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Johnny’s Awards Radar: Mid-Year 2024 Oscars Predictions

I can’t believe it’s already been almost four months since “Everything Everywhere All at Once” took the Oscars by storm. There has been a healthy batch of 2023 films since, and the major fall festival lineups will soon be taking shape, meaning there’s no better time to take my first hard look at what next year’s Academy Awards could have to offer.

Like my first round of predictions last year, this is not a general overview of contenders. My goal is to pinpoint actual nominees and winners as far in advance as possible and see how my predictions pan out, with at least two more prediction pieces coming before next year’s ceremony. Additionally, I am omitting some categories, such as International Feature, in this first piece for practicality’s sake because they’re a little too difficult for me to project this far out.


“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Sony Pictures Animation)

As usual, Disney will have a couple key contenders in “Elemental” and “Wish,” with the latter implementing a new hybrid animation that will serve as a throwback for the studio’s 100-year anniversary. The studio is coming off a rough year where “Turning Red,”  “Lightyear” and “Strange World” struggled to make waves, with the latter two outright flopping. “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” was the beneficiary in that case, and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” and Hayao Miyazaki’s potentially final film “How Do You Live?” will vie for the gold statue this time around. The original “Spider-Verse” won in 2019, while Miyazaki won for “Spirited Away” in 2002. The former may be everyone’s new favorite, trailblazing animation, but the opportunity to honor Miyazaki one last time – at the age of 82 – may be too good to pass up. As it stands, “Spirited Away” remains the only hand-drawn and non-English language winner in this category.

Other contenders include two Netflix projects: Aardman Animations’ “Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget,” which would be Aardman’s fifth-ever nominee here, and “Nimona,” which survived years of development hell to become one of the year’s best reviewed animated pics. Finally, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” – yet another Hollywood feature looking to take stylistic cues from the “Spider-Verse” playbook – is drumming up positive buzz from its initial screenings.


  • “Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget” (Leyla Hobart, Steve Pegram)
  • “How Do You Live?” (Hayao Miyazaki)
  • “Nimona” (Roy Lee, Karen Ann Ryan, Julie Zackary)
  • “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Avi Arad, Phil Lord Christopher Miller, Amy Pascal, Christina Steinberg) WINNER
  • “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” (Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, James Weaver)


“Killers of the Flower Moon” (Paramount Pictures, Apple TV+)

It’s difficult to see a better path to Best Picture than the one for “Killers of the Flower Moon.” It is being directed, produced and co-written by the legendary Martin Scorsese and is a long-gestating project that is close to the filmmaker’s heart. It also has historic and social significance, giving voice to the Osage Nation and utilizing as many Native American performers as any Hollywood production in recent memory, bringing the true story of exploitation and killings of the Osage to a wider audience. It’s a showcase for a trio of acting contenders led by Leonardo DiCaprio, backed by an Apple-funded production with incredible scale and scope, and it’s getting the best of both worlds through an initial theatrical run via Paramount and a subsequent streaming release on Apple TV+.

Even so, who can realistically pose a challenge, and how? Well, Universal’s answer will be “Oppenheimer,” which will border on double-digit noms. It has a strong chance to get into and even win Director, same goes for Actor and Adapted Screenplay. A win in any combination of these categories, maybe even bolstered by another win or two, would be an impressive package.

Warner Bros. have already spent the early part of the summer going all in on “Dune: Part Two,” with two trailers that once again make it look like the juggernaut to beat in terms of noms and wins. In recent history, it isn’t often that the film with the most noms or even wins goes on to win the top prize. The most-recent film to pull it off? “Everything Everywhere All at Once” – another sci-fi/fantasy pic – just did it. Before that, it was another genre pic, 2017’s “The Shape of Water.” The last “Dune” dominated the 2022 ceremony with six wins and could very well equal that this year. If Denis Villeneuve can make the leap and get paid his due in Director, then Picture may not be far off.

Coming fresh off their second Best Picture win, A24 will be hellbent on keeping “Past Lives” at the top of the conversation, and Celine Song will be a formidable contender in Director and Original Screenplay. The film could be in play for several acting nominations, which will help boost its overall profile as a Picture contender.

Strong acting ensembles will also help the likes of “The Color Purple,” “Saltburn” and “The Holdovers” stay in contention, while populist picks “Barbie” and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” will count on widespread passion to translate into enough noms for a Picture bid. Netflix – still looking for a win after falling short with the likes of “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “The Power of the Dog” and “All Quiet on the Western Front” – will be placing all their hopes in “Maestro,” with slimmer odds for “May December” to break through. Finally, “The Zone of Interest” and “Poor Things” may be two of the finest-crafted films of the year, but the former could pose too dark of a challenge for voters to sit through, while the latter may be too brazenly strange to connect.


  • “The Color Purple” (Quincy Jones, Scott Sanders, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey)
  • “Dune: Part Two” (Cale Boyter, Tanya Lapointe, Patrick McCormick, Mary Parent, Denis Villeneuve)
  • “The Holdovers” (Bill Block, David Hemingson, Mark Johnson)
  • “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Dan Friedkin, Daniel Lupi, Martin Scorsese, Bradley Thomas) WINNER
  • “Maestro” (Fred Berner, Bradley Cooper, Amy Durning, Kristie Macosco Krieger, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg)
  • “Oppenheimer” (Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, Emma Thomas)
  • “Past Lives” (David Hinojosa, Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon)
  • “Saltburn” (Tom Ackerley, Emerald Fennell, Josey McNamara, Margot Robbie)
  • “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Avi Arad, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Amy Pascal, Christina Steinberg)
  • “The Zone of Interest” (Ewa Puszczynska, James Wilson)


“Dune: Part Two” director Denis Villeneuve.

Denis Villeneuve couldn’t even get nominated for “Dune,” so you might wonder why it makes sense for him to win for “Dune: Part Two.” Despite his snub, the first film was still a roaring success with the Academy, notching 10 noms and six wins. He had also checked all the boxes for precursor nominations and seemed like the surest bet, outside of eventual winner Jane Campion. That level of assurance may have meant more voters felt comfortable leaving him off and throwing votes to other contenders, or it may have been a feeling that his conquest of “Dune” was only halfway done. If Villeneuve can deliver a film that serves as a satisfying conclusion, enhances the richness of the original and collectively stands as one of cinema’s great epics, the Academy may feel that he is owed that missed nomination… with interest.

Whether he can pull that off remains to be seen, but what is obvious right now is the overwhelming support for Martin Scorsese and his passion project “Killers of the Flower Moon.” The work Scorsese has done to reengineer the source material and collaborate with the Osage Nation makes for a strong narrative, and him winning here would logically fit into the film’s Best Picture-winning package. The same could be said for Celine Song (“Past Lives”) or Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”), the former shining in her intimate directorial debut and the latter using two decades of goodwill to earn his three-hour, R-rated historical drama. There’s also Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”) returning from a decade’s absence with the year’s best-reviewed film or Blitz Bazawule (“The Color Purple”) putting his cinematic spin on a beloved musical.


  • Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”)
  • Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”)
  • Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
  • Celine Song (“Past Lives”)
  • Denis Villeneuve (“Dune: Part Two”) WINNER


Bradley Cooper in “Maestro.” (Netflix)

Bradley Cooper has received four acting nominations over the last 10 years, in addition to five non-acting noms. He’s clearly well-liked within the Academy – and industry in general – as an actor, producer, writer and director. Many hoped he would win for his performance in “A Star is Born,” but he was bested by Rami Malek’s impersonation of Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” In that context, it’s hard not to view him taking on the life story of Leonard Bernstein in “Maestro” as a direct response. The transformative makeup route has been an especially reliable road to first-time wins for veteran actors in recent years, including Brendan Fraser in “The Whale” and Gary Oldman in “Darkest Hour.” Even if Cooper’s film is not as well-received and not a top contender across the board, the general passion around him and his overall body of work feels like it could get him over the finish line.

The competition is not light, however, with Leonardo DiCaprio delivering what some are calling his best performance ever in “Killers of the Flower Moon” and Cillian Murphy finally getting a juicy lead role in his own three-hour epic “Oppenheimer.” Coming off his first nomination for a relatively restrained performance last year, Barry Keoghan will look to crank things up with “Saltburn,” and Colman Domingo will embody gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin for George C. Wolfe. Others in contention include Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”) looking for his second nomination and Kingsley Ben-Adir transforming for “Bob Marley: One Love.”


  • Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”) WINNER
  • Leonardo DiCaprio (“Killers of the Flower Moon”)
  • Colman Domingo (“Rustin”)
  • Barry Keoghan (“Saltburn”)
  • Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”)


Fantasia Barrino in “The Color Purple.” (Warner Bros.)

If the first trailer is anything to go by, Fantasia Barrino will have no problem standing out amongst one of the year’s best ensembles in “The Color Purple,” returning to a role that earned her acclaim on Broadway. It’s also the film likely to rack up the most nominations alongside Best Actress and could even be a sleeper contender for Best Picture. She’s not the only one reprising an acclaimed role, however, as two-time Oscar-winner Jessica Lange is starring in a film adaptation of “Long Day’s Journey into Night.” The same role won her a Tony in 2016 and is poised to be her best screen performance in years. Greta Lee jumped toward the top of the list early this year with the Sundance premiere of “Past Lives,” a Best Picture contender which is sure to keep her name at the top all the way to the end, and Sandra Hüller claimed one of the year’s first major acting awards, winning Best Actress at Cannes for “Anatomy of a Fall.”


  • Fantasia Barrino (“The Color Purple”) WINNER
  • Sandra Hüller (“Anatomy of a Fall”)
  • Jessica Lange (“Long Day’s Journey into Night”)
  • Greta Lee (“Past Lives”)
  • Emma Stone (“Poor Things”)


Robert De Niro in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” (Paramount Pictures, Apple TV+)

Robert De Niro had made a career out of playing bad guys, but his latest role as the true-life villain William Hale in “Killers of the Flower Moon” may be his most chilling ever. De Niro happens to be on the second-longest stretch of his career without a nomination, but his performance has gotten raves out of Cannes and will have the boost of working alongside likely nominees DiCaprio and Gladstone. With “Past Lives” also positioned as a legit Best Picture contender, John Magaro and Teo Yoo could deservedly come along for the ride, assuming the latter is campaigned in supporting.

Breakout Charles Melton (“May December”) and three-time nominee Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”) should also be in the mix, but their hopes may live or die on the overall reception of their respective films. It also can’t be ruled out, if the marketing so far is anything to go by, that two-time nominee Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”) won’t run away with one of the year’s biggest films and finally get his due as a comedic performer.


  • Robert De Niro (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) WINNER
  • John Magaro (“Past Lives”)
  • Charles Melton (“May December”)
  • Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”)
  • Teo Yoo (“Past Lives”)


“Killers of the Flower Moon” (Paramount Pictures, Apple TV+)

Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) has come storming out the gate at Cannes to put this category in a stranglehold with a “stunning” and “extraordinary” performance that seems to be the most universally-praised element of the film. She not only put in the work on screen to win, but she has the film and narrative to back her up. The only performance that could walk in at the 11th hour and stand in her way is that of Danielle Brooks, who is reprising her Tony-nominated role of Sofia in “The Color Purple.” It’s a big, showy role – a strong contrast to Gladstone’s stoicism – and one that Brooks has clearly excelled in before.

Taraji P. Henson will also prominently feature alongside Brooks and likely-to-be-nominated lead Fantasia Barrino, so betting on Henson coming along for the ride for her second nom feels like a safe bet. Others vying for a nomination here include Da’Vine Joy Randolph stealing scenes from Paul Giamatti in “The Holdovers,” Rosamund Pike chewing scenery in Emerald Fennell’s “Saltburn” and Julianne Moore working opposite Natalie Portman in Todd Haynes’ “May December.”


  • Danielle Brooks (“The Color Purple”)
  • Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) WINNER
  • Taraji P. Henson (“The Color Purple”)
  • Rosamund Pike (“Saltburn”)
  • Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”)


“Killers of the Flower Moon” (Paramount Pictures, Apple TV+)

Six-time writing nominee Eric Roth (“Forrest Gump,” “Dune”) is poised to win his second Oscar, alongside writing partner Martin Scorsese, for “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Roth did not have a hand in the screenplay this time around for “Dune: Part Two,” but Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve should be capable of sticking the landing. Christopher Nolan, who’s primarily directed his own original screenplays, is attempting to distill a mammoth and Pulitzer Prize-winning biography for “Oppenheimer.” If “Barbie” ends up being as beloved as everyone expects it to be, can the Academy really resist awarding Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig their first respective Oscars in one fell swoop? “The Zone of Interest,” “Poor Things” and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” all have a decent chance to slip in here, but those chances all feel contingent upon their respective chances at slipping into Best Picture.


  • “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” – Phil Lord & Christopher Miller and David Callaham
  • “Dune: Part Two” – Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve
  • “Killers of the Flower Moon” – Martin Scorsese and Eric Roth (WINNER)
  • “Oppenheimer” – Christopher Nolan
  • “The Zone of Interest” – Jonathan Glazer


“Past Lives” (A24)

Similarly to Adapted Screenplay, there is a trifecta of likely Best Picture nominees that feel like the strongest in contention here. “Past Lives” is what many consider to be the best film from the first half of the year, with much of the reason being writer-director Celine Song’s simple, sanguine script. Next, we have Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers,” poised to be the quintessential crowd-pleasing dramedy that breaks out every awards season. Finally, there’s “Saltburn” by Emerald Fennell, who has one feature screenplay to her name and an Oscar to show for it. It’s said to be an acting showcase for recent Oscar-nominee Barry Keoghan, who will be supported by one of the year’s great ensembles, including fellow Oscar-nominees Carey Mulligan, Rosamund Pike and Richard E. Grant.

Palme d’Or-winner “Anatomy of a Fall” has Neon backing it, who had no issue keeping the likes of “Parasite” and “Triangle of Sadness” in the conversation until Oscar night. There is also another biographical drama from Oscar-winner Josh Singer and co-writer Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”), plus “May December” from Oscar-nominee Todd Haynes, “Drive-Away Dolls” from Oscar-winner Ethan Coen and co-writer Tricia Cooke.


  • “Anatomy of a Fall” – Arthur Harari and Justine Triet
  • “The Holdovers” – David Hemingson
  • “Maestro” – Bradley Cooper & Josh Singer
  • Past Lives” – Celine Song (WINNER)
  • “Saltburn” – Emerald Fennell


“Dune: Part Two” (Warner Bros.)

This is just one of a few categories that stand to be a repeat win for team “Dune.” Greig Fraser looks to go bigger and bolder with “Part Two,” filming the entire picture in IMAX this time around and utilizing stark black-and-white photography for select sequences. Chief among the competition is Oscar-nominee Hoyte van Hoytema, who is also shooting predominantly IMAX and specially developed black-and-white IMAX film stock for “Oppenheimer,” and three-time nominee Rodrigo Prieto (“Silence,” “The Irishman”) with his stunning Western vistas and next-level blocking in collaboration with Martin Scorsese on “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

Oscar-nominee Dan Laustsen (“The Shape of Water”) also seems like to get nom #2 if “The Color Purple” is to be a legit Best Picture contender, while “Poor Things” from Oscar-nominee Robbie Ryan (“The Favourite”) and “The Zone of Interest” from two-time nominee Łukasz Żal (“Ida,” “Cold War”) will hope to pick up recognition here to bolster their respective chances to even slip into Best Picture. Other potential nominees include Oscar-winner Linus Sandgren (“Saltburn”) and two-time nominee Matthew Libatique (“Maestro”).


  • “The Color Purple” – Dan Laustsen
  • “Dune: Part Two” – Greig Fraser (WINNER)
  • “Killers of the Flower Moon” – Rodrigo Prieto
  • “Maestro” – Matthew Libatique
  • “Oppenheimer” – Hoyte van Hoytema


“Dune: Part Two” (Warner Bros.)

It took Hans Zimmer – perhaps the most famous and influential film composer of the 21st century – 27 years to win his second Oscar. So, can the 12-tiime nominee really win his third just two years later? If the work on “Dune: Part Two” features as prominently as it did in “Part One” and offers enough new sounds, it is hard to imagine another film matching its profile. If anyone can, however, it’s most likely going to be Christopher Nolan’s newest collaborator Ludwig Göransson and the extensive music he’s crafted for “Oppenheimer.” The Swede is one of Hollywood’s hottest new composers, winning in 2019 for “Black Panther,” yet not even earning a nomination for “Tenet” from a very thin field in 2021 and missing out for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” last year.

Meanwhile, Oscar-nominee Daniel Pemberton has stolen the first half of 2023 with his transcendent work on “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” and a nom here would likely be part of the film’s package for a Best Picture nom. Others contending for a nomination here will be Oscar-nominee Mica Levi (“The Zone of Interest”), Robbie Robertson (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) and Joe Hisaishi (“How Do You Live?”). You can also never count out 15-time nominee Thomas Newman (“Elemental”) or 53-time nominee John Williams (“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”), although their respective summer releases have fallen flat.


  • “Dune: Part Two” – Hans Zimmer (WINNER)
  • “Killers of the Flower Moon” – Robbie Robertson
  • “Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse” – Daniel Pemberton
  • “Oppenheimer” – Ludwig Göransson
  • “The Zone of Interest” – Mica Levi


“Barbie” (Warner Bros.)

This feels like the most assured set of noms in any category, culminating in a showdown between the inventive, rainbow dreamland of “Barbie” and a return to the epic sci-fi universe of “Dune: Part Two.” Production designer Patrice Vermette won for the original “Dune” and has returned for the sequel, this time partnering with Oscar-winning set decorator Shane Vieau (“The Shape of Water,” “Nightmare Alley”). The six-time Oscar-nominated duo of Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer (“Atonement,” “Anna Karenina”) have done an incredible job taking decades of Barbieland source material and bringing it to life. This very specific, famous aesthetic may be just the ticket for these long overdue artists to get their respective first Oscar wins, and there may be a sentiment that “Dune” was already recognized just a couple years ago.

Filling out the rest of the group would be legendary two-time nominee Jack Fisk (“There Will Be Blood,” “The Revenant”) for his painstaking recreation of 1920s Osage County in “Killers of the Flower Moon” and Ruth De Jong (”Twin Peaks: The Return,” “Nope”) and her team of first-time collaborators with Christopher Nolan on “Oppenheimer” – a filmmaker who’s had six films nominated here. The fifth slot will likely come down to either Oscar-winners Paul D. Austerberry (“The Shape of Water”) and Larry Dias (“Inception”) reinventing “The Color Purple” for a new generation or the eye-popping Expressionism of “Poor Things” from production designers Shona Heath and James Price and set decorator Zsuzsa Mihalek. Oscar-winner Adam Stockhausen (“Asteroid City”) or six-time nominee Nathan Crowley (”Wonka”) may also be in the mix, even if their respective films are lesser contenders overall.


  • “Barbie” – Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer (WINNER)
  • “The Color Purple” – Paul D. Austerberry, Larry Dias
  • “Dune: Part Two” – Patrice Vermette, Shane Vieau 
  • “Killers of the Flower Moon” – Jack Fisk, Michael Diner
  • “Oppenheimer” – Ruth De Jong, Claire Kaufman and Adam Willis


Bradley Cooper in “Maestro” (Netflix)

Maybe the category that produces the most fun variety of nominees every year, it has still fallen into a bit of a predictable streak in terms of wins. For six consecutive years, the winner has been for a film with at least one acting nomination, including three years where the win here has been tied to a win for acting. Prosthetic makeup designer Kazu Hiro has two of those recent six wins (“Darkest Hour,” “Bombshell”) and is looking for a third with Bradley Cooper’s “Maestro,” making Cooper unrecognizable as Leonard Bernstein. Cooper is viewed as a strong contender in Best Actor, and recent history of these two categories being won by the same field could be just the edge to get him his first statue.

The competition is not slim, however, with “Dune” looking to go 2/2 on noms in this category, and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” looking like a slam dunk with its world-record number of prosthetics. The seemingly countless looks in “Barbie” feel like another high-profile contender, while Oscar-nominee Nadia Stacey (“Cruella”) and her crew on “Poor Things” will have the benefit of some of the year’s most striking prosthetics work and character designs. But almost every year, there seems to be at least one film whose sole Oscar nom comes here because its exceptional prosthetics transcend the film’s overall reception – see “House of Gucci” or “Coming 2 America” – and that could very well be A24’s “A Different Man,” in which facial reconstructive surgery is a focal point.


  • “A Different Man”
  • “Dune: Part Two”
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”
  • “Maestro” (WINNER)
  • “Poor Things”


“Barbie” (Warner Bros.)

Sometimes, it is difficult to not sound too decisive with these early predictions, but here is another category where the five seem secure, and the winner even more so. Who else but the eight-time nominee and two-time winner Jacqueline Durran (“Anna Karenina,” “Little Women”) could bring “Barbie” to life, and who else could be the frontrunner? Four-time nominee Jacqueline West will likely be her own biggest competition with two big-budget pics allowing her to flex her muscles, both imaginatively (“Dune: Part Two”) and historically (”Killers of the Flower Moon”). Holly Waddington looks to be rising to the challenge of her biggest project yet with “Poor Things,” and same goes for Francine Jamison-Tanchuck in “The Color Purple.” Other high-profile work that we have yet to get significant looks at include Oscar-winners Janty Yates’ on “Napoleon” and Lindy Hemming’s on “Wonka.”


  • “Barbie” – Jacqueline Durran (WINNER)
  • “The Color Purple” – Francine Jamison-Tanchuck
  • “Dune: Part Two” – Jacqueline West 
  • “Killers of the Flower Moon” – Jacqueline West
  • “Poor Things” – Holly Waddington


Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya in “Dune: Part Two” (Warner Bros.)

Let’s cut to the chase – “Dune: Part Two” came into this year with at least two Oscars locked up. Just like “Part One,” Sound and Visual Effects will be a matter of the rest of the field competing for second. That’s not for lack of trying, though. Nolan films are liable to show up in Sound, and the team on “Oppenheimer” has a combined 39 Oscar nominations, while “The Color Purple” has 16 and will be the most musically-centered awards player of the year. In terms of outright action films, “John Wick: Chapter 4,” “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” will remain highlights at year’s end.

The latter in particular is an intriguing prospect, with an overwhelming soundscape to match its groundbreaking visuals. Animated films have a spotty yet notable history here, including noms for “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “Wall-E,” “Up” and “Toy Story 3.” There has also been more love for comic book films recently, from “Black Panther” to “The Batman,” and “Spider-Verse” is just as impressive, if not more so. Others to keep an ear open for include Michael Mann’s “Ferrari” (led by 24-time nominee Andy Nelson), David Fincher’s action-thriller “The Killer” and “Killers of the Flower Moon.”


  • “The Color Purple”
  • “Dune: Part Two” (WINNER)
  • “The Killer”
  • “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”
  • “Oppenheimer”


“Dune: Part Two” (Warner Bros.)

“Dune: Part Two” will be Denis Villeneuve’s third straight feature to win this Oscar, with a team led by rising legend Paul Lambert. The VFX supervisor is set to pick up an unprecedented fourth straight win, following “Blade Runner 2049,” “First Man” and “Dune.” There is also Gareth Edwards’ “The Creator” – which looks to feature effects on a scale and quality comparable to that of a “Star Wars” film – as well as “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” which should complete a trifecta of noms here for its trilogy.

“Oppenheimer” will certainly feature fewer effects shots than Nolan’s typical blockbusters, but the crew still features two-time Oscar-winner Scott R. Fisher (“Interstellar,” “Top Gun: Maverick”) and Oscar-winner Andrew Jackson (“Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Tenet”). It’s safe to say the atomic test sequence will no doubt be one of the year’s great spectacles, but will that small segment of the film be enough for the branch? There is also the significant de-aging of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” the underwater immersion of “The Little Mermaid” and the impressive mix of practical and digital effects of “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.” If “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is in the Best Picture field and can make it into the VFX branch bake-off, it may also be a sleeper contender.


  • “The Creator”
  • “Dune: Part Two” (WINNER)
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”
  • “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”
  • “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”


Timothée Chalamet in “Dune: Part Two” (Warner Bros.)

Joe Walker (“Dune: Part Two”) is looking to win back-to-back after taking home the gold for “Dune,” and the spectacle in the second installment is likely to be more prominent and impressive than the first. However, it sounds like eight-time nominee and three-time winner Thelma Schoonmaker has crafted another masterfully efficient epic with “Killers of the Flower Moon,” and Jennifer Lame will be at the reins of Nolan’s latest non-linear narrative in “Oppenheimer.” One factor to keep in mind is that this category is historically dominated by Best Picture nominees, with 46 of 50 nominees in this category over the last decade also contending for the top prize. Don’t be surprised to see “The Color Purple,” “Saltburn,” “Past Lives” or “The Holdovers” jockeying for these last couple slots.


  • “The Color Purple” – Jon Poll
  • “Dune: Part Two” – Joe Walker (WINNER)
  • “Killers of the Flower Moon” – Thelma Schoonmaker
  • “Oppenheimer” – Jennifer Lame
  • “Saltburn” – Victoria Boydell

Stay tuned for Johnny’s next round of 2024 Oscars predictions.

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Johnny Sobczak View All

Johnny Sobczak is an entertainment journalist and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in Media and Journalism and minored in Global Cinema. Johnny is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association and has been with Inside the Film Room since August 2019. He was named Senior Writer in January 2020 and co-hosts the Inside the Film Room podcast with Zach Goins. Johnny spends his days job-hunting, watching films and obsessing over every new detail of Denis Villeneuve's "Dune."

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