2024 Oscars: The BuzzMeter final winners’ predictions!

As we enter the Oscar season homestretch, it’s that time once again for the BuzzMeter to flex its predictive muscles and reveal the movies most likely to take home Academy Awards on March 10.

The hoped for showdown between summer juggernauts “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” improbably yoked by a meme that launched a box office bonanza and eventually outlived its cleverness, didn’t quite materialize on nominations day. Instead, Christopher Nolan’s epic about the creation of the atom bomb led all-comers with 13 nominations, establishing a firm grip on frontrunner status for best picture; meanwhile, Greta Gerwig’s pink-infused ode to the original Material Girl chalked up a more than respectable eight nods, but the omissions of both director Gerwig and star Margot Robbie in their respective categories dimmed its hopes for the big prize and caused more than a few heads to explode among the faithful.

Our six panelists, on the other hand, their choices now pruned by the Academy’s own predilections, largely staked out common ground in their prognostications of the names to be called when the envelopes are opened on Oscar night. For the 10 marquee awards, the vote was unanimous in three categories, near-unanimous in three others, with four simply too close to call.

As with the previous two rounds, the BuzzMeter panel submitted ranked ballots with the preferential points system determining the final predictions.

Your 2023 Oscars BuzzMeter panel: Six veteran film journalists.

Your 2024 Oscars BuzzMeter panel: Justin Chang, The Los Angeles Times; Tim Cogshell, KPCC’s FilmWeek; Dave Karger, TCM & Entertainment Weekly; Claudia Puig, KPCC’s FilmWeek; Anne Thompson, IndieWire; Glenn Whipp, The Los Angeles Times.

(For The Times: Ricardo DeAratanha; Ricardo DeAratanha; Kent Nishimura; Jason Armond; Jason Armond; Jay L. Clendenin)

Cillian Murphy in the movie "Oppenheimer."

Cillian Murphy in the movie “Oppenheimer.”

(Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures)

“Oppenheimer” took the top spot on all six of our panelists’ final ballots with “Poor Things” and “The Holdovers” earning the majority of the runner-up votes. Glenn Whipp writes “It’s ‘Oppenheimer.’ It always has been. It’s hard to see a path for any of the other nine nominees to surpass it.”

If there is an upset to be had, Claudia Puig offers, “don’t count out the warmer, fuzzier ‘The Holdovers’ … Will the Oscar voters vote with their heads or their hearts?”

1. “Oppenheimer
2. “Poor Things
3. “The Holdovers
4. “Killers of the Flower Moon
5. “Barbie
6. “American Fiction
7. “Anatomy of a Fall
8. “The Zone of Interest
9. “Maestro
10. “Past Lives

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. “Oppenheimer”
2. “Poor Things”
3. “The Holdovers”
4. “Killers of the Flower Moon”
5. “Anatomy of a Fall”
6. “The Zone of Interest”
7. “Barbie”
8. “Maestro”
9. “American Fiction”
10. “Past Lives”

Let’s hear it for the strongest best picture lineup in recent memory. If we must have a biopic in the race, it’s great to have one as intelligent and exquisitely made as “Maestro” (though “Ferrari” would have been equally welcome). I’m still amazed that a movie as delicate and quietly affecting as “Past Lives” made it into the mix, and only wish that voters had worked similar magic for “All of Us Strangers” and “Showing Up.” There’s that Barbie movie, of course, and the even better stealth Barbie movie, “Poor Things.” And there are, in “Anatomy of a Fall” and “The Zone of Interest,” two heartening reminders that the motion picture academy is a more discerning and international-focused organization than ever. I’ll be delighted when “Oppenheimer” wins, as it will, barring any late-season twists; it’s been too long since a big, meaty, star-studded Hollywood epic ran the table, and Christopher Nolan’s achievement in this arena is close to nonpareil.

Tim Cogshell
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. “Oppenheimer”
2. “American Fiction”
3. “Maestro”
4. “Barbie”
5. “Killers of the Flower Moon”
6. “The Holdovers”
7. “Poor Things”
8. “Past Lives”
9. “Anatomy of a Fall”
10. “The Zone of Interest”

Predicted winners are another thing altogether; they are not about hope or desire or even Buzz, so “They Cloned Tyrone” and “The Burial” are put to rest. But even for those that did make the list of nominations, the hope of a dark horse does slip into my predictions for Oscar 2024. The likely winner of best picture this season is “Oppenheimer,” with other expected noms close behind, including “Maestro” and “The Holdovers,” one of which I don’t mind at all. My dark horse is director Cord Jefferson’s “American Fiction,” which is not a surprise nomination but an unlikely best picture winner. Personally, I would swap “All of Us Strangers” for “Anatomy of a Fall,” which, while entertaining, is primarily a bedroom drama stuffed in a fancy episode of “Perry Mason.” However, I prefer it to “Maestro,” a bedroom drama stuffed in a fancy episode of “Peyton Place.”

Dave Karger
TCM; Author of “50 Oscar Nights”

1. “Oppenheimer”
2. “Poor Things”
3. “Killers of the Flower Moon”
4. “Barbie”
5. “The Holdovers”
6. “Anatomy of a Fall”
7. “The Zone of Interest”
8. “Maestro”
9. “American Fiction”
10. “Past Lives”

True, the Academy list of Best Picture nominees matched the Producers Guild roster 10 for 10. But in this case, predictability doesn’t mean it’s not a great lineup. (Except for the criminal omission of All of Us Strangers, that is.) Mammoth grossers like Barbie and Oppenheimer stand alongside upstarts American Fiction and Past Lives as well as worthy international entries Anatomy of a Fall and The Zone of Interest. While Poor Things and Killers of the Flower Moon both scored double-digit nominations, it’s hard to see how anything can beat Oppenheimer on March 10.

Claudia Puig
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. “Oppenheimer”
2. “The Holdovers”
3. “Poor Things”
4. “Barbie”
5. “Killers of the Flower Moon”
6. “Anatomy of a Fall”
7. “The Zone of Interest”
8. “Maestro”
9. “American Fiction”
10. “Past Lives”

I think it’s pretty evident that this will be the year of the cerebral and highly engrossing blockbuster “Oppenheimer.” Not only was it a pop culture phenom and hugely instrumental in saving the box office, it was undeniably entertaining, while still being brainy as it embraced the nuances of a complex true story. However, don’t count out the warmer, fuzzier ‘“The Holdovers,” which, in addition to its stellar script, had some of the most engaging performances of any movie this year. While “Oppenheimer” is a character drama about world-changing ideas, “The Holdovers” is a character drama about universal emotions. Will the Oscar voters vote with their heads or their hearts? “The Holdovers” is a longshot, but stranger things have happened at the Oscars. (Can we ever forget that amazing upset with “Moonlight”?)

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. “Oppenheimer”
2. “Poor Things”
3. “The Zone of Interest”
4. “The Holdovers”
5. “Barbie”
6. “Anatomy of a Fall”
7. “American Fiction”
8. “Killers of the Flower Moon”
9. “Maestro”
10. “Past Lives”

With 13 Oscar nominations, nothing is going to beat Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” for best picture. It’s his time, and the biopic combines gravitas, history, and scale in perfect measure.

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. “Oppenheimer”
2. “The Holdovers”
3. “American Fiction”
4. “Anatomy of a Fall”
5. “Poor Things”
6. “Killers of the Flower Moon”
7. “Past Lives”
8. “Barbie”
9. “The Zone of Interest”
10. “Maestro”

It’s “Oppenheimer.” It always has been. It’s hard to see a path for any of the other nine nominees to surpass it. Sure, academy members have been voting with their hearts and not necessarily their heads the past couple of years. But with its box office, its reviews and its ambitious examination of a history that isn’t as distant as we’d like to think, “Oppenheimer” possesses a best picture pedigree that none of the other contenders can approach.

Writer, director, and producer Christopher Nolan on the set of the movie "Oppenheimer."

Writer, director, and producer Christopher Nolan on the set of the movie “Oppenheimer.”

(Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures)

The pundits agree once more, with all six predicting that Christopher Nolan will also collect a directing Oscar for “Oppenheimer.”

“It’s time for Christopher Nolan to win,” writes Anne Thompson. “It’s surprising he only has one prior directing nomination (‘Dunkirk’). That’s partly why he’s overdue.”

1. Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”)
2. (tie) Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
2. (tie) Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
4. Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”)
5. Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Things”)

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”)
2. Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”)
3. Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
4. Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
5. Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Things”)

Was Greta Gerwig snubbed? I don’t know, was Kelly Reichardt snubbed? Was Wim Wenders snubbed? Was Celine Song snubbed? Was Todd Haynes snubbed? Was Raven Jackson snubbed? Was Wes Anderson snubbed? Was Lila Avilés snubbed? Was Aki Kaurismäki snubbed? Was Andrew Haigh snubbed? Was Savana Leaf snubbed? Was Hlynur Pálmason snubbed? Was Christian Petzold snubbed? Was Rebecca Zlotowski snubbed? Was A.V. Rockwell snubbed? Was Alice Rohrwacher snubbed? Was Hong Sang-soo snubbed? Was …

Tim Cogshell
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”)
2. Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
3. Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Things”)
4. Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
5. Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”)

Greta Gerwig is not nominated for directing Barbie, which is nominated for Best Picture. This is a snub. Cord Jefferson is also not nominated for directing American Fiction. This is not a snub. It is a given that some directors will not be nominated when more than five films are nominated for Best Picture. If ten films are nominated for Best Picture (as is the case this season), then half of them will not have their directors nominated. Some of these are snubs, and some were just – not nominated. You can figure out the rest for yourself.

Dave Karger
TCM; Author of “50 Oscar Nights”

1. Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”)
2. Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
3. Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
4. Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”)
5. Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Things”)

Given that three of the 10 Best Picture nominees were directed by women, it’s nice to see a female filmmaker represented here, and perhaps not a huge surprise that the largely international directors branch chose Justine Triet for the phenomenal Anatomy of a Fall. Martin Scorsese’s nod may have catapulted him into double digits in his nomination count in this category, but the year belongs to Christopher Nolan, who will win his first Oscar 23 years after his first career nomination.

Claudia Puig
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”)
2. Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
3. Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Things”)
4. Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
5. Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”)

N/A

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”)
2. Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”)
3. Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Things”)
4. Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
5. Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”)

It’s time for Christopher Nolan to win. “Oppenheimer” ticks all the boxes: epic scale, degree of difficulty, seriousness of subject. It’s surprising he only has one prior directing nomination (“Dunkirk”). That’s partly why he’s overdue.

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”)
2. Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”)
3. Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
4. Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
5. Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Things”)

Over the years, Nolan has earned one nomination as a director (“Dunkirk”), two as a writer (“Memento” and “Inception”) and two as a producer (“Inception” and “Dunkirk”). He has never won. That will change this year as he’ll likely have bookend Oscars as a producer and director of “Oppenheimer.”

Emma Stone in the movie "Poor Things."

Emma Stone in the movie “Poor Things.”

(Searchlight Pictures)

The first of our split decisions finds Emma Stone holding a one-point lead over Lily Gladstone with both actors receiving three first-place votes.

Justin Chang sees parallels with last year’s contest that saw Cate Blanchett (“Tár”) take an early-season lead only to watch Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) take home the Oscar: “Stone already won the Critics’ Choice Award and will likely win the BAFTA, but Gladstone still has a strong shot to prevail with SAG and the academy.”

1. Emma Stone (“Poor Things”)
2. Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
3. Sandra Hüller (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
4. Carey Mulligan (“Maestro”)
5. Annette Bening (“Nyad”)

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
2. Emma Stone (“Poor Things”)
3. Sandra Hüller (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
4. Carey Mulligan (“Maestro”)
5. Annette Bening (“Nyad”)

Last year, Cate Blanchett (“Tár”) won lead actress honors at the Critics’ Choice Awards and the BAFTAs, but then Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) stopped her momentum cold, winning the Screen Actors Guild award and then the Oscar. It’s not inconceivable that this year’s close battle between Emma Stone (like Blanchett, a prior winner) and Lily Gladstone (like Yeoh, a first-time nominee who could make Oscar history) will follow a similar arc: Stone already won the Critics’ Choice Award and will likely win the BAFTA, but Gladstone still has a strong shot to prevail with SAG and the academy. The wild card: if enough members pop in their “Anatomy of a Fall” screeners and see just how damn good Sandra Hüller is.

Tim Cogshell
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
2. Emma Stone (“Poor Things”)
3. Sandra Hüller (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
4. Carey Mulligan (“Maestro”)
5. Annette Bening (“Nyad”)

Lily will win, and that will be that, so far as Hollywood’s accountability to our long-neglected, if not abused, Native American citizens —”Res Dogs” notwithstanding. Fantasia Barrino was astounding in “The Color Purple” and is not nominated here. That hurts me.
I’d swap her for Carey Mulligan in “Peyton Place,” aka “The Maestro,” for the singing along. Emma Stone is daring and thoroughly brilliant in “Poor Things,” but Lily Gladstone — in what I have called a thankless role — will and should win, not only for a deeply felt and projected performance but as a thanks for enduring it on all of our behalf. Thank you, Lily. Outstanding.

Dave Karger
TCM; Author of “50 Oscar Nights”

1. Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
2. Emma Stone (“Poor Things”)
3. Sandra Hüller (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
4. Carey Mulligan (“Maestro”)
5. Annette Bening (“Nyad”)

Annette Bening deserved her fifth career nomination for her fierce turn in “Nyad,” but she faces tough competition from this year’s two Golden Globe winners: the fearless Emma Stone and the formidable Lily Gladstone, either of whom could emerge victorious. In a weaker year, both Carey Mulligan and Sandra Huller would have been surefire winners for their commanding performances.

Claudia Puig
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
2. Emma Stone (“Poor Things”)
3. Sandra Hüller (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
4. Annette Bening (“Nyad”)
5. Carey Mulligan (“Maestro”)

N/A

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. Emma Stone (“Poor Things”)
2. Sandra Hüller (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
3. Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
4. Carey Mulligan (“Maestro”)
5. Annette Bening (“Nyad”)

Emma Stone, comedy Globe and CCA winner for “Poor Things,” who already won an Oscar for “La La Land,” is up against “Killers of the Flower Moon” drama Globe winner Lily Gladstone, who would make history as the first indigenous actor to win an Oscar. (Wes Studi accepted an honorary Oscar.)

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. Emma Stone (“Poor Things”)
2. Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
3. Sandra Hüller (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
4. Carey Mulligan (“Maestro”)
5. Annette Bening (“Nyad”)

Emma Stone’s go-for-broke, no-holds-barred (and whatever other multi-hyphenated adjectives you can conjure, because it’s that kind of movie) turn in “Poor Things” is the best performance in a category full of superlative work. Stone takes her character from ungainly adult toddler to feminist philosopher, dazzling us at every point and proving, once again, that she’s arguably the best actress of her generation.

Paul Giamatti in the movie "The Holdovers."

Paul Giamatti in the movie “The Holdovers.”

(Seacia Pavao/Focus Features)

As in the previous category, one point separates the top two contenders with Paul Giamatti and Cillian Murphy each snaring three first-place votes.

Giamatti has the edge, which Dave Karger attributes to the actor being “a journeyman performer beloved by every pocket of the industry who’s having his true leading-man moment.”

Actor in a leading role
1. Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”)
2. Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”)
3. Jeffrey Wright (“American Fiction”)
4. Colman Domingo (“Rustin”)
5. Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”)

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”)
2. Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”)
3. Jeffrey Wright (“American Fiction”)
4. Colman Domingo (“Rustin”)
5. Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”)

Last year this category gave us two brilliant Irishmen, Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) and Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”). This year, sadly, there’s only one: Cillian Murphy, who should have been joined by Andrew Scott for his brilliant work in “All of Us Strangers.” I’m rooting for Murphy, whose “Oppenheimer” performance is subtle and intellectually suggestive in ways biopic performances almost never are. Still, I can easily accept and even rationalize the very real possibility of Paul Giamatti winning for “The Holdovers”: He should have won 19 years ago for “Sideways,” his previous collaboration with Alexander Payne, but somehow wasn’t even nominated.

Tim Cogshell
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”)
2. Jeffrey Wright (“American Fiction”)
3. Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”)
4. Colman Domingo (“Rustin”)
5. Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”)

Not nominated here is Matt Damon, whose thoughtful realism in “Air” I would swap for Bradley Cooper’s rubber nose and high drama in “Maestro” without hesitation, as I would for either one of the fellows in “All of Us Strangers,” both of which strike me as lead performances, and Barry Keoghan, the best thing (pun intended) in “Saltburn.” “Cillian Murphy” seems to be the favorite in this category; I can’t be happier for Colman Domingo and Paul Giamatti, but I have high hopes for Jeffrey Wright from what is still among my favorite films of the year, American Fiction.

Dave Karger
TCM; Author of “50 Oscar Nights”

1. Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”)
2. Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”)
3. Jeffrey Wright (“American Fiction”)
4. Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”)
5. Colman Domingo (“Rustin”)

It’s heartbreaking to think that the multi-talented Bradley Cooper will likely leave the Oscars ceremony as a 12-time nominee without a trophy, but this appears to be a race between Cillian Murphy, the impressive lead of the presumptive overall frontrunner, and Paul Giamatti, a journeyman performer beloved by every pocket of the industry who’s having his true leading-man moment. I give the edge to Giamatti.

Claudia Puig
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”)
2. Jeffrey Wright (“American Fiction”)
3. Colman Domingo (“Rustin”)
4. Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”)
5. Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”)

N/A

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”)
2. Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”)
3. Jeffrey Wright (“American Fiction”)
4. Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”)
5. Colman Domingo (“Rustin”)

Paul Giamatti, who has earned many fans and followers since his supporting actor nomination for 2005’s “Cinderella Man,” is up against “Oppenheimer’s” most valuable player, Irish actor Cillian Murphy. They’re both winning awards. Giamatti makes people cry. Murphy jumped off the higher diving board.

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”)
2. Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”)
3. Jeffrey Wright (“American Fiction”)
4. Colman Domingo (“Rustin”)
5. Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”)

This race will likely come down to Cillian Murphy’s haunted turn as the brilliant Oppenheimer, the so-called “father of the atomic bomb,” tortured by what he has unleashed on the world and Giamatti’s precise, humane performance as the acerbic instructor coming to terms with his disappointments in “The Holdovers.” Edge to Giamatti, a well-liked veteran due for a big career moment.

Da'Vine Joy Randolph in the movie "The Holdovers."

Da’Vine Joy Randolph in the movie “The Holdovers.”

(Seacia Pavao/Focus Features)

“Da’Vine Joy Randolph has so completely dominated the supporting actress circuit so far that it would be a shock at this point if anyone else won,” writes Justin Chang.

Five of our six pundits agree, with Danielle Brooks receiving the other first place vote.

Actress in a supporting role
1. Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”)
2. Danielle Brooks (“The Color Purple”)
3. Jodie Foster (“Nyad”)
4. Emily Blunt (“Oppenheimer”)
5. America Ferrera (“Barbie”)

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”)
2. Jodie Foster (“Nyad”)
3. Emily Blunt (“Oppenheimer”)
4. Danielle Brooks (“The Color Purple”)
5. America Ferrera (“Barbie”)

An alternate dream slate: Claire Foy (“All of Us Strangers”), Hong Chau (“Showing Up”), Anne Hathaway (“Eileen”), Rachel McAdams (“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.”) and Julianne Moore (“May December”). Of the actual nominees, though, Da’Vine Joy Randolph has so completely dominated the supporting actress circuit so far that it would be a shock at this point if anyone else won. If someone else does, though, I hope it’s Danielle Brooks for her electrifying work in “The Color Purple.” Jodie Foster is tremendous in “Nyad,” but it is, essentially, a co-lead role.

Tim Cogshell
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. Danielle Brooks (“The Color Purple”)
2. Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”)
3. America Ferrera (“Barbie”)
4. Emily Blunt (“Oppenheimer”)
5. Jodie Foster (“Nyad”)

We are unsure if Natalie Portman or Julianne Moore might have been nominated in this category for their turns in “May December,” but they were both excellent, and neither was nominated. We are happy about Danielle Brooks for “The Color Purple” and would have been even happier if Taraji P. Henson had also been nominated. America Ferrera in “Barbie” and Da’Vine Joy Randolph for “The Holdovers” are long shots fairly nominated.

Dave Karger
TCM; Author of “50 Oscar Nights”

1. Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”)
2. Danielle Brooks (“The Color Purple”)
3. Jodie Foster (“Nyad”)
4. Emily Blunt (“Oppenheimer”)
5. America Ferrera (“Barbie”)

“The Color Purple” standout Danielle Brooks delivered a performance for the ages filled with joy, tragedy, and superlative singing. But I think this prize belongs to the heart of “The Holdovers,” Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who brought such humanity to her heartbreaking role. She’s picked up every major competitive award so far, and affection for her costar Paul Giamatti only helps her chances.

Claudia Puig
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”)
2. Danielle Brooks (“The Color Purple”)
3. Jodie Foster (“Nyad”)
4. America Ferrera (“Barbie”)
5. Emily Blunt (“Oppenheimer”)

N/A

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”)
2. Emily Blunt (“Oppenheimer”)
3. Danielle Brooks (“The Color Purple”)
4. Jodie Foster (“Nyad”)
5. America Ferrera (“Barbie”)

Da’Vine Joy Randolph still rules the roost for her crucial role as a grieving cook who helps to heal two Christmas orphans in “The Holdovers.” It’s hers to lose, even if Danielle Brooks also delivers a four-hankie role in “The Color Purple,” and Emily Blunt has “Oppenheimer” coattails to ride.

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”)
2. Jodie Foster (“Nyad”)
3. Danielle Brooks (“The Color Purple”)
4. Emily Blunt (“Oppenheimer”)
5. America Ferrera (“Barbie”)

Da’Vine Joy Randolph has won all the prizes in this category for her turn in “The Holdovers,” playing a prep school cafeteria worker stranded for the holidays and missing her son, killed in Vietnam. Alexander Payne’s movie is widely liked; Randolph’s performance is universally loved.

Robert Downey Jr. in the movie "Oppenheimer."

Robert Downey Jr. in the movie “Oppenheimer.”

(Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures)

Robert Downey Jr. is also a unanimous choice, more proof of the late-season momentum team “Oppenheimer” has.

“[Downey Jr.] was terrific as the icy, vindictive rival of the (anti)hero in “Oppenheimer,’” writes Glenn Whipp “He’s a star. He’s a survivor. It’s his time.”

1. Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”)
2. Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”)
3. Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”)
4. Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”)
5. Robert De Niro (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”)
2. Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”)
3. Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”)
4. Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”)
5. Robert De Niro (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)

It’s always fun when two nominees in the same category have similar-sounding names: When the presenter announces Robert Downey Jr. as the winner, picture Robert De Niro wondering, for a split second, if he might be the lucky “Robert D.” of the night. It reminds me of the 2016 ceremony, when Mark Rylance won, raising the briefest of hopes for Mark Ruffalo. Speaking of which, I’m rooting for Ruffalo this year, not just because he gives the best, most hilariously self-skewering Ken performance in this category, but also because after his previous nominated turns in “The Kids Are All Right,” “Foxcatcher” and “Spotlight,” the man is beyond overdue.

Tim Cogshell
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”)
2. Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”)
3. Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”)
4. Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”)
5. Robert De Niro (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)

I wished for a nomination for Sterling K. Brown for “American Fiction,” which has been granted. Is it too much to hope for an actual win? It looks like Robert Downey Jr.’s year, though I think the often-nominated (four nods) Mark Ruffalo, who is outlandish in “Poor Things,” is due. Also, wasn’t Ken just excellent playing Ryan Gosling in “Barbie”? That’s a joke about how good Ryan Gosling is in “Barbie” playing one of the Ken’s. He made the doll a real boy. Ben Affleck, in the forgotten hit “Air,” was snubbed. I’d swap him for De Niro, or for that matter, whichever male performance in “All of Us Strangers” is considered a supporting role, including the small poignant performance of Jamie Bell. They all felt like leads including Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott, neither of whom are nominated in that category, either.

Dave Karger
TCM; Author of “50 Oscar Nights”

1. Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”)
2. Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”)
3. Robert De Niro (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
4. Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”)
5. Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”)

This year’s roster is a powerhouse lineup of men all of whom have either won multiple Emmys or been nominated for at least three Oscars. But more than 30 years after his first Academy recognition for Chaplin,the MVP here is Robert Downey Jr., whose inevitable and well-deserved victory should provide one of the most satisfying and memorable moments of the telecast.

Claudia Puig
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”)
2. Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”)

3. Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”)
4. Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”)
5. Robert De Niro (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)

The smart money is on Robert Downey Jr. A month ago I might have said Ryan Gosling, since there’s been so much goodwill toward him, but giving him the Oscar would seem like even more of a slap in the face to the egregiously un-nominated Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig. The internet would combust if he was the one actor honored for “Barbie.” So it’s not likely to go to him, which is a shame, since I think he put in one of the most enjoyable performances of any this year. It’s not going to go to Robert De Niro, who’s already been much lauded. I think it’s a contest between Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Sterling K. Brown — all terrific performances. Despite having seemingly less on-screen time than any of his fellow nominees, Downey is the likely winner here. It helps to have put in a great performance in the most nominated film of the year — as well as the one that’s likely to win best picture.

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”)
2. Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”)
3. Robert De Niro (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
4. Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”)
5. Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”)

This is Robert Downey Jr.’s to lose for “Oppenheimer,” a step up from his spate of franchise roles. If anyone can grab it away, it ‘s Ryan Gosling as Ken in “Barbie.”

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”)
2. Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”)
3. Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”)
4. Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”)
5. Robert De Niro (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)

Given how Marvel has fared without him, there’s a growing appreciation for what Robert Downey Jr. brought to the series as Iron Man. And, of course, he was terrific as the icy, vindictive rival of the (anti)hero in “Oppenheimer.” He’s a star. He’s a survivor. It’s his time.

Paul Giamatti, left, and Dominic Sessa in the movie "The Holdovers."

Paul Giamatti, left, and Dominic Sessa in the movie “The Holdovers.”

(Seacia Pavao/Focus Features)

In one of the tightest races, “The Holdovers” (three first-place votes), “Anatomy of a Fall” (two) and “Past Lives” (one) all garnered strong support from the panel.

Anne Thompson notes that “The Holdovers’” “David Hemingson should take this — the film is popular and plucks the heartstrings.” But Justine Triet and Arthur Harari’s script for “Anatomy of a Fall” “is a strong competitor … This could be its only win.”

1. “The Holdovers” — David Hemingson
2. “Past Lives” — Celine Song
3. “Anatomy of a Fall” — Justine Triet, Arthur Harari
4. “May December” — Samy Burch, Alex Mechanik
5. “Maestro” — Bradley Cooper, Josh Singer

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. “Anatomy of a Fall” — Justine Triet, Arthur Harari
2. “The Holdovers” — David Hemingson
3. “Past Lives” — Celine Song
4. “May December” — Samy Burch, Alex Mechanik
5. “Maestro” — Bradley Cooper, Josh Singer

“Barbie” being airlifted out of this category and placed in adapted screenplay is very good news for all five of these nominees, and I suspect the wry, jaundiced comedy of “The Holdovers” has the edge. All four other nominees are superior: I’m a fan of the knotty plotting of “Anatomy of a Fall” and the exquisite dramatic subtlety of “Past Lives,” though I’m rooting especially hard for Samy Burch’s ingenious script for “May December,” partly as a consolation prize for the movie’s dismal performance in other categories.

Tim Cogshell
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. “Past Lives” — Celine Song
2. “The Holdovers” — David Hemingson
3. “May December” — Samy Burch, Alex Mechanik
4. “Anatomy of a Fall” — Justine Triet, Arthur Harari
5. “Maestro” — Bradley Cooper, Josh Singer

This is my favorite category. The one that lives on its own, and that, unlike adapted screenplay, grows from the seed of a notion germinated in a writer’s mind that becomes the blueprint for the thing and drives the work in every other Academy Awards category, from technical achievements to performances to, perhaps, the best picture. “May December” is wonderfully creepy, and I’m glad it’s nominated. “Anatomy of a Fall” is revered by many, but as noted, it strikes me, differently. I’ve noted the same about “Maestro.” “Past Lives” and “The Holdovers” are excellent original screenplays full of characters that feel real and uncontrived, which is funny considering the characters in “Maestro” are real but feel the most fake. Irony.

Dave Karger
TCM; Author of “50 Oscar Nights”

1. “The Holdovers” — David Hemingson
2. “Anatomy of a Fall” — Justine Triet, Arthur Harari
3. “Past Lives” — Celine Song
4. “May December” — Samy Burch, Alex Mechanik
5. “Maestro” — Bradley Cooper, Josh Singer

This one is tough to predict this year. “Maestro” and “May December” may prove a bit too polarizing, which leaves the gentle love story “Past Lives,” the multifaceted crime drama “Anatomy of a Fall,” and the grownup period piece “The Holdovers.” David Hemingson’s pitch-perfect blend of humor and heart (and so many great one-liners!) puts him over the top in my mind.

Claudia Puig
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. “The Holdovers” — David Hemingson
2. “Anatomy of a Fall” — Justine Triet, Arthur Harari
3. “Past Lives” — Celine Song
4. “May December” — Samy Burch, Alex Mechanik
5. “Maestro” — Bradley Cooper, Josh Singer

N/A

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. “The Holdovers” — David Hemingson
2. “Anatomy of a Fall” — Justine Triet, Arthur Harari
3. “Past Lives” — Celine Song
4. “Maestro” — Bradley Cooper, Josh Singer
5. “May December” — Samy Burch, Alex Mechanik

Holiday hit “The Holdovers” from David Hemingson should take this — the film is popular and plucks the heartstrings. Yet French courtroom drama “Anatomy of a Fall,” with five nominations, is a strong competitor in this category. This could be its only win.

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. “Anatomy of a Fall” — Justine Triet, Arthur Harari
2. “The Holdovers” — David Hemingson
3. “Past Lives” — Celine Song
4. “May December” — Samy Burch, Alex Mechanik
5. “Maestro” — Bradley Cooper, Josh Singer

It should be Celine Song for her beautiful, nuanced debut feature, a movie that people are still talking about and swooning over more than a year after its Sundance premiere. But I think voters will end up going with “Anatomy of a Fall.” Of its five nominations, this would be the likely spot to reward Justine Triet’s twisty legal thriller.

Adapted screenplay

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in "Barbie."

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in “Barbie.”

(Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

Following January’s reassignment of “Barbie” to this category rather than original screenplay, this looms as the film’s best shot at directly knocking off “Oppenheimer.”

Dave Karger is “guessing this is where most voters will choose to recognize the wit, intelligence, and timeliness of Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s screenplay.” Five of the six panelists agree, with only Tim Cogshell picking Christopher Nolan’s epic script to win.

1. “Barbie” — Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach
2. “Oppenheimer” — Christopher Nolan
3. “American Fiction” — Cord Jefferson
4. “Poor Things” — Tony McNamara
5. “The Zone of Interest” — Jonathan Glazer

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. “Barbie” — Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach
2. “Oppenheimer” — Christopher Nolan
3. “Poor Things” — Tony McNamara
4. “The Zone of Interest” — Jonathan Glazer
5. “American Fiction” — Cord Jefferson

“Barbie”: adapted or original? I suggest we split the difference and call it the year’s most original adapted screenplay. It certainly seems an increasingly safe bet to win, buoyed by sympathy votes for Greta Gerwig after she failed to receive a directing nomination. The award should go to “The Zone of Interest,” a brilliantly counterintuitive adaptation that bespeaks Jonathan Glazer’s seriousness and thoughtfulness at every turn.

Tim Cogshell
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. “Oppenheimer” — Christopher Nolan
2. “Barbie” — Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach
3. “Poor Things” — Tony McNamara
4. “American Fiction” — Cord Jefferson
5. “The Zone of Interest” — Jonathan Glazer

“American Fiction” is my favorite film of the best picture nominees. Thus, I am most hopeful for Cord Jefferson’s adaptation of Percival Everett’s book, “Erasure.” It is the rare adaptation that makes for a film as good as the book, however different from the source, which is darker and much more complicated in its structure. Interesting that Eric Roth’s adaptation of David Grann’s “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” was not nominated. The film is nominated for best picture , as is director Martin Scorsese for best director, for which Cord Jefferson, is not nominated.

Dave Karger
TCM; Author of “50 Oscar Nights”

1. “Barbie” — Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach
2. “Oppenheimer” — Christopher Nolan
3. “American Fiction” — Cord Jefferson
4. “Poor Things” — Tony McNamara
5. “The Zone of Interest” — Jonathan Glazer

This category presents the most high-profile close matchup of “Barbie” vs. “Oppenheimer.” With “Oppenheimer” poised to pick up somewhere in the vicinity of seven or eight trophies overall, I’m guessing this is where most voters will choose to recognize the wit, intelligence, and timeliness of Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s screenplay. And what an adorable moment it will be!

Claudia Puig
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. “Barbie” — Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach
2. “American Fiction” — Cord Jefferson
3. “Oppenheimer” — Christopher Nolan
4. “The Zone of Interest” — Jonathan Glazer
5. “Poor Things” — Tony McNamara

N/A

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. “Barbie” — Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach

2. “Oppenheimer” — Christopher Nolan
3. “American Fiction” — Cord Jefferson
4. “The Zone of Interest” — Jonathan Glazer
5. “Poor Things” — Tony McNamara

With Greta Gerwig left out of the directing nominees, she and her “Barbie” co-writer Noah Baumbach could marshal a sympathy surge and beat the frontrunner in this category, Christopher Nolan, who cannot win everything.

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. “Barbie” — Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach
2. “Oppenheimer” — Christopher Nolan
3. “American Fiction” — Cord Jefferson
4. “The Zone of Interest” — Jonathan Glazer
5. “Poor Things” — Tony McNamara

The “snub” of Greta Gerwig in the director category could boomerang the “Barbie” screenplay, which she co-wrote with husband Noah Baumbach, to the Oscar win. There would be nothing wrong with this. The inventive manner in which “Barbie” celebrated and critiqued its namesake toy is worthy of the Oscar.

International feature

Sandra Hüller in the movie "The Zone of Interest."

Sandra Hüller in the movie “The Zone of Interest.”

(A24)

The unanimous choice here is Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest,” which scored five total nominations.

“If there’s a best picture nominee nominated for international feature, it wins international feature,” explains Justin Chang. And as several of our other panelists note, this category would be much more exciting if France had submitted “Anatomy of a Fall,” another best picture nominee.

1. “The Zone of Interest,” (United Kingdom)
2. “The Teachers’ Lounge,” (Germany)
3. “Society of the Snow,” (Spain)
4. “Perfect Days,” (Japan)
5. “Io Capitano,” (Italy)

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. “The Zone of Interest,” United Kingdom
2. “The Teachers’ Lounge,” Germany
3. “Society of the Snow,” Spain
4. “Perfect Days,” Japan
5. “Io Capitano,” Italy

If there’s a best picture nominee nominated for international feature, it wins international feature. And so while “Society of the Snow” might put up a fight, this is very much “The Zone of Interest’s” award to lose. Things might have gotten deliciously and unprecedentedly complicated if France had submitted “Anatomy of a Fall,” which is also a best picture nominee and would likely prove a major threat in this race. (In effect, we’d be looking at a repeat of Cannes, where “Anatomy” won the Palme d’Or and “Zone” won the Grand Prix.) But France opted instead to submit “The Taste of Things,” which didn’t ultimately get nominated.

Tim Cogshell
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. “The Zone of Interest,” United Kingdom
2. “The Teachers’ Lounge,” Germany
3. “Perfect Days,” Japan
4. “Io Capitano,” Italy
5. “Society of the Snow,” Spain

“The Zone of Interest” is the likely winner in this category, so it won’t win best picture, for which it was also nominated. Of course, I said the same thing about “Parasite” in 2019, which won best picture while also being nominated for international feature, becoming the first non-English language film to do so. Anywho, “The Teachers’ Lounge” is my second choice in this category since “The Taste of Things” (France) and “Fallen Leaves” (Finland) are not nominated — but not snubbed.

Dave Karger
TCM; Author of “50 Oscar Nights”

1. “The Zone of Interest,” United Kingdom
2. “The Teachers’ Lounge,” Germany
3. “Society of the Snow,” Spain
4. “Perfect Days,” Japan
5. “Io Capitano,” Italy

I still can’t get over the fact that France had the chance to nominate the best film of the year (“Anatomy of a Fall”) and didn’t, resulting in their exclusion from this category’s final five. “Society of the Snow” scored an impressive hair and makeup nod along with its recognition here, but Jonathan Glazer’s redefining of the phrase “Holocaust film” will certainly give him (or should I say the United Kingdom) the win.

Claudia Puig
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. “The Zone of Interest,” United Kingdom
2. “The Teachers’ Lounge,” Germany
3. “Society of the Snow,” Spain
4. “Perfect Days,” Japan
5. “Io Capitano,” Italy

N/A

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. “The Zone of Interest,” United Kingdom
2. “Society of the Snow,” Spain
3. “The Teachers’ Lounge,” Germany
4. “Perfect Days,” Japan
5. “Io Capitano,” Italy

With five nominations, Jonathan Glazer’s German-language UK Oscar entry, “The Zone of Interest,” should easily take the category. Adapted from the Martin Amis novel, this chilling holocaust story unfolds inside the well-appointed home of the Commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolph Höss (Christian Friedel) and his wife (Sandra Hüller), who ignores the sounds of torture, death, and dying as she pursues a comfortable life.

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. “The Zone of Interest,” United Kingdom
2. “Society of the Snow,” Spain
3. “The Teachers’ Lounge,” Germany
4. “Perfect Days,” Japan
5. “Io Capitano,” Italy

“The Zone of Interest” is the best movie of the year, so, at the very least, the academy should give Jonathan Glazer’s chilling examination of the banality of evil this Oscar. Voters were obviously taken with the movie, giving it five nominations, including nods for Glazer’s screenplay and direction. I hope it makes good on a least a couple of them.

Animated feature

An image from Hayao Miyazaki's "The Boy and The Heron."

An image from Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and The Heron.”

(GKIDS)

“The race will come down to the thrilling box-office smash “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ against Hayao Miyazaki’s acclaimed ‘The Boy and the Heron,’” writes Glenn Whipp.

It’s a terrific matchup of classic and high-tech artistry that divided the panel evenly, 3-3. The point system grants a narrow edge to the Japanese master with “Nimona,” “Elemental” and “Robot Dreams,” though not without their supporters, all coming in as long shots.

1. “The Boy and the Heron
2. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
3. “Nimona
4. “Elemental
5. “Robot Dreams

Justin Chang
Los Angeles Times

1. “The Boy and the Heron”
2. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”
3. “Nimona”
4. “Elemental”
5. “Robot Dreams”

It’s been 21 years since Hayao Miyazaki won this award for his 2002 masterpiece, “Spirited Away,” and he’s long overdue for a second. The gorgeous and heartbreaking “The Boy and the Heron” may or may not be his final work (the rumors of Miyazaki’s retirement have long been wildly exaggerated), but why tempt fate by waiting for the next opportunity?

Tim Cogshell
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. “The Boy and the Heron”
2. “Nimona”
3. “Robot Dreams”
4. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”
5. “Elemental”

Given that no Pixar film was nominated for a best feature Annie (much to their chagrin), the nomination of “Elemental” in this category must give the folks at Disney some comfort. “Wish,” notwithstanding. The comfort will be short-lived as a win for Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron” is just about a given. A surprise win might come from “Across the Spider-Verse,” but probably not. “Robot Dreams” and “Nimona” are truly wonderful.

Dave Karger
TCM; Author of “50 Oscar Nights”

1. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”
2. “The Boy and the Heron”
3. “Nimona”
4. “Elemental”
5. “Robot Dreams”

I was thrilled to see the genre-busting “Nimona” in this lineup alongside a Pixar film. But this race is between the work of a Japanese master (“The Boy and the Heron”) and the sequel to a modern animated classic (“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”). It seems like a toss-up to me, but I’m guessing Spider-Man’s more technologically advanced visuals might give it the edge.

Claudia Puig
LAist 89.3’s FilmWeek

1. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”
2. “The Boy and the Heron”
3. “Elemental”
4. “Nimona”
5. “Robot Dreams”

N/A

Anne Thompson
IndieWire

1. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”
2. “The Boy and the Heron”
3. “Nimona”
4. “Elemental”
5. “Robot Dreams”

Will the Chris Miller & Phil Lord sequel beat the return of the Japanese Disney, Hayao Miyazaki? That is the question, as rapid-fire, multi-layered “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” battles with spiritual, lyric “The Boy and the Heron” for votes.

Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Times

1. “The Boy and the Heron”
2. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”
3. “Elemental”
4. “Robot Dreams”
5. “Nimona”

The race will come down to the thrilling box-office smash “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” against Hayao Miyazaki’s acclaimed “The Boy and the Heron,” which enjoyed a pretty nice theatrical run itself. Voters will probably be more familiar with “Spider-Man,” but Miyazai is a legend with a devoted group of admirers. It’s a coin flip, but go with the master.

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