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My FINAL 2024 Oscars Picks

Best Live Action Short Film:
HEAD: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
HEART: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
This delightful short from Wes Anderson and starring Benedict Cumberbatch might seem strange considering bigger names don't typically dabble in these categories but if they're all this good they really should start.

Best Costume Design:
HEAD: Barbie
HEART: Poor Things

This and Production Design are going to be a fascinating and quite frankly toss-up battle between Poor Things and Barbie in my mind. Of course Oppenheimer might just go Titanic on everyone and sweep away but in this my heart is with the insane abstractness of Poor Things even though I think Barbie will win the category for it's sheer volume and scope alone.

Best Documentary Short Subject:
HEAD: The ABCs of Book Banning
HEART: Island In Between

Political message documentary shorts are typically rewarded and ABCs fits the bill while also being prescient. But I loved the personal touches of current events that Island brought to a situation that is going to come under more and more scrutiny in the next few years.

Best Animated Short Film:
HEAD: Letter To A Pig
HEART: War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko

This is perhaps the most downer collection of films in this category. Picking is quite literally a matter of preference this year as there's not much separation in my mind. I liked the sentiment (even if it's hitting you over the head) of War is Over but I think the political environment will thrust Pig to the front even as the longest nominee of the bunch.

Best Visual Effect:
HEAD: The Creator
HEART: Godzilla Minus One

Some would probably check themselves that Oppenheimer wasn't nominated but honestly most of the effects were practical. I have a soft spot for the truly fantastic Godzilla Minus One but watching the merging of man and tech in The Creator really shows you what artists special effect workers are.

Best Film Editing:
HEAD: Oppenheimer
HEART: Oppenheimer

This won't be the first time I say this but the scope and skill on display in Oppenheimer is one of the most impressive feats in recent film memory. The editing of this film is so tight and keeps us so invested even despite watching people talk about theoretical physics for 3 hours.

Best Production Design:
HEAD: Poor Things
HEART: Barbie

I said it with Costume Design and here we are again. Poor Things and Barbie were easily the most visually creative films this year and either are worthy winners in both categories. I gave Barbie the costume nod and I'm giving Poor Things the set nod for it's delightfully abstract take on real-world cities making us all feel like we're in the same Dali fever dream.

Best Cinematography:
HEAD: Oppenheimer
HEART: Oppenheimer

Everything I said with Editing goes here with Oppenheimer. And as a secondary note, van Hoytema is quickly approaching unrivaled territory when it comes to this category.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
HEAD: Poor Things
HEART: Society of the Snow

A pure head-heart choice here. JA Bayona's Society of the Snow is one of the best films that no one has paid attention to all year. It's a fantastic film and should have gotten more noms. If there were equal distribution it would win this but as such I think Poor Things is the best of the remaining and will ultiamtely take its 2nd and final award of the night.

Best Sound:
HEAD: The Zone of Interest
HEART: The Zone of Interest

This category is usually reserved for the best action film of the bunch or for any war movie that has gotten sufficient play. While you could categorize Zone that way, it's sound achievement is beyond what many winners of this category in the past can claim. This will be another fascinating show of Oppenheimer and it's coat tails but Zone and it's haunting sound design should easily take this award.

Best Original Song:
HEAD: "What Was I Made For" - Barbie
HEART: "I'm Just Ken" - Barbie

RANT INCOMING: Once again, the Academy has no interest in nominating songs that are skillful and actually important to their film. They rightly put Barbie's two best songs in but the other nominees here are very simply publicity plays. In that sense, "Ken" should be the winner here for it's entertainment and originality but my guess is Billie Eilish takes home her second Oscar for a pretty bland ballad if we're being honest.

Best Original Score:
HEAD: Oppenheimer
HEART: Oppenheimer

RANT PART 2 SORT OF INCOMING: This is the other category the Academy usually goes out of its way to get painfully wrong. And even though there are GLARING omissions this year (where in the hell is Daniel Pemberton?) this sould be a very easy call for Goransson this year to take home his second Oscar for his omnipresent masterpiece of score.

Best International Feature Film:
HEAD: The Zone of Interest (UK)
HEART: Society of the Snow (Spain)

This is a hard one for my head-heart battle. As I said earlier Society is a gem of a film that has simply been forgotten in an amazingly strong year of filmmaking. But Zone is one of those films that just STAYS with you not just because of its subject matter but the way that Glazer and crew make you feel like you're right there in it.

Documentary Feature:
HEAD: 20 Days in Mariupol
HEART: 20 Days in Mariupol

War documentaries are going to be much more commonplace in the coming years and they should all strive to be as good as this one. This is an easy call in my mind despite a very diverse crop of nominees.

Best Animated Feature Film:
HEAD: Spider-Man: Across The Spiderverse
HEART: Spider-Man: Across The Spiderverse

I said it when it came out and will gladly say it again: Across The Spiderverse made me feel the way I did watching The Two Towers when it came out. A truly epic fantasty masterpiece that deepens our love of the characters we knew, raised the stakes and gave us fantastic stakes for the finale. I know Boy and the Heron will probably take this as Ghibli's last feature but the Sony team SHOULD be taking home their second statue tonight.

Best Adapted Screenplay:
HEAD: Oppenheimer
HEART: American Fiction

Lots of head-heart battle here. I appreciate the immense task that Nolan crew pulled off taking a sprawling biography, turning it into a first-person expose of historical narrative and still adding in his love of high-brow science. But in my heart I would love to see the delightfully satirical and biting American Fiction to take home this award and reward a truly fantastic film in a year where it doesn't have a lot of clear paths to victory.

Best Original Screenplay:
HEAD: Anatomy of a Fall
HEART: Anatomy of a Fall

For once I'm in agreement with myself. Bizarrely France did not submit this for Best International Feature and as such has really this as its best shot to take home some hardware. If I had my way it would. This script is tight, cuts out absolutely all of the fluff other similar stories have had and actually gives you a film where either outcome you believe you can convince yourself you're right. For a script to walk that tight rope so effectively is rare and it deserves some recognition.

Actress in a Supporting Role:
HEAD: Da'Vine Joy Randolph - The Holdovers
HEART: Da'Vine Joy Randolph - The Holdovers

As has been the case in previous years, these categories have largely been decided by the guilds and lead-up shows. Randolph is an incredibly deserving winner, creatively a grieving but strong character that permits the others in the story to let their guards down and give us the richness of personal growth the film holds.

Actor in a Supporting Role:
HEAD: Robert Downey Jr. - Oppenheimer
HEART: Robert Downey Jr. - Oppenheimer

You'll find no bigger fan of RDJ than me and that's not just because of my Marvel love. He's long been one of the most skilled actors on the planet and his natural talents are put on FULL display in Oppenheimer; seamlessly dissappearing into the role and reminding everyone that his talent truly has no bounds. An overdue but easily earned win.

Best Actress in a Leading Role:
HEAD: Lily Gladstone - Killers of the Flower Moon
HEART: Sandra Huller - Anatomy of a Fall

This is going to be a fascinating race to break down as I think it's about as even as it can be between Emma Stone and Lily Gladstone. Non-merit based factors would seem to favor Gladstone as Emma has won previously and Lily would be the first Native American to win this award. I honestly don't know who takes this but my gut tells me Gladstone. In my mind though the best performance of the year was Huller's haunting and vulnerable turn in Anatomy. Her time will come.

Best Actor in a Leading Role:
HEAD: Paul Giamatti - The Holdovers
HEART: Cillian Murphy - Oppenheimer

I've had a 21 year streak of picking this award correctly and I feel it may come to an end this year because this is easily the hardest one to call. The Guilds have basically tied Giamatti and Murphy. And while you could try external factors to break the tie, both of these actors have the "it's time for them" and sentimentality narratives going for them. I've been hearing more chatter for Giamatti recently and so I'm picking him but man I would be equally as pleased for Murphy to take his flowers for his amazingly consistent performance. Toss a coin if you have to.

Best Director:
HEAD: Christopher Nolan - Oppenheimer
HEART: Christopher Nolan - Oppenheimer

This is the easiest award of the night. Nolan's stellar filmography has shockingly never produced a Best Director win. That will change tonight and it's fitting that it's for perhaps his most impressive feat as a director. Oppenheimer isn't my favorite Nolan film (probably 5th if I'm honest) but it's a feat of filmmaking that is likely not to be seen for a long time.

Best Picture:
HEAD: Oppenheimer
HEART: Oppenheimer

Similarly, this award is not much in question. Now yes the impliment of ranked-choice voting has made this an easier award to steal for smaller insurgent films but there just isn't one singular contender this year because it's been so good all across the board. Ever since the Summer it's felt like Oppenheimer was the leader and tonight it completes its impressive run to the top prize in the industry.

Jeremy is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of the Front Row Network. He also hosts Network show "Are You Afraid of the Podcast?" with his wife Sara Baltusevich.
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