Illustration by Alaina Dackermann.

96th Academy Awards

February 1, 2024

96th Academy Awards

The Post Predicts: Oscars 2024 winners

By Aya Cathey, Grace Koennecke, and The Beat Staff | For The Post

The Academy Awards, otherwise known as the Oscars, is arguably film's biggest night. With a tight race of contenders this year, it only made sense for The Beat to unveil our predictions for some of the night's biggest categories before the ceremony on March 10.

From underdogs to box office blowouts, here is a compiled list of our predicted winners for the 96th Academy Awards:

Best Picture (by Grace Koennecke):

Predicted winner: "The Holdovers"

Unbeknownst to many of its competitors, "The Holdovers" has proven to be the underdog of this award season, recently beating out many major blockbusters of the year at the Golden Globe Awards and Critics' Choice Movie Awards. A story that follows a satirical, troubled prep school student Angus Tully (Dominic Sessa) and his budding friendship with an infamous professor known for his cranky stubbornness (Paul Giamatti), the movie proves how opposites can attract, even in a period like the 1970s.

What makes this movie worthy of Best Picture is that each character's performance proves how loss, in many forms, can change someone's outlook on life in an instant. While Angus struggles with the loss of his father to mental illness, his professor is grappling with the loss of his desired career aspirations. Meanwhile, other characters, like Mary Lamb (Da'Vine Joy Randolph), who does not want to forget the son she lost in the Vietnam War, are stuck in loss. However, while the film deals heavily with the subject of loss, it also shows how new relationships can help others heal and move on, which is the most heartwarming theme that beats out ones found in "Oppenheimer" and "Maestro."

With incredible acting, especially from first-timer Sessa, "The Holdovers" may seem simple on the outside, but it is an incredibly complex, heartbreaking and accurate story once you're invited into the world director Alexander Payne has created. It deserves to win because it has proven you don't need major promotion or an A-list cast to tell this story, but the direction and script to transport you into the past and present the thoughts of its diverse characters.

Best Actor (by Trey Barrett):

Predicted Winner: Paul Giamatti in "The Holdovers"

While this year's Best Actor nomination race has been highly competitive for its five nominees, the win likely comes down to a two-horse race between Cillian Murphy and Paul Giamatti.

Currently leading the race is Cillian Murphy, who starred in Christopher Nolan's biographical thriller film "Oppenheimer" last year. Murphy's performance as the titular physicist earned him many nominations across the critic circle and major industry awards, including a well-earned win in the drama category at this year's Golden Globes.

Paul Giamatti has received equal acclaim for his role as Paul Hunham in the independent feature “The Holdovers.” Giamatti has been nominated at many of the same award competitions as Murphy. However, Giamatti would go on to secure both a Golden Globe and Critic's Choice Award for his comically driven performance in the holiday classic.

Both Murphy and Giamatti could snag their first win at the Academy Awards, but I believe Giamatti could be the one taking it home March 10. "Oppenheimer" seems to be the consensus favorite for many Oscar categories this year, including Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor, Score and Sound. However, Murphy's winning odds struggle to keep up with Giamatti's more charismatic and heartwarming performance.

Giamatti's role is more dynamic than Murphy's turn as Oppenheimer. His character's arc is more pronounced, giving Giamatti more visible layers to his performance than Murphy. Likewise, Giamatti's televised win at the Critic's Choice could help him sway a few voters his way ahead of the final Oscars voting period beginning Feb. 22.

There are still many factors that could change the race ahead of March's Oscars ceremony, such as the BAFTAs and Screen Actors Guild Awards in February. Both ceremonies have some overlap with Academy voters and are quite predictive of the Oscars. Yet, Giamatti's odds, according to sites like Variety and GoldDerby, indicate a powerful win for Giamatti.

Best Actress (by Arielle Lyons):

Predicted Winner: Lily Gladstone in "Killers of the Flower Moon"

The conversation of this year's Best Actress nominees was notably overshadowed by Margot Robbie. I was initially upset at the snub because it's not often that a performance — not the plot — moves me to tears. Robbie did just that.

However, I realized I couldn't complain about the snub if I hadn't seen the nominated performances, so I gave them a watch. Although I maintain that Robbie should have been nominated, it wouldn't matter anyway because she would have lost to the other performance that made me cry.

Lily Gladstone's portrayal of Osage murder survivor Mollie Burkhart is somehow more heartbreaking in her subtle moments than in her breakdowns over the deaths of her loved ones.

Gladstone portrays Mollie as a cool, calm and collected woman who loves her culture and her family. As the people she loves most are torn away from her by her husband, her collected nature is maintained in public but slowly stripped away at home. It doesn't help that she almost dies as well after her husband poisons her insulin.

The moment that broke me was not every time she cried when another murder happened, nor was it when she lost her sense of reality as the poison overtook her. It was when she finally confronted her husband at the end of the film, calmly asking, "What did you give me?" Despite her understated demeanor, Gladstone somehow conveys so much heartbreak by doing almost nothing. It should be illegal to be that good at acting.

So if Gladstone doesn't win the Oscar, we ride at dawn.

Best Original Song (by Sophia Anness):

Predicted Winner: "What Was I Made For?" by Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell ("Barbie")

A plethora of phenomenal original songs have been produced in movies this past year. It is hard to say which one will win it all, but I believe "What Was I Made For?" will win the Academy Award.

"What Was I Made For?" was written and performed by Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell for the most successful movie of the year, "Barbie." The song outlined the meaning of the entire movie and encapsulated many relatable feelings. This moment in the movie moved audience members to tears and left a mark on many people. Therefore, it is the most deserving and most likely to win the Oscar.

"I'm Just Ken," written by Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, impacted "Barbie" fans for different reasons. The song itself is more of a parody and holds less power than Eilish's and O'Connell's "What Was I Made For?" While audiences love the song, it goes against what the "Barbie" movie stands for. If it wins the award, the Academy will have missed the entire point of “Barbie.”

"The Fire Inside" (Flamin’ Hot) and "It Never Went Away" (American Symphony) were the wild card nominations for the Oscars. Neither movie has received much recognition during this award season. "The Fire Inside" is a fun song, but it is unlikely that it will be enough to take home the Oscar. "It Never Went Away" is more powerful and meaningful, but it is likely to be overshadowed by other performances.

"Wahzhazhe (The Song for My People)" was written by Scott George and performed by the Osage Tribal Singers for the movie "Killers of the Flower Moon." The song has many powerful voices in it, and the movie has done well this award season. If I had to make a guess, this song would be a front-runner for the award, but it would not win against "What Was I Made For?"

Best Cinematography (by Griffin Shavitz):

Predicted Winner: “Oppenheimer

With great use of 70mm IMAX and pure black and white cameras, "Oppenheimer" is the clear candidate to win cinematography. What sets "Oppenheimer" apart from the other nominees is the way many scenes were shot for the movie. For the scenes in black and white, Christopher Nolan used experimental black and white film made by Kodak, which hasn't been done due to the rise of digital cameras. On top of that, the film did not use CGI. The film crew had to create all of the particle and element scenes themselves, relying on sand and light-up spinning props.

For scenes where the tension is coming from Oppenheimer's perspective, the cinematography perfectly highlights his inner struggles with creating the bomb. This was highlighted perfectly during both Oppenheimer's post-bombing speech and during the Gray Board's interrogation. Manipulating light and using projectors to make the background look as if it's shaking demonstrate the emotions of Nolan's film.

"Oppenheimer" isn't just shot well, it's shot beautifully. All the other nominated films are shot thoroughly, but they don't stand out. They don't do anything that hasn't been done before. "Oppenheimer" stands out among the rest for how well the film was put together, how realistic it looks and how it makes you feel.

Best Costume Design (by: Nyla Gilbert):

Predicted Winner: "Napoleon"

In the past year, we have seen a rejuvenation in the fashion world. Even recently with the newest releases from Paris Fashion Week, the public's focus on attention to detail and creative expression through clothing is at an all-time high. The Oscars is no different.

Many have been talking about Margot Robbie's wardrobe both in "Barbie" and during its press tour. Designer Jacqueline Durran started a pink uprising in 2023. The use of clothing in "Oppenheimer" has seen praise for its contribution to the film's storytelling, in which costume designer Ellen Mirojnick did a fantastic job. However, when it comes to the conversation of costume design in the past year, the works of Jacqueline West (Killers of the Flower Moon) and Janty Yates and David Crossman (Napoleon) have been quiet.

Janty Yates, who previously won an Oscar for costume design in the film Gladiator (2000), is known for her work in films such as "House of Gucci," "Prometheus" and "The Martian." Yates has created thousands of costumes alongside David Cross, who has design credits for many high-profile movies such as "The Batman," "1917," "Rogue One" and many of the Harry Potter movies.

Crossman created over 4,000 military uniforms that were used in the film. The combined efforts of Yates, Crossman and their team resulted in thousands of uniforms, hundreds of outfits for civilian background characters and dozens of extravagantly detailed ensembles for the aristocrats in the film. The most breathtaking being the coronation scene.

Designer Jaqueline West, known for her work on "Dune," similarly put great research and time into making something elaborately detailed and authentic to the story of "Killers of the Flower Moon." Not only creating something visually beautiful but staying true to the culture of the Osage people.

Working with Osage Costume Consultant Julie O'Keefe, West created a historical representation of Native Americans and the way their traditional dress is shown in the mainstream, setting a precedent for Native representation in fashion.

While I believe that these two movies both deserve to win, I am placing my bet on "Napoleon." The extravagance and details in the costuming were breathtaking. It has a great chance of taking home the Oscar.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling (by Cami Seymore):

Predicted Winner: "Poor Things"

Though not a major category, the Academy Award for Excellence in Makeup and Hairstyling honors the film which displays cosmetic innovation and authenticity. Between all the films nominated, the race for the Oscar is tight.

"Maestro" and "Oppenheimer" are both master classes in aging through makeup. "Maestro" head of makeup and prosthetics, Kazu Hiro, ages composer Leonard Bernstein (Bradley Cooper) through five decades of his life, solely through makeup and prosthetics. "Oppenheimer" flashes back from the 1960s to the 1920s, impressively aging the cast for present-day scenes. Makeup Department Head Luisa Abel and Hair Department Head Jaime Leigh McIntosh accurately capture the 1920s through their impressive use of makeup and hairstyling. "Golda" and "Society of the Snow" are stunning examples of prosthetic makeup, both of which completely transform the appearances of their respective cast members.

However, the most impressive feat in makeup and hairstyling is achieved by Yorgos Lanthimos' "Poor Things." Bella (Emma Stone) is a gender-bent Frankenstein, exploring the world and learning about herself in the process. Hair, makeup and prosthetic artist Nadia Stacey utilizes hairstyling to showcase Bella's childlike innocence. Bella's hair is long and unkempt, as she is unaware of the societal expectations of how a woman should dress and act. Stacey's prosthetic work on Baxter (Willem Dafoe), the mad scientist who created Bella, is unmatched.

While each film is capable of taking the award, "Poor Things" plays with hair and makeup in an innovative, outside-of-the-box way that none of the other films achieve.


Best Actor:

  • Bradley Cooper, “Maestro”
  • Colman Domingo, “Rustin”
  • Paul Giamatti, “The Holdovers”
  • Cillian Murphy, "Oppenheimer"
  • Jeffrey Wright, "American Fiction"

Best Supporting Actor

  • Sterling K. Brown, "American Fiction"
  • Robert De Niro, "Killers of the Flower Moon"
  • Robert Downey Jr., "Oppenheimer"
  • Ryan Gosling, "Barbie"
  • Mark Ruffalo, "Poor Things"

Best Actress:

  • Annette Bening, “Nyad”
  • Lily Gladstone, "Killers of the Flower Moon"
  • Sandra Hüller, "Anatomy of a Fall"
  • Carey Mulligan, "Maestro"
  • Emma Stone, "Poor Things"

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Emily Blunt, “Oppenheimer”
  • Danielle Brooks, "The Color Purple"
  • America Ferrera, “Barbie”
  • Jodie Foster, "Nyad"
  • Da'Vine Joy Randolph, "The Holdovers"

Animated Feature:

  • "The Boy and the Heron"
  • "Elemental"
  • "Nimona"
  • "Robot Dreams"
  • "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse"


  • "El Conde"
  • "Killers of the Flower Moon"
  • "Maestro"
  • "Oppenheimer”
  • "Poor Things”

Costume Design:

  • "Barbie"
  • "Killers of the Flower Moon"
  • "Napoleon"
  • "Oppenheimer"
  • "Poor Things"

Best Director:

  • Jonathan Glazer, "The Zone of Interest"
  • Yorgos Lanthimos, "Poor Things"
  • Christopher Nolan, “Oppenheimer”
  • Martin Scorsese, "Killers of the Flower Moon"
  • Justine Triet, "Anatomy of a Fall”

Documentary Feature Film:

  • "20 Days in Mariupol"
  • "Bobi Wine: The People's President"
  • "The Eternal Memory"
  • "Four Daughters"
  • "To Kill a Tiger"

Documentary Short Film:

  • “The ABCs of Book Banning”
  • “The Barber of Little Rock”
  • “Island In Between”
  • “The Last Repair Shop”
  • “Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó”


  • "Anatomy of a Fall"
  • "The Holdovers"
  • "Killers of the Flower Moon"
  • "Oppenheimer"
  • "Poor Things"

International Feature Film:

  • “Io Capitano,” Italy
  • “Perfect Days,” Japan
  • “Society of the Snow,” Spain
  • “The Teachers' Lounge,” Germany
  • “The Zone of Interest,” United Kingdom

Makeup and Hairstyling:

  • "Golda"
  • "Maestro"
  • "Oppenheimer"
  • "Poor Things"
  • "Society of the Snow"

Music (Original Score):

  • "American Fiction"
  • "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny"
  • "Killers of the Flower Moon"
  • "Oppenheimer"
  • “Poor Things”

Music (Original Song):

  • “The Fire Inside” (Flamin’ Hot)
  • “I’m Just Ken” (Barbie)
  • “It Never Went Away” (American Symphony)
  • “Wahzhazhe (A Song For My People)” (Killers of the Flower Moon)
  • “What Was I Made For?” (Barbie)

Best Picture:

  • "American Fiction"
  • "Anatomy of a Fall"
  • "Barbie"
  • "The Holdovers"
  • "Killers of the Flower Moon"
  • "Maestro"
  • "Oppenheimer"
  • "Past Lives"
  • "Poor Things"
  • "The Zone of Interest"

Production Design:

  • “Barbie”
  • “Killers of the Flower Moon”
  • “Napoleon”
  • “Oppenheimer”
  • “Poor Things”

Animated Short Film:

  • “Letters to a Pig”
  • “Ninety-Five Senses”
  • “Our Uniform”
  • “Pachyderme”
  • “War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko”

Live Action Short Film:

  • “The After"
  • "Invincible"
  • "Knight of Fortune"
  • "Red, White and Blue"
  • "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar"


  • "The Creator"
  • "Maestro"
  • "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One"
  • "Oppenheimer"
  • "The Zone of Interest"

Visual Effects:

  • "The Creator"
  • "Godzilla Minus One"
  • "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3"
  • "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One"
  • "Napoleon"

Writing (Adapted Screenplay):

  • "American Fiction"
  • "Barbie"
  • "Oppenheimer:
  • "Poor Things"
  • "The Zone of Interest"

Writing (Original Screenplay):

  • "Anatomy of a Fall"
  • "The Holdovers"
  • "May December"
  • "Maestro"
  • "Past Lives"
AUTHORS: Aya Cathey, Grace Koennecke, and The Beat Staff

EDITOR: Hannah Campbell

COPY EDITOR: Addie Hedges

ILLUSTRATION: Alaina Dackermann