OPINION | The 2024 Oscar nominations that deserve to take home gold

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will have its 96th annual Academy Awards March 10 at 5 p.m. The award show will be hosted by American television host and comedian, Jimmy Kimmel, and the awards will recognize and celebrate the merits of cinema and the talented people behind it. Emily Vanmiddendorp | Sun News Daily

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From Paul Giamatti’s endearing performance in “The Holdovers” to Lily Gladstone’s heart-wrenching performance in “Killers of the Flower Moon,” here are my 2024 Oscar predictions. 

The Oscars, also known as the Academy Awards, is an award ceremony that celebrates artistic and technical merit in the film industry. The purpose is to recognize the hard work film industry crews put into their craft. 

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the group of individuals who vote on Oscar nominations. This academy is an exclusive Hollywood institution and currently has around 8,000 members. Members’ names are not publicly known, but every spring, a list is released of individuals invited to join. These are people who are involved in the film industry themselves. 

Members of the press are not invited to join the academy. So, as a student journalist and fellow film lover, here is a short list of who I desperately want to win an Oscar. 

Best Picture

With 10 nominations in the Best Picture category, the Oscar should go to one of my favorite films that was released last year, “The Holdovers.” 

While underrated compared to its fellow nominations like “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” this movie should win because of its nostalgia and relatability.

When I saw “The Holdovers” in theaters during its opening weekend last November, I remember leaving the theaters feeling hopeful and somehow at peace with all my academic strife that tends to build up during November. It was almost the end of the semester, and I hit the point where I was tired. But, this film reminded me of the cherished connections one makes through school.

The movie follows the relationship between a prep school teacher, the school’s cook and one of the high school students who has been left to spend Christmas break at school. 

Throughout the film, which is set in the ‘70s, you feel nostalgia through the music, clothing and sets. The throwback feels peaceful to be immersed in. The academic setting feels relatable, and the relationship between these three characters feels natural and in no way forced. 

In the ending scene where the teacher drives off after being fired, he is shown with tears in his eyes after talking to the student. If you’re like me and have had a teacher who has been crucial in your life, you understand how emotional the bond can be between a student and a teacher. This is truly an incredible and heartfelt film that needs to win the Best Picture award.

Best Director

Instead of me explaining who should win out of the five nominations, let me tell you who should have been nominated but wasn’t.

Greta Gerwig, director of “Barbie,” wasn’t even nominated. This has sparked controversy online, and rightfully so. 

I take this as reinforcing the entire purpose of “Barbie,” which was that there are hurdles that women must overcome, more so than men, especially in the film industry. 

Ryan Gosling was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and America Ferrera was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, yet Gerwig didn’t make the cut for Best Director? 

It’s ridiculous that the person who made “Barbie” come to life wasn’t even nominated. Gerwig is the one who created this film, who saw the potential from the very beginning. Without her, this movie wouldn’t exist. For her to not be nominated doesn’t make sense.

Best Actress in a Leading Role 

Lily Gladstone gave an elegant yet intense performance in “Killers of the Flower Moon,” and she should win Best Actress. 

Gladstone portrayed a character who was a real person named Mollie Burkhart. Burkhart’s husband and uncle-in-law planned to kill off the Osage Native Americans in the 1920s, including Burkhart’s own sisters and Burkhart herself. 

There is a particular style of grace and mindfulness when an actress plays someone who really lived through horrendous events like this. Gladstone captured Burkhart’s essence in her performance, and you could feel her emotions watching the screen. 

Gladstone was seen as the underdog while working with Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese. Yet, she gave the best performance out of everyone in the movie and brought the most emotions in a subtle way. 

Her character was quiet, yet a force to be reckoned with. She didn’t take her husband back after finding out how he betrayed her. Gladstone embodied that independent feeling and gave a performance that left audiences in awe.  

Best Actor in a Leading Role 

Paul Giamatti played the lovable prep school teacher Paul Hunham in “The Holdovers,” and his performance showed the complexity of being human.

Giamatti played a character with depth, who on the outside seems cold but on the inside is coming to terms with his own life. 

His character experiences depression and is battling his own thoughts of success and leaving a fond impression on his students. He has regrets that he has been overcoming for years.

Hunham went to the same prep school as a kid and has complicated feelings about teaching there because of his regretful past decisions. Hunham is forced to teach at the same prep school he once attended because he lost all career prospects, due to being expelled from Harvard University when he was a student.

Giamatti adds layers to his character that make him understandable and lovable. When first on screen, he comes off as cold, but as we get to know him he becomes lovable and you can’t help but root for him. His relationship with the holdover student is humorous and captivating to unfold.

Giamatti evoked regret and hopefulness for the future simultaneously, and beautifully displayed the valued relationship between a teacher and student.

Best Actress in Supporting Role

Danielle Brooks in “The Color Purple” needs to win Best Actress in a Supporting Role because her performance as the strong-willed Sophia was jaw-dropping. 

Sophia is complex because she starts out strong-willed and then has an incident where she ends up in jail for years. After her release, she is quiet and keeps her head down. In another iconic scene, she breaks up a heated moment with her laughter, which Brooks makes feel natural. 

When portraying a character who has previously been portrayed in film and is beloved in the original literary version, it’s important to show why people love that character. 

Brooks brought Sophia’s spunk, sassiness and complex emotions to the table. She showed how Sophia changes through the story and does so with naturalness and no jarring changes. Her singing talent in “Hell No!” was breathtaking and full of fierceness. Brooks brought Sophia to life and for that needs this Oscar. 

If you’re a film buff like me, you’ll want to cast your predictions now. Immerse yourself in the magic of storytelling through these incredibly powerful films, and don’t forget that this isn’t a silly award show. It’s a celebration of the dedication that goes into filmmaking and the power film has to change lives.