Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Expect an Oppenheimer-themed affair

Devin Hung offers his predictions for the Oscars

I can think of no better way to get in the awards season spirit than by predicting this year’s Oscar winners. The 96th Academy Awards air on ABC on Sunday.

My predictions are not what I personally want to win. They are based on precursor awards shows, how many Oscar nominations certain movies received, and past trends that the Academy Awards have followed.

There is only one movie that is impressive in all three of these regards: “Oppenheimer.” It has won dozens of awards and received a staggering 13 Oscar nominations.

It is a thought-provoking and emotional World War II biopic, a type of movie Oscar voters love. I am extremely confident that it will win Best Picture.

I’m even more confident that Christopher Nolan will win Best Director. “Oppenheimer” is praised as Nolan’s magnum opus by many and his devotion to cinema as an art form makes him one of the most beloved people in the film industry.

I also expect Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr. to win Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Downey Jr. has won all four major precursor awards (the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, British Academy Film and Television, and Screen Actors Guild awards), and Murphy won all but the Critics’ Choice. It certainly helps that they’re both likable people and are excellent in an esteemed film.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph should have no problem winning Best Supporting Actress for her great work in “The Holdovers.” Just like Downey Jr., she has been the awards-season sweeper. Stiff competition in other categories makes me think that this will be the only award for this charming holiday film.

Unlike the other acting categories, Best Actress is exciting and extremely unpredictable. It’s a Battle of the Stones: Lily Gladstone and Emma Stone.

Gladstone has the narrative on her side; she would be the first Indigenous actor to ever win an Oscar. She also won the SAG award, which doesn’t typically award understated performances, no matter how strong and deserving. But “Killers of the Flower Moon” missed predicted nominations like Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay, which points to Oscar voters lacking passion for this film.

Stone has already won an Oscar for “La La Land,” but she could easily win another. “Poor Things” got 11 nominations, the second most of any movie, and Stone is exuberant in her portrayal of a reanimated woman who questions and disrupts the social norms meant to confine her. I think this category will be a nail-biter until the envelope is opened, but my prediction is Emma Stone.

Another difficult category to predict is Best Animated Feature. “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is likely to get the votes of those who don’t care about animation and will just go with what is popular. Not to say that it won’t get passion votes, but the Academy Awards are notorious for having a bias against animation.

“The Boy and the Heron” will have a lot of support from Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki fans. It also won the Golden Globe and BAFTA awards, both of which were unexpected. My prediction is still “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” for being the more popular film, but I won’t be surprised if the Oscars choose to honor Miyazaki for the first time since “Spirited Away”.

The Best Visual Effects race is also tough to call. “The Creator,” a sci-fi action epic, has astonishing visual effects and would be a typical winner of this category. But it received mixed to negative reviews and was not seen by many.

It contends against “Godzilla Minus One,” which is my prediction to win. The effects work isn’t as obvious, showy, or numerous as in “The Creator,” but it is easily the most popular and adored film in this category. Similar to “RRR” winning Best Original Song last year, I think the film that became a memorable cinematic touchstone will get votes of passion and snag an Oscar.

On the topic of Best Original Song, “Barbie” has this award locked up. “What Was I Made For?” won Best Song at the Grammys, which shocked me personally. The last time a song written for a movie won this award was in 1999 for “My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic,” which was a no-brainer to win the Oscar as well.

I think this is where the wins for “Barbie” end. The much-talked-about snubs were a sign that Oscar voters weren’t head over heels for this film. Many are predicting Best Production Design and Best Costume Design Oscars for “Barbie,” but I think the lavish production values of “Poor Things” will be rewarded instead.

“Barbie” does have a chance to win Best Adapted Screenplay, but “American Fiction” has won plenty of awards for its comedic satire on race. Cord Jefferson will likely win an Oscar for his impressive directorial debut.

Ever since “Anatomy of a Fall” unexpectedly won the combined Screenplay award at the Golden Globes, this ambiguous and tense murder mystery was my prediction to win Best Original Screenplay. Writer-director Justine Triet has continued to win writing awards along with her husband, Arthur Harari, and has solidified this film as the front-runner for the Oscar.

I think the Oscars will give an award to almost every movie nominated for Best Picture this year. “Maestro” will probably win Best Makeup and Hairstyling for the transformative work on Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein, and “The Zone of Interest” should have no problem winning Best International Feature for its haunting depiction of evil during the Holocaust. “Past Lives,” a tender Korean love story, and “Killers of the Flower Moon” are the only Best Picture nominees that I am predicting to go home empty-handed.

I fully expect “Oppenheimer” to be the biggest winner come Oscar night. In addition to Picture, Director, Actor, and Supporting Actor, wins in Best Cinematography, Editing, Sound, and Score are all deserved and expected. If “Oppenheimer” wins all these awards, this will be the most Oscars a movie will win since Slumdog Millionaire won eight in 2009.

I am not confident in all of my predictions, but I think that this is generally a predictable Academy Awards. Regardless, I am incredibly excited to find out what great films will be awarded. 2023 was a fantastic year for movies, and this years’ Oscars reflect that very well.


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About the Contributor
Devin Hung
Devin Hung, Contributor
Hi! My name is Devin Hung and I am a second-year student majoring in Cinematic Arts at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. I am extremely passionate about film and hope to pursue a career as a film critic and fiction writer.

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