FILM REVIEW — No surprises at this year’s Oscars?

Published 12:02 am Friday, March 8, 2024

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As a film critic, I am usually expected to publish my Oscar predictions before each year’s telecast.

No matter how closely I may be following the races, it’s impossible to guess what the Academy voters are truly thinking, even for those who regularly attend the film screenings and parties where such things are discussed.

Sadly, it appears once again my party invitations were lost in the mail, so I may not have all of the latest rumors at my disposal.

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Still, I don’t think there will be many surprises at this year’s ceremony. “Oppenheimer” seems poised to win the lion’s share of the awards, and the other races are coming down to only a few legitimate contenders.

Here are my thoughts on who I think will win in each category.

Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography and Score: “Oppenheimer” should take home seven statues on Oscar night and has a real chance of winning a few more (Screenplay and Sound) if voters don’t decide to spread the wealth.

Personally, I’m hoping that the Academy will give Paul Giamatti an upset win for his lead performance in “The Holdovers,” but it looks like he will have to settle for the honor of being nominated.

Best Actress and Supporting Actress

Da’Vine Joy Randolph should easily win the supporting statue, but the main actress prize is more contested. I think Lily Gladstone eeks out the win for her work in “Killers of the Flower Moon,” while Emma Stone has real upset potential in one of the only truly competitive races of the evening.

Best Screenplays

The writing awards are also in question. The Original Screenplay should be a toss up between “Anatomy of a Fall” and “The Holdovers.” I get the sense “Anatomy” wins because of the Academy’s recent diversification initiatives, which means a lot of Europeans might be voting for the German film. The Adapted prize should go to “American Fiction,” but an “Oppenheimer sweep or a “Barbie” protest vote could be looming.

Best International, Documentary and Animated Features

Current events should give “20 Days in Mariupal” the edge among the docs, and the fact that “The Zone of Interest” is also nominated for Best Picture should give it the International Feature edge. Animated is a little trickier, and I would love to see “The Boy and the Heron” sneak in here, but the smart money is on “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”

Best Original Song, Costume and Production Design

These are the categories where “Barbie” has a legitimate shot at a win. I think it gets flowers for Production Design and the Original Song, “What Was I made For? I think that it will be closer in the Costume race, but my bet is that “Poor Things” wins that award, probably its only honor of the night.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

My bet is that “Maestro” wins this prize by a nose. See what I did there?

Best Sound and Visual effects

“Oppenheimer” should win the sound prize, but I’m going to vote with my heart and predict “Zone of Interest” here. And because “Oppy” isn’t nominated in Visual Effects, expect “Godzilla Minus One” to stomp on “The Creator” for the win.

The Shorts!

This is always the most treacherous category to predict. “War is Over!” should take the animated statue because everybody loves the music of John and Yoko. Still, “Letter to a Pig” is my favorite of the bunch.

“The Last Repair Shop” seems like the type of film that should attract Doc Short voters, with “The ABC’s of Book Burning” running in second place.

Lastly, Wes Anderson finally wins an Oscar for his Live Action Short, “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.” It will be one of the night’s feel-good moments.

Movie reviews by Sean McBride, “The Movie Guy,” are published each week by Port Arthur Newsmedia. Sean welcomes your comments via email at