Oscar nominations 2024: the frontrunners, surprises and key takeaways

The 2024 Oscar nominations have been announced and it's another strong showing for pack leaders Oppenheimer and Poor Things. The former has received 13 nominations and the latter has received 11, with Killers of the Flower Moon amassing 10 and Barbie landing eight nods in total.

The nominations for the 96th Academy Awards were hosted by actors Zazie Beetz and Jack Quaid, and they promise an intense battle for moviedom's most coveted prize.

Remember, you can see several of the Oscar Best Picture nominees back on the big screen at Cineworld for just £5. 

Here's the full breakdown of the primary categories with a link to the complete Oscar nominations at the end.

Best Picture

  • Oppenheimer
  • Barbie
  • American Fiction
  • Poor Things
  • Past Lives
  • Anatomy of a Fall
  • Killers of the Flower Moon
  • The Zone of Interest
  • The Holdovers

Acclaimed comedy-drama American Fiction nabs a nomination for the top prize, which comes amidst several other nods after the movie was largely ignored at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs.

Compelling and disquieting Holocaust drama The Zone of Interest capitalises on its status as a talking-point movie with a nomination for Best Picture.

The Holdovers now emerges as a real awards dark horse with a Best Picture nod factoring amidst several other nominations in top categories. This comes after success at the Golden Globes and several BAFTA nominations.

Leading contenders Oppenheimer and Poor Things will both be duking it out for Best Picture Oscar, just as they were at the Golden Globes and just as they're likely to at the BAFTAs.

Oppenheimer led with the most BAFTA noms and also won the most Golden Globes, but Poor Things has just as much critical weight and prestige behind it unless the awards campaign goes all in on Emma Stone's Best Actress victory race and largely cedes Best Picture to Oppenheimer.

Elsewhere, it's terrific to see Past Lives up for Best Picture after its slim showing at both the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs. This one nomination alone stands to make up for the film's absence at recent awards ceremonies, but it would appear to be losing ground to both Oppenheimer and Poor Things.

Barbie is flush from its success as 2023's most successful movie and now has a Best Picture nomination to its name. Oscar voters appear to have acknowledged the movie's position as a cultural phenomenon that injected quick-witted fun into 2023's summer season.

Gripping French legal thriller Anatomy of a Fall proves that it is possible to break through the English-language/American-led noise and land a Best Picture nod. In all likelihood, it will give way to the competition but could well succeed in the other categories for which it's nominated (keep scrolling to find out more).

Finally, Killers of the Flower Moon lands a Best Picture nomination, which feels like an acknowledgment of both the ambitious film's achievements and director Martin Scorsese's standing as a titan of cinema.

The movie hasn't however, performed notably well in the build-up to the Oscars, and may well be losing steam, unless a classic Oscars curveball is in the works.




  • Martin Scorsese
  • Christopher Nolan
  • Yorgos Lanthimos
  • Justine Triet
  • Jonathan Glazer

Martin Scorsese and the Oscars go hand in hand so it's no surprise to see him nominated for Best Director. Few contemporary directors possess auteur status as Scorsese does and, as we acknowledged in the Best Picture category, a nod for Scorsese is less about one man and everything about the potential of sweeping, dramatic cinema.

That said, Scorsese likely lags behind category favourites Christopher Nolan and Yorgos Lanthimos, both riding a wave of critical and awards prestige for Oppenheimer and Poor Things, respectively. (Lanthimos makes up for his surprise BAFTA Best Director snub.)

This is only Nolan's second nomination for Best Director (his first came for 2017's Dunkirk), and only his fifth Oscar nomination overall. Lanthimos, for his part, has been nominated for Best Original Screenplay for The Lobster (2015), and Best Picture and Best Director for The Favourite (2019).

So, we have two widely admired filmmakers with several nominations between them, but no prior wins. Is it all to play for, or will Scorsese clinch his second directorial trophy? (His first came in 2006 for The Departed.)

Anatomy of a Fall director Justine Triet also makes a strong showing. Her nomination is a vindication of an intricately constructed thriller that hinges entirely on a filmmaker's skill to compile visual and verbal evidence through careful blocking, staging and editing.

It's Triet's first nomination for an Oscar, and British filmmaker Jonathan Glazer also enjoys his inaugural Oscar nod for The Zone of Interest. Only one of Glazer's previous movies has been Oscar-nominated: Sexy Beast landed a Best Supporting Actor nom for Ben Kingsley back in 2001, although he didn't win.

The sheer presence of these Oscar first-timers makes Best Director one of the most intriguing and diverse in this year's race to the finish. And, as ever, there's a surprise omission: no Greta Gerwig for Barbie?



Actor in a Leading Role

  • Cillian Murphy
  • Paul Giamatti
  • Jeffrey Wright

There are few surprises in the lead actor category with popular favourite Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer) set to go head-to-head with Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers) It's the atomic biopic versus the gently melancholic seventies throwback drama, and it appears to be neck and neck between the two.

That's because Murphy landed the Golden Globe for Best Drama and Giamatti the one for Best Musical or Comedy. That potentially sets the scene for a fiery Oscars showdown to rival Oppenheimer's atomic blast, not to mention that both actors have also been BAFTA-nominated for their roles.

That said, don't discount surprise nominee Jeffrey Wright who enjoys his first Oscar nomination for his role in American Fiction. The veteran actor plays an aspiring writer who hits on a devious scheme to become a literary celebrity by playing on the notion of cultural stereotypes, and Wright has been acclaimed for his performance.



Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Sterling K. Brown
  • Robert Downey Jr.
  • Ryan Gosling
  • Mark Ruffalo
  • Robert De Niro

Chalk another win up for American Fiction, which could emerge as the surprise underdog at the 96th Academy Awards. Supporting actor Sterling K. Brown has been treated to his first Oscar nomination, making it a duet of acting firsts when he's placed alongside co-star Jeffrey Wright.

However, the bookies' favourite is still Robert Downey Jr who now follows his Golden Globe-winning success and BAFTA nomination with a nod from the Oscars. This is Downey Jr.'s second Oscar nomination overall, following leading man recognition for Chaplin (1992) and supporting actor acknowledgment for Tropic Thunder (2008).

That's not to say that Downey Jr has the field all to himself. Ryan Gosling has long been a popular choice in the category for his riotously funny turn as Ken in Barbie. Oscar voters were beguiled as they granted him a Supporting Actor nod, so could this be Gosling's year to win his first-ever Oscar?

Still, if it's scene-stealing support work we're talking about, Mark Ruffalo could walk away with the prize. Ruffalo has been recognised for his amusingly caddish and sleazy turn in Poor Things. It's yet more recognition for the comedy genre, which is often overlooked and looked down upon by Oscar voters.

Bringing up the rear is Robert De Niro whose ongoing partnership with Martin Scorsese has yielded another success in their long line of Oscar-courting collaborations. Will De Niro translate a nomination into a win? Looking at the trajectory of awards season so far it seems unlikely, but as we said before, anything can happen at the Oscars.



Actress in a Leading Role

  • Lily Gladstone
  • Emma Stone
  • Sandra Hüller

Killers of the Flower Moon's Lily Gladstone is compensated following her shock omission from the Best Actress category BAFTAs.

Gladstone's powerful turn as a grieving Osage Nation woman caught in a violent war between her indigenous people and greedy prospectors is regarded by many as the emotional heartbeat of the movie. However, Emma Stone appears to have opened up a strong lead in this field following her success at the Golden Globes and a string of unanimously positive reviews.

It sets up an interesting clash at the forthcoming Oscars: a potential historic win for authentic casting (Gladstone) versus acknowledgment of a talented, diverse actress who already has an Oscar to her name (Stone).

Anatomy of a Fall's Sandra Hüller is not to be discounted, however. The German actress is having quite the year with acclaimed performances in both Anatomy of a Fall and The Zone of Interest. Both of those turns have been BAFTA-nominated and the former has now yielded her Oscars recognition.

Will the Academy voters look beyond Hollywood into the realm of foreign-language cinema and give Hüller the recognition she deserves? Or is this Stone's prize for the taking? And at the risk of stoking the hornet's nest, where is Greta Lee's nomination for Past Lives? No Margot Robbie for Barbie? (It should be said that Robbie was nominated for Best Picture in her capacity as producer.)



Actress in a Supporting Role

  • America Ferrera
  • Da'Vine Joy Randolph
  • Danielle Brooks
  • Emily Blunt

Now, here's a closely contested field where anything goes. Firstly, the most delightful surprise: a career first for America Ferrera who completes her transition from Ugly Betty star to fully-fledged Barbie Oscar nominee.

It goes to show there's a lot more to Greta Gerwig's film than just Ryan Gosling's hilarious preening as Ken: Ferrera's grounded performance as the real-world mother who is dragged into Barbie land is very much the surrogate for the audience, and it's great the Oscars have recognised this.

That said, the clear favourite so far is The Holdovers' Da'Vine Joy Randolph who already has a Golden Globe to her name. She'll be battling it out on the Oscars stage (not literally) with The Color Purple's Danielle Brooks and Oppenheimer's Emily Blunt.



Best Original Screenplay

  • Justine Triet, Arthur Harari - Anatomy of a Fall
  • Past Lives - Celine Song
  • David Hemingson - The Holdovers
  • Samy Burch - May/December

Whose literary imagination spawned 2023's most original and inventive screenplay? Anatomy of a Fall has been justifiably lauded and the movie now possesses an Oscar nomination credited to Justine Triet and Arthur Harari. 

The movie takes great pains to replicate legal and courtroom procedures in utmost detail and also works as an engrossing suspense thriller about one woman's life being put in the dock.

If the Original Screenplay Oscar is defined by molecular attention to fascinating detail, then Anatomy of a Fall may have this licked. However, the competition is strong from Past Lives whose screenplay nod is credited to director Celine Song.

It's a little disheartening to see such a critical and awards favourite potentially receding from awards view, so recognition for the movie's authentic and emotive writing is much welcomed. The movie has been lauded for its ability to span cultures, cities and personal worlds, and the heartfelt nature of the writing is very much the film's bedrock.

There's strong competition from The Holdovers scribe David Hemingson who translates his own college experiences into the canvas of Alexander Payne's latest movie. The weave of comedy and drama in the script for The Holdovers has been applauded for its rich texture. Still, maybe surprise May-December nominee Samy Burch will come through for her wilfully unpredictable script that pits a fading former actress against an invasive journalist.



Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Cord Jefferson - American Fiction
  • Tony McNamara - Poor Things
  • Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach - Barbie
  • Jonathan Glazer - The Zone of Interest
  • Christopher Nolan - Oppenheimer

There's yet more recognition for American Fiction in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Debut director Cord Jefferson doubles up as screenwriter to adapt Percival Everett's novel and enjoys his first-ever Oscar nomination, and he's just one of many intriguing choices in this category.

If American Fiction has been acclaimed for its intuitive mixture of woke culture satire, comedy and drama, then Tony McNamara's script for Poor Things, his second collaboration with Yorgos Lanthimos after The Favourite, is equally ambitious. It's loosely adapted from Alasdair Gray's novel and spins a Frankenstein-like story into a bold variation on the Creation story and one woman's search for emotional empowerment.

Still, if it's empowerment we're talking about, then real-life power couple Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach transform Mattel icon Barbie into a visually striking and wryly astute observation of the nature of female role models in the modern world. That the movie can balance these heavier insights with all manner of Ken-ergetic set-pieces is a testament to the movie's level of wit and invention.

Jonathan Glazer enjoys his second Oscar nomination for his loose adaptation of Martin Amis' novel The Zone of Interest. As he did with Michel Faber's book Under the Skin, Glazer peels much of the book's content away, leaving us with a keening, discordant and avowedly non-exploitative Holocaust drama that uses sound to make explicit what is implicit in the visual imagery.

Finally, Christopher Nolan picked up another Oscar nomination for his carefully researched script for Oppenheimer. Nolan is famous for his level of verisimilitude and he's been praised for capturing both the broad strokes and granular details of the film's source book American Prometheus, written by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin.



International Feature Film

  • The Zone of Interest

The most surprising omission from the 96th Oscar nominations: no Anatomy of a Fall for International Feature Film. Maybe the movie's blend of French and English (entirely deliberate and dramatically astute if you've seen the movie), disqualified it from this category?

At least the movie has been recognised for Best Picture to compensate for this apparent snub. Adding more pain is the complete absence of Godzilla Minus One, regarded by many as the best Godzilla movie since the 1954 original (at least it's been nominated for Best Visual Effects).

The Zone of Interest very much has been nominated, it being a German-language drama about the complicity of Rudolf Höss' family as they live next to the Auschwitz concentration camp.



Best Animated Feature

  • The Boy and the Heron
  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
  • Elemental

It's been a strong year for animated movies and this is borne out in the Oscar nominations. Hayao Miyazaki's final movie (bear in mind we've heard that before) The Boy and the Heron, a Studio Ghibli production, has been nominated for its visually rapturous yet melancholic ode to war-torn Japan and the fragility of the natural environment.

It's been a while since Studio Ghibli last converted an Oscar nomination into an Oscars win – that would be 2001's Spirited Away. If we're talking this year's awards then the favourite would appear to be the critical and audience favourite Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

The latter has been recognised for its exuberant and jaw-dropping visual style, which is used to unfurl the existing Spider-Man mythology to adventurous and moving effect. The film has already converted its popularity into a Golden Globe win and now has some serious weight behind it as far as the Oscars are concerned.

That said, nominee Elemental is the latest movie from Pixar who have a fairly impressive Oscars track record of their own (a gargantuan 23 in total). Will the Pixar prestige brand topple both the new Spider-Man movie and the latest arresting Studio Ghibli option?

Animated Feature may seem like a fairly benign distinction but make no mistake: this field could turn out to be a fierce one.



The full list of 2024 Oscar nominations can found by clicking the link below.


The 96th Academy Awards take place on March 10th. Follow our ongoing 2024 awards season coverage by clicking the link below.


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