Entertainment

Oscars 2024: Who will win the major categories at the Academy Awards?

Sunday night is Oscars night, with the 96th Academy Awards being shown live and free on TV for the first time in 20 years. Here, David Roy runs down the nominees for some of the major categories and attempts to predict the winners...

A photo of three Academy Award statuettes
Oscars 2024 .

LAST year’s Oscars saw a record number of homegrown nominees, with 14 Irish/Irish-made hopefuls in the running for the most prestigious awards in film.

While we’ve much less ‘skin in the game’ for 2024 – Cillian Murphy’s Best Actor in a Leading Role nomination for Oppenheimer (one of its 13 nominations) and Robbie Ryan’s Best Cinematography nomination for Poor Things – the fact that the Academy Awards ceremony is being broadcast live and free-to-view on this side of the Atlantic for the first time in 20 years means there will be more Irish eyes watching than usual.

Here are my predictions for some of the major categories...

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Nominees: Annette Bening (Nyad), Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon), Sandra Hüller (Anatomy of a Fall), Carey Mulligan (Maestro), Emma Stone (Poor Things)
Predicted winner: Lily Gladstone
Gladstone says her community is her ‘driving force’
Lily Gladstone in Killers Of The Flower Moon Gladstone says her community is her ‘driving force’

WOT, no Margot Robbie? The Barbie star’s Best Actress snub made all the headlines, but the inclusion of Lily Gladstone for a role the Academy might have considered a supporting turn in another year, plus the rarity of Sandra Hüller being nominated for a foreign language turn, are also notable oddities.

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Nyad has yet to open on this side of the pond, but Annette Bening’s fifth Best Actress nomination could see her bag a statuette marking a stellar career to-date as much as her acclaimed performance in this swimmer biopic.

Carey Mulligan is now a three-time nominee, but Maestro is really Bradley Cooper’s movie (not that he’ll win either), while Emma Stone is already an Oscar-winner for 2016′s La La Land, so it might be too soon for her to claim another.

Thus, this one is basically Lily Gladstone’s to lose, not least because victory would see her making history as the first ever Native American Oscar-winner. #oscarsnotsowhite?

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Nominees: Bradley Cooper (Maestro), Colman Domingo (Rustin), Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers), Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer), Jeffrey Wright (American Fiction)
Predicted winner: Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy is nominated for best actor for his role in Oppenheimer (Universal Pictures)
Awards Season Cillian Murphy is nominated for best actor for his role in Oppenheimer (Universal Pictures) (Melinda Sue Gordon/AP)

There’s simply no denying the power of the Cork man’s linchpin performance in this year’s Oscar ‘big fish’, Oppenheimer.

That said, Jeffrey Wright is superb in American Fiction: a late-career win for this seasoned screen actor would be much deserved. Paul Giamatti, another actor who’s probably never given a bad performance, also offers serious competition to ‘our Cillian’, while Colman Domingo for Rustin feels like a worthy outsider.

As for Bradley Cooper, Maestro is pure Oscar bait – but the Academy is unlikely to bite, in this category at least.

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Nominees: Emily Blunt (Oppenheimer), Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple), America Ferrera (Barbie), Jodie Foster (Nyad), Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers)
Predicted winner: Da’Vine Joy Randolph
Da’Vine Joy Randolph in a scene from The Holdovers
Awards Season Da’Vine Joy Randolph in a scene from The Holdovers (Seacia Pavao/AP)

As much as I love Jodie Foster, just give it to Da’Vine Joy Randolph already: if her amazing Bafta acceptance speech is anything to go by, a win is guaranteed to create one of the best ‘Oscar moments’ of 2024.

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPORTING ROLE

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)
Predicted winner: Robert Downey Jr
Robert Downey Jr. in Oppenheimer (Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures)
Awards Season Robert Downey Jr. in Oppenheimer (Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures) (Melinda Sue Gordon/AP)

Sadly, there would likely be uproar if Ryan Gosling were to win for playing Ken, given that Barbie herself, Margot Robbie, has been passed over – not a good look.

In American Fiction, Sterling K Brown bringing a soulfulness to a role that could have been rather more slight in the hands of a less considered actor. It’s his first ever Oscar-nod, and much deserved – but maybe too soon for an actual win?

The real momentum seems to be behind Robert Downey Jr for his turn as the conniving Dr Strauss in Oppenheimer, a rare flirtation with villainy for the Iron Man star which has banked him his third Supporting Actor nomination: third time lucky, then?

Robert De Niro adding a second BSA statuette to his collection 49 years after The Godfather Part II would be a nice story, but somehow seems unlikely, as does the likelihood of the beloved Mark Ruffalo taking home an award for Poor Things, given their lack of wins at other recent major awards ceremonies.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

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)
Predicted winner: I’m Just Ken
Warner Bros have released a sneak peek of actor Ryan Gosling as Ken in the new Barbie live-action movie which is due for release next July
Ryan Gosling as Ken in Barbie

While Billie Eilish’s Barbie ballad What Was I Made For? is probably a shoe-in for this one, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the Mark Ronson-penned, Ryan Gosling-sung 1980s-flavoured power ballad I’m Just Ken, is a more worthy winner, not least because it will afford Gosling – who will be performing the song live at the ceremony on the night – the chance to be rewarded for his impressive commitment to portraying Barbie’s boy toy without it being seen as a slight on his passed-over co-star.

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

Nominees: Io Capitano, Perfect Days, Society of the Snow, The Teachers’ Lounge, The Zone of Interest
Predicted winner: The Zone of Interest
Sandra Huller in a scene from The Zone of Interest (A24 via AP)
Awards Season Sandra Huller in a scene from The Zone of Interest (A24 via AP) (AP)

Holocaust-themed fodder is like catnip to the Academy, and Jonathan Glazer’s strange, troubling Second World War-set drama has already been generating major awards buzz via wins at the Baftas and Cannes.

BEST MOTION PICTURE

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
Predicted winner: Oppenheimer
Matt Damon as Leslie Groves and Cillian Murphy as J Robert Oppenheimer
Matt Damon as Leslie Groves and Cillian Murphy as J Robert Oppenheimer Matt Damon as Leslie Groves and Cillian Murphy as J Robert Oppenheimer

‘Barbenheimer’ feels like a million years ago now, and while Greta Gerwig’s fantastical film is the one most folk are more likely to want to re-visit of a Sunday afternoon now that the hype has died down, Christopher Nolan’s beautiful and bleak biopic has clearly lingered longest with the Academy’s notoriously comedy-sceptic voters.

At this point a Best Picture win feels like a mere formality.

BEST DIRECTING

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)
Predicted winner: Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan Christopher Nolan

Wot, no Greta Gerwig? Sadly not: this one is essentially a face-off between Nolan and Scorsese, with Glazer and Lanthimos bringing up the rear as potential ‘shock’ alternatives.

Having been passed over for 2020′s brain-bending Tenet – arguably an even greater feat of film directing – it feels like this one is Christopher Nolan’s to lose.

The 96th Academy Awards, Sunday March 10, ITV1, 10.30pm / Red carpet live stream via ITVX from 9.30pm

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