2024 Oscars season: The good, the bad, and the Barbie

2024 Oscars season: The good, the bad, and the Barbie

It’s once again everybody’s favorite season of the year! The most wonderful time of the year with the kids marathoning and ballot logging with song noms to hear. No, it’s not Christmas Season, but for some of us it may as well be. 

Another Academy Awards show has come and gone, giving out the coveted golden Oscar statuettes to the workers on the films we so knew and loved from the past year. Having watched the Oscars for the fourth year in a row (first starting in 2020, god I’m old), I can say with confidence that this is the first Oscar ceremony where nothing went wrong and every award was genuinely deserved. Almost every movie that was nominated was either a 9/10 or a 10/10. I say “almost” because the seven-Oscar-nominee “Maestro” was really not good. Too “Oscar-baity”, a term commonly used to refer to films that prey upon things the Academy loves: boring movies. Long and boring movies. Thankfully, this year was not all boring movies. In fact, it was more electric than ever.

This was a very competitive year for film, and it all started with a big BANG with the Barbenheimer trend. I think that after audiences were impressed with the sheer quality of both “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”, they may have been motivated to go out and see the other films that were playing this year. It is so great that normal audiences were motivated to see these movies, as I would say this was one of the closest Oscar races in recent memory. It makes me happy knowing that the world continues to want to see good movies.


Sure, there were bound to be some people that weren’t recognized with a nomination this year (cough* cough* Greta Gerwig), but that’s the unfortunate reality of award shows. It was a tough year with a lot of heavy competition, especially with a lot of really, really good movies. It was inevitable that some really good movies, like “The Super Mario Bros Movie,” would get snubbed by other really good movies “Elemental.” Yes, I know “Elemental” got mixed reception, but I cried a couple times watching it so I’m happy that it got some recognition.

Some of the snubs for this year were hilarious in the way that they were so incredibly acclaimed yet didn’t get recognized at all. One of my personal favorites of the year: “The Iron Claw.”

Because it was a heavy-hitter of a wrestling biopic that was extremely well received by critics and audiences alike, it seemed increasingly likely that an Oscar nomination was on the way for the lead actor, Zac Efron. But none came. The film got no recognition at these awards. 

What’s more funny about this situation is the comparison of this snub to a film that got nominated last year. “Women Talking”, a 2022 film that was praised enough that it ended up getting a bunch of nods at the 2023 awards, including Best Picture and took home the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. 

Using film logging data from Letterboxd, we can see that when “Iron Claw” came out in December of 2023, more people had already seen it in the first two weeks it was out than the entirety of those who had seen “Women Talking” (which came out in 2022) up to that point in time. 197k in two weeks vs. 150k in a year and a half. The Academy is bonkers like that sometimes, they don’t like to face the facts (insert nerd emoji).

How in the world did “Napoleon” get nominated for so much? I’d heard EXTREMELY mixed thoughts on the movie, so I was kind of confused hearing its name announced three separate times. Maybe people hated the movie but appreciated its artistic integrity? As previously mentioned, The Academy is bonkers like that sometimes.

Now for John Williams. Oh, John Williams…what to even say about you? About 99% of the public believed it was an extremely daring move by the Academy to nominate him for composing the score for the newest installment to the “Indiana Jones” franchise, considering there were many other candidates that could have taken his place.

It was conserved by many to be a “career nomination” to make him the oldest living Oscar nominee (they didn’t even mention it in the ceremony…like…then why did you do it?) and almost as a dedication to his lifetime of service. Cool, but I would have gladly taken a nomination for “Across The Spider-Verse” or something else that isn’t just a lifetime achievement award. He’s been nominated like 15 times, HE’S DONE!!! STOP!!!


As for the actual ceremony, I am pleased to say that absolutely nothing went awry. I was only the tiniest bit shocked. No “career” wins like last year’s Jamie Lee Curtis controversy, only genuinely deserved wins. I guess you could make an argument for Robert Downey Jr’s win being a career win, but…no, not really.

Months before the ceremony even started, there was already discourse about what would occur when it actually happened. Jimmy Kimmel was announced as the host again after he was there the previous year, which many people (including myself) found to be playing it safe after watching the disastrous Jo Koy Golden Globes monologue of ‘24

Then again, maybe playing it safe was the best option. Jimmy Kimmel, who’s usually just “meh” and not all that funny, was more passable than usual this time around. He was actually funny, and that was really unexpected from Mr. Kimmel…Most of the time. The repeated digs on Robert Downey Jr. even when it was clear that he didn’t enjoy it  (though, they’re friends so maybe it was scripted. who knows? it was at least the tiniest bit funny in the way he reacted to it) was extremely rude. Though, I can forgive it because he did a fun little bit with John Cena later in the ceremony. The writing was on point, and I’m really happy that he shouted out the people working behind the scenes and working on the script. Good job!


Best Animated Feature: “The Boy And The Heron

I never got around to seeing The Boy And The Heron (TBATH), unfortunately. I had heard that it was one of the greatest Studio Ghibli films. When we take into account the quality of the kind of anime films they make, being “one of the greatest” is a very big bar to jump. Gladly, though, it pulled through and took home the gold. Would’ve liked to see “Elemental” or “Nimona” win but we all know it was not meant to be.


Best International Feature: “The Zone Of Interest”

This category is so useless EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. The Academy expects us to be guessing what the heck is going to win in this category, but it’s so pointless. “I wonder what’s gonna win? Hm, maybe it’s the ONE MOVIE in the WHOLE CATEGORY that is nominated for BEST PICTURE???” So dumb. I hope one year we can have two films in this category that are nominated for Best Picture so we can actually have some freaking COMPETITION in this thing.

DID I PREDICT IT ON MY BALLOT?: Of course I did. Easiest category to predict every single year.

Best Visual Effects: “Godzilla: Minus One”

I had heard about the absolutely insane picture this visual effects (VFX) team had created with the meager budget they were given, and WOW. The fact that they made this with like $15 million kinda makes the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) look like the biggest money laundering scheme ever.

DID I PREDICT IT ON MY BALLOT?: No, actually. I thought critics would go for “The Creator”. I’m too critical of The Academy.

Best Original Song: “What Was I Made For” by Billie Eilish from “Barbie”

Easily one of the best songs to win this category in a looong time. Totally deserved, and I love this one to death. “I’m Just Ken”’s performance was good, but it’s just that. It didn’t have nearly the amount of energy that “Naatu Naatu” had last year, so who even cares. That Jon Batiste song was short and sweet, which I appreciated. That song from “Killers…” feels kind of weird out of context, as it’s really just a tribal chant. It works better in the movie. Still, though, it got nominated and that’s a win for representation! Don’t even get me STARTED on the Cheetos song.


Best Original Score: “Oppenheimer”

While I did mention in my ”Poor Things” review  that it was the most interesting score I’d ever seen, everybody and their mom knew that “Oppenheimer”’s was better. “Poor Things” may have had the more tonally distinct out of the two, but the latter has one of the most powerful scores to a movie I think I’ve ever seen. “American Fiction”’s score is totally going on my vibes playlist, its jazz is so relaxing.

DID I PREDICT IT ON MY BALLOT?: Yes. Ironically, my mom did not.

Best Documentary (Feature + Short): “20 Days in Mariupol” + “The Last Repair Shop”

This category is always the hardest for me to predict every year because I never ever get around to seeing any of them. They’re documentaries, which I usually find really boring and hard for my ADHD brain to pay attention to. I heard these ones were good, though, so it’s nice to see them win. The guy who won for “20 Days…” had a killer speech, too.

DID I PREDICT IT ON MY BALLOT?: Shockingly, YES! First time I’ve ever gotten it.

Best Short Film (Animated + Live Action): “War is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko” + “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar”

It was clear that “War is Over!” was going to win, considering its title appeals to voters by mentioning Lennon and Ono, even if it wasn’t the best short out of the bunch. “…Henry Sugar” was nice to see win, considering it was easily the best short (and the only one people saw because of the cast and director). What makes it worse is that he wasn’t even there, so I didn’t even get to see his hopefully silly and amazing speech.


Best Production Design: “Poor Things”

The hydrogen bombs (one, literally) vs. coughing baby situation. I have no clue how “Napoleon” still managed to sneak in, but somehow it did and we are stuck with it. “Poor Things” was absolutely the right choice to win this, as it is easily the most immersive out of all of the nominees.

DID I PREDICT IT ON MY BALLOT?: Yes! I specifically mentioned in my review that this was the strongest aspect of the film.

Best Costume Design: “Poor Things”


DID I PREDICT IT ON MY BALLOT?: Nope. My logic was that “Barbie” would take it for costumes.

Best Sound: “The Zone of Interest”

Hey! This got an award that actually matters! John Mulaney’s intro to this award is hilarious, and I would suggest watching it if you’ve already seen “Field of Dreams”. Once again, I still haven’t seen TZOI but I’ve heard great things about its sound.

DID I PREDICT IT ON MY BALLOT?: No. I predicted “Oppenheimer”’s thumping sound would win it.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: “Poor Things”

This was evident from the start. “Poor Things” comes up when you look in the dictionary for “Makeup”. It’s great, and deserves it. Don’t know why “Golda” was on here because I know nobody who saw it.


Best Editing: “Oppenheimer”

It’ll probably take me a rewatch to notice all the cool editing in “Oppenheimer”, but I didn’t notice it the first time. Was a very tough category this year, especially with “The Holdovers” and “Poor Things”.

DID I PREDICT IT ON MY BALLOT?: Uhhh I put “Poor Things” so no.

Best Cinematography: “Oppenheimer”

It has “CINEMA” in the name! Christopher Nolan had this in the bag the moment he was BORN. Some of the best cinematography in this bunch, if not ever!


Best Screenplay (Original + Adapted): “Anatomy of a Fall” + “American Fiction”

So nice to see first-timer Cord Jefferson win for “American Fiction”. He’s so wholesome, and I am extremely pumped to see what he does next. “Anatomy of a Fall” is such an interesting and original premise that I’m shocked The Academy actually WENT for the clear winner here. Perfect lineup with even perfect-er winners.

DID I PREDICT IT ON MY BALLOT?: Yeah. “American Fiction” is based on a good book, and Academy members love it when they don’t have to read.

Best Actor (Supporting + Leading): Robert Downey Jr. + Cillian Murphy

Really this was expected from the day this came out. Both Cillian and Robert kill it in “Oppenheimer” and make the film what it is. Robert’s speech, as well, was awesome and reflected his goofy and silly personality. Cillian’s was alright.

DID I PREDICT IT ON MY BALLOT?: Of course, I’m an “Oppie”.

Best Actress (Supporting + Leading): Da’Vine Joy Randolph + Emma Stone

Probably the strongest category of the night. Randolph is THE HEART of “The Holdovers”, and the film is nothing without her. I even got a little teary eyed at  her acceptance speech, sue me. Now, for Emma Stone, she gives the strongest performance of her entire career. And yeah, I kinda wanted Lily Gladstone to be the first Native American winner, but even I have to fold and agree Stone’s performance is one of the best acting performances…ever! And yes, it’s hard to compare the both, considering Gladstone’s performance has more subtlety and power, but Stone’s definitely impressed me more. And, after watching every single Best Actress performance, I can say with confidence that it was kind of impossible for Margot Robbie to fit in here. She was great, just not as great as this Mount Rushmore of acting performances nominated this year.

DID I PREDICT IT ON MY BALLOT?: I predicted Randolph right but lost for Stone. I tried to put up some hope for Lily Gladstone.

Best Director: Christopher Nolan

It was inevitable, of course, for Nolan to eventually win an Oscar for this. His presence in the film community for all of his films is too strong to not have gotten this before he stopped making films (which is, hopefully never). Congrats to Nolan, as he deserves it.


Best Picture: “Oppenheimer”

Yeah, kinda figured. I was a little hopeful for “Poor Things” when it started getting a bunch of awards in the first half and then Emma Stone in the last, but we all knew it was gonna be “Oppenheimer”.



Shockingly, the Oscars this year were excellent. Witty humor plus astounding winners equals an all-timer for sure. This statement is not because I beat my brother at guessing what will win at our annual ballot contest, though that certainly contributes to it.

I can only wonder what we’ll see this year due to the strike pushing a lot of heavy hitters to 2025. We can only wait and see…

“They won’t fear it until they understand it. And they won’t understand it until they’ve used it.” -J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) in “Oppenheimer”

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