It’s only a few weeks until Hollywood’s biggest night: the Oscars, now in their 96th year and honouring the best films of the year, will once again be lighting up LA on 10th March. With the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs out of the way, the frontrunners look pretty locked into place. Here’s how our Contributing Entertainment Writer, Rufus Punt, thinks the awards show will go…

Who will triumph and who’ll be snubbed? WWII epic drama Oppenheimer seems to be poised to win big, sweeping plenty of awards so far this awards season, while the likes of Emma Stone and Cillian Murphy are safe bets for giving acceptance speeches for acting Academy Awards. Killers of the Flower Moon, Anatomy of a Fall, and The Holdovers all might take away some statues, and there’ll be plenty of tributes to Barbie– even if it isn’t expected to win the biggest prize. It’s all to play for, so here’s all we know so far.

Who’s going to win?

No one but those in the small elite in the Academy’s ranks knows who’ll win what awards until the big night, and voting won’t have even begun yet- but it’s not hard to get a fair idea of the likely victors. Pretty often and especially in recent years, Best Picture hasn’t been hugely easy to predict, with several front runners. Think of the surprise wins of films like Moonlight, CODA, and Green Book, all of which were not considered shoo-ins.

But this year it’s hard to see anyone beating Christopher Nolan ’s Oppenheimer, with its starry cast, weighty subject matter, and powerhouse lead performance. Cillian Murphy plays the scientist who fears that his creation of the atomic bomb will be humanity’s undoing, and Nolan will likely win his first Directing Oscar at the same time.

Other wins it will probably pick up are Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor (for Robert Downey Jr ), and Best Score, but those are only the safe bets- it’ll likely pick up plenty more.

Okay, who’s going to win- OTHER than Oppenheimer?

Away from existential WW2 dramas, the Best Actress award is hotly contested: for a long time, it looked like Lily Gladstone was sure to win for her role as Mollie in Scorcese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, which would make her the first Native American winner of the award. But in recent weeks it’s looked more and more like it could go to Emma Stone, for her part as Bella Baxter in the quirky Poor Things, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos . Stone has quite a bit of momentum but already has an Oscar under her belt (for La La Land), and Gladstone remains a critical favourite, so it’s a bit of a coin flip.

Killers of the flower moon

Best Supporting Actress will almost certainly go to Da’Vine Joy Randolph for playing Mary in The Holdovers, a cook at a school mourning the loss of her son. While Paul Giamatti and newcomer Dominic Sessa make up most of the screen time, Randolph’s performance has wowed critics and audiences alike for its subtleness.

Finally, Barbie and writers Greta Gerwig and Noam Baumbach are quite well positioned to win the prestigious Best Adapted Screenplay (it could be Oppenheimer, though) and will almost certainly pick up Best Original Song. Legal thriller Anatomy of a Fall has a good chance of Best Original Screenplay, too.

What else should I look out for?

There are a few other contenders for awards- for example, Paul Giamatti could still win out over Cillian Murphy for Best Actor for The Holdovers curmudgeonly Paul Hunham, and Mark Ruffalo or Robert DeNiro have a shot at Best Supporting Actor. Meanwhile, Best Animated Film is split between The Boy and the Heron and Spider-Man: Aross the Spiderverse, while the Holocaust drama The Zone of Interest will most likely win International Feature Film. Other than that, who knows? The Oscars can often be unpredictable, and there’ll probably be a big viral moment (and a slew of eye-catching fashion looks), but you’ll have to tune into the ceremony yourself to see exactly how it plays out.

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