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Oscar predictions 2024: Who will win vs. who should win this year

Graphic of Oscar nominees Lily Gladstone, Robert Downey Jr., Cillian Murphy and Da'Vine Joy Randolph.
The Post predicts who will win and says who should win at the 2024 Oscars.

It’s “Oppenheimer” night! Er, sorry… Oscars night!

Christopher Nolan’s prestige epic that remarkably grossed nearly $1 billion will be the big winner. But the award show will have its share of hot races, too. Here, Post critic Johnny Oleksinski picks who will win and who should win at the 2024 Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel on Sunday, March 10 at 7:00 p.m. ET on ABC.

Best Picture

Will Win, Should Win: “Oppenheimer”

If Christopher Nolan’s brilliant story of the father of the atomic bomb loses, it’ll be the biggest upset since the surprise victory of “Shakespeare in Love” over “Saving Private Ryan” in 1999. It’s won just about every other major award it’s been nominated for, and rightly so.

“Oppenheimer” made nearly $1 billion at the worldwide box office, despite being a prestige biopic about a physicist. ©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection
“Oppenheimer” made nearly $1 billion at the worldwide box office, despite being a prestige biopic about a physicist. ©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

Best Actress

Will Win: Lily Gladstone, “Killers of the Flower Moon”

The Battle of the Stones (Gladstone vs. Emma Stone) has raged all season long. But Gladstone’s triumph at the SAG Awards, for her role as a wronged Native American woman, should get her across the ultimate finish line.

Should Win: Sandra Hüller, “Anatomy of a Fall”

The German actress turned in a stunning duo of performances, in “Anatomy of a Fall” and “The Zone of Interest,” that made her a talked-about topic for months. I can almost see her pulling an Olivia Colman — split the love and slide in for the win.

  • Annette Bening, “Nyad”

  • Carey Mulligan, “Maestro”

  • Emma Stone, “Poor Things”

Best Actor

Will Win, Should Win: Cillian Murphy, “Oppenheimer”

After Giamatti’s Golden Globe and Critics Choice victories, he looked like the guy to beat. But momentum has swung back to the fantastic Murphy, whose tortured face was just as invigorating on the IMAX screen as Nolan’s epic filmmaking.

Best actor momentum was swung back to Cillian Murphy for his performance in “Oppenheimer.” Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Best actor momentum was swung back to Cillian Murphy for his performance in “Oppenheimer.” Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
  • Bradley Cooper, “Maestro”

  • Colman Domingo, “Rustin”

  • Paul Giamatti, “The Holdovers”

  • Jeffrey Wright, “American Fiction”

Best Director

Will Win, Should Win: Christopher Nolan, “Oppenheimer”

How bizarre to read names such as Martin Scorsese, Yorgos Lanthimos and Jonathan Glazer and conclude they don’t have a shot. But they don’t. Not even remotely. Nolan’s already won.

Christopher Nolan will finally win an Oscar for directing “Oppenheimer.” AFP via Getty Images
Christopher Nolan will finally win an Oscar for directing “Oppenheimer.” AFP via Getty Images
  • Justine Triet, “Anatomy of a Fall”

  • Martin Scorsese, “Killers of the Flower Moon”

  • Yorgos Lanthimos, “Poor Things”

  • Jonathan Glazer, “The Zone of Interest”

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win, Should Win: Robert Downey Jr., “Oppenheimer”

Tony Stark is dead, long live Robert Downey Jr.’s acting career! The former MCU star proved he’s still got dramatic chops outside of that flying metal suit. He’s been an unstoppable force all award season.

Robert Downey Jr. will likely win his first Oscar for his performance in “Oppenheimer.” Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection
Robert Downey Jr. will likely win his first Oscar for his performance in “Oppenheimer.” Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection
  • Sterling K. Brown, “American Fiction”

  • Robert De Niro, “Killers of the Flower Moon”

  • Ryan Gosling, “Barbie”

  • Mark Ruffalo, “Poor Things”

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win, Should Win: Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “The Holdovers”

It’s hard to imagine a performer winning a Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG, Critics Choice and Independent Spirit award all for the same role — but Randolph remarkably has, for playing a school cook who’s suffered a tragedy.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph has been unbeatable all award season long. WireImage
Da’Vine Joy Randolph has been unbeatable all award season long. WireImage
  • Emily Blunt, “Oppenheimer”

  • Danielle Brooks, “The Color Purple

  • America Ferrera, “Barbie”

  • Jodie Foster, “Nyad”

Best International Film

Will Win, Should Win: “The Zone of Interest”

This striking Holocaust film took a novel approach to the genre — it chillingly focused on the Nazis willfully ignoring the horrors occurring right outside their doorsteps.

“The Zone of Interest” is a chilling Holocaust film. Courtesy Everett Collection
“The Zone of Interest” is a chilling Holocaust film. Courtesy Everett Collection
  • “Io Capitano”

  • “Perfect Days”

  • “Society of the Snow”

  • “The Teachers’ Lounge”

Best Song

Will Win, Should Win: “What Was I Made For?” from “Barbie,” music and lyrics by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell

In what’s not the greatest year for Best Song nominees, “What Was I Made For?” is the only (serious) one to make a cultural dent. So, it’s a second Oscar for Billie.

Billie Eilish will likely win her second Oscar for “What Am I Made For?” from “Barbie.” AFP via Getty Images
Billie Eilish will likely win her second Oscar for “What Am I Made For?” from “Barbie.” AFP via Getty Images
  • “The Fire Inside” from “Flamin’ Hot,” music and lyrics by Diane Warren

  • “I’m Just Ken” from “Barbie,” music and lyrics by Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt

  • “It Never Went Away” from “American Symphony,” music and lyrics by Jon Batiste and Dan Wilson

  • “Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People)” from “Killers of the Flower Moon,” music and lyrics by Scott George

Best Original Screenplay

Will Win: “Anatomy of a Fall”

“Fall” won’t fall on Sunday. None of its competitors have made the same splash.

Should Win: “Past Lives”

“Past Lives” has stuck powerfully in my mind since its Sundance premiere and, while writer-director Celine Song’s movie is on a more intimate scale than many of the Oscar films, the story of a decadeslong, international crush/friendship is far better than most of them.

  • “The Holdovers”

  • “Maestro”

  • “May December”

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will Win, Should Win: “American Fiction”

Maybe “Barbie” edges it out, but voters have lately admired Cord Jefferson’s satirical script, while souring on Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach’s Mattel movie.

Jeffrey Wright in “American Fiction.” AP
Jeffrey Wright in “American Fiction.” AP
  • “Barbie”

  • “Oppenheimer”

  • “Poor Things”

  • “The Zone of Interest”

Best Animated Feature Film

Will Win, Should Win: “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

While it would feel good to see Hayao Miyazaki win for his likely final film (“Boy and the Heron”), “Across the Spider-Verse” is simply the better movie.

“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” was every bit as good as the extraordinary first film. AP
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” was every bit as good as the extraordinary first film. AP