Movies with Michael: Acing your Oscars ballot

Movies with Michael: Focusing on Oscars

Michael Gendron looks at all the nominated movies and breaks down his bracket.

The Oscars are this Sunday and when it comes to predicting the winners and crafting the perfect ballot for your Oscars Party or workplace pool, it’s not just about selecting personal favorites; it’s about the odds and trusting your instincts because surprises are always in store.

It was undoubtedly the summer of Barbenheimer, and one might expect the Oscars to follow suit. Barbie boasts an impressive 8 nominations, while Oppenheimer leads the pack with a staggering 13. I expect that Oppenheimer will do very well during the awards, securing between six to nine wins. I am very confident it will win for Best Picture, Best Director (Christopher Nolan), Best Supporting Actor (Robert Downey Jr.), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Score. As for Best Actor, I’m leaning towards Cillian Murphy winning for Oppenheimer, but I wouldn’t be surprised by a Paul Giamatti upset for The Holdovers. In the adapted screenplay category, I recommend backing either Oppenheimer or American Fiction. The sound category is very competitive, and I’m split between Oppenheimer and The Zone of Interest.

My boldest Oscars prediction is that Barbie will only secure one win for the night. It appears to have lost momentum in this awards season to Poor Things, which I believe will take home the gold in Costume Design and Production Design. However, if you still support Barbie to win in those categories, I wouldn’t blame you. Barbie, however, is nearly guaranteed to win Best Original Song for Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?”.

The Best Visual Effects category is a very fun and competitive category this year. Arguments could be made for The Creator or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but when the nominees were announced in January, Godzilla Minus One received audible cheers. I believe the Academy will honor this smaller Japanese production for its incredible work, especially considering its reported budget of less than $14 million.

While we’ve discussed the actors for the night, let’s not forget the actresses. Nothing is ever one hundred percent, but Da’Vine Joy Randolph for Best Supporting Actress in The Holdovers may be the closest thing to a lock for the night besides The Zone of Interest in the Best International Film category—the sole nominee also contending for Best Picture.

Lastly, the race for Best Actress has been one of the season’s most watched, with Emma Stone in Poor Things and Lily Gladstone in Killers of the Flower Moon splitting wins in the precursor awards. This situation mirrors last year’s contest between Cate Blanchette for Tár and Michelle Yeoh for Everything, Everywhere, All at Once. Similar to last year, I believe the Academy will honor the actress who hasn’t won before, leading me to support Lily Gladstone over Stone, who already has an Oscar for her performance in La La Land.