The Night Water 2024 Oscar Ballot

Plus: cultivating desert power

The Night Water 2024 Oscar Ballot
[whispering to date while watching the Oscars when a statuette first appears on screen] That's Oscar | Photo: Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

I love the Oscars. More accurately: I love an Oscar ballot. It’s a fun competition in a casual social environment—work! college dorm! a small gathering of friends!—that can be very easily won by doing the small amount of research that the vast majority of your circle won’t bother with.

The Oscars are remarkably predictable. They come at the end of a long awards season, and the Oscars’ voting body (“the Academy,” of “I’d like to thank” fame) is made up of folks who vote for those other awards. It’s not hard to read the tea leaves—if someone has won a ton of industry awards in the lead-up to the Oscars, they’ll probably win the Oscar.

Of course, there are curveballs—Moonlight, for example, was legitimately a surprising win outside of the La La Land fiasco, and was one of the first indications that the Academy’s efforts to diversify, which began in 2016, were actually making some difference. Crash, 2006’s Best Picture winner, is still thought of as both one of the Oscars’ worst and most surprising winners. But the reason we remember these as shocks and upsets are because the Oscars are otherwise easy to predict. If the Oscars were more of a toss-up, we wouldn't have surprises.

All of that is to say that with a little bit of effort, there’s no reason you shouldn’t win your office Oscar ballot this year. While you and your colleagues have probably soaked in the favorites for the big six awards through pure cultural osmosis, you can give yourself a serious leg up by finding the favorites for technical awards and learning the difference between adapted and original screenplays.

Now that I’ve given you the secret of “Googling,” can you use your newfound knowledge to not only win your office Oscar ballot but the Night Water Oscars Ballot as well?

That’s right: this year, I’m running my own Academy Awards competition, with the grand prize winner receiving a year of free Day Soda—pure carbonated goodness in the form of exclusive emails.

Second place and third place will win six months and three months of Day Soda respectively. I’ll also give a free month to anyone who scores better than me but isn’t in the top three. Winners will be announced in a future issue of Night Water.

Winners who are currently free subscribers will receive a new complimentary plan through Ghost and will be notified via email. Winners who are currently paid subscribers will receive a Stripe credit towards their next bill.

EDIT: The results are in! Check out the winners and more fun data from the ballot here.


Dune: Part Two is finally in theaters this week after being unceremoniously postponed last fall due to the actors’ strike. While it would’ve been nice to see the film five months ago, it did give me some extra time to read the book, rewatch Dune: Part One at BFI IMAX (Britain’s largest screen, as they’ll remind you two or three times before the show), and get started on Dune Messiah.

If you haven’t read Dune but still want a little bit of book knowledge that you can lord over your friends, I suggest Max Read’s annotations of the first film over at his newsletter, Read Max.

One of the best parts of any blockbuster release is, of course, the tweets. I’ll leave you with a few of my favorites.

@LIFOMichael on Twitter: A photoshop of Duke Leto Atreides after he's been captured by the Harkonnens at the Hot Ones table. “Well Duke Atreides, by all accounts your son and concubine are dead; as we move on to the next heat level, your question is this: Do you think that tonight is the night House Atreides falls?”
@thefilmdrunk on Twitter: A photoshopped picture of Timothée Chalamet from Wonka with blue eyes and a stillsuit nose plug. "Ladies and gentlemen of the gallery gourmet, my name is Paul Muad’dib Atreides, Duke of Arrakis"
@economeager on Twitter: A quote tweet of a video of Peter Thiel. Original tweet says: "There are three plausible futures for the west. Islamic Sharia Law, totalitarian AI, or hyper-environmentalism. - Peter Thiel" The quote tweet says: "man these dune 2 marketing tie-ins are getting funky"
@ErnieLies on Twitter: A photo of the tiny mouse from Dune: Part One. "Paul: there will be an intergalactic war in my name. Also Paul: can you name me after this uwu baby"
@CountVolpe on Twitter: A photoshop of Dune: Part One playing on a smart refrigerator screen. "Getting a final rewatch in"
@shayhbaz on Twitter: Photo of Chani and Paul from Dune: Part Two. "Would you still love me if I was a worm?"