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2024 Oscar predictions

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

For the past few weeks, we have been taking a look at Hollywood's biggest night, the Oscars - what they got wrong, what they got right. And now that the big night is nearly upon us, who will take home Oscar gold tomorrow? Who should? And when are the answers to those questions different? And for that and more, we went back to Michael Schulman. He's a staff writer for The New Yorker and author of the book "Oscar Wars: A History Of Hollywood In Gold, Sweat, And Tears."

Michael, good to have you back.

MICHAEL SCHULMAN: Hello.

DETROW: So this is it. We've given out all the other awards - the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, the SAG Awards. The campaigning is over. It comes down to Sunday. Who are you...

SCHULMAN: And it's only been five years.

DETROW: It's only been five - yeah, and then we - and the next awards season starts on Tuesday, right?

SCHULMAN: Yeah, so (laughter) get ready.

DETROW: I mean, obviously, "Oppenheimer" has been the story all along. Unlike other years, it seems like its momentum hasn't been sabotaged or slowed as much. Is this going to be an all about "Oppenheimer" night? How are you thinking about this?

SCHULMAN: Yeah, probably.

DETROW: Yeah.

SCHULMAN: I mean, which is fine. It's deserving. It's kind of got the whole package of, like, huge serious historical movie about an important subject that's a technical achievement and has a star-studded cast and all that. It kind of checks every single box. And yeah, I don't think there's any stopping it at this point.

DETROW: Are there big categories where there is some suspense that you are really interested to see how it plays out?

SCHULMAN: Well, I would say the big one is best actress, where it's generally believed to be a two-woman race between Lily Gladstone in "Killers Of The Flower Moon" and Emma Stone in "Poor Things." You know, all the punditry is that it's very evenly split. But I'm also intrigued by the idea that Sandra Huller could be a dark horse for "Anatomy Of A Fall." Well, I wouldn't count on it. But I don't know. Between, you know, Gladstone and Stone, I really don't know who's going to win.

DETROW: "Barbie" - a lot of people were upset it wasn't nominated for more awards. Are there any that it could win?

SCHULMAN: Well, I definitely think it's going to win best original song for the Billie Eilish and Finneas song, "What Was I Made For?"

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHAT WAS I MADE FOR?")

BILLIE EILISH: (Singing) I used to know, but I'm not sure now what I was made for. What was I made for?

SCHULMAN: It's also nominated in that category for "I'm Just Ken," which I prefer as a song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'M JUST KEN")

RYAN GOSLING: (Singing) 'Cause I'm just Ken. Anywhere else, I'd be a 10.

SCHULMAN: I just - I don't think it's going to win. Usually, funny, wacky songs like that don't actually win. But I did love it.

DETROW: That does mean, though, that we'll probably get a performance of "I'm Just Ken," then, during the show. Is that right?

SCHULMAN: Oh, we absolutely will.

DETROW: Excellent, excellent.

SCHULMAN: (Laughter).

DETROW: You know, we were talking about this at NPR and - just about the race and how on one hand, you have last year's juggernaut. "Everything Everywhere All At Once" was so different, this international, subversive, quirky, funny movie. And now, this year, you have this very American story - the merry (ph) American tradition of grand sweeping historical negative about one of the most American things ever, the building of the atomic bomb. I don't know. This feels to me like major year-to-year whiplash in terms of which direction Hollywood is going. How do you think about that juxtaposition?

SCHULMAN: Yeah. I mean, a movie like "Oppenheimer" seems like a real throwback to the kind of things that used to win Oscars in past years, the kind of huge historical drama - like, you know, "Gandhi" or even "Titanic," you know, "The English Patient." That kind of movie just doesn't get made as much anymore.

So on one level, it feels like, you know, a sort of nostalgic kind of Oscar winner that isn't as exciting as "Everything Everywhere All At Once," which was such a genre-breaking, sort of weird indie juggernaut. But at the same time, I think it's been so exciting that "Oppenheimer" was such a huge success, and it was part of this sort of fluke "Barbenheimer" phenomenon, so that feels very new and very current and very of this past year that was the story of 2023 and movies along with the strikes, of course.

So yeah, it doesn't feel like a bummer, you know. Sometimes when you get a kind of older genre that makes a big return, it just - you know, I'm thinking of "Green Book," you know. That year when - I was at the Oscars that year, and when "Green Book" won, there was kind of tepid applause, like (laughter) - and then everyone kind of...

DETROW: Yeah.

SCHULMAN: ...Went home. It just wasn't exciting. I don't think there's that kind of malaise around "Oppenheimer." I mean, in part because people did love it, and it got people to go to the movies for something that, you know, in the past decade of the Marvelization (ph) of everything, felt like a sort of win for movies, a win for, like, thinking, serious movies and also going to movie theaters because it was such a total sensory experience that you wanted to see on IMAX, you wanted to see on special film or something. So it's kind of a movie for movie lovers.

DETROW: That's Michael Schulman, a staff writer for The New Yorker, author of the book "Oscar Wars: A History Of Hollywood In Gold, Sweat, And Tears." Thanks, and enjoy tomorrow night.

SCHULMAN: Thanks. Good talking to you.

(SOUNDBITE OF LUDWIG GORANSSON'S "CAN YOU HEAR THE MUSIC") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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