The 2024 Oscars: Who is going to win v. Who should win

The Academy has faced an uphill battle this century: consistently plummeting Oscars TV ratings, box office stagnation, besides the MCU (and even that has slowed), and the challenge of incorporating streaming giants, such as Netflix, as legitimate studios. Since “The Slap,” however, ratings have been on the rise. Is this tabloid-y interest, or is film again becoming the cornerstone of American culture? What do this year’s major award nominees tell us about the future of film and the Academy?

Best Picture:

Who is going to win: “Oppenheimer”

Christopher Nolan’s epic biopic is tailor-made for the Academy’s ever-changing voting body. Combining the voting members’ taste for historical drama, the box office success to draw eyes to the Oscars broadcast and the film’s lack of temperamental abrasiveness, “Oppenheimer” is near certain to take home the grand prize. The process of ranked-choice voting allows a film like “Oppenheimer” that is liked by many and disliked by few to beat out a more divisive, but greatly appreciated film, like “The Zone of Interest.” 

Who should win: “Barbie”

While not my personal favorite of the year, “Barbie” is the first movie that we will collectively think of when we look back on 2023. Director Greta Gerwig’s careful navigation of the difficult waters of IP and art, which became a cultural phenomenon, should be recognized by the Academy (if they are doing what their mission statement says they are) as the film that defined the year as both consumable media and art.


“The Holdovers”

“American Fiction”

“The Zone of Interest”



“Poor Things”

“Past Lives”

“Anatomy of a Fall”


“Killers of the Flower Moon”

Best Lead Actor:

Who is going to win: Cillian Murphy

If you haven’t already, you’re going to start to sense a theme about how these awards are going to go. Murphy, finally Nolan’s leading man after several go-arounds as a supporting actor, got a chance to show his ability to command a film (usually with wide eyes and mouth agape). In what was undeniably a difficult task of spatial and intellectual presence for Murphy, one can’t help but be a little disappointed with the lack of life behind the titular Oppenheimer’s wondering eyes. This lack of emotion and bravura shouldn’t harm Murphy’s chances, as the Academy is much more interested in rewarding actors capable of occupying the headspace of great men.

Who should win: Jeffrey Wright

In what was a much more nuanced task, Jeffrey Wright played an author struggling with his placement within the white audience’s expectation of black literature and with his role as a brother and son to a mother with Alzheimer’s. Balancing satire and heart, Wright encompasses a totality of life that not many actors are able to. 


Cillian Murphy, “Oppenheimer”

Paul Giamatti, “The Holdovers”

Bradley Cooper, “Maestro”

Jeffrey Wright, “American Fiction”

Colman Domingo, “Rustin’

Best Lead Actress:

Who is going to win: Emma Stone

In a similar situation to Murphy, Emma Stone carries the weight of “Poor Things” on her shoulders. Starring in virtually every moment of the film, Stone’s portrayal of a sexually-charged, quasi-Frankenstein is unlike anything she has been asked to betray before and (probably) unlike any performance outside of Yorgos Lanthimos’ filmography. While able to portray Bella unlike any other modern actress, both Bella and “Poor Things” are unable to argue anything beyond themselves.

Who should win: Lily Gladstone

On the other end of the importance spectrum, Gladstone’s breakthrough performance is nothing short of miraculous. Despite sharing the screen with giants like Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, Gladstone is always the center of attention and the soul of the film. She is the grounding force of both a movie and the cinematic depiction of the entire Osage people. While this should not be the task of one woman (or even one film), Gladstone handles it with grace and fortitude. Her placement as this year’s best actress would be as much a recognition of her talent as of her role’s importance 


Emma Stone, “Poor Things”

Lily Gladstone, “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Sandra Huller, “Anatomy of a Fall”

Carey Mulligan, “Maestro”

Annette Benning, “Nyad”

Best Director:

Who is going to win: Christopher Nolan

“Oppenheimer” is a technical, visual, and auditory achievement. It is an undeniable feat of filmmaking. Paralleling Mr. Oppenheimer himself, Nolan led his team of the best and brightest in their respective fields to achieve what will almost undeniably be the crowning achievement of their careers. However, there is a certain lack of life and fingerprint (beyond the obvious interests, techniques and actor friends) in all of Nolan’s films that separate him from the directors who are masters of the art. Nolan is a master of the science of filmmaking.

Who should win: Jonathan Glazer

Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest” (shameless plug) is everything that Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” is not. It is as personal as it is universal. Replacing the shots and lines of dialogue in “Oppenheimer” meant to induce a “woah” or “so true” with stomach churns and self reflection, Glazer is asking questions that he, himself, does not know the answer to. It’s this placement as questioner and not answerer that makes him this year’s best director.


Christopher Nolan, “Oppenheimer”

Yorgos Lanthimos, “Poor Things”

Jonathan Glazer, “The Zone of Interest”

Martin Scorsese, “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Justine Triet, “Anatomy of a Fall”


Share and discuss “The 2024 Oscars: Who is going to win v. Who should win” on social media.