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Devils' Advocate

The news site of Hinsdale Central High School

Devils' Advocate

The Oscars’ top contenders for the 2024 season

Clara Pappas
Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” stars Rhea Perlman (left) as Ruth Handler and Margot Robbie (right) as Barbie, and the film is nominated for eight Oscar awards in the 2024 season.

On Tuesday, Jan. 23, all nominations for the 2024 Academy Awards were released. Many categories, as always, left out various actors, directors and filmmakers that have made a significant contribution to the film season. 

However, the competition among nominees is still stronger than ever. Here are my predictions for the 2024 Academy Awards.

Best Picture

In the Best Picture category, “The Holdovers,” “American Fiction,” “The Zone of Interest,” “Barbie,” “Oppenheimer,” “Poor Things,” “Past Lives,” “Anatomy of a Fall,” “Maestro” and “Killers of the Flower Moon” were all nominated.

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More than ever, the Best Picture category is filled with stellar films. Comedies such as “The Holdovers” and “Barbie” gave audiences great laughs while also having a heart stronger than some dramas in the category.

However, I don’t believe a comedy will take the award home. The Academy usually skips over comedies, opting for a drama with a heavy focus on cinematography. While that wouldn’t be my choice, I believe “Oppenheimer” will take home the award.

While Christopher Nolan, the director of the film, focused heavily on delivering an accurate portrait of Robert Oppenheimer’s life, I still believe other films were more deserving of the award. My choice would’ve been Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” a film that created the most accurate portrait of girlhood I’ve ever seen.

“I liked how [‘Oppenheimer’] was the opposite of ‘Barbie,’” said Laure Michel, senior. 

However, Nolan’s strength in directing strong performances and creating films akin to that of artwork leave “Oppenheimer” deserving of the award. My only hope would be that the Academy further acknowledges films that may not seem as artistic but have a whole lot of heart.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

In the Best Actor in a Leading Role category, Bradley Cooper for “Maestro,” Colman Domingo for “Rustin,” Paul Giamatti for “The Holdovers,” Cillian Murphy for “Oppenheimer” and Jeffrey Wright for “American Fiction” were all nominated.

Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers” stars Paul Giamatti (center) as Paul Hunham, and the film is nominated for five Oscar awards in the 2024 season. (Clara Pappas)

For many of the nominees, this season is either their first time being nominated for an Academy Award or their first time in a long time being nominated for one. For example, Domingo is receiving his first nomination this year and Giamatti hasn’t been nominated since 2006.

Although all nominees delivered masterful performances, I have no doubt that Murphy will take home the award. While I may not agree, I believe that “Oppenheimer” will absolutely sweep the awards ceremony. Murphy, playing the titular role, will be no different.

“I think Cillian Murphy was fantastic in ‘Oppenheimer,’” said Ren Pang, senior.

My choice would be Giamatti, giving a heartwarming performance similar to Robin Williams’ in “Dead Poets Society.” Nonetheless, Murphy triumphed in his role. I just hope that the Academy gives Murphy the award on his merit rather than the film’s. 

Best Actress in a Leading Role

In the Best Actress in a Leading Role category, Annette Bening for “Nyad,” Lily Gladstone for “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Sandra Hüller for “Anatomy of a Fall,” Carey Mulligan for “Maestro” and Emma Stone for “Poor Things” were all nominated.

While each and every one of the nominees were absolutely perfect in their roles, a major name is left out of the list: Margot Robbie. Robbie, who plays the titular role in “Barbie,” is more than deserving of a spot on the list, and it is rather unbelievable that the Academy will not honor her.

“It is so ridiculous that Margot Robbie was ignored,” said Helena Tragas, senior. “She was integral to the film.”

To nominate Ken, Ryan Gosling, and not Barbie seems like a plot point in the film rather than a realistic choice made by the Academy. While “Barbie” can stand alone as a pillar in the film season, Robbie tied the film together. To not even nominate her in this category is a horrible mistake, and the Academy absolutely needs to reevaluate their stance on nominating leading actresses in comedies to never make this mistake again.

Nonetheless, many other actresses were phenomenal. Gladstone and Stone, the frontrunners of the season, will most likely take the award home. While Gladstone was tremendous as always, I believe Stone will be the sole winner. 

Following a common theme of the season, Stone delved into the meaning of womanhood, showcasing what would happen if the strains of society were not placed upon women. Having won a majority of the past award shows, including the Golden Globes, I’m very confident that Stone will take the Oscar home. 

Best Directing

In the Best Directing category, Justine Triet for “Anatomy of a Fall,” Martin Scorsese for “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Nolan for “Oppenheimer,” Yorgos Lanthimos for “Poor Things” and Jonathan Glazer for “The Zone of Interest” were all nominated. 

While all nominees are fantastic in their own right, the Academy once again left out a major name: Gerwig. All three of Gerwig’s solo-films have been nominated for Best Picture, and she has yet to be nominated for Best Directing. I find it extremely difficult to justify such a choice, and, in the future, the Academy should find a way to honor Gerwig and her extraordinary films.

Once again, I’m relatively certain Nolan will be taking home the award. While I believe the Academy may opt for Lanthimos, I think it will only happen if “Poor Things” doesn’t take home Best Picture. The Academy will most likely honor both the directors in some major way, and Best Directing and Best Picture are perfect ways for them to do so.

The 2024 Academy Awards will be on March 10 at 6:00 p.m. To learn more about the awards, click here.

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About the Contributor
Clara Pappas
Clara Pappas, Editor-in-Chief
Clara Pappas, senior, is excited to return to Devils’ Advocate as Editor-in-Chief this year. At school, she is a member of Radio Club and Link Crew. She enjoys watching the White Sox, listening to music and going to concerts with her friends. Her favorite music artists are Mitski and Johnny Cash. You can find her at [email protected].

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