Oscars nominations 2024: Barbie and Oppenheimer set to dominate

By Steven McIntosh

Entertainment reporter

Nominations for the 2024 Oscars will be announced later, after a huge year for cinema which saw Barbie and Oppenheimer dominate the box office.

Poor Things, The Holdovers and Killers of the Flower Moon are also expected to feature heavily when the nominations are announced from 13:30 GMT.

Cillian Murphy, Emma Stone, Robert Downey Jr and Da’Vine Joy Randolph are all likely to score acting nominations.

Jimmy Kimmel will host this year’s ceremony from Los Angeles on 10 March.

The Barbenheimer phenomenon, a viral trend which saw thousands of fans book tickets to see both films on the same day last summer, makes this year’s Oscars far more accessible than usual.

While several Academy Awards ceremonies in recent years have recognised films which had little breakthrough with the general public, producers will be hoping Barbie and Oppenheimer’s likely inclusion will result in a surge in interest and viewing figures.

Which films are competing for best picture?

Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy arrive for the UK premiere of Oppenheimer, at the Odeon Luxe, Leicester Square in London. Picture date: Thursday July 13, 2023
Image caption,Oppenheimer, starring Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy, is likely to pick up the most nominations

After a rule change a few years ago intended to widen the field, the best picture category now has a guaranteed 10 slots available.

There is general consensus that Oppenheimer, Barbie, Poor Things, Killers of the Flower Moon and The Holdovers will all score nominations.

Anatomy of a Fall, Maestro, The Zone of Interest, Past Lives and American Fiction are also seen as hot favourites and very likely to compete for the Academy’s most prestigious prize.

But there are plenty of other contenders which could easily spring nominations in the top category, such as The Color Purple, Society of the Snow, All of Us Strangers and May December.

In recent days, there has also been a last-minute campaign – similar to the one that netted Andrea Riseborough a surprise acting nomination last year – for Origin to be recognised at the Oscars, after it missed out at a string of precursor ceremonies.

Who’s in the acting race?

Actor Carey Mulligan and Bradley Cooper attend the 14th Governors Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 9, 2024
Image caption,Maestro stars Carey Mulligan and Bradley Cooper are likely to secure lead actress and actor nominations

After a slightly weaker field in 2023, this year’s best actor category is extremely crowded and competitive.

The frontrunner is Paul Giamatti for The Holdovers, a film which sees him play a grumpy teacher who must stay in school over Christmas to supervise the pupils who aren’t going home for the holidays.

Cillian Murphy is also in the race for his portrayal of theoretical physicist J Robert Oppenheimer, while Bradley Cooper could be recognised for his performance as composer Leonard Bernstein in Maestro.

Meanwhile, Rustin’s Colman Domingo is a strong contender for his depiction of civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, and Jeffrey Wright could be recognised for his role as a frustrated author in American Fiction.

Other possible but slightly less likely contenders include Killers of the Flower Moon star Leonardo DiCaprio, The Iron Claw’s Zac Efron, Saltburn’s Barry Keoghan and Andrew Scott for All of Us Strangers.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone attend the AFI Awards at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on January 12, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.
Image caption,Killers of the Flower Moon’s Lily Gladstone (pictured with co-star Leonardo DiCaprio) is a dead-cert for a best actress nod

The best actress category is just as busy. Lily Gladstone will likely be recognised for her role in Killers of the Flower Moon as an Osage woman living in 1920s Oklahoma who must deal with efforts by white settlers to take advantage of their land for oil.

Poor Things star Emma Stone will almost certainly be nominated for her performance as an infant whose brain has been transplanted into the body of a grown woman, who then goes on an adventure across the world.

Sandra Hüller could be recognised for playing a mother accused of murdering her husband in Anatomy of a Fall, while Maestro’s Carey Mulligan is likely to be one of the few British nominees for her portrayal of Leonard Bernstein’s wife Felicia Montealegre.

The Academy may well include Margot Robbie for Barbie, the monster box office hit which she also produced, Past Lives star Greta Lee for her role as a woman who reconnects with her childhood sweetheart, or Nyad’s Annette Bening for her portrayal of record-breaking swimmer Diana Nyad.

There’s also still a chance that The Color Purple star Fantasia Barrino could make it in, as could Cailee Spaeny for her portrayal of Priscilla Presley.

What about the supporting categories?

Da'Vine Joy Randolph speaks as she receives the Best Supporting Actress award during the 29th Annual Critics Choice Awards in Santa Monica, California, U.S., January 14, 2024
Image caption,Da’Vine Joy Randolph has dominated the precursors including the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards

The Holdovers star Da’Vine Joy Randolph is the safest bet of all the acting categories – she has dominated at all the precursor ceremonies and is very likely to win best supporting actress at the Oscars.

She could be joined in the category by The Color Purple star Danielle Brooks, Oppenheimer’s Emily Blunt, Nyad’s Jodie Foster and Ferrari’s Penélope Cruz.

Other possible nominees include Julianne Moore of May December, Saltburn’s Rosamund Pike and Barbie’s America Ferrera.

The supporting actor race will almost certainly be led by Oppenheimer’s Robert Downey Jr. But there is competition from Barbie’s Ryan Gosling, American Fiction’s Sterling K Brown and May December’s Charles Melton.

Meanwhile, two actors from Poor Things – Mark Ruffalo and Willem Dafoe – could be recognised, and it’s never a good idea to bet against Robert De Niro, who appeared in Killers of the Flower Moon.

What about the directors?

French director Justine Triet poses with the awards for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture and Best Motion Picture Non-English Language for "Anatomy of a Fall" in the press room during the 81st annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 7, 2024
Image caption,Anatomy of a Fall director Justine Triet pictured with her Golden Globes for best foreign language film and best screenplay

Several Oscars stalwarts released films this year and will almost certainly show up in this category – such as Martin Scorsese for Killers of the Flower Moon, and Christopher Nolan (Oppenheimer).

There could also well be recognition for Greta Gerwig for Barbie, Jonathan Glazer for The Zone of Interest and Yorgos Lanthimos for Poor Things.

Otherwise, spots could go to Justine Triet for Anatomy of a Fall, Alexander Payne for The Holdovers, Bradley Cooper for Maestro and potentially even Celine Song for her accomplished directorial debut Past Lives.

Two of the last three winners of best director have been women – although last year it was an entirely male set of nominees.

Why is best original song so crowded?

Billie Eilish and FINNEAS accept the award for Best Original Song - Motion Picture for "What Was I Made For?" — Barbie Music & Lyrics at the 81st Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., on January 7, 2024
Image caption,Billie Elish and Finneas could repeat their Golden Globe win at the Oscars

In a word, Barbie. The film’s soundtrack was almost as ubiquitous last summer as the movie itself.

Three different songs from the film are in contention for the musical prize this year – Billie Eilish‘s What Was I Made For?, Dua Lipa‘s Dance the Night and I’m Just Ken performed by actor Ryan Gosling.

However, according to Oscar rules, only two songs from the same film can be nominated – so at least one of the above will miss out.

The remaining slots could be taken by the likes of Lenny Kravitz’s Road to Freedom from Rustin and It Never Went Away from American Symphony, written by Jon Batiste and Dan Wilson of British rock group Semisonic.

But don’t bet against competition from songs lifted from the soundtracks of The Color Purple, Flora and Son, Flamin’ Hot and The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – which could see Olivia Rodrigo nominated for Can’t Catch Me Now.

How to watch the Oscar nominations

Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks on Thursday, December 14, 2023
Image caption,Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks star in The Color Purple and both received Bafta nominations last week

You can watch the Oscar nominations being announced live on the Academy’s official website and YouTube account – and streamed in the UK on ITVX.

The nominations for all categories will be read out by actors Zazie Beetz and Jack Quaid from 13:30 GMT.

The ceremony will take place on 10 March and be broadcast in the UK on ITV.

Read more about the likely nominees:

  • Poor Things: Emma Stone: Sex scenes in Poor Things are ‘honest’
  • All of Us Strangers: Andrew Scott film explores trauma and loss
  • The Holdovers: The Holdovers: Could it be a new Christmas classic?
  • Barbie: Billie Eilish dedicates award to people struggling
  • Oppenheimer: Cillian Murphy film marches towards Oscars success
  • American Fiction: White audiences ‘too comfortable with black clichés’
  • Rustin: The gay civil rights activist history forgot
  • The Color Purple: Stars want to make Oprah proud
  • Nyad: Netflix film follows woman who braved sharks and jellyfish
  • Past Lives: The film on lost love that crosses continents
  • Saltburn: Director discusses ‘revolting’ bathtub scene
  • Priscilla: Sofia Coppola on filming Priscilla in 30 days on tight budget
  • Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage murders nearly erased from US history
  • May December: Film explores ‘disquieting moral ambiguity’
  • Society of the Snow: Society of the Snow film explores cannibalism and survival
  • Maestro: Why the Bradley Cooper nose row is complicated

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