Amanda's Picks

March 8, 2024 at 5:15 p.m.

By AMANDA GLAM Columnist

Amanda’s Oscar Predictions

Last year’s Academy Awards were a bit of a letdown for this film buff. It’s never a good time when one movie wins just about all the awards, especially when it’s a movie you tried to watch several times and could not get through. 

But on March 10 (6 pm on ABC), there will be no Everything, Everywhere All at Once and no chance for even the frontrunner, Oppenheimer, to sweep all the awards. There are plenty of Oscar prediction sites. Just ask my daughter Emma who follows the races on, down to the nail-biting race for Best Short Documentary. 

Whether you join in on the just-for-fun, “betting” or watch with no favorites at all, please indulge me as I share my predictions for the 96th Academy Awards.

Supporting Actor: Faithful readers will remember my very early prediction that Robert Downey Jr. would win the Oscar for his role as Lewis Strauss in Oppenheimer. Well, the rest of the world is with me and Downey Jr. already has a trophy case full of awards. I’ve seen all the performances in this category and all are Oscar-worthy but this is one you can bet on. You can also bet on a fun speech.

Supporting Actress: Sorry America Ferrera, while I loved your “big speech” in Barbie, you likely stole the nomination from Penelope Cruz, who was phenomenal in Ferrari. I cannot comprehend how the Academy, who has shown love for Cruz in the past, ignored her fiery performance. Of the nominees, like Downey Jr., Da’vine Joy Randolph has crushed this awards season as Mary, a grieving mom and prep school cook in The Holdovers, grounding a great film and holding her own with Paul Giamatti. Da’vine Joy Randolph should and will win.

Lead Actor: In an extraordinarily strong year, Bradley Cooper (Maestro) and Jeffrey Wright (American Fiction) have had to watch while Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer) and Paul Giamitti (The Holdovers), gather the gold. I loved both these performances and Giamatti, a very popular actor in a very popular movie, could pull an upset. Murphy will win but if Giamatti or if by some miracle, Wright won, I wouldn’t cry in my popcorn.

Lead Actress: The toughest race to call, even for my resident expert, is a battle between Emma Stone for Poor Things and Lily Gladstone for Killers of the Flower Moon. Stone, who won Best Actress in 2016 for La La Land, delivers a daring and provocative performance and is in nearly every frame of Poor Things. Gladstone came out of nowhere to outshine Robert DeNiro and Leo DiCaprio and to serve as the heart of Scorcese’s epic. Gladstone has the edge as a newcomer and a Native American and will likely win. 

Picture: You have to hand it to the much-maligned Golden Globes, they hand out a statue for Best Drama and Best Comedy or Musical so popular fun fare like Barbie isn’t asked to compete with epics like Killers of the Flower Moon. That said, there’s only one Oppenheimer and it will win. 

Director: The biggest controversy here is the lack of a nomination for Barbie director Greta Gerwig. Even if she was nominated, she wouldn’t have a chance. Emma has declared Christopher Nolan, one of the most visionary directors of the past 20 years, to be her “super bet” to win his first Directing Oscar for Oppenheimer. I agree. 

Adapted Screenplay: As a writer, I care more about this award than most people. I wrote in a recent column how much I loved Cord Jefferson’s practically perfect screenplay for American Fiction. However, I believe enough voters might be angry with Greta Gerwig’s slight in the Best Director category to vote for her and Noah Baumbach’s Barbie screenplay. I’d be happy with either choice, especially since Gerwig should have won in 2018 for Ladybird.

Original Screenplay: I’ve seen all the nominees except Anatomy of the Fall. This is likely a two-way race between David Hemingson for The Holdovers and Celine Song for Past Lives. Writing Oscars often seem to be consolation prizes. (See Gerwig above). I’m going to give the edge for Song, but again, both writers are deserving. 

I haven’t seen enough of the International Film or Animated Film nominees to make a prediction here but Emma has declared that The Zone of Interest is a lock for International Film. With a lightweight entry from animation giant Pixar (Elemental), she predicts that Hayao Miyazaki, a.k.a. “The Walt Disney of Japan” will win for The Boy and the Heron

Other Awards: While he’s an underdog, I would love to see the late Robbie Robertson’s beautiful score for Killers of the Flower Moon, beat Ludwig Goransson’s often overwhelming score for Oppenheimer. And I know I’m not the only one who is rooting for Barbie’s “I’m Just Ken” by Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt to win for Best Song. It might be one of the only shots for Barbie to win anything.