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Final Oscar Voting Closes: A Fun Q&A Guide to Who Could Win and More Anonymous Ballots

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That’s all, Oscar folks!

In just 12 days, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will crack open 23 illustrious envelopes to unveil the victors of this year’s 96th Oscars. It’s a night where predictability usually reigns supreme, but hey, there’s always room for a curveball or two.

During the past six days of intense voting, Variety has been on the scene, chatting it up with over 50 AMPAS members to get the lowdown on which movies and performances have been getting the thumbs-up on their ballots. While some answers were as predictable as Tom Sandoval’s choice of nail polish, there were definitely a few curveballs that caught us off guard.

The Oscars are like a mystical black box — AMPAS never spills the beans on who voted for what. But fear not! Armed with a pinch of speculation and a dash of insider voter knowledge, Variety can dish out some juicy insights into what might be brewing in those voting chambers.

However, I’ve decided to spice things up a bit and tackle this whole shebang with a fun Q&A format with an imaginary internet person. Think of it as a little Oscar-themed tête-à-tête inspired by a buddy of mine who hosts an Oscar pool every season.

Al Seib/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images

Q: Are the Oscars going to be great this year?

A: Yes, of course they are. They’re always great. 

Q: But aren’t the Oscars all about being “woke” now? I heard they’re all about diversity and stuff. You have to put diversity in your movie to win best picture. It’s infringing upon my art and I’m tired of Hollywood pushing its liberal agenda on me.

A: Bro, the top dog in nominations this year is a good ol’ WWII flick about a white dude named Oppenheimer. And if you’re counting, there’s precisely one Black character in the whole film — Ronald Auguste playing J. Ernest Wilkins. And guess what? It sailed right through those diversity guidelines.

Q: But “Barbie” was a “man-hating” movie. Even Bill Maher said so.

A: Honey, that flick raked in over $1.4 billion. And let me tell you, not all those butts in seats were rocking Barbie backpacks.

Q: Facts! I hate those. The Oscars are trying to change our history. Did you know they made “The Little Mermaid” Black? 

A: Yes, and it wasn’t nominated for any Oscars. Also, mermaids aren’t real. 

Q: But Hollywood’s always shoving politics down our throats? I bet they’re going to bash Trump all night. Did you see his cool sneakers?

A: The winners have 45 seconds to make a speech. I think you’ll survive.  

Q: What about those sneakers though?

A: I’m ignoring your question on purpose. 

Q: Ugh, fine. So, another non-English language movie is going to win best picture? This is America.

A: Only one non-English language movie has clinched that golden statuette, and that was “Parasite” (2019). The other 94 winners? All singing in English, baby. And “Oppenheimer?” Totally fluent in the language of Shakespeare.

Q: Oh, that’s good, even though I don’t know who that Shakespeare guy is. What about “Iron Man?”

A: His name is Robert Downey Jr., and he’s going to win best supporting actor handsomely. 

Q: What about the good ol’ fashion American man that played “Oppenheimer?” Is he going to win best actor? He has to!

A: His name is Cillian Murphy, and he’s Irish. He’ll likely beat Paul Giamatti from “The Holdovers” and Jeffrey Wright from “American Fiction.” But it’s close.

Q: What? But he was Scarecrow in “Batman Begins.”

A: He was Irish then, too. 

Q: Whatever. Let me guess, Margot Robbie’s going to win best actress for “Barbie?”

A: No, she isn’t nominated for best actress, but she is as a producer on the film. Keep your eyes peeled for Emma Stone and Lily Gladstone in best actress — it’s shaping up to be a real nail-biter. I think Stone and “Anatomy of a Fall” star Sandra Huller might be splitting votes among international members, and that’s allowing Gladstone to rise with other voting demographics.

Q: That sounds like math. Math is dumb. Anyway, I bet Barbie’s woman director will win, because men aren’t allowed to win anymore.

A: Do you like Matchbox Twenty and the song “Push?”

Q: I love Matchbox Twenty!

A: Thought so. Continuing, Greta Gerwig directed “Barbie,” but she also wasn’t nominated. However, she does have a shot in adapted screenplay, alongside her co-nominated writer and husband Noah Baumbach. But that’s also a close race between Cord Jefferson’s “American Fiction” and “Oppenheimer.” I might give the edge to Jefferson. There is one woman nominated for best director: Justine Triet for the French legal drama “Anatomy of a Fall,” but she won’t win. Nolan will.  

Q: A French movie? Of course. I guess that wins foreign language then.

A: It’s called international feature now, and no, it also wasn’t nominated. France chose another movie, “The Taste of Things” as its submission, and it was snubbed. “Anatomy of a Fall” will likely win original screenplay. It’s good to see so many non-English titles nominated this year along with “Past Lives” and “The Zone of Interest.” Plus we had three movies directed by women this year that were nominated for best picture.

Q: See! You’re trying to change the status quo. What does being a woman have to do with directing? Keep patriarchy alive! 

A: Do you happen to like horses? 

Q: Yeah, why? 

A: Just asking. Are we done? 

Q: Will a superhero movie win? Those are the movies people actually watch and they never win Oscars. 

A: Yes. I think “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” will win animated feature, and there’s a Marvel film up for visual effects, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” but I think that prize is going to either “The Creator” or “Godzilla Minus One.” And superhero movies have won Oscars. “Black Panther” (2018) was the first superhero movie nominated for best picture, and it won three awards. And last year, Ruth E. Carter won for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” in costume design.  

Q: Of course, “Black Panther.” White guys are always being left out. It gets me so mad that I just want to jump and dance on wet stairs, and put some white makeup on my face and laugh uncontrollably. Alright then, when do I get to see your “bad” and “always wrong” predictions?

A: Next Thursday, March 7, but I might post a couple of categories beforehand. And remember, this is supposed to be fun. Don’t take it so seriously. But what I will tell you is production design and costumes are open to either “Barbie” or “Poor Things.” Makeup is also down to “Maestro” or “Poor Things” and the shorts are always an unknown entity.

Q: Are you even talking to real voters, or are you just posting fake polls like CNN?

A: Yes I talk to many voters. In fact, I started sharing some of the anonymous ballots when voting started. I have some more. Want to see? 

Q: Fine. Let me see. 

A: See below, and watch the Oscars on March 10 at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT. It’s an hour earlier this year. I’m going home now.

Voter’s Ballot #6: “I’ve never seen a stronger actress lineup in all my years as an Academy member.” 

Best Picture: “American Fiction” (1) 

Actor: Jeffrey Wright (“American Fiction”) 

Supporting Actor: Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”) 

Actress: Annette Bening (“Nyad”) 

Supporting Actress: Jodie Foster (“Nyad”) 

Animated Feature: “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” 

Cinematography: “Oppenheimer” 

Costume Design: “Poor Things” 

Directing: Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Things”) 

Documentary Feature: “20 Days in Mariupol” 

Documentary Short: “The Last Repair Shop” 

Film Editing: “Oppenheimer” 

International Feature: “The Teachers’ Lounge” 

Makeup and Hairstyling: “Poor Things” 

Original Score: “Poor Things” 

Original Song: “It Never Went Away” from “American Symphony” 

Production Design: “Poor Things” 

Animated Short: “War is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko” 

Live Action Short: “Red, White and Blue” 

Sound: “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” 

Visual Effects: “The Creator” 

Adapted Screenplay: “American Fiction” 

Original Screenplay: “Past Lives” 

Voter #7: “I think Bradley [Cooper] and Carey [Mulligan] were incredible… two of the best actors we have today.” 

Best Picture: “The Zone of Interest” (1), “Anatomy of a Fall” (2), “Maestro” (3) 

Actor: Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”) 

Supporting Actor: Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”) 

Actress: Carey Mulligan (“Maestro”) 

Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”) 

Animated Feature: “The Boy and the Heron” 

Cinematography: “Maestro” 

Costume Design: “Barbie” 

Directing: Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Interest”) 

Documentary Feature: “To Kill a Tiger” 

Documentary Short: “The ABCs of Book Banning” 

Film Editing: “Anatomy of a Fall” 

International Feature: “The Zone of Interest” 

Makeup and Hairstyling: “Maestro” 

Original Score: “Oppenheimer” 

Original Song: “Wahzhazhe” from “Killers of the Flower Moon” 

Production Design: “Barbie” 

Animated Short: “Ninety-Five Senses” 

Live Action Short: “Invincible” 

Sound: “The Zone of Interest” 

Visual Effects: Abstain 

Adapted Screenplay: “The Zone of Interest” 

Original Screenplay: “Maestro” 

Voter #8: “My favorite movie ‘Napoleon’ but unfortunately it wasn’t nominated.” 

Best Picture: “Barbie” (1); “The Holdovers” (2); “Past Lives” (3); “Anatomy of a Fall” (4); “American Fiction” (5); “Killers of the Flower Moon” (6); “Maestro” (7); “The Zone of Interest” (8); “Oppenheimer” (9); “Poor Things” (10) 

Actor: Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”) 

Supporting Actor: Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”) 

Actress: Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) 

Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”) 

Animated Feature: “Nimona” 

Cinematography: “Killers of the Flower Moon” 

Costume Design: “Napoleon” 

Directing: Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”) 

Documentary Feature: Abstain 

Documentary Short: Abstain 

Film Editing: “Anatomy of a Fall” 

International Feature: “Io Capitano” 

Makeup and Hairstyling: “Maestro” 

Original Score: “American Fiction” 

Original Song: “What Was I Made For?” from “Barbie” 

Production Design: “Napoleon” 

Animated Short: Abstain 

Live Action Short: Abstain 

Sound: “The Creator” 

Visual Effects: “The Creator” 

Adapted Screenplay: “Barbie” 

Original Screenplay: “Past Lives” 

Voter #9: “Oppenheimer is a masterpiece.”

Best Picture: “Oppenheimer” (1); “Killers of the Flower Moon” (2); “Past Lives” (3); “The Zone of Interest” (4); “The Holdovers” (5) 

Actor: Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”) 

Supporting Actor: Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”) 

Actress: Emma Stone (“Poor Things”) 

Supporting Actress: Emily Blunt (“Oppenheimer”) 

Animated Feature: “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” 

Cinematography: “Oppenheimer” 

Costume Design: “Poor Things” 

Directing: Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”) 

Documentary Feature: “20 Days in Mariupol” 

Documentary Short: “Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó” 

Film Editing: “Oppenheimer” 

International Feature: “Society of the Snow” 

Makeup and Hairstyling: “Society of the Snow” 

Original Score: “Oppenheimer” 

Original Song: “I’m Just Ken” from “Barbie” 

Production Design: “Killers of the Flower Moon” 

Animated Short: Abstain 

Live Action Short: “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” 

Sound: “Oppenheimer” 

Visual Effects: “The Creator” 

Adapted Screenplay: “Oppenheimer” 

Original Screenplay: “May December” 

Voter #10: “I thought Colman Domingo and Sterling K. Brown were phenomenal.” 

Best Picture: “Oppenheimer” (1) 

Actor: Colman Domingo (“Rustin”) 

Supporting Actor: Sterling K. Brown (“American Fiction”) 

Actress: Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) 

Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”) 

Animated Feature: “The Boy and the Heron” 

Cinematography: “Oppenheimer” 

Costume Design: “Poor Things” 

Directing: Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”) 

Documentary Feature: “20 Days in Mariupol” 

Documentary Short: “The ABCs of Book Banning” 

Film Editing: “Oppenheimer” 

International Feature: “Io Capitano” 

Makeup and Hairstyling: “Golda” 

Original Score: “Killers of the Flower Moon” 

Original Song: “It Never Went Away” from “American Symphony” 

Production Design: “Poor Things” 

Animated Short: “Letter to a Pig” 

Live Action Short: “Invincible” 

Sound: “Oppenheimer” 

Visual Effects: Abstain 

Adapted Screenplay: “Oppenheimer” 

Original Screenplay: “Anatomy of a Fall” 

Voter #11: “I love a quiet performance, more than the bells and whistles… I loathed ‘Poor Things.’” 

Best Picture: “Maestro” (1) 

Actor: Bradley Cooper (“Maestro”) 

Supporting Actor: Ryan Gosling (“Barbie”) 

Actress: Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) 

Supporting Actress: Emily Blunt (“Oppenheimer”) 

Animated Feature: “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” 

Cinematography: “Maestro” 

Costume Design: “Killers of the Flower Moon” 

Directing: Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”) 

Documentary Feature: “Four Daughters” 

Documentary Short: “The ABCs of Book Banning” 

Film Editing: “Oppenheimer” 

International Feature: “The Zone of Interest” 

Makeup and Hairstyling: “Maestro” 

Original Score: “American Fiction” 

Original Song: “The Fire Inside” from “Flamin’ Hot” 

Production Design: “Barbie” 

Animated Short: “Letter to a Pig” 

Live Action Short: “Red, White and Blue” 

Sound: “Oppenheimer” 

Visual Effects: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” 

Adapted Screenplay: “American Fiction” 

Original Screenplay: “Maestro” 

Voter #12: “I am an ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ ride or die.” 

Best Picture: “Anatomy of a Fall” (1); “Oppenheimer” (2); “Poor Things” (3) 

Actor: Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”) 

Supporting Actor: Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”) 

Actress: Emma Stone (“Poor Things”) 

Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”) 

Animated Feature: “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” 

Cinematography: “Oppenheimer” 

Costume Design: “Poor Things” 

Directing: Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”) 

Documentary Feature: Abstain 

Documentary Short: Abstain 

Film Editing: “Oppenheimer” 

International Feature: Abstain 

Makeup and Hairstyling: “Poor Things” 

Original Score: “Oppenheimer” 

Original Song: “What Was I Made For?” by “Barbie” 

Production Design: “Poor Things” 

Animated Short: Abstain 

Live Action Short: Abstain 

Sound: “Oppenheimer” 

Visual Effects: “Godzilla Minus One” 

Adapted Screenplay: “Poor Things” 

Original Screenplay: “May December” 

Voter #13: “Nolan’s film is a movie we should all be voting for.”

Best Picture: “Oppenheimer” (1); “The Zone of Interest” (2); “Maestro” (3)

Actor: Jeffrey Wright (“American Fiction”) 

Supporting Actor: Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”)

Actress: Sandra Huller (“Anatomy of a Fall”)

Supporting Actress: Jodie Foster (“Nyad”)

Animated Feature: “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”

Cinematography: “Oppenheimer”

Costume Design: “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Directing: Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”)

Documentary Feature: “Bobi Wine: The People’s President”

Documentary Short: Abstain

Film Editing: “Oppenheimer”

International Feature: “The Zone of Interest”

Makeup and Hairstyling: “Poor Things”

Original Score: “Oppenheimer”

Original Song: “The Fire Inside” from “Flamin’ Hot”

Production Design: “Oppenheimer”

Animated Short: Abstain

Live Action Short: Abstain

Sound: “Oppenheimer”

Visual Effects: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”

Adapted Screenplay: “Oppenheimer”

Original Screenplay: “The Holdovers”