According to undercover Oscar voters, the Zone of Interest has a chance of winning best picture unexpectedly.

Estimated read time 4 min read

Based on interviews with unnamed Oscar voters, it seems as though The Zone of Interest, a Holocaust film directed by Jonathan Glazer and based on the book by Martin Amis, may surprisingly win the best picture award over Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer.

Following the closing of the voting period for the Academy Awards on Tuesday, there is now a period of anticipation leading up to the announcement of the results next Sunday. This period is marked by intense speculation, largely fueled by anonymous interviews with Oscar voters referred to as “Brutally Honest Oscar Ballots.” In these interviews, actual Academy members candidly discuss their decision-making process and provide insight into how certain films and performers may have an advantage or disadvantage in the awards process.

The Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot, created by Scott Feinberg from the Hollywood Reporter, goes against Academy rules by revealing voting decisions to the press. However, it has been a tradition for over ten years and has exposed interesting insights, such as a studio executive admitting to not watching Mad Max: Fury Road and an actor expressing frustration towards Meryl Streep. The 2024 Oscar race has a surprising contender in The Zone of Interest, which is vying for the top award.

Following its success at the Golden Globes, Oppenheimer, a biographical film about J Robert Oppenheimer, has been deemed the frontrunner for the Best Picture category at the Oscars. The film, directed by Christopher Nolan, has also received the most nominations for the prestigious award. Predictions suggest that Oppenheimer will take home the trophy, thanks to the Oscars’ voting system. However, there is growing support for The Zone of Interest, evidenced by positive reviews and endorsements from unnamed voters. In fact, one Academy voter stated that The Zone of Interest exemplifies what film-making should be, and that they voted for it over Oppenheimer. Additionally, Variety magazine has reported that two out of their five interviewees chose The Zone of Interest as their top pick for Best Picture, equal to the number of votes received by Oppenheimer. One interviewee even went so far as to say that the film has stayed with them since they first saw it.

The movie The Zone of Interest, mostly featuring German dialogue, has been nominated for an Oscar in the best international feature film category. It is expected to beat out other contenders such as the Spanish film Society of the Snow, which centers around a plane crash, and the Japanese film Perfect Days, a character study about a toilet cleaner. The chances of The Zone of Interest winning in this category have been improved significantly after the French film Anatomy of a Fall, which won at Cannes, was not selected by its home country to compete for the international feature Oscar. Instead, France chose the food-centric romance The Taste of Things.

The relationship between The Zone of Interest and Anatomy of a Fall is predicted to be reflected in Sandra Hüller’s fate, as she is up for a best actress nomination for her role in the latter. This role features her as a woman on trial for her husband’s death, while she also appears in the former as Hedwig Höss, the wife of Auschwitz camp commandant Rudolf Höss (portrayed by Christian Friedel). Despite her performance in both films, Hüller did not receive a supporting actress nomination. The substantial impact of her performances led a Hollywood Reporter voter to name Hüller as the best actress and two of Variety’s anonymous interviewees also mentioned her in the category, which was previously thought to be a competition between Lily Gladstone for Killers of the Flower Moon and Emma Stone for Poor Things.

Due to the small number of participants, the opinions expressed in the Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot may not be an accurate representation, yet they suggest that the competition is still far from being decided.

The 96th Academy Awards ceremony will be held on March 10th at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.


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