Oscars 2024: ‘Barbie’ might be the belle of the ball, but it looks like ‘Oppenheimer’s’ night

Oscars 2024: ‘Barbie’ might be the belle of the ball, but it looks like ‘Oppenheimer’s’ night - World - News

The 96th Academy Awards: A Night Belonging to “Oppenheimer” or the Surprise of “Barbie”?

As the 96th Academy Awards approach on March 10, at 7 p.m. ET on ABC, the anticipation and debates surrounding this year’s nominees reach a fever pitch. While the biggest box office winner of the year, “Barbie,” is guaranteed attention due to its much-discussed “snubs” in the acting categories for Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig, it’s becoming increasingly clear that this year’s Oscars will be “Oppenheimer’s” night.

The Complexities of Popularity and Recognition in Hollywood

Comedian Martin Mull once quipped that Hollywood is “just high school with money,” and the Academy Awards, as one of its primary functions, reflect this idea. The Oscars serve multiple purposes: delivering a three-hour commercial to inspire people to go to the movies, ensuring networks continue paying top Dollar for broadcasting rights, and providing an audience to engage with. Nominating popular movies is a smart strategy to attract viewers and potentially boost television ratings.

The Academy’s Struggle with Blockbusters in the Superhero Era

Since Marvel’s “Iron Man” kickstarted an unprecedented run at the box office, award show organizers have grappled with the challenge of balancing commercial success and critical acclaim. The Academy increased the number of best picture nominees in 2009 and even considered adding a “popular film” award to attract more blockbusters. Despite the success of a few superhero or genre movies, such as “Black Panther,” most have struggled to gain recognition.

“Barbie” and the Unexpected Nomination Surprises

“Barbie,” with its star-studded cast and socially relevant themes, defied expectations by earning eight nominations, including a best picture nod. As the awards season progresses, industry guilds and journalist groups have shown preference for the historical drama “Oppenheimer,” which has been lauded for its depth and relevance to past Oscar winners. This trend is further fueled by the entertainment industry’s recent affection for smaller films, often made accessible via streaming services.

“Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”: The Box Office Outliers

Out of the ten best picture nominees, only “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” have generated significant box office success. The remaining eight films – “American Fiction,” “Anatomy of a Fall,” “The Holdovers,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” “Maestro,” “Past Lives,” “Poor Things,” and “The Zone of Interest” – collectively grossed around $400 million worldwide, a figure surpassed by “Barbie” with over $1 billion. “Oppenheimer,” which also had success at the box office, is considered a strong contender to win multiple awards, including best picture and individual honors for director Christopher Nolan and actors Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr.

The International Presence and Diversity in the Film Industry

“Anatomy of a Fall” (France) and “The Zone of Interest” (Germany) mark the first time two international releases have been nominated for best picture in the same year. This trend reflects a greater international presence and diversity across the entertainment industry, from the groundbreaking win of “Parasite” in 2020 to critically acclaimed TV shows like “Squid Game.”

The Importance of Second-Guessing and the Legacy of Controversial Oscar Selections

As with any awards season, discussions about the merits of individual nominations and second-guessing the selections are par for the course. History is filled with memorable upsets and debatable choices, such as “How Green Was My Valley” over “Citizen Kane,” “Shakespeare in Love” over “Saving Private Ryan,” and “Crash” over “Brokeback Mountain.” Regardless of personal allegiances to this year’s nominees, those who tune in live are encouraged to relax, appreciate the fashion, and, hopefully, enjoy the show.


As we gear up for the 96th Academy Awards, “Oppenheimer” is poised to take home a significant number of awards due to its critical acclaim and historical relevance. “Barbie,” despite missing out on acting nominations for Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig, has defied expectations by earning eight nominations and will likely secure wins in the song and costume design categories. The Academy Awards continue to reflect Hollywood’s ever-evolving landscape, from its reliance on blockbusters to its embrace of international talent and diversity.

Final Thoughts

As the world eagerly awaits the Academy Awards on March 10, let us celebrate the art of filmmaking, appreciate the fashion and excitement that comes with this annual event, and look forward to being reminded why we love the movies.


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