Oscars 2024: Final predictions for all 23 categories

Illustration of an Oscar statuette surrounded by the titles of best picture nominees.
While some categories are a lock, some have us on the edge of our seats.
(Alex Rhodes / For The Times)

Did Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” have the best picture Oscar in the bag when it opened in theaters last July?

All the necessary building blocks were in place. Ecstatic reviews? Almost unanimous! Packed theaters? Yes! To the eventual tune of nearly $1 billion worldwide.


A Great Man biopic (emphasis on Man ... the academy is still a bit of a boys’ club)? Three hours’ worth ... but also one that deconstructs the genre with its complicated look at the brilliant, tortured physicist of its title.

A Nolan movie containing a timeline that was easy to follow and a sound mix that enabled audiences to (mostly) understand what was being said? Crazy, but true!

It would have been a bit impulsive to declare the race over and done before the fall film festivals premiered their slates of contenders, before “Napoleon” landed in theaters (R.I.P.), before the leaves changed and pumpkin spice latte season began in earnest. (Or does that start in July now?)

But now that “Oppenheimer” is the 11th movie to sweep the Producers, Directors and Screen Actors Guild awards ... well ... as Oppie tells his wife, Kitty, take in the sheets. It’s over. Of the 10 previous films to hit that awards season trifecta — a list that includes “No Country for Old Men,” “Argo” and last year’s winner, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” — only one, “Apollo 13,” failed to win the Oscar.

“Oppenheimer” is not “Apollo 13.”

The question now, heading into the 96th Academy Awards on Sunday, is how many Oscars will “Oppenheimer” win from its 13 nominations? (Only three movies have ever exceeded that haul: “All About Eve,” “La La Land” and “Titanic” — all earning 14 nods.)


Let’s start counting as I run down my final Oscar predictions for each and every category.

A man in dark goggles looks through a round window as a brilliant flash of light illuminates his face in "Oppenheimer."
“Oppenheimer” is a biopic, starring Cillian Murphy, that deconstructs the genre with its complicated look at the brilliant, tortured physicist of its title.
(Universal Pictures)

“American Fiction”
“Anatomy of a Fall”
“The Holdovers”
“Killers of the Flower Moon”
“Past Lives”
“Poor Things”
“The Zone of Interest”

Will win: “Oppenheimer”

So ... most Oscars for one film:

11: “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2004, no losses), “Titanic” (1998), “Ben-Hur” (1960)
10: “West Side Story” (1962)
9: “The English Patient” (1997), “The Last Emperor” (1988, no losses), “Gigi” (1959, no losses)
8: “Slumdog Millionaire” (2009), “Amadeus” (1985), “Gandhi” (1983), “Cabaret” (1973), “My Fair Lady” (1965), “On the Waterfront” (1955), “From Here to Eternity” (1954), “Gone With the Wind” (1940)

“Oppenheimer,” as we shall see, is a lock to win seven. But to join that company, it will need to win either sound or adapted screenplay. (Or could it surprise in production design?) Oscar nerds will be on the edge of their seats.

A blond man, a face mask under his chin, stands next to a Panavision movie camera
“Oppenheimer” writer-director-producer Christopher Nolan on the set.
(Melinda Sue Gordon / Universal Pictures)

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

Will win: Christopher Nolan

I doubt Nolan enjoyed himself during the endless awards season, but he dutifully made the rounds and said all the right things. He lavished praise on indies, calling “Past Lives” and “Aftersun” two of his favorite recent films. But he’s not a snob, telling Stephen Colbert that he has “no guilt” about being a fan of the “Fast and Furious” franchise. And yet, he proclaimed that “Oppenheimer’s” success marks a new “post-franchise, post-intellectual-property” landscape for cinema, a development he found “encouraging.” Are these statements at odds? Of course! But cut him some slack. He’ll say anything! He wants that Oscar!


Lily Gladstone looking serious, with Leonardo DiCaprio behind her, in "Killers of the Flower Moon."
Prepare to stand and cheer when Lily Gladstone wins for lead actress. Or burn down social media if she loses. You do you.

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

Will win: Lily Gladstone
Could surprise: Emma Stone

This race reminds me of when sentimental favorite Glenn Close went up against the lead from a Yorgos Lanthimos movie (Olivia Colman in “The Favourite”) and lost the Oscar everyone thought she’d win. Or maybe it reminds me of just last year when Cate Blanchett felt undeniable for “Tár” and ended up cheering when Michelle Yeoh won for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

Blanchett had two Oscars. Stone has one. At 35, does she need another right now? Stone’s go-for-broke turn in “Poor Things” is irrefutably one for the ages. And some voters question whether Gladstone has enough screen time in “Flower Moon” to be considered a lead. But I think enough members admire the quiet power in Gladstone’s work, love her story and want to feel the excitement that would come from what would be a historic win. Gladstone would be the first Native American to win the lead actress Oscar. Prepare to stand and cheer. Or burn down social media if she loses. You do you.

A man holding a pipe and wearing a fedora stands on a desert road in "Oppenheimer."
Cillian Murphy plays the title character in the best picture winner, and the lead actor category leans toward actors playing prominent historical figures.
(Melinda Sue Gordon / Universal Pictures)

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

Will win: Cillian Murphy

I’ll admit that my thoughts were clouded a couple of months ago when, after winning a Golden Globe, on a whim, Giamatti stopped for a burger at the In-N-Out in Westwood. As a California native, that act resonated deeply within my soul. How deeply? Well, I thought he could win the Oscar over an actor playing the title character in the best picture winner in a category that leans toward actors playing prominent historical figures. Lincoln, Churchill, Patton, Ray Charles, Idi Amin, Freddie Mercury ... hell, throw in Eddie Egan, the police detective who inspired Gene Hackman’s “Popeye” Doyle in “The French Connection,” for fun. After taking the BAFTA and SAG prizes, Murphy seems certain to repeat at the Oscars. If not ... I’m heading to the In-N-Out on Sunset to pay my respects.


A woman sits in a chenille robe in "The Holdovers."
The Oscar will surely join Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s trove of awards for her work in “The Holdovers.”
(Seacia Pavao)

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

Will win: Da’Vine Joy Randolph

Writing about her recent win at the SAG Awards, I noted that Randolph had taken 36 honors for her moving portrayal of a Black cafeteria manager mourning the loss of her son in Vietnam in “The Holdovers.” That was going by her Wikipedia page’s count. But according to IMDb, she has won 57, though I can’t vouch for the actual existence of every group listed. Either way, she’ll need a storage unit to house her haul. The Oscar, I’m guessing, will find a prominent spot in her home.

A man sits at a Senate hearing with a group of men seated behind him in "Oppenheimer."
Robert Downey Jr. will win what once seemed like a fun race between his wily turn as Adm. Lewis Strauss, Oppenheimer’s antagonist, and Ryan Gosling’s playful take on Ken, Barbie’s lovelorn sidekick.
(Melinda Sue Gordon / Universal Pictures)

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

Will win: Robert Downey Jr.

When this awards season began some 100 years ago (at least it feels that way), this category felt like it would be a fun race between Downey’s wily turn as Adm. Lewis Strauss, Oppenheimer’s antagonist, and Ryan Gosling’s playful take on Ken, Barbie’s lovelorn sidekick questioning the meaning of his existence. Personally, I’d vote — and have — for Gosling, as his open-hearted work and deadpan comic chops helped make “Barbie” such an utter delight. But Downey has the better narrative — apparently, it’s his time — and a meaty part in the movie that will win best picture. No disrespect for Downey or the venom he brought to the role. But how about a little variety, awards voters?

Two men talk on a porch at night in "American Fiction."
Jeffrey Wright, left, and Sterling K. Brown star in writer-director Cord Jefferson’s “American Fiction.”
(Orion Pictures)


“American Fiction,” Cord Jefferson
“Barbie,” Greta Gerwig & Noah Baumbach
“Oppenheimer,” Christopher Nolan
“Poor Things,” Tony McNamara
“The Zone of Interest,” Jonathan Glazer

Will win: “American Fiction”
Could surprise: “Oppenheimer”

Here’s another category where “Barbie” and its joyous, inspired and sometimes subversive take on a toy line should win. But it looks like the Oscar is going to go to “American Fiction,” which won the BAFTA on its only nomination and is, in large part, about writing, which puts voters’ thoughts squarely on its screenplay. That said, the herculean task of adapting a 600-page work of historical scholarship should not be taken lightly. If the “Oppenheimer” wave crests, Nolan could go home with three Oscars.

A man lies face up in the snow, blood surrounding his head, as a woman holds a boy against her in "Anatomy of a Fall."
The “fall” that sets off the plot of “Anatomy of a Fall.”
(Le Pacte)

“Anatomy of a Fall,” Justine Triet and Arthur Harari
“The Holdovers,” David Hemingson
“Maestro,” Bradley Cooper & Josh Singer
“May December,” screenplay by Samy Burch; story by Samy Burch & Alex Mechanik
“Past Lives,” Celine Song

Will win: “Anatomy of a Fall”
Could surprise: “The Holdovers”

“The Holdovers,” as we all know, has its fans among the “they don’t make ’em like they used to” crowd, enough to earn it five nominations. Its warm melancholy and holiday setting make it the cinematic companion piece to Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack to “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” imbued with loneliness and yet somehow full of hope. It’s downright cozy, a word you’d never associate with the twisty, cerebral and sometimes sinister “Anatomy of a Fall,” another film that scored five nominations. It’s ambiguous. It’s French. And it’s co-written by Justine Triet, also nominated for director. And, like “American Fiction,” it’s about a writer. Let’s not overthink it. C’est simple comme bonjour!

An animated Spider-Man soars through the air above a city-=scape in "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse."
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” could eke out a win over Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron.”
(Sony Pictures Animation)

“The Boy and the Heron”
“Robot Dreams”
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”

Will win: “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”
Could surprise: “The Boy and the Heron”

The first “Spider-Verse” movie won this Oscar five years ago. Will voters be inclined to reward the first installment of a two-part story when there’s a Hayao Miyazaki movie (his last?) as a strong alternative? It’s a squeaker, but “Spider-Verse” likely prevails for the simple reason that more people saw it.


A group of men carry a pregnant woman on a stretcher in a bombed-out landscape
“20 Days in Mariupol,” about the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, should be required viewing for all who work in politics.
(Evgeniy Maloletka / Associated Press)

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

Will win: “20 Days in Mariupol”

“War is like an X-ray. All human insides become visible. Good people become better; bad people, worse.” Mstyslav Chernov‘s searing account of the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the atrocities committed during the siege of the titular industrial port city brings these words to devastating life. It should be required viewing for every person holding office in Washington.

A garden party with a death camp seen just over the backyard wall in "The Zone of Interest."
“The Zone of Interest” captures the banality of the daily lives of a death camp commandant and his family.

“Io Capitano”
“Perfect Days”
“Society of the Snow”
“The Teachers’ Lounge”
“The Zone of Interest”

Will win: “The Zone of Interest”

It’s fun to imagine how this race might have played out if France had submitted “Anatomy of a Fall” instead of “The Taste of Things.” As it stands, “The Zone of Interest,” Jonathan Glazer’s based-on-real-life depiction of the daily lives of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss and his family in the shadow of the concentration camp, is a lock to win.

“El Conde,” Edward Lachman
“Killers of the Flower Moon,” Rodrigo Prieto
“Maestro,” Matthew Libatique
“Oppenheimer,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Poor Things,” Robbie Ryan

Will win: “Oppenheimer”

Alternating between black-and-white and color, claustrophobic rooms and showstopping spectacle, “Oppenheimer” did it all. Using the large-format IMAX camera for closeups boosted both the tension and the sense of intimacy. If nothing else, Van Hoytema earned this for lugging around those 54-pound cameras on a routine basis.


“Barbie,” Jacqueline Durran
“Killers of the Flower Moon,” Jacqueline West
“Napoleon,” Janty Yates and Dave Crossman
“Oppenheimer,” Ellen Mirojnick
“Poor Things,” Holly Waddington

Will win: “Poor Things”
Could surprise: “Barbie”

Durran has won twice, both coming for period films (“Anna Karenina,” “Little Women”). Waddington, who looks to make good on her first nomination, mixed eras and materials to striking effect, illustrating Bella Baxter’s journey from childlike innocent to liberated woman. She has the slight edge, as voters haven’t often given this Oscar to contemporary movies such as “Barbie.”

“Anatomy of a Fall,” Laurent Sénéchal
“The Holdovers,” Kevin Tent
“Killers of the Flower Moon,” Thelma Schoonmaker
“Oppenheimer,” Jennifer Lame
“Poor Things,” Yorgos Mavropsaridis

Will win: “Oppenheimer”

Lame believes there’s nothing more exciting than people talking in rooms. That conviction served her well, making her the right person for the job of cutting “Oppenheimer.” The movie never lags in momentum or energy during the course of its three-hour running time.

“Golda,” Karen Hartley Thomas, Suzi Battersby and Ashra Kelly-Blue
“Maestro,” Kazu Hiro, Kay Georgiou and Lori McCoy-Bell
“Oppenheimer,” Luisa Abel
“Poor Things,” Nadia Stacey, Mark Coulier and Josh Weston
“Society of the Snow,” Ana López-Puigcerver, David Martí and Montse Ribé

Will win: “Maestro”

“By a nose ...”

“American Fiction,” Laura Karpman
“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” John Williams
“Killers of the Flower Moon,” Robbie Robertson
“Oppenheimer,” Ludwig Göransson
“Poor Things,” Jerskin Fendrix

Will win: “Oppenheimer”

Göransson’s violin-heavy score matched the intensity of the title character’s journey. He’ll have another Oscar to go along with the trophy he won for “Black Panther” in 2019.

“The Fire Inside” from “Flamin’ Hot”; music and lyric by Diane Warren
“I’m Just Ken” from “Barbie”; music and lyric by Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt
“It Never Went Away” from “American Symphony”; music and lyric by Jon Batiste and Dan Wilson
“Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People)” from “Killers of the Flower Moon”; music and lyric by Scott George
“What Was I Made For?” from “Barbie”; music and lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell


Will win: “What Was I Made For?”
Could surprise: “I’m Just Ken”

If Eilish and O’Connell win, they’ll be the youngest two-time Oscar winners in history. Currently, it’s Luise Rainer, who won two Oscars by age 28; on Oscar night, Eilish will be 22 and O’Connell will be 26. Meanwhile, Martin Scorsese, at 81, became the oldest person to be nominated for director with “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Scorsese has one Oscar for his career. Talk among yourselves.

“Barbie,” production design: Sarah Greenwood; set decoration: Katie Spencer
“Killers of the Flower Moon,” production design: Jack Fisk; set decoration: Adam Willis
“Napoleon,” production design: Arthur Max; set decoration: Elli Griff
“Oppenheimer,” production design: Ruth De Jong; set decoration: Claire Kaufman
“Poor Things,” production design: James Price and Shona Heath; set decoration: Zsuzsa Mihalek

Will win: “Poor Things”
Could surprise: “Oppenheimer”

“Poor Things” has taken the most precursors, winning with the Art Directors Guild, Set Decorators Society and BAFTA. Its fantastical re-creations of Victorian London, Lisbon, Alexandria and Paris meshed with the progression of lead character Bella Baxter’s journey, informing and delighting each step of the way.

“The Creator,” Ian Voigt, Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn, Tom Ozanich and Dean Zupancic
“Maestro,” Steven A. Morrow, Richard King, Jason Ruder, Tom Ozanich and Dean Zupancic
“Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One,” Chris Munro, James H. Mather, Chris Burdon and Mark Taylor
“Oppenheimer,” Willie Burton, Richard King, Gary A. Rizzo and Kevin O’Connell
“The Zone of Interest,” Tarn Willers and Johnnie Burn

Will win: “Oppenheimer”
Could surprise: “The Zone of Interest”

So much has been written about “The Zone of Interest” and the disconnect between its scenes of idyllic family life and the disturbing sounds — industrial noise, screaming, gunfire — we hear in the background. Enough voters saw the film to give it five nominations, a haul that nudged other academy members to check it out. If you’ve seen it, I don’t know how you don’t vote for it in this category. Unless that seat-rattling Trinity test detonation is still ringing in your ears. (It’s going to be “Oppenheimer,” isn’t it?)

“The Creator,” Jay Cooper, Ian Comley, Andrew Roberts and Neil Corbould
“Godzilla Minus One,” Takashi Yamazaki, Kiyoko Shibuya, Masaki Takahashi and Tatsuji Nojima
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” Stephane Ceretti, Alexis Wajsbrot, Guy Williams and Theo Bialek
“Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One,” Alex Wuttke, Simone Coco, Jeff Sutherland and Neil Corbould
“Napoleon,” Charley Henley, Luc-Ewen Martin-Fenouillet, Simone Coco and Neil Corbould

Will win: “Godzilla Minus One”
Could surprise: “The Creator”

The first-ever nomination for a Godzilla movie! Who doesn’t have a soft spot for Godzilla and especially the team behind this iteration, which stretched its $15 million budget to create the “most persuasively bestial Godzilla ever filmed.”


“Letter to a Pig”
“Ninety-Five Senses”
“Our Uniform”
“War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko

Will win: “War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko
Could surprise: “Letter to a Pig”

“War Is Over” feels like a mash-up of “1917,” the forgotten pigeon animated feature “Valiant” and the Oscar-winning Pixar short “Geri’s Game.” It doesn’t work, and it makes “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” feel like a lump of coal. But it won the Annie and probably will have a sentimental pull for many voters.

“The ABCs of Book Banning”
“The Barber of Little Rock”
“Island in Between”
“The Last Repair Shop”
“Nai Nai & Wài Pó”

Will win: “The Last Repair Shop”
Could surprise: “Nai Nai & Wài Pó”

“The Last Repair Shop,” highlighting the work of craftspeople servicing 80,000 musical instruments for Los Angeles Unified School District students, is moving and inspirational and just sparked a $15-million capital campaign to keep the program going. The film is co-distributed by Searchlight and L.A. Times Studios, so a victory here would make my overlords happy. Me too. It’s a terrific film.

“The After”
“Knight of Fortune”
“Red, White and Blue”
“The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar”

Will win: “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar”

Wes Anderson finally wins an Oscar. Just remember: Sic transit gloria.