Daniel Rester’s Final Winner Predictions for the 96th Oscars

The Oscars are just around the corner. I’ve discussed my predictions for months now, from nomination predictions to winner predictions. And now it’s time to lock in my final predictions after closely watching the awards season.

Oppenheimer is likely to take the big prize of Best Picture and score many other Oscars too (I predict eight in total). Many of its predicted wins make those categories unsuspenseful. The more unpredictable categories are Best Actress (Stone vs. Gladstone), Best Production Design (Barbie vs. Poor Things), Best Costume Design (Barbie vs. Poor Things), Best Makeup (Maestro vs. Poor Things), Best Animated Feature (Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse vs. The Boy and the Heron), Best Visual Effects (The Creator vs. Godzilla Minus One), and Best Sound (Oppenheimer vs. The Zone of Interest). The short film categories are always hard to predict too.

Here now are my final winner predictions before the big show. I have also included my personal choices for who I think should win (basically who I would vote for if I could vote). And I have included films and people I believe were overlooked as potential nominees for each category.

Best Picture

American Fiction
Anatomy of a Fall
Barbie
The Holdovers
Killers of the Flower Moon
Maestro
Oppenheimer – WILL WIN
Past Lives
Poor Things
The Zone of Interest – SHOULD WIN

Should have been a contender: Air

Best Actress

Annette Bening, Nyad
Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon
Sandra Hüller, Anatomy of a Fall
Carey Mulligan, Maestro
Emma Stone, Poor Things – WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN

Should have been a contender: Cailee Spaeny, Priscilla

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper, Maestro
Colman Domingo, Rustin
Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers – SHOULD WIN
Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer – WILL WIN
Jeffrey Wright, American Fiction

Should have been a contender: Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon

Best Supporting Actress

Emily Blunt, Oppenheimer
Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple
America Ferrera, Barbie
Jodie Foster, Nyad
Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers – WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN

Should have been a contender: Sandra Hüller, The Zone of Interest

Best Supporting Actor

Sterling K. Brown, American Fiction
Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon – SHOULD WIN
Robert Downey Jr., Oppenheimer – WILL WIN
Ryan Gosling, Barbie
Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things

Should have been a contender: Dominic Sessa, The Holdovers

Best Director

Justine Triet, Anatomy of a Fall
Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon
Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer – WILL WIN
Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things
Jonathan Glazer, The Zone of Interest – SHOULD WIN

Should have been a contender: Alexander Payne, The Holdovers

Best Original Screenplay

Anatomy of a Fall – WILL WIN
The Holdovers – SHOULD WIN
Maestro
May December
Past Lives

Should have been a contender: Air

Best Adapted Screenplay

American Fiction – WILL WIN
Barbie
Oppenheimer – SHOULD WIN
Poor Things
The Zone of Interest

Should have been a contender: Killers of the Flower Moon

Best Cinematography

El Conde
Killers of the Flower Moon
Maestro
Oppenheimer – WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN
Poor Things

Should have been a contender: John Wick: Chapter 4

Best Original Score

American Fiction
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Killers of the Flower Moon – SHOULD WIN
Oppenheimer – WILL WIN
Poor Things

Should have been a contender: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Best Original Song

“The Fire Inside,” Flamin’ Hot
“I’m Just Ken,” Barbie – SHOULD WIN
“It Never Went Away,” American Symphony
“Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People),” Killers of the Flower Moon
“What Was I Made For?” Barbie – WILL WIN

Should have been a contender: “A Hatful of Dreams,” Wonka

Best Editing

Anatomy of a Fall
The Holdovers
Killers of the Flower Moon
Oppenheimer – WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN
Poor Things

Should have been a contender: How to Blow Up a Pipeline

Best Production Design

Barbie – WILL WIN
Killers of the Flower Moon
Napoleon
Oppenheimer
Poor Things – SHOULD WIN

Should have been a contender: Wonka

Best Costume Design

Barbie – WILL WIN
Killers of the Flower Moon
Napoleon
Oppenheimer
Poor Things – SHOULD WIN

Should have been a contender: Priscilla

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Golda
Maestro – WILL WIN
Oppenheimer
Poor Things – SHOULD WIN
Society of the Snow

Should have been a contender: Priscilla

Best Sound

The Creator
Maestro
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One
Oppenheimer – WILL WIN
The Zone of Interest – SHOULD WIN

Should have been a contender: Ferrari

Best Visual Effects

The Creator – WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN
Godzilla Minus One
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One
Napoleon

Should have been a contender: Oppenheimer 

Best International Feature

Io Capitano
Perfect Days
Society of the Snow
The Teachers’ Lounge
The Zone of Interest – WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN

Should have been a contender: The Eight Mountains

Best Animated Feature

The Boy and the Heron – SHOULD WIN
Elemental
Nimona
Robot Dreams
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – WILL WIN

Should have been a contender: Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget

Best Animated Short

Letter to a Pig – SHOULD WIN
Ninety-Five Senses – WILL WIN
Our Uniform
Pachyderme
War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko 

Should have been a contender: Wild Summon

Best Live-Action Short

The After
Invincible – SHOULD WIN
Knight of Fortune
Red, White and Blue
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar – WILL WIN

Should have been a contender: Poison 

Best Documentary Feature

Bobi Wine: The People’s President
The Eternal Memory
Four Daughters
To Kill a Tiger
20 Days in Mariupol – WILL WIN, SHOULD WIN

Should have been a contender: Beyond Utopia

Best Documentary Short

The ABCs of Book Banning
The Barber of Little Rock – SHOULD WIN
Island in Between
The Last Repair Shop – WILL WIN
Nǎi Nai and Wài Pó

Should have been a contender: Deciding Vote

Written by
Daniel Rester is a writer for the We Live Film portion of We Live Entertainment. He is a Southern Oregon University alumnus and has a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Communication (Film, Television, and Convergent Media) and Emerging Media and Digital Arts. He has been involved with writing and directing short films for years. Rester also won 2nd place in the Feature Screenplay Competition in the 2015 Oregon Film Awards for his screenplay "Emma Was Here," which is currently in post-production and will be Rester's feature directorial debut.

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