2025 Oscars Best Picture Predictions

Oscar Predictions: Best Picture — Big Budget Blockbusters, IP and Sequels Headline Promising Slate of Contenders
Oscar Predictions: Best Picture — Big Budget Blockbusters, IP and Sequels Headline Promising Slate of Contenders

Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony Awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages reflect the current standings in the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any individual contender. As other formal (and informal) polls suggest, competitions are fluid and subject to change based on buzz and events. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

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2025 Oscars Predictions:
Best Picture

Angelina Jolie as Maria Callas 
Angelina Jolie as Maria Callas

Weekly Commentary (Updated July 19, 2024): As we navigate the cinematic waters of 2024, the horizon shimmers with the promise of captivating films vying for Oscar glory. The year’s second half has officially set sail, bringing a tantalizing array of potential award contenders. It’ll follow first-half standouts such as Luca Guadagnino’s “Challengers” and Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune Part Two,” each hoping to maintain their buzz through year’s end.

The landscape of this year’s contenders is a fascinating tapestry. Big-budget studio productions, franchise entries, and sequels are all vying for one of the coveted ten Best Picture slots, creating an arena notably lacking in the usual indie darlings. Yet, the fall festivals—Telluride, Toronto, and Venice—always have a knack for unveiling dark horses that can surge to the forefront of the Oscar race overnight.

Among the heavyweight contenders is Paramount Pictures’ “Gladiator II,” a follow-up to the 2001 Best Picture winner. This film, rumored to be a technical marvel that could put the 87-year-old veteran filmmaker in the running for his first trophy, boasts a star-studded cast featuring Paul Mescal, Pedro Pascal, and the legendary Denzel Washington. These promising performances could dominate the awards season.

Warner Bros. brings a formidable sequel trio to the table: Denis Villeneuve’s much-anticipated “Dune Part Two,” Todd Phillips’ upcoming jukebox musical “Joker: Folie à Deux,” and Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice.” The latter could surprise many, from early murmurs suggesting “it’s an awards movie.” It could earn Michael Keaton a spot in the acting categories, perhaps mimicking a similar run to Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”), depending on how the competition shapes up.

The allure of sequels in this Oscar race is intriguing, especially considering the recent success of “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Top Gun: Maverick,” both of which were nominated just two years ago but lost to the groundbreaking “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

Streamers are also gearing up for a thrilling season. Apple is betting big on “Blitz,” a film directed by “12 Years a Slave” helmer Steve McQueen and starring Saoirse Ronan and Harris Dickinson, already being hailed as a presumptive favorite. Netflix juggles several high-stakes projects, including “The Piano Lesson,” adapted from August Wilson’s work directed by first-timer Malcolm Washington. They’ll also be steering the Cannes acquisition “Emilia Pérez” by Jacques Audiard, which could continue the trend of non-English language performances garnering best picture attention.

Neon is riding high on the success of Sean Baker’s “Anora,” which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. They are also pinning hopes on “The Seed of the Secret Fig,” which nabbed a special screenplay citation at Cannes, and “The End,” a post-apocalyptic musical from Joshua Oppenheimer that could turn heads.

Timothee Chalamet as Bob Dylan filming James Mangold's "A Complete Unknown". 17 Mar 2024 Pictured: Timothee Chalamet. Photo credit: SteveSands/NewYorkNewswire/MEGA TheMegaAgency.com +1 888 505 6342 (Mega Agency TagID: MEGA1112213_006.jpg) [Photo via Mega Agency]
Timothee Chalamet as Bob Dylan filming James Mangold’s “A Complete Unknown”

Late-year releases could also shake things up if their filmmakers wrap up in time. Pedro Almodóvar’s English-language debut “The Room Next Door,” starring Julianne Moore and Tilda Swinton, and James Mangold’s Bob Dylan biopic “A Complete Unknown,” featuring Timothée Chalamet, are both on the radar.

Meanwhile, other intriguing projects are still seeking distribution. Guadagnino’s drama “Queer,” starring Daniel Craig, has been creating a buzz among distributors. Pablo Larraín’s “Maria,” a poignant portrayal of opera singer Maria Callas’ final days with Oscar winner Angelina Jolie, also holds significant potential.

I’m interested to see how films of specific genres that often get overlooked can perform in the Oscar race. That includes DreamWorks Animation’s “The Wild Robot,” which will be looking for more outside of best animated feature, Mubi’s “The Substance,” a body-horror riot featuring a career-best turn from Demi Moore and Focus Features’ “Piece by Piece,” an animated-documentary on the life of music mogul Pharrell Williams.

As the second half of 2024 unfolds, the race is on. Each film, from blockbuster sequels to intimate dramas, is positioning itself to capture the Academy’s attention. Buckle up for an exhilarating awards season, where surprises lurk around every corner, and every reel spun could be a ticket to cinematic immortality.

Read: All Primetime Emmy predictions in every category on Variety’s Awards Circuit.

The 97th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 2.

The full rankings are below. All movie listings, titles, and distributors are not final and are subject to change.

** denotes the film is still undated.


And the Predicted Nominees Are

Rank

Film

1

Emilia Pérez” (Netflix)
Jacques Audiard, Pascal Caucheteux, Valérie Schermann, Anthony Vacarello

2

Blitz” (Apple Original Films)
Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Yariv Milchan, Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan, Michael Schaefer

3

Gladiator II” (Paramount Pictures)
Lucy Fisher, David Franzoni, Michael Pruss, Ridley Scott, Douglas Wick

4

The Room Next Door” (Sony Pictures Classics)
Agustín Almodóvar

5

Anora” (Neon)
Sean Baker, Alex Coco, Samantha Quan

6

Nickel Boys” (Amazon MGM/Orion)
Joslyn Barnes, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, David Levine

7

Joker: Folie à Deux” (Warner Bros.)
Todd Phillips, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Joseph Garner

8

Dune: Part Two” (Warner Bros.)
Cale Boyter, Tanya Lapointe, Mary Parent, Denis Villeneuve

9

The Piano Lesson” (Netflix)
Todd Black, Denzel Washington

10

The Wild Robot” (DreamWorks Animation)
Jeff Hermann


Next in Line

Rank

Film

11

Conclave” (Focus Features)

12

Sing Sing” (A24)

13

SNL: 1975” (Sony Pictures)

14

A Complete Unknown” (Searchlight Pictures)

15

Memoir of a Snail” (IFC Films)

16

Maria” (No U.S. Distribution)

17

Wicked” (Universal Pictures)

18

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice” (Warner Bros.)

19

We Live in Time” (A24)

20

Inside Out 2” (Pixar)


Other Contenders

Rank

Film

21

His Three Daughters” (Netflix)

22

A Real Pain” (Searchlight Pictures)

23

The Seed of the Sacred Fig” (Neon)

24

Challengers” (Amazon MGM)

25

Eden” (No U.S. Distribution)

26

Hit Man” (Netflix)

27

Deadpool & Wolverine” (Marvel Studios)

28

Piece by Piece” (Focus Features)

29

In the Summers” (Music Box Films)

30

The Substance” (Mubi)


Also In Contention

Rank

Film

31

The End” (Neon)

32

All We Imagine as Light” (Janus Films/Sideshow)

33

Here” (Sony Pictures)

34

Nosferatu” (Focus Features)

35

Babygirl” (A24)

36

Queer” (No U.S. Distribution)

37

We Grown Now” (Sony Pictures Classics)

38

The Apprentice” (No U.S. Distribution)

39

Hard Truths” (Bleecker Street)

40

Young Woman and the Sea” (Walt Disney Pictures)

Eligible Titles (Best Picture)

Eligible Titles (Best Picture)
Eligible Titles (Best Picture)


** This list is incomplete and not yet finalized. Not all films have distribution or release dates. All are subject to change.

  • “The Actor” (Neon)

  • “Alien: Romulus” (20th Century Studios)

  • “All We Imagine as Light” (Janus Films/Sideshow)

  • “Anora” (Neon)

  • “The Apprentice” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • “Babygirl” (A24)

  • “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice” (Warner Bros.)

  • “Better Man” (Paramount Pictures)

  • “Between the Temples” (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • “The Bikeriders” (Focus Features)

  • “Bird” (Mubi)

  • “Blink Twice” (Amazon MGM)

  • “Blitz” (Apple Original Films)

  • “Bob Marley: One Love” (Paramount Pictures)

  • “Challengers” (Amazon MGM)

  • “Civil War” (A24)

  • “A Complete Unknown” (Searchlight Pictures)

  • “Conclave” (Focus Features)

  • “Daddio” (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • “Daughters” (Netflix)

  • “Deadpool & Wolverine” (Marvel Studios)

  • “The Deliverance” (Netflix)

  • “Despicable Me 4” (Illumination/Universal Pictures)

  • “A Different Man” (A24)

  • “Dìdi” (Focus Features)

  • “Dune: Part Two” (Warner Bros.)

  • “Echo Valley” (Apple Original Films)

  • “Eden” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • “Elton John: Never Too Late” (Walt Disney Pictures)

  • “Emilia Pérez” (Netflix)

  • “Emmanuelle” (Neon)

  • “The End” (Neon)

  • “Evil Does Not Exist” (Sideshow)

  • “Fancy Dance” (Apple Original Films)

  • “The Fire Inside” (Amazon MGM)

  • “Firebrand” (Roadside Attractions)

  • “Flow” (Janus Films)

  • “Frida” (Amazon MGM)

  • “The Friend” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • “The Front Room” (A24)

  • “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” (Warner Bros.)

  • “Gladiator II” (Paramount Pictures)

  • “Hard Truths” (Bleecker Street)

  • “Hedda” (Amazon MGM)

  • “Here” (Sony Pictures)

  • “Heretic” (A24)

  • “His Three Daughters” (Netflix)

  • “Hit Man” (Netflix)

  • “Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1” (Warner Bros.)

  • “I Am Celine Dion” (Amazon MGM)

  • “I Saw the TV Glow” (A24)

  • “I’m Still Here” (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • “The Idea of You” (Amazon MGM)

  • “IF” (Paramount Pictures)

  • “The Imaginary” (Netflix)

  • “In the Summers” (Music Box Films)

  • “It Ends With Us” (Sony Pictures)

  • “Janet Planet” (A24)

  • “Joker: Folie à Deux” (Warner Bros.)

  • “Kinds of Kindness” (Searchlight Pictures)

  • “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” (20th Century Studios)

  • “Klara and the Sun” (Sony Pictures)

  • “Kneecap” (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • “Lee” (Roadside Attractions)

  • “Longlegs” (Neon)

  • “Love Lies Bleeding” (A24)

  • “Maria” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • “Megalopolis” (Lionsgate)

  • “Memoirs of a Snail” (IFC Films)

  • “Moana 2” (Walt Disney Pictures)

  • “Monkey Man” (Universal Pictures)

  • “The Most Precious of Cargoes” (StudioCanal)

  • “Mothers’ Instinct” (Neon)

  • “Mufasa: The Lion King” (Walt Disney Pictures)

  • “My Old Ass” (Amazon MGM)

  • “Nickel Boys” (Amazon MGM/Orion)

  • “Nightbitch” (Searchlight Pictures)

  • “Nosferatu” (Focus Features)

  • “Oh, Canada” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • “On Swift Horses” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • “The Order” (Vertical Entertainment)

  • “The Outrun” (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • “Parthenope” (A24)

  • “The Piano Lesson” (Netflix)

  • “Piece by Piece” (Focus Features)

  • “Polaris” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • “Queer” (No U.S. Distribution)

  • “A Real Pain” (Searchlight Pictures)

  • “Rez Ball” (Netflix)

  • “The Room Next Door” (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • “Sasquatch Sunset” (Bleecker Street)

  • “The Seed of the Sacred Fig” (Neon)

  • “Shirley” (Netflix)

  • “Sing Sing” (A24)

  • “Six Triple Eight” (Netflix)

  • “Small Things Like These” (Lionsgate)

  • “SNL: 1975” (Sony Pictures)

  • “Sonic the Hedgehog 3” (Paramount Pictures)

  • “Spellbound” (Netflix)

  • “Stopmotion” (IFC/Shudder)

  • “The Substance” (Mubi)

  • “Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story” (Warner Bros.)

  • “That Christmas” (Netflix)

  • “Thelma” (Magnolia Pictures)

  • “Transformers One” (Paramount Pictures)

  • “Tuesday” (A24)

  • “Twisters” (Universal Pictures)

  • “Ultraman: Rising” (Netflix)

  • “Unstoppable” (Amazon MGM)

  • “Venom: The Last Dance” (Sony Pictures)

  • “Wallace & Gromit: Vengeance Most Fowl” (Netflix)

  • “We Grown Now” (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • “We Live in Time” (A24)

  • “Wicked” (Universal Pictures)

  • “The Wild Robot” (DreamWorks Animation)

  • “Wildcat” (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

  • “Woman of the Hour” (Netflix)

  • “Young Woman and the Sea” (Walt Disney Pictures)

More Information (Oscars: Best Picture)

More Information (Oscars: Best Picture)
More Information (Oscars: Best Picture)


2024 category winner: “Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures) — Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan

2024-2025 Oscars Calendar and Timeline (all dates are subject to change)

  • Eligibility period: Jan. 1, 2024 – Dec. 31, 2024

  • General entry, best picture, RAISE submission deadline: Thursday, Nov. 14, 2024

  • Governors Awards: Sunday, Nov. 17, 2024

  • Preliminary voting begins Monday, Dec. 9, 2024, at 9 a.m. PT.

  • Preliminary voting ends Friday, Dec. 13, 2024, at 5 p.m. PT.

  • Oscar Shortlists Announcement: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2024

  • Eligibility period ends: Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2024

  • Nominations voting begins Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2025, at 9 a.m. PT.

  • Nominations voting ends Sunday, Jan. 12, 2025, at 5 p.m. PT.

  • Oscar Nominations Announcement: Friday, Jan. 17, 2025

  • Oscar Nominees Luncheon: Monday, Feb. 10, 2025

  • Final voting begins Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2025, at 9 a.m. PT

  • Final voting ends: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2025, at 5 p.m. PT

  • Scientific and Technical Awards: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2025

  • 97th Oscars: Sunday, March 2, 2025

Oscars Prediction Categories

Best Picture

Director

Actor in a Leading Role

Actress in a Leading Role

Actor in a Supporting Role

Actress in a Supporting Role

Original Screenplay

Adapted Screenplay

Animated Feature

Production Design

Cinematography

Costume Design

Film Editing

Makeup and Hairstyling

Sound

Visual Effects

Original Score

Original Song

Documentary Feature

International Feature

Animated Short

Documentary Short

Live Action Short

Casting (coming in 2026)

About the Academy Awards

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners have been selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Seventeen branches are represented within the nearly 10,000-person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.

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