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Our Oscars Preview - Best Picture [2024]

By: Hopster & Isaac P. Ale
March 08, 2024

It's Oscars Week '24! Maybe this our year to nail our predictions... Here is Part 5 of our preview.

Best Picture

Be sure to check out our second podcast episode! Last year we took on the Ballard Brewery Passport, trying beers from eleven breweries and talking about the Bet Picture nominees along the way. This year we took our proclivity for beer tasting to Chicago and traveled to ten breweries! Check out the new episode for some more Best Picture insights, and lovely beer chats.


  • American Fiction – Ben LeClair, Nikos Karamigios, Cord Jefferson, and Jermaine Johnson, producers (+5500)
  • Anatomy of a Fall – Marie-Ange Luciani and David Thion, producers (+3100)
  • Barbie – David Heyman, Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, and Robbie Brenner, producers (+1600)
  • The Holdovers – Mark Johnson, producer (+4200)
  • Killers of the Flower Moon – Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas, Martin Scorsese, and Daniel Lupi, producers (+3100)
  • Maestro – Bradley Cooper, Steven Spielberg, Fred Berner, Amy Durning, and Kristie Macosko Krieger, producers **(+10000)
  • Oppenheimer – Emma Thomas, Charles Roven, and Christopher Nolan, producers (-3500)
  • Past Lives – David Hinojosa, Christine Vachon, and Pamela Koffler, producers (+10000)
  • Poor Things – Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe, Yorgos Lanthimos, and Emma Stone, producers (+1300)
  • The Zone of Interest – James Wilson, producer (+4500)

Time to Make the Case...

Greta Lee and Teo Yoo in Past Lives Past Lives [2023]

Past Lives

Isaac: Celine Song's debut feature film, in writing and directing, is nothing short of a marvel in this year's field. Released in late Spring, early Summer the film didn't have a ton of real marketing. Most of it was from word of mouth or smaller campaigns. But what did you really expect from a humble debut romance feature that's as endearing as it is heartbreaking? The fact that it was incredible was a bit of a shock, but also it being nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay is amazing. I think it is wholly worthy of these accolades as Song's vision is unbelievably clear and executed outrageously well for a first time director. I also think this film had so much going for it that Greta Lee could've gotten into Best Actress, Teo Yoo could've gotten in Best Supporting Actor, and hell I think John Magaro's beautiful lines in the film could warrant another Supporting nomination! It's always fun when smaller, quieter films like Past Lives make such an impact and it certainly deserves to be in the top ten films of the year, maybe even the top five of the year. It has rather slim chances to take home the big award, but I couldn't be happier at its recognition of being worthy.

Carey Mulligan and Bradley Cooper in Maestro Maestro [2023]


Hopster: Being labeled (by some) as this year's Elvis in the Best Picture race shouldn't undermine the good things about Maestro, a movie that I might be sweeter towards than others. No, I don't think it should be competing for the Oscar's top prize, and yet I don't think it is nearly as bad as people seem to want it to be. It's a beautifully put together film, one with an overwritten script (that I think is severely overrated) and is chock-full of way too much over-the-top capital-A acting. There is a lot of style but also a lot of prosthetics; there are a lot of filmmaking flexes, but also a lot of self-congratulatory antics by the captain at the helm of its pretentious ship. And despite some of his insufferable bullshit, I'm still a Bradley Cooper believer. I was a staunch defender of him during his A Star Is Born era and have little doubt that he will secure Oscar glory sooner than later (albeit later than he would prefer it to happen). Will Maestro have any kind of enduring legacy once this awards season comes to a close? Hard to say, but it feels destined to be mostly forgotten within the deep recesses of the Netflix library. If anything, Maestro might end up being remembered as the movie that pushed Cooper to aim even higher and take even bigger swings – if that's even possible.

Jeffrey Wright in American Fiction American Fiction [2023]

American Fiction

Isaac: Another debut feature film in the Best Picture race! Cord Jefferson's fantastic satire, based on the novel Erasure, is another incredibly well put together film that is full of worthy nominations. With five total nominations, American Fiction ties the sixth best number of nominations which mind you, is insane for a debut film. It's the current favorite in Adapted Screenplay, which I have it winning, and that's due to it's delicate balance of heart, humor, and heavy handed satire. Currently, Jefferson's film sits at the second lowest odds to win, but I don't want that to deter anyone from seeing this film! Jeffrey Wright feasts in one of his first leading opportunities, and appropriately was nominated for Best Actor, and Sterling K. Brown is magnificent as always. But in the end, to me it's Jefferson's script that brings the meat to the table and is the main driver for the film's complete accolades. Again, it probably won't win, but it is certainly a top ten film of the year.

Dominic Sessa and Paul Giamatti in The Holdovers The Holdovers [2023]

The Holdovers

Hopster: The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year... or so the carolers sing. For many, those same warm-hearted yuletide carols of glad tidings invoke more melancholy than they do holly jolly. It takes a special artist to illustrate the wide spectrum of emotions one can feel during the Christmas season, and Alexander Payne accomplishes that and more with his instant holiday classic, The Holdovers. Everything about this film feels both timely and timeless – it is one thing to make a movie that is set in the 1970s, but it's another thing to make it feel as if the movie could've actually been made in the 70's. With an airtight script full themes of deeply heartfelt emotions and reconciliation with the past, it is incredible what sort of tonal command Payne has over this material. With a trio of excellent performances holding it all together, I can't help but believe that The Holdovers will only get better with each passing year (I stand by our no-hesitation decision to rank this as one of the ten best holiday films of all time. While the film is not a major contender at the Oscars (not counting one Ms. Da'Vine Joy Randolph), I'm glad for its inclusion as a Best Picture nominee, and hopefully, many will have a chance to discover it and enjoy it for years to come. Oh tidings of comfort and joy!

Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in Killers of the Flower Moon The Killers of the Flower Moon [2023]

Killers of the Flower Moon

Isaac: Can I just say this is another Martin Scorsese masterpiece and that's why it could win? Maybe not since it has relatively low odds, but any other year I'd just leave it at that! Killers of the Flower Moon is one of the few justifiably long-as-hell movies that is made to perfection. Not only does this speak to the immense talent and vision of Scorsese but also Thelma Schoonmaker's impossible editing. The depiction of such horrid moments in American history with such brutality, yet also not being exploitative and pandering is awe-inspiring. Not to mention you have a trio of jaw dropping performances from Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, and Robert De Niro with two out of three being nominated for their role. Speaking of nominations, this film ranks third across the Best Picture nominees with ten total nominations, a sure sign of another absolute heater from Scorsese. Now, I'm not saying let's just give Scorsese all the awards all the time. But further down the road, when we look back at his filmography and how late career movies like The Irishman and Killers of the Flower Moon walk away with little to no wins, there will be nothing but feelings of emptiness. One of the greatest filmmakers to ever grace us with their craft, has become somewhat under appreciated in the last few years. It truly is a shame and I stand by thinking that Killers of the Flower Moon is damn near flawless and has just as much juice if not more than other nominees to win Best Picture.

But it sadly probably won't happen.

Margot Robbie in Barbie Barbie [2023]


Hopster: Do I really have anything more to say about Barbie beyond what I said back in July? Honestly, probably not. What else is there to say that hasn't already been said? And said again and again and again. When a film makes over $1 billion at the box office, it will inevitably get picked over and scavenged by every Culture Vulture™ who thinks they have a unique opinion and an important perspective to share with the masses. And when a film makes over $1 billion at the box office that is a directed by a woman... well that had never happened before Barbie, so I guess we're living in a new world! There's a growing feeling I've been having in the weeks leading up to the Oscars that the Academy is more interested in using Barbie to pull in viewership than its voters are interested in voting for it. That isn't a conspiracy theory, that's just probably a true statement. The Culture Vultures™ had a field day in the wake of the Oscar nominations (if you don't remember), and the film's defenders probably hurt the film's reputation more than they helped it. If for some reason you didn't know, there are snubs EVERY YEAR leading up to the Oscars. Should Gerwig have been nominated for Best Director? You could certainly make the case for her. Should Robbie have been nominated for Best Actress? You could make the case for her, too. Was it screwed over by the Academy and stuck in Best Adapted Screenplay rather than Best Original Screenplay. Absolutely, but let's not regurgitate that topic again. Lest we forget it did receive EIGHT Oscar nominations (of which it will most likely win a few). Despite its seemingly disappointing and somewhat lackluster fizzle this awards season, Barbie remains one of the biggest and best films of 2023. It will also undoubtedly be one of the most memorable and will long outlive many of these other films. And that my friends is better than any Academy Award.

The Zone of Interest The Zone of Interest [2023]

The Zone of Interest

Isaac: There isn't a single movie in this lineup that made me feel the way The Zone of Interest did. You can take that as a good or a bad thing, but I love when movies move you in any emotional direction, in such a profound way. Jonathan Glazer's holocaust film, an adaptation of the book of the same name, is something that will be studied for years to come. A modern filmmaking masterpiece that utilizes every drop of finesse to its advantage, I don't think I was the same person walking out of the theater than the one that walked in. While The Zone of Interest isn't in any of the acting categories, its the flawless directing and technical work that's brought it here. The sound of the film alone could've brought it into the Best Picture race because you simply haven't seen anything like it before. Steven Spielberg has even come out saying that this is the most important holocaust film since his own in Schindler's List. Truly a towering achievement that displays the banality of evil, The Zone of Interest is one of my top five films of the year no doubt. I don't think it stands much of a chance here though because there is some trend amongst voters where during tumultuous times in the world voters lean on "happier" films. It's a crock of shit because this is one of, if not the, most important film of the year. If you're looking at a filmmaking achievement in a vacuum, no box office, no marketing campaigns, no frills, then The Zone of Interest by all measures should win.

Sandra Hüller and Swann Arlaud in Anatomy of a Fall Anatomy of a Fall [2023]

Anatomy of a Fall

Hopster: Many films are set in the past but only some have something to say about the modern times we are currently living in. Six (or maybe seven?) of this year's Best Picture nominees are what you might call Oscar Catnip, in that they allegorically talk about the present while playing dress-up in a period piece and showing you something from the past (hold on, I'm going to try and land this plane). More rarely than ever, a film comes along that is set in modern times and has something to say about our current world – Anatomy of a Fall is one such film. From winning the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival to slowly becoming one of the ultimate 'you gotta see it,' word-of-mouth movies of the year, the arrival of Justine Triet's breakthrough film feels more like an exception than the rule. It's a film about the subtle complexities of language, the blurry line between fact and fiction, and the destructive fallout that comes from domestic betrayal. But it would be unfair to paint this as something arty and haughty rather than suspenseful and genuinely entertaining. It's possible I've spent more time swapping reactions and dissecting theories about this film with others who have seen it than anything else I saw last year. I'm thrilled that Anatomy of a Fall cut through and picked up a Best Picture nomination.

Emma Stone and Ramy Youssef in Poor Things Poor Things [2023]

Poor Things

Isaac: Sitting at number two in the odds to win Best Picture, and in the total number of nominations (11) is Yorgos Lanthimos' expansive acid trip of sexual freedom, Poor Things. Five years ago, Lanthimos' The Favourite was up for 10 Oscars and went on to lose Best Picture to, checks notes... Green Book. How about that shit huh? Coming back with a vengeance is Lanthimos' otherworldly creative mind and his vision for weird shit. But don't mistake this as me saying that Poor Things is just some weird art project that's being recognized for artsy stuff. While that's technically true, it is, it is also a damn good movie full of so many layers and tremendous performances that you can't ever take your eyes off of it. Once again Emma Stone outdoes herself, something I thought was impossible, but then you also have Mark Ruffalo going batshit wild in his best role of his career. Rightfully nominated in Best Director, Lanthimos has that touch as a director to pull the performances necessary for such a strange film out of his actors. Then of course there's the side of Lanthimos that was brought out for Poor Things where he said "make this set fuckin wild." Which helps explain all of the technical awards its been receiving in Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, Costume Design, Film Editing and Cinematography. Quite literally every aspect of this film is up for something, and I love it. Welcoming Lanthimos' unique vision and creativity to the pantheon of Best Picture nominees (this one being way weirder than The Favourite) is a step forward for the Academy and having it win Best Picture isn't that much of a stretch. If a good number of voters are tired of voting for biopics and wanna get a little bonkers, then Poor Things is right there for the taking.

Florence Pugh and Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer Oppenheimer [2023]


Hopster: Sometimes this happens at the Academy Awards where a film is positioned as the frontrunner at the start of an awards season and never looks back. The film will rack up win after win on its road to winning big at the Oscars, almost like it was never challenged nor its victory ever in doubt. In some ways, this happened last year when Everything Everywhere All At Once dominated the evening winning almost every major award it was nominated for. I'm pretty confident that this year Oppenheimer will clean up in a similar fashion. For some, it is an obvious choice, but for others, there could be some slight reservation. It may or may not be Christopher Nolan's best film, may or may not be the best film made this year about WWII/the Holocaust (looking at you The Zone of Interest), and may or may not be the indisputable best film of the year. Regardless of whether it absolutely is any or none of those things, it has a stronger case for the year's top spot than most thanks to its exquisite craft, note-perfect performances, mindful themes, precise storytelling, and deliverance on big-budget chills and thrills. Working with what I believe is the best script of his career, Nolan not only delivers on the sort of slick and sophisticated filmmaking he is best at, but he challenges himself to elevate what could've been a sturdy biopic into something a riskier, quieter, and more brazenly outspoken than what he's previously been comfortable with making. It's a ceiling-raiser for Nolan and a true achievement, that's for sure, and I don't think the voters will overlook it. Rarely does the odds-on favorite to win Best Picture come in with this strong of a lead (-3500!!) – it seems like we're entering The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King territory in terms of predictability or something. While I don't think it will surpass a double-digit Oscar win total or lock-up the illustrious Big-Five sweep, Oppenheimer will win big and often on Sunday. It's been the colossal headliner all season and shows no signs of slowing down now.

Final Best Predictions

Hopster: No need to get cute – Oppenheimer is going to bring home the gold on Oscar night.

Isaac: I love a good underdog story and rooting for a dark horse but I just can't wrap my head around that happening this year. Oppenheimer crosses the finish line as the Best Picture.

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