Breaking: Unpredictable Oscars Finally Here! Who’s Taking Home the Gold?

Ghosting is undoubtedly a poor practice, we can all agree on that. So, let me give you fair warning, dear readers, that this newsletter will be taking a short break for a few months after this week’s edition. When you hear from me again, the weather will be warmer, flowers will be in full bloom, and the Dodgers will be on the verge of taking the National League West.

I’m Glenn Whipp, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times and host of The Envelope’s Friday newsletter. Are you ready to win your Oscar pool?

My Final Predictions for All 23 Oscar Categories

Did Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” already have the best picture Oscar secured when it hit the theaters last July?

All the necessary components seemed to be there. Overwhelmingly positive reviews? Check! Theatres filled to capacity? Indeed! And, it grossed almost $1 billion worldwide.

A biopic of a Great Man? (With a strong emphasis on “man” since the academy is still somewhat of a boys’ club.) Three hours long… but one that also examines the genre through a complex portrayal of the brilliant, yet tormented physicist title character.

A Nolan film with a comprehensible timeline and sound mix that allowed audiences to (mostly) understand the dialogue? Shockingly, yes!

Proclaiming the race over before the fall film festivals debuted their lineup of contenders, before “Napoleon” hit the theaters (R.I.P.), before the leaves turned and the pumpkin spice latte season truly kicked off, would have been a bit premature. (Or does that start in July now?)

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But now that “Oppenheimer” is the 11th movie to dominate the Producers, Directors, and Screen Actors Guild awards… well… as Oppie says to his wife, Kitty, it’s time to call it. Of the 10 previous films to achieve this awards season hat trick — a list that includes “No Country for Old Men,” “Argo,” and last year’s winner, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” — only one, “Apollo 13,” didn’t take home the Oscar.

“Oppenheimer” isn’t “Apollo 13.”

The question now, as we approach the 96th Academy Awards on Sunday, is how many Oscars will “Oppenheimer” take home from its 13 nominations? (Only three films have ever surpassed that number: “All About Eve,” “La La Land,” and “Titanic” — all earning 14 nods.)

How many will it end up with? Let’s tally as we go through my final Oscar predictions for all 23 categories. I’ve always said if I ever nail all the predictions, I’m going to drop the mic, pack my things, and maybe, just maybe, travel the world. So if you don’t hear from me in May, it’s not because I’m ghosting you. That’s not my style.

Which Film Would Have Taken Home the Casting Oscar This Year?

Last month, the board of governors of the motion picture academy declared the establishment of a competitive Oscar for casting. The acceptance speech for this category won’t be heard for another two years, at the 2026 ceremony that will honor the 2025 releases. But Times film editor Josh Rothkopf and I have already begun pondering how such an award would have played out this year and in the past, and how this new category might impact future campaigns.

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Which film would have secured a casting Oscar this year? Which film should have won the casting Oscar this year? And what constitutes exceptional casting, choices that truly bring everything together? Josh and I discussed these questions in a recent column and, spoiler alert, we didn’t always see eye to eye.

Which Films and Performances Should Take Home an Oscar on Sunday?

First off, it’s worth noting that Sunday’s ceremony will commence at 4 p.m. PT, an hour earlier than usual. This, along with the [groan] “spring forward” for Daylight Saving Time, is bound to throw me off… I can already sense it. Times columnist Mary McNamara and I will be live-blogging during the Oscar ceremony. I’ll do my best to keep pace. Perhaps I’ll take a walk around the block beforehand to clear my head and ensure I’m in the right headspace.

My friend Amy Nicholson will undoubtedly be tuning into the show and recently penned an excellent column expressing her thoughts on which films and performances should be victorious on Sunday, as well as those that should have been in the running. Any critic who adores “Robot Dreams” is a critic I want to hear more from.

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