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Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

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96th Academy Awards predictions: Oppenheimer looks to sweep awards

THE 96TH ACADEMY AWARDS will be hosted at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 10 to honor movies released in 2023.
Jean Ordonez
THE 96TH ACADEMY AWARDS will be hosted at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 10 to honor movies released in 2023.

With the 96th Academy Awards nominations released on January 23, we get closer and closer to the prestigious film award show on March 10. With precursor award shows like the Critics’ Choice Awards and the Golden Globes Awards in the rear view mirror, as well as more within the coming weeks, we begin to get an idea of the possible winners for the Oscars’ major awards. Unfortunately for moviegoers that love to follow close, head-to-head award races, this year’s Academy Awards look to be one of the most predictable in years. Nonetheless, anything can happen as we get closer and closer to Hollywood’s big day. Less than a month away, here are my predictions for the winners.


Cillian Murphy, center, in the movie “Oppenheimer.” (Melinda Sue Gordon / Universal Pictures)












American Fiction

Anatomy of a Fall


The Holdovers

Killers of the Flower Moon


Oppenheimer – WINNER

Past Lives

Poor Things

Zone of Interest

Despite arguably the strongest Best Picture lineup of the decade so far, Oppenheimer has stood out as the front runner since its release in July. Its combination of high-quality Oscar-appealing filmmaking as well as cultural influence and popularity make it an Oscar behemoth. While critic-favorite films such as the Holdovers, Poor Things, and Barbie hang on to contention, Oppenheimer is far and wide the projected winner with 13 total Oscar nominations, the most of any film this year. Director Christopher Nolan looks to win his first ever Best Picture award.



Cillian Murphy in “Oppenheimer” (Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures)










Bradley Cooper (Maestro)
Colman Domingo (Rustin)
Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers)
Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer) – WINNER
Jeffrey Wright (American Fiction)

For nearly the entire year, Cillian Murphy has been the clear front runner of the Best Actor award, as the powerhouse behind Best Picture front runner Oppenheimer. In the past few weeks however, with wins at precursor award shows and surging momentum for The Holdovers, fan-favorite Paul Giamatti has begun to overtake Murphy as the leader of the race. While Giamatti is red-hot with momentum, I won’t believe he will be able to sustain it for the next nearly two weeks until voting on Feb. 22. Murphy will overtake Giamatti and secure the Best Actor award, marking his leap from television and character actor to full blown Hollywood leading man.


Emma Stone in “Poor Things” (Robbie Ryan/Searchlight Pictures)












Annette Bening (Nyad)
Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon)
Sandra Hüller (Anatomy of a Fall)
Carey Mulligan (Maestro)
Emma Stone (Poor Things) – WINNER

Lily Gladstone and Emma Stone have been locked into a head to head Best Actress race for months, but oftentimes the performance of the movies the actors are in, directly relate to the actor’s odds to win themselves. Killers of the Flower moon has been dying with momentum, underperforming with fewer Oscar nominations than expected, while Poor Things has been surging. Poor Things is too overpowered for a Best Picture win, but Academy voters will give the film recognition through the Best Actress award.


Robert Downey Jr. in “Oppenheimer” (Hoyte van Hoytema/Universal Pictures)










Sterling K. Brown (American Fiction)
Robert De Niro (Killers of the Flower Moon)
Robert Downey Jr. (Oppenheimer) – WINNER
Ryan Gosling (Barbie)
Mark Ruffalo (Poor Things)

A legendary actor with 2 past nominations in Academy Award history but no wins, this year will be the year Robert Downey Jr. is rewarded for one of the most acclaimed performances of the year in Oppenheimer. While he competes in a strong category, Downey Jr. leads the race by a distance, sweeping the precursor awards and standing as a pillar of the Best Picture favorite Oppenheimer. Downey Jr. is one of the surest bets this year.


Da’Vine Joy Rudolph in “The Holdovers” (Eigil Bryld/Focus Features)










Emily Blunt (Oppenheimer)
Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple)
America Ferrera (Barbie)
Jodie Foster (Nyad)
Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers) – WINNER

Similarly distant, is the race for Best actress in a Supporting Role.  While Emily Blunt carries the advantage of being in the Best Picture front runner Oppenheimer, Randolph’s performance in The Holdovers has been far more favored in both audience and critics groups, sweeping the precursor awards. Randolph will be a sure-fire winner.

While some awards may seem already destined, it is important to note that anything can change within the next month. Tune into the 96th Academy Awards on March 10 at 6 pm.

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About the Contributor
Sam Dababneh
Sam Dababneh, Review Editor & Asst. Sports Editor
Sam Dababneh is a Sophmore at Niles North High school. This is his second year on North Star News.

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    Courtney HansonMar 8, 2024 at 8:43 am

    I agree with all of your Oscar predictions, except best actress. I think it will FINALLY go to Annette Bening. This is her 3rd or 4th nomination and I think the Academy will give it to her for her catalog of work, including Nyad.