Analysis Predicts the Winners at the 96th Academy Awards

Analysis Predicts the Winners at the 96th Academy Awards

On January 23, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, some of the most fascinating and diverse Oscar nominees in recent years were revealed, kickstarting the 96th Academy Awards countdown. The cultural phenomenon of ‘Barbenheimer’ stole the show with the astounding twenty-one nominations between the two films (eight for Barbie and thirteen for Oppenheimer), competing in a total of six categories.

Our team at BonusInsider was caught up in the Oscar fever and decided to delve a little further and guess the most probable winners of this year’s ceremony. Our predictions for the 2024 Academy Awards are based on a combination of past ceremony data and this year’s winners and nominees of the awards season so far.

Best Picture

The Best Picture award is arguably the most anticipated category by many. Following its phenomenal box office run, Oppenheimer is currently the most nominated film for the 2024 Academy Awards with 13 nominations altogether.

Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster took home the Best Motion Picture trophies at the Critics’ Choice Awards, the Golden Globes for drama and the BAFTA, suggesting a strong lead for the Oscars.

The second-most acclaimed film is Poor Things with 11 nominations. The bizarre tale of Bella Baxter has won the Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival, which is considered one of the highest honors in the industry. Furthermore, Poor Things won the Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy, prevailing over The Holdovers, another nominee for Best Picture at the Oscars.

Anatomy of a Fall, Past Lives, and The Zone of Interest are three foreign language films, competing for Best Picture at the 2024 Oscars, demonstrating the Academy’s desire to show more diversity this year. Anatomy of a Fall won last year’s Palme d’Or at the Cannes International Film Festival and is regarded as one of the best international films in recent years. Unfortunately, however, the statistics do not favor foreign films winning Best Picture, since just eighteen movies—including these three—have been nominated for the category, over the 95-year history of the Academy Awards and only one of those films has ever taken home the trophy (Parasite in 2019).

For the first time, three films with female directors are nominated in the same year for Best Picture: Greta Gerwig with Barbie, Celine Song with Past Lives, and Justine Triet with Anatomy of a Fall. Only twice has a female director taken home the Best Picture trophy. The first was Kathryn Bigelow in 2008 with The Hurt Locker, and the second was Chloe Zhao with her 2020 Nomadland.

Steven Spielberg has set yet another record with the biographical romantic drama Maestro. This is his 13th film nominated for the Best Picture category, which is more than any other producer has ever achieved in the history of the Oscars. Who knows, the 13th might be a lucky one.

Based on the results of this season’s awards and nominations, the top three competitors to Oppenheimer are Killers of the Flower Moon, Past Lives and Poor Things. Each has been recognized by some of the film industry’s most distinguished critics and awards, making them a must-watch if you still haven’t.

Best Director

After the surprising exclusion of Greta Gerwig from the Best Director nominations, many believe that the 96th Academy Awards will be the ceremony where Christopher Nolan finally wins the Oscar statuette. Nolan has been nominated eight times throughout his career for Best Director, but he is yet to win the award.

An honorary achievement is marked by Martin Scorsese this year, who at the age of eighty-one, has broken the record for the oldest person to receive a Best Director nomination and is currently the oldest living person with the most nominations for Best Director with a total of 10 Oscar nods.

The odds are favoring a triumphant victory for Christopher Nolan, as he already won this year’s Golden Globe award, the Critics’ Choice award and the BAFTA for Best Director, among other prestigious recognitions, each bringing him 10 points for our ranking and scoring an amazing 84.08% out of the maximum score.

This year marks the first nominations for Jonathan Glazer and Justine Triet. Triet is now the third woman to win the Palme d’Or and the eighth woman to be nominated for Best Director at the Oscars.

Best Actor

Cillian Murphy is the front-runner for the Best Actor Academy Award this year in the role of J. Robert Oppenheimer. This is the actor’s first Oscar nomination, but based on our calculations and supporting evidence, the odds are ever so slightly in his favor, as he leads the ranking with 62.80%. Paul Giamatti is his main rival with a rating of 54.08%. Both actors won a Golden Globe for Best Actor; Giamatti won in the Musical or Comedy category and Murphy in the Drama one. Giamatti overcame Murphy to win the Critic’s Choice Award in the Best Actor category while the Oppenheimer actor won the BAFTA, making them this year’s top contenders for the Oscar.

The actors Jeffrey Wright and Sterling K. Brown from American Fiction are the first Black actors to be nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, for roles in the same film. Wright is the third most likely actor to receive the Award, although he falls behind with 44.08%. Maestro’s director and lead actor, Bradley Cooper, along with Christopher Nolan, is one of the two individuals who have been nominated in three different Oscar categories this year. Cooper ranks 4th on our list with a 40.32% score for the Best Actor award, but interestingly, he became a member of a very exclusive club of only 5 actors, who have directed themselves to a nomination for Best Actor more than once, as his first time was for A Star is Born in 2018. Warren Beatty, Charlie Chaplin, Clint Eastwood, and Laurence Olivier are the other four actors.

Best Actress

The announcement of this year’s nominees for Best Actress was unexpected for many movie enthusiasts, as one of the favorites failed to meet the expectations. Barbie was the highest-grossing movie of 2023 and despite being nominated for eight Academy Awards, the film was not successful in securing a spot in two key categories, namely Best Director and Best Actress.

It’s worth noting some intriguing facts that this year’s Academy Awards feature such as the record seven LGBTQ+ characters portrayed in films that have been nominated. Among the nominees is Lily Gladstone, who is the first openly non-binary actor to receive a nomination. Gladstone, who is nominated for Best Actress is also the first Native American to be nominated in this category.

The battle for the 96th Academy Award for Best Actress is predominantly between Gladstone and Emma Stone. Based on their winnings and nominations during this year’s awards season, the Killers of the Flower Moon actress leads our chart with 73.18% over Emma Stone who achieved 67.71%.

Emma Stone’s performance in 2017’s La La Land earned the actress her first Academy Award for Best Actress and this year she won the BAFTA for Leading Actress, while Gladstone wasn’t even nominated, giving the La La Land actress a slight edge over the rest of the nominees. Both won a Golden Globe for Best Actress, but Stone also won the Critics’ Choice Award. Nevertheless, Gladstone still managed to receive more awards overall and become a favorite for the Oscar win.

The third actress most likely to win the Oscar is Sandra Huller with a 47.77% probability for her performance in Anatomy of a Fall. The actress stars in The Zone of Interest as well, which is also nominated for Best Picture.

Best Supporting Actor

With a 72.36% likelihood of winning, Robert Downey Jr. is leading the way for the Best Supporting Actor category. His chances are greatly improved by Oppenheimer’s momentum and its 13 Academy Award nominations this year. In addition, the actor has an advantage over his competitors by winning the Golden Globe, the Critics’ Choice Award, the BAFTA and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award for Best Supporting Actor making his triumph at the Oscars almost 100% guaranteed, as no man who’s won all of the above in the same year has ever lost the Academy Award.

The other two actors who are favored for the prized Oscar are Mark Ruffalo (54.97%) for his performance in Poor Things and Ryan Gosling (54.59%) for his Ken in Barbie. Although Ruffalo, now a fourth-time Oscar nominee, won the Capri Hollywood International Film Festival and the National Board of Review Awards for Best Supporting Actor, he couldn’t make it to this year’s BAFTA and SAG awards nominees, which plummets his chances for success at the Oscars.

For that reason, if we were to single out one competitor to Robert Downey Jr., it would be Ryan Gosling, who so far has had two nominations for a Best Actor Academy Award.

Best Supporting Actress

Our most prominent leader out of all categories is Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who sweeps the competition away for Best Supporting Actress with a 92.29% chance of winning the Oscar. The actress’s moving performance in The Holdovers has led to her first Academy Award nomination. From all the award ceremonies we included in this analysis, the actress has won 10 out of the 11 awards she’s been nominated for, including a Golden Globe, the Critics’ Choice Award and BAFTA. The 11th win may easily be the Satellite Awards, which will be held on March 3.

Emily Blunt appears as the second-most likely actress to win the Oscar with a 50.06% probability. The SAG awards were her last chance to swing the scales slightly in her favor; Da’Vine Joy Randolph won that too.

America Ferrera‘s nomination for Best Supporting Actress is perhaps the most surprising one, given Margot Robbie’s exclusion from the Best Actress category. According to our research, Ferrera is also the least likely to win the Academy Award with only a 25.92% chance. The other two actresses in the competition are Danielle Brooks (30.19%) and Jodie Foster (27.45%), whose results are also highly unlikely to prevail. According to our calculations, if you want to bet your money on the Oscars, this is the no-brainer category.

Best Original Screenplay

The Holdovers take the first place in the Best Original Screenplay category in our predictions with a 47.55% chance of winning. The film is considered the front-runner for the Academy Award after receiving five Oscar nominations in total. The comedy-drama has overall good reviews and responses from both movie lovers and critics. Having Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s success and remarkable recognition so far, the film has a solid chance of winning.

The second-most likely winner is May December (47.28%). Its strong performance comes from two prestigious acknowledgments from the New York Film Critics Circle Awards and the National Society of Film Critics Awards. The film features two Academy Award winners for Best Actress, Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman which is always an advantage when your picture is nominated for the Oscars.

With just a 40.82% chance of winning, Anatomy of a Fall should still not be underestimated for the prized statuette, as the movie already won the Palme d’Or, the Golden Globe and the BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay.

Best Adapted Screenplay

According to data, the past four Best Picture winners also took home the Best Screenplay prize, with the last three of them coming from the Original Screenplay category. It remains to be seen if Oppenheimer will break this trend; it is the favorite with a 60.34% overall score for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Poor Things is the second-most likely film to win, with a 51.90% probability. It is gaining popularity and its chances of winning could increase if the Academy Board wishes to see anything different than an Oppenheimer reign at the Oscars. In this case, Poor Things will be the go-to.

American Fiction is another strong competitor in this category with a 47.07% result based on its wins and nominations. The film acquired the Critics’ Choice Award and the BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay increasing its chances of winning the Oscar.

Barbie’s low score on our chart (34.49%) comes from the fact that it won the Critics’ Choice award for Best Original Screenplay, but in January, it was switched from the Original Screenplay to the Adapted Screenplay category for the Academy Awards. Some critics believe this reassignment is Barbie’s chance to win over Oppenheimer in a major category.

Best International Feature Film

The indisputable favorite in this category, also nominated for Best Picture, is The Zone of Interest with a 47.96% result. It is this year’s British contestant, although the film is predominantly in German. The movie was also a runner-up at the Cannes Festival for the Palme d’Or which supports its claims for the Oscar furthermore.

Society of the Snow, inspired by the true events of the 1972 Andes Disaster, comes in second with a 31.97% probability, as it quickly gained popularity on the Netflix streaming platform. The film is Spain’s choice for this year’s Academy Awards and is the only other one, along with The Zone of Interest, nominated at the BAFTAs for Film Not in the English Language. The British film, however, prevailed and won the award earlier this month.

France surprised the film industry by not picking Anatomy of a Fall as their entry for the Best International Feature Film and rather selecting The Taste of Things as their contestant, which didn’t even make it to the nominees. If Justine Triet’s movie had been submitted, it would have put The Zone of Interest and Anatomy of a Fall in direct competition not only for the Best Picture category but also for the International Feature Film Award.

Best Cinematography

Given Oppenheimer‘s remarkable success so far, Hoyte van Hoytema’s win for Best Cinematography seems almost sealed. So far, Hoytema has been nominated by the American Society of Cinematographers, the BAFTAs, and the Academy Awards—the three biggest cinematography awards— on multiple occasions, but he’s always been just one step away from the prize for all three. This year, however, he finally triumphed at the BAFTAs and currently is the clear favorite for the Oscars with odds estimated at 77.28%.

Killers of the Flower Moon and Barbie, two exceptionally well-performing movies in 2023, featured cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto, who is the next Academy Award nominee. So far, he has been honored with awards from the National Society of Film Critics and the National Board of Review, among other prestigious committees which is why his winning probability on our list (61.16%) is relatively high.

Poor Things’ cinematographer Robbie Ryan is the third most likely to win based on pure statistics (45.10%), though many consider his contrasting work and play with lenses Academy Award-worthy, referring to him as the hidden gem of this year’s nominations.

Best Original Score

Ludwig Göransson’s accompanying soundtrack for Oppenheimer is his second nomination for Best Original Score at the Academy Awards and with a substantial lead of 81.57%, it would most likely be his second win as well, after his success in 2019 with Black Panther. Oppenheimer’s journey is underlined by a well-thought-out musical background throughout every scene, resulting in undisputed victories for Göransson at the Golden Globes, the Critics’ Choice Awards, the Grammys and the BAFTAs.

Robbie Robertson, who passed away shortly after completing the score for Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, is the second-most likely to receive the Oscar with a 51.10% chance. The film is dedicated to Robertson, who was posthumously nominated for the Academy Award.

Jerskin Fendrixis takes third place with a 48.27% chance of winning, for his work in Poor Things. At age 29, the musician is the youngest contender this year, and this Academy Award nomination marks one of his first-ever professional accolades.

Best Song

Since La La Land in 2017, this year’s Barbie film is the first one to have two songs nominated for the Best Song category. Many predicted Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night” would be included among the candidates as well, since it became one of the artist’s most successful songs to date. The Academy’s regulation, however, allows no more than two songs from a movie to be nominated and Lipa’s hit didn’t make it to the Oscar’s list.

The two songs that are currently tied for first place in our chart are the famous “I’m Just Ken” by Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, and “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish and FINNEAS, both with 70.75%. However, Eilish and her brother have a slight advantage, as their track won the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media, marking their second Grammy in this category after their 2021 victory with “No Time To Die”.

Eilish’s current song won the Golden Globe for Best Song, while “I’m Just Ken” won the Critics’ Choice award in the same category, which gives them 10 points apiece in our ranking, resulting in a draw for first place.

None of the other nominated songs have received any recognition from any of the film festivals and awards that we looked at, making Barbie’s triumph almost guaranteed.

Best Visual Effects

Making history at the 96th Academy Awards is Godzilla Minus One. In the 70-year history of the franchise, the 37th movie is the first to be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Visual Effects category. The most remarkable thing is that the film received a nomination even though it has a budget of less than $15 million.

For comparison, the previous movie from the franchise: Godzilla vs. Kong cost between $155 and $200 million. Normally, the budget of the nominees for Best Visual Effects hovers around $100 to $250 million. Great examples are this year’s Napoleon ($130–200 million), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ($250 million) and Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One ($290 million).

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was also nominated for Best Visual Effects in 2015 and is considered the most expensive film ever made, estimated at around $447 million.

Following Ex Machina‘s win in 2015, which was also estimated to have had a budget of $15 million, Godzilla Minus One is the first film in eight years to be nominated for Best Visual Effects with a production cost this low.

However, the odds for the most likely film to win this category favor The Creator. The film landed more nominations on esteemed award ceremonies than its competitors and won the Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Visual Effects, resulting in a lead of 52.15%.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One is also the first movie from its franchise to receive a nomination for an Oscar and it’s the second most likely to win the award with a rating of 48.04%.

Best Costume Design & Best Production Design

Although Barbie is unlikely to win in most of the major categories we’ve covered so far, there is still light at the end of the tunnel for the doll-inspired flick. Barbie was honored at several award ceremonies for its creative costumes and production design, resulting in a leading score for both categories, respectively, with 76.52% and 84.95%.

Poor Things overcame Barbie at the BAFTAs for Best Costume Design & Best Production Design, but Greta Gerwig’s pink fantasy comedy prevailed at the Critics’ Choice awards, leaving Barbie with an advantage for both Oscars.


For this analysis, the team at BonusInsider decided to make our Oscar predictions based on critics’ and public opinion of the films and individuals nominated in fifteen major categories at the 96th Academy Awards. We looked at some of the largest and most prestigious festivals and award ceremonies in the film industry for the 2023/24 awards season. These included:

The Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards, the BAFTAs, The National Board of Review Awards, The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), The Screen Actors Guild Awards, The Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards, The Los Angeles Film Critics’ Association, The New York Film Critics Circle Awards, The National Society of Film Critics Awards, The Online Film Critics Society Awards, The Satellite Awards, The Grammy Awards, The Capri Hollywood International Film Festival, The Saturn Awards, The Toronto International Film Festival, The Cannes International Film Festival, The Berlin International Film Festival, and The Venice Film Festival.

For each of the 15 major categories, we checked the nominees’ awards and nominations from the above festivals. We awarded each win with 10 points, while each nomination brought in 5 points. However, we also wanted to take the audiences’ opinions of each film, so we looked up the nominated titles on the Internet Movie Database, Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic. To make these ratings usable, we converted them to a 1-10 scale and added them to the overall score of each film.

We also included the number of Oscar nominations each film has in other categories; for instance, we gave Oppenheimer 12 points when calculating its chances of winning the Best Picture category. Historically, dramas have been preferred to comedies and musical films by the Academy in this category, which is why we gave an extra 5 points to every drama nominated for Best Picture.

To make the rankings easier to comprehend, we converted each nominee’s final score into a percentage. It represents each nominee’s individual chances of winning rather than a comparison with the other contenders.