Davis, both of these performances are distinct from each other, just like the actor category. While Emma Stone's performance involves a physical transformation and is characterized by a lively and exaggerated demeanor, Lily Gladstone's performance is more subdued and focused on internal emotions.

The two actresses, who each won best actress awards at the Golden Globes in different categories of comedy and drama, were also successful at the Critics Choice Awards and the BAFTAs. In a groundbreaking victory, Gladstone made history as the first indigenous actor to receive the prestigious award at the SAG Awards. If she emerges as the winner, she will also make history as the first Native American to receive an Oscar for best actress in this category.

On January 7, 2024, Lily Gladstone is seen posing with her Golden Globe Award for her role in "Killers of the Flower Moon" for Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama.ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

The decision is difficult for Tinubu as they are unable to choose between Lily Gladstone and Emma Stone. They initially believed that Lily would be the winner, but Emma's performance has gained more attention. Tinubu personally enjoyed "Poor Things" and considers it the best film of the year, but both Lily and Emma are equally deserving. Therefore, the choice between them is still undecided.

In 2023, "Poor Things" was the top film for Vazquez. She praised Stone's flawless acting in the film, but predicts that Gladstone will ultimately win the best actress award.

According to Vazquez, it would be a great pleasure to witness Emma Stone being awarded another Oscar. Vazquez believes that she deserves recognition for her performance in this role due to the physicality, emotional depth, and delivery of dialogue shown in the film. However, Vazquez acknowledges the strong competition from Lily Gladstone, but still hopes to see Stone win the award.

According to Vazquez, it is amazing to see the first indigenous actress win, especially for a woman of color. This achievement is not only significant for her community but also for the entire country. Vazquez also noted that the fact that she was able to shine in a Scorsese film and share the screen with big names like Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro shows her power, which goes beyond just her performance.

In this category, there is a strong competition between Gladstone and Stone, as they compete against Annette Bening for the title. Bening has been nominated for "Nyad", while Sandra Huller is nominated for "Anatomy of a Fall" and Carey Mulligan for "Maestro".

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