Oscar Droughts: How Long Will Bradley Cooper and Diane Warren Have to Wait for Their Academy Awards?

Bradley Cooper Maestro
©Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection

“Always a bridesmaid, never the bride” certainly applies to the plight of 19 of this year’s longest-suffering Academy Award nominees. Spanning all 23 categories, these actors, filmmakers and artisans — including actor Annette Bening, filmmaker Wes Anderson and costume designer Jacqueline West — share a peculiar bond. Collectively, they have racked up an impressive 107 Oscar nominations over the years without once stepping onto the Dolby Theatre stage to deliver an acceptance speech. By comparison, living titans Daniel Day-Lewis, Frances McDormand, Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep have together garnered 47 bids and taken home 13 trophies.

The 96th ceremony may not change the narrative for many of these perennial favorites. Bening, on her fifth nod for “Nyad,” and Mark Ruffalo, rocking out with his fourth mention for “Poor Things,” find themselves in tight races, with Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) and Robert Downey Jr. (“Oppenheimer”) way ahead of them. Furthermore, Bening and Ruffalo’s chances are dampened after they missed key precursor noms such as BAFTA.

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Oscars predictions in all categories.

OPPENHEIMER, from left: director Christopher Nolan, Robert Downey Jr.
©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

Speaking of “Oppenheimer,” Christopher Nolan’s epic leads the pack with 13. The filmmaker is long overdue for recognition after eight career noms; following his triumph at the DGA Awards, he’s locked and loaded for his first stage appearance. In fact, Nolan stands a good chance of joining the elite group of 12 individuals who have clinched the Oscar hat trick of picture, director and screenplay.

Bradley Cooper enters the scene with three mentions for “Maestro,” bringing his Oscar-nom total to 12 over the past decade. His transformative portrayal of Leonard Bernstein puts him in direct competition with lead actor frontrunners Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”) and Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”). Still, it remains his best shot at a win. That’s something Netflix is aware of as it enlists Oscar-winning heavyweights like Ellen Burstyn and Brad Pitt to moderate Q&As — all in hopes of securing victories at SAG and BAFTA.

Then of course there’s Diane Warren, the legendary songwriter who chalked up her 15th nom for “The Fire Inside” from “Flamin’ Hot.” Though she received an honorary Oscar in 2022, her quest for a competitive win seems as elusive as ever, given that she’s up against two songs from “Barbie” — “What Was I Made For?,” by song of the year Grammy winners Billie Eilish and Finneas, appears to have the edge.

While “overdue” is an overused term, as the ceremony approaches, all eyes will be on those select few who are hoping at last to end their night at the engraving station.

This week’s winner picks are below, along with the list of most nominated individuals this year with no wins. The final BAFTA predictions have also been updated ahead of Sunday’s ceremony.

Oscar Predictions (Feb. 15)

BARBIE, Margot Robbie as Barbie, 2023. © Warner Bos. /Courtesy Everett Collection
©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

Best Picture:
“Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures) — Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan, “Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures)

Paul Giamatti, “The Holdovers” (Focus Features)

Lily Gladstone, “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films)

Supporting Actor:
Robert Downey Jr, “Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures)

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

Original Screenplay:
“Anatomy of a Fall” (Neon) — Justine Triet, Arthur Harari

Adapted Screenplay:
“Barbie” (Warner Bros.) — Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach

Animated Feature:
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Sony Pictures) — Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Amy Pascal

Production Design:
“Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures) — Shona Heath, James Price, Szusza Mihalek

“Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures) — Hoyte van Hoytema

Costume Design:
“Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures) — Holly Waddington

Film Editing:
“Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures) — Jennifer Lame

Makeup and Hairstyling:
“Maestro” (Netflix) — Kazu Hiro, Kay Georgiou and Lori McCoy-Bell

“Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures) — Willie Burton, Richard King, Gary A. Rizzo and Kevin O’Connell

Visual Effects:
“Godzilla: Minus One” (Toho) — Takashi Yamazaki, Kiyoko Shibuya, Masaki Takahashi and Tatsuji Nojima

Original Score:
“Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures) — Ludwig Göransson

Original Song:
“Barbie” – “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell

Documentary Feature:
“20 Days in Mariupol” (PBS) — Mstyslav Chernov, Michelle Mizner and Raney Aronson-Rath

International Feature:
“The Zone of Interest” (A24) — United Kingdom

Animated Short:
“Letter to a Pig” (Miyu Distribution) — Tal Kantor and Amit R. Gicelter

Documentary Short:
“The Last Repair Shop” (L.A. Times Studios/Searchlight Pictures) — Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers

Live Action Short:
“The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” (Netflix) — Wes Anderson and Steven Rales

From Variety US