Oscars 2024: How each film can win Best Picture

With exceptional performances and cinematic masterpieces dominating the nominations, the competition promises to be fierce - Who do you think will emerge victorious on Hollywood's biggest stage?

By: Taylor Fox March 8, 2024 Entertainment

While most years see fierce competition among a handful of films vying for the top award, this year appears to be different. The buzz around “Oppenheimer” suggests it’s not just a frontrunner for the big prize but also poised to sweep the board with multiple wins across its impressive 13 nominations.

Let’s delve into each of the 10 films and assess their chances of clinching the coveted Best Picture trophy. While some may seem like long shots, it’s important to recognize that all 10 have earned their place in this year’s Oscar race and each deserves consideration for the highest honor.

Let’s delve into the obvious frontrunner: Oppenheimer.

As mentioned earlier, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer stands tall as the undisputed leader among this year’s nominations. The film boasts an impressive 13 nods, including major categories such as Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.

Debuting last summer, Oppenheimer not only captured the hearts of audiences but also earned critical acclaim, contributing to the ‘Barbenheimer’ trend that dominated the box office last year. These indicators strongly suggest that the film is primed for a triumphant weekend at the Oscars.

Oppenheimer which debuted last summer has also been a critical hit, being part of the ‘Barbenheimer’ trend that dominated the box office last year. Both are great indications that the film is destined to win big this weekend.

Turning to the film’s narrative, a crucial aspect in many Oscar races, Oppenheimer presents several compelling storylines. Much like Leonardo DiCaprio’s long-awaited triumph in The Revenant or Daniel Day-Lewis’s iconic portrayal of Lincoln, Oppenheimer offers a slew of potential ‘firsts’. Director Christopher Nolan, despite eight previous nominations, is yet to clinch an Oscar. Similarly, both Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr., frontrunners in their respective categories, are eagerly vying for their debut Oscar wins.

Based on our analysis, Oppenheimer appears destined to clinch the Best Picture trophy this weekend, along with multiple wins in other key categories. The only question remains whether it will achieve a clean sweep across all its nominations, a feat unseen since The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (for films with 10+ nominations).

Chance to win Best Picture: 60%

Let’s delve into the contenders that could potentially shake things up:

In any other year, “Poor Things” could easily have been a frontrunner in multiple categories, a testament to the directorial prowess of Yorgos Lanthimos.

With a total of 11 nominations, just shy of Oppenheimer’s 13, “Poor Things” is well-positioned for a strong showing. To clinch Best Picture, the film needs to secure wins in key categories like ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’, ‘Best Production Design’, ‘Best Cinematography’, ‘Best Makeup and Hairstyling’, and ‘Best Costume Design’. If these awards shift in its favor early in the night, it could build momentum.

A crucial win for “Poor Things” would be in the ‘Best Actress’ category, where Emma Stone is a formidable contender. Stone, who previously won an Oscar for her role in La La Land, stands a good chance of clenching her second win.

If “Poor Things” manages to snag 5-6 Oscars early on and secures a key acting nod or pulls off an upset in the Best Director category against Christopher Nolan, it could emerge victorious.

Chance to win Best Picture: 10%

With 10 Oscar nominations, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” directed by Martin Scorsese, is a formidable contender that cannot be overlooked. Backed by Apple’s substantial Oscar campaign, the film has the potential to make waves.

To win Best Picture, “Killers of the Flower Moon” needs to gain momentum by securing early wins in categories such as ‘Best Original Score’, ‘Best Production Design’, and ‘Best Film Editing’, which are shared among its contenders. Lily Gladstone’s performance, particularly in the ‘Best Actress’ category, could be a crucial factor. Gladstone’s critical acclaim and previous wins make her a strong frontrunner.

While “Killers of the Flower Moon” faces stiff competition in key categories, including ‘Best Supporting Actor’ and ‘Best Supporting Actress’, a strong showing and potential upsets could solidify its chances of clinching the top prize.

Chance to win Best Picture: 10%

Initially anticipated to lead in total nominations, “Barbie” fell short in some key categories like Best Director and Best Actress. However, with 8 nominations, including Best Picture, the film remains a contender.

“Barbie” needs to capitalize on its commercial success, boasting over $1.4 billion at the box office, a rare feat for an Oscar contender. Securing wins in categories like ‘Best Original Song’, ‘Production Design’, ‘Costume Design’, and ‘Screenplay’ is crucial. Upsets in ‘Best Supporting Actor’ and ‘Best Supporting Actress’, with contenders like Ryan Gosling and America Ferrera, could further boost its chances.

While “Barbie” faces tough competition, early wins upsets on the technical side could propel it to victory.

Chance to win Best Picture: 10%

With only five Oscar nominations, “Anatomy of a Fall” may seem like an underdog, but its presence in key categories makes it a formidable contender.

Having won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and subsequent accolades, including Golden Globes and BAFTAs, “Anatomy of a Fall” has garnered significant praise. As a comparison, in 2019, Parasite won the Palme d’Or and went on to win Best Picture and three other Oscars.

To win Best Picture, the film needs to sweep its nominated categories. Its success could mirror that of “CODA”, which won Best Picture in 2022 with only three nominations.

Chance to win Best Picture: 5%

The Zone of Interest finds itself in a unique position, straddling the line between contention and long shot. Securing nominations in the fiercely competitive categories of ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ is indeed promising, indicating its potential as a strong contender for ‘Best Picture’.

While also being nominated for ‘Best International Feature’, the film’s path to winning ‘Best Picture’ would likely entail securing victories in most of its nominated categories. This feat is still within reach considering its status as a frontrunner in ‘Best International Feature’ and its strong prospects in ‘Best Sound’ and ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’.

Should Anatomy of a Fall, snag an additional Oscar alongside its ‘International Feature’ win, The Zone of Interest could find itself in a more favorable position for a ‘Best Picture’ win. A triumph in the ‘Best Director’ category would undoubtedly elevate its chances, making the ‘Best Picture’ race a closely fought battle by the end of the night.

Chance to win Best Picture: 5%

Upsets & Underdogs

Let’s dive into the underdogs—four films with strong cases but would be a shocker if they snagged the coveted ‘Best Picture’ award.

Our team was thoroughly impressed with ‘American Fiction‘, and it’s evident that director Cord Jefferson is on the rise after his stellar feature film debut.

However, for ‘American Fiction’ to clinch ‘Best Picture’, heavyweights like Oppenheimer, Poor Things, and Barbie would need to be surprisingly shut out across the board. While not impossible, it’s a tough task. If Jeffrey Wright manages to secure an Oscar for his role as ‘Monk’, it could be a game-changer, but realistically, the film might have to settle for a win in a key category like ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ and hope it’s enough to sway voters. Will it happen? Probably not.

Chance to win Best Picture: < 1%

So, why is ‘Maestro‘ considered a long shot despite its seven Oscar nominations, including nods for Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan? Well, despite its promising premise centered around composer Leonard Bernstein, the film appears poised to walk away empty-handed—aka, an egg.

It seems the Academy has yet to appreciate Bradley Cooper’s transition from an actor to being behind the scenes. While the film garnered several nominations across the board, Cooper’s exclusion from the Best Director category signals that he still hasn’t crossed the line of true recognition. Despite his impressive track record with 12 Oscar nominations under his belt, spanning various roles from producer to writer to actor. Even in his directorial debut with ‘A Star is Born’, which garnered eight nominations and a single Oscar win, Cooper missed out on a directing nomination—a surprising oversight.

Now, let’s entertain the hypothetical scenario of ‘Maestro’ pulling off a ‘Best Picture’ win. Firstly, the film would need to secure some wins in categories like ‘Best Sound’ and ‘Best Makeup and Hairstyling’, coupled with unexpected upsets in fiercely competitive categories such as ‘Best Cinematography’ and ‘Best Original Screenplay’. Additionally, a win in either the ‘Best Actor’ or ‘Best Actress’ category would be crucial, and while it’s a tough call, Mulligan could potentially snatch an upset victory here.

With all these stars aligning, perhaps Bradley Cooper could finally claim his well-deserved Oscar after being nominated a dozen times. Yes, it’s surprising to think that the actor, renowned for his comedic roles and voicing Rocket in the MCU, has yet to secure his first Academy Award despite his noteworthy performances in multiple films.

Chance to win Best Picture: < 1%

With nominations solely for ‘Best Picture’ and ‘Best Original Screenplay’, ‘Past Lives‘ holds the distinction of having the fewest nods among this year’s Best Picture nominees.

Pulling off what may be considered the biggest upset in Oscar history would require the film to secure its sole nomination in screenplay and witness some unprecedented turns of events. If awards start splitting among the contenders, this dark horse might emerge victorious.

Chance to win Best Picture: < 1%

Directed by Alexander Payne, ‘The Holdovers‘ enters the race with five nominations, including a promising lead by Da’Vine Joy Randolph in the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ category.

However, for it to clinch ‘Best Picture’, the film would need to sweep its nominations, which includes a potential upset by Paul Giamatti. If successful, it would mark Payne’s third Oscar win after his acclaimed works like ‘Sideways’ and ‘The Descendants’.

Chance to win Best Picture: < 1%

With the Oscars swiftly approaching this Sunday, anticipation is reaching its peak as Hollywood prepares for its most prestigious night.

Who do you think will emerge victorious on Hollywood’s biggest stage? Share your predictions and join the excitement as we countdown to the Oscars. Who’s your pick for the winners? Let’s hear your thoughts!

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