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Artistic Director, Dan Friedman, shares his picks for the 96h Academy Awards.


It’s the most wonderful time of the year for movie fans – Oscar season is upon us.  No other event generates so much conversation, both positive and negative, and the Academy Awards are rivaled only by the Super Bowl and March Madness in the number of bets placed on the winners.  So here’s a quick snapshot of our picks for this year’s awards, airing Sunday, March 10th at 7pm.  We invite you all to join us for a pre-show reception and conversation with former NY Times film critic Janet Maslin before the ceremonies begin and then stay to watch the show on our big screen.

In the interest of brevity, we’ll just cover some of the major awards here.


Response has been mixed but it’s actually a great thing that the field was expanded a few years ago from five to ten nominees as it gives films that have had lower profiles a chance to gain some notoriety with their nomination.  This year’s nominees include many films that have benefited, such as Anatomy of a Fall, The Zone of Interest and Past Lives.  One could argue the merits of Barbie and whether it deserved to be included – if the Academy ever implemented some sort of audience favorite award that would win hands down – but this year’s race comes down to the front-runner Oppenheimer with Killers of the Flower Moon on the outside.  In the end, the Academy stays the course and Oppenheimer takes it.


It would be easy to say that Oppenheimer is going to sweep the majors and Cillian Murphy certainly deserves to win, but Paul Giamatti has a fair shot for The Holdovers.  Bradley Cooper seems to want the award too much for the Academy to give it to him.  We’re going to pick Giamatti for sentimental reasons but won’t be shocked if Murphy takes it.  It also wouldn’t be surprising if they split the vote and we end up with a situation similar to a few years ago where Olivia Colman was the surprise Best Actress winner, so don’t rule out Colman Domingo for Rustin as the sleeper.


Another tough one to call, basically a three-way race between Emma Stone for Poor Things, Lily Gladstone for Killers of the Flower Moon and Carey Mulligan for Maestro.  However, since Emma Stone has won before and the Academy loves to congratulate itself for being open-minded, Lily Gladstone will win, not undeservedly so.


This one is Robert Downey Jr.’s hands down – the Academy loves reclamation projects and this is his moment.  Plus, his performance in Oppenheimer was so impressive many viewers didn’t realize it was him until the very end.  It’s the upset of the night if he doesn’t win.


And yet another tough category due to the performances of Da’Vine Joy Randolph in The Holdovers, Emily Blunt in Oppenheimer and America Ferrara in Barbie.  Ferrara could win it to try and give Barbie some representation but it’s more likely that Randolph takes home the award.


The omission of Greta Gerwig from the nominations pretty much clears the way for the Academy to finally give Christopher Nolan his Oscar not just for Oppenheimer but as a valedictory award for the rest of his career.  Martin Scorsese has a shot but probably loses out again.

A quick comment on the rest – John Williams is incredibly nominated yet again for his score on Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.  He’s not the likely winner but it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he got it given his age and stature, or the Academy could present a posthumous award to Robbie Robertson for Killers of the Flower Moon.  In the original screenplay category, otherwise known as the consolation prize for films by the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Jordan Peele, Spike Jonze, etc. look for Alexander Payne’s film to win a third Oscar in that category for The Holdovers, written by David Hemingson.  The adapted screenplay category actually presents the most interesting scenario since Barbie is nominated alongside Oppenheimer.  Normally, as with the original screenplay, this would be the spot to give Greta Gerwig something for her achievement with Barbie but forcing her to compete with Nolan is a tough spot.  In the end Oppenheimer gets it.  Look for Barbie to get some of the design awards, like production design or costuming.


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