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2022 Academy Awards Predictions

By Angus Chambers

26th March 2022

I have a love-hate relationship with the Oscars, and this year perfectly exemplifies why. I have no shame in admitting that I think about the Oscars all year found. I drag my girlfriend to an empty cinema to watch a two-hour black and white Shakespeare adaptation, safe in the knowledge we’ll be rooting for a Best Picture underdog approximately 30 people have seen. No smugness this time though, it didn’t even get nominated.

 

To save you that time but still give you the perfect line to impress the film lover in your life, I’ve compiled my predictions into a handy cheat-sheet article which won’t bore you half as much as some of this year’s nominations will.

 

Back to my love-hate relationship – this year has been an absolutely classic showing from the Academy. The highest grossing film of the year only getting one puny nomination? Check. The Best Picture race being an absolute mess that pleases nobody? Check. A live performance of “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”? Bloody hope so.

 

On a positive note, this was a really great year for film and many of my favourites are in the running. I was particularly pleased to see West Side Story, Flee and Spencer getting some recognition. Recognition is likely all they’ll receive though, with powerhouses like Dune, The Power of the Dog and Belfast dominating the nominations. In all fairness, though, these films were actually very well liked. Apart from The Power of the Dog, obviously, which nobody has seen despite having been on Netflix for months.

 

Speaking of films people actually liked, Spider-Man made $1.9bn, catapulting it into the top 10 highest grossing films of all time. Clearly the Academy are not swayed by public opinion! Let’s ignore the fact they’ve cut eight categories out of the live show and replaced them with a brand new “Fan Favourite” award, voted for by twitter users, because what could go wrong there?

 

Recent news of Rachel Zegler not only being snubbed in her category but also from the invite list is hardly surprising given that none of the Leading Actress nominees starred in a film up for Best Picture. It is worth mentioning too that some of the films that did get nominated were fronted by women, such as Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza) and Emilia Jones (CODA), but they were still ignored in favour of more established names in less critically acclaimed films. It’s concerning that a performance as stand-out as Zegler’s turn as Maria isn’t receiving Academy credit despite West Side Story receiving 7 nominations.

 

Finally, Troy Kotsur, I’m really happy for you, and I’ma let you finish but Mike Faist gave one of the best performances of all time. Seriously though, West Side Story was one of the few films in this list I didn’t have to drag my girlfriend to, and we both loved it.

 

This year, I’m going to rank the nominees on how likely I think it is they’ll win, before saying the film I think should win from among the nominees, starting, naturally, with Best Picture.

 

Best Picture

  1. The Power of the Dog

  2. CODA

  3. Belfast

  4. West Side Story

  5. Dune

  6. King Richard

  7. Licorice Pizza

  8. Don’t Look Up

  9. Drive My Car

  10. Nightmare Alley

What Should Win: West Side Story

The Power of the Dog, elegantly and precisely crafted by Jane Campion is the slight favourite for the big prize. I really enjoyed it when I watched it, and have no problem with it winning. It will be the lowest rated Best Picture Winner on IMDb ever, probably in part due to its complete award show and critical dominance this season. There has been mounting dissatisfaction directed its way, but I still think it’s a worthy Best Picture winner.

 

In recent weeks, CODA has pulled right alongside The Power of the Dog with some big wins. I’m still leaning towards the latter, but after Jane Campion’s insensitive gaffe at the Critics Choice Awards, CODA definitely picked up some steam. I liked CODA, particularly because it used a cast of deaf actors, and I’m so glad to see their performances being given the credit they deserve.

 

Belfast is my next pick, but I think it’s very unlikely to win. I liked it, and thought it was a sensitive and heart-warming tale shedding some light on issues many of us know little about.

 

West Side Story is an outstanding film, directed brilliantly by Steven Spielberg. The veteran director is clearly not just the lovable but past-his-best grandfather of Hollywood many may see him as, but still one of the finest active filmmakers. I loved West Side Story. It’s one of my favourites from this year, and it’s a huge shame that more people didn’t go out and see it.

 

Dune is an instant classic. A complete technical masterclass with a strong ensemble cast. Special mention must go to Hans Zimmer for the incredible score, and to Denis Villeneuve for nailing such an ambitious project which so many have failed at before. I can’t wait for the second part. Hopefully Zendaya will have a bit more to do this time round.

King Richard was a very solid biopic, giving credit to a dedicated and loving father, without taking away from the work ethic, natural ability and sheer genius of his legendary daughters. I was pleased to see that Serena and Venus were involved in this film, and hope they were happy with the finished product.

 

Licorice Pizza isn’t my favourite Paul Thomas Anderson film, but I couldn’t help but get swept away by this one. Alana Haim was outstanding as a newcomer, and seeing Cooper Hoffman on screen choked me up on a couple of occasions. The soundtrack was great and I loved the slick and emotive photography. Bar a couple of strange and insensitive scenes, this is yet another hit for the best director going.

 

Don’t Look Up received 4 nominations this year, and Best Picture was one of them. If I speak, I am in big trouble.

 

I unfortunately haven’t yet seen Drive My Car or Nightmare Alley, but I’m really looking forward to both.

 

Best Director

  1. Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog

  2. Steven Spielberg – West Side Story

  3. Kenneth Branagh – Belfast

  4. Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza

  5. Ryusuke Hamaguchi – Drive My Car

Who Should Win: Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog

My Pick: Denis Villeneuve – Dune

When Jane Campion wins in this category, which I’m almost certain will happen, she will become the second consecutive woman to win Best Director, and only the third overall. In a year where films fronted by women have been overlooked for Best Picture, it is encouraging to see some progress being made in this category. As much as I love Spielberg’s West Side Story, Campion is absolutely the deserving winner here.

I’m absolutely mystified as to why Denis Villeneuve wasn’t nominated, especially considering Dune got nods in practically every other category.

 

Best Actor

  1. Will Smith – King Richard

  2. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog

  3. Andrew Garfield – Tick, Tick… Boom!

  4. Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth

  5. Javier Bardem – Being the Ricardos

Who Should Win: Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog

I really liked the top 4 performances, and it’s such a shame that Peter Dinklage (Cyrano) or Simon Rex (Red Rocket) didn’t get in over Javier Bardem. Denzel Washington was a great Macbeth and Andrew Garfield was electric in what I found to be an otherwise quite average film. Will Smith is probably due an Oscar, but I thought Benedict Cumberbatch gave a far more nuanced and complete performance. Smith is brilliant, though, and I’ll be pleased to see him get his Oscar.

 

Best Actress

  1. Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye

  2. Kristen Stewart – Spencer

  3. Penelope Cruz – Parallel Mothers

  4. Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter

  5. Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos

Who Should Win: Kristen Stewart – Spencer

Meh. It’s inexplicable to me that Kristen Stewart hasn’t got this one secured already. Her performance is easily the best of the year. This category just feels a bit uninspired to me, and a lot of really exciting, authentic performances have been overlooked in favour of more established names.

 

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Troy Kotsur – CODA

  2. Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog

  3. Ciaran Hinds – Belfast

  4. Jesse Plemons – The Power of the Dog

  5. J.K. Simmons – Being the Ricardos

Who Should Win: Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog

Kodi Smit-McPhee looked at the start of the season to be a shoo-in for this category, but after picking up wins at the SAGs, Critics Choice Awards and the BAFTAs Troy Kotsur has this one in the bag. He’ll become the first deaf actor to ever win an Oscar, which is really great. He gives an outstanding physical performance in CODA, conveying so much just with his eyes and facial expressions. Smit-McPhee probably edges it for me in terms of level of performance, but I’ll be happy to see either of them win.

 

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Ariana DeBose – West Side Story

  2. Kirsten Dunst – The Power of the Dog

  3. Aunjanue Ellis – King Richard

  4. Jessie Buckley – The Lost Daughter

  5. Judi Dench – Belfast

Who Should Win: Ariana DeBose – West Side Story

This is an inspired pick, and I’m so glad Ariana DeBose is winning here. She made Anita her own, and she has cemented her status as an outstanding triple-threat actress. This will also make her the first Afro-Latina and openly LGBTQ+ woman to win an Oscar. She fully deserves the win, and was the probable standout of what was an exceptional ensemble cast. I’m not sure how the Academy watched Belfast and went with Judi Dench over the fantastic Catriona Balfe, but the rest of these nominees were all great performances.

 

Best Original Screenplay

  1. Kenneth Branagh – Belfast

  2. Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza

  3. Adam McKay, David Sirota – Don’t Look Up

  4. Zach Baylin – King Richard

  5. Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier – The Worst Person in the World

Who Should Win: Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza

This one, infuriatingly, seems to be going the way of Kenneth Branagh for Belfast. This will make it 11 nominations and 0 wins for one of the greatest filmmakers alive in Paul Thomas Anderson. This isn’t his best work, but please can he just get one? Feels cruel at this point.

 

Adam McKay has hilariously picked up another nomination here, but it was great to see Joachim Trier recognised.

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. Sian Heder; based on the original motion picture screenplay La Famille Belier written by Victoria Bedos, Thomas Bidegain, Stanislas Carre de Marlberg and Eric Lartigau – CODA

  2. Jane Campion; based on the novel by Thomas Savage – The Power of the Dog

  3. Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamase Oe; based on the short story by Haruki Murakami – Drive My Car

  4. Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth; based on the novel by Frank Herbert – Dune

  5. Maggie Gylenhaal; based on the novel by Elene Ferrante – The Lost Daughter

Who Should Win: Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog

This race is quite an interesting one actually, and while Campion seemed way in front a few weeks back, the tide has shifted, and Heder is now the slight favourite. This category could be the decisive one in terms of Best Picture, but I think it’ll be a split, with Heder taking it here, and Campion picking up the big prize.

 

Everyone else deserved to be nominated, and I’m pleased to see Maggie Gylenhaal there as I thought The Lost Daughter was quite underrated.

 

Best Animated Feature Film

  1. Encanto

  2. The Mitchells vs the Machines

  3. Luca

  4. Flee

  5. Raya and the Last Dragon

What Should Win: Flee

This looks to be going the way of Disney’s Encanto. I wasn’t hugely taken by it, but can understand why so many were.

 

The Mitchells vs the Machines was a charming, action-packed film with touching LGBTQ+ representation. I really enjoyed it, and fortunately it does have an outside chance.

 

Flee is easily one of the best animated films I’ve ever seen, and I’m really disappointed that it probably won’t get any wins.

 

Best International Feature Film

  1. Drive My Car (Japan)

  2. Flee (Denmark)

  3. The Worst Person in the World (Norway)

  4. The Hand of God (Italy)

  5. Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (Bhutan)

What Should Win: Drive My Car

As I’ve said, I’m still eagerly waiting to see Drive My Car, particularly since it seems an absolute certainty in this category. Again, Flee will likely miss out.

 

Best Documentary Feature

  1. Summer of Soul (… Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

  2. Flee

  3. Ascension

  4. Attica

  5. Writing with Fire

What Should Win: Flee

The omission of The Rescue has made this category quite straightforward. This is probably Flee’s best chance, but I can’t see it happening.

 

Best Cinematography

  1. Greig Fraser – Dune

  2. Bruno Delbonnel – The Tragedy of Macbeth

  3. Ari Wegner – The Power of the Dog

  4. Janusz Kaminski – West Side Story

  5. Dan Laustsen – Nightmare Alley

Who Should Win: Bruno Delbonnel – The Tragedy of Macbeth

This is a very tight race. Fraser, Delbonnel and Wegner all have a chance. All three of these films were beautifully shot, but The Tragedy of Macbeth stood out to me. The visuals were absolutely stunning, and offered a fresh and exciting entry to a world we’ve all seen countless times before. Wegner would become the first woman to ever win in this category, but I am leaning towards Greig Fraser for his exceptional work on Dune.

 

Best Film Editing

  1. Pamela Martin – King Richard

  2. Joe Walker – Dune

  3. Peter Sciberras – The Power of the Dog

  4. Hank Corwin – Don’t Look Up

  5. Myron Kerstein and Andrew Weisblum – Tick, Tick… Boom!

Who Should Win: Joe Walker – Dune

Another tricky one, but Pamela Martin has emerged as the favourite ahead of Joe Walker. I can’t really look past Dune as being the best edited film of the year, though. Given the sheer size and magnitude of the project, condensing such a massive story into a coherent and engaging narrative is a huge achievement.

 

Best Original Score

  1. Hans Zimmer – Dune

  2. Jonny Greenwood – The Power of the Dog

  3. Nicholas Britell – Don’t Look Up

  4. Germaine Franco – Encanto

  5. Alberto Iglesias – Parallel Mothers

Who Should Win: Hans Zimmer – Dune

Hans Zimmer will definitely win here, and rightly so. Zimmer’s score is brilliant, and stuck in my head for days afterwards. Jonny Greenwood has had another great year with The Power of the Dog and Spencer. I know his work will eventually be recognised but this year belongs to the legendary Hans Zimmer.

 

Best Sound

  1. Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett – Dune

  2. Simon Hayes, Oliver Tarney, James Harrison, Paul Massey and Mark Taylor – No Time to Die

  3. Tod A. Maitland, Gary Rydstrom, Brian Chumney, Andy Nelson and Shawn Murphy – West Side Story

  4. Richard Flynn, Robert Mackenzie and Tara Webb – The Power of the Dog

  5. Denise Yarde, Simon Chase, James Mather and Niv Adiri – Belfast

 Who Should Win: Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett – Dune

I’m actually not too sure what the criteria is for this category, and the winners often seem to be quite random. Dune is a lock here though, and to my admittedly untrained ear it sounded absolutely brilliant.

 

Best Original Song

  1. “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die – Music and lyrics by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell

  2. “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto – Music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda

  3. “Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days – Music and lyrics by Dianne Warren

  4. “Be Alive” from King Richard – Music and lyrics by DIXSON and Beyonce Knowles-Carter

  5. “Down to Joy” from Belfast – Music and lyrics by Van Morrison

What Should Win: No Time to Die

It’s beginning to become a ritual that the Bond song wins an Oscar. I didn’t find this entry to be as good as its predecessors, but I don’t mind it winning. I’m also not sure if I’m quite ready for Lin-Manuel Miranda to get his EGOT.

 

Best Production Design

  1. Patrice Vermette, Zsuzsanna Sipos – Dune

  2. Stefan Dechant, Nancy Haigh – The Tragedy of Macbeth

  3. Adam Stockhausen, Rene DeAngelo – West Side Story

  4. Grant Major, Amber Richards – The Power of the Dog

  5. Tamara Deverell, Shane Vieau – Nightmare Alley

Who Should Win: Stefan Dechant, Nancy Haigh – The Tragedy of Macbeth

Everyone here did fantastic work, but I would actually go against the popular consensus and put The Tragedy of Macbeth as my favourite. The set perfectly emulated the terrifying emptiness of Kim and Kanye’s place, and that’s worthy of an award in my book.

 

Best Visual Effects

  1. Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor and Gerd Nefzer – Dune

  2. Charlie Noble, Joel Green, Jonathan Fawkner and Chris Corbould – No Time to Die

  3. Kelly Port, Chris Waegner, Scott Edelstein and Dan Sudick – Spider-Man: No Way Home

  4. Christopher Townsend, Joe Farrell, Sean Noel Walker and Dan Oliver – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

  5. Swen Gillberg, Bryan Grill, Nikos Kalaitzidis and Dan Sudick – Free Guy

Who Should Win: Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor and Gerd Nefzer – Dune

Dune, easily. The effects for Spider-Man weren’t even that good. The sand snakes alone were pretty much the most terrifying thing I’ve seen on a screen since Joey King’s haircut at the end of Kissing Booth 3.

 

Best Costume Design

  1. Jenny Beavan – Cruella

  2. Jacqueline West and Bob Morgan – Dune

  3. Massimo Cantini Parrini and Jacqueline Durran – Cyrano

  4. Paul Tazewell – West Side Story

  5. Luis Sequeira – Nightmare Alley

Who Should Win: Massimo Cantini Parrini and Jacqueline Durran – Cyrano

An underappreciated category. The precision, natural instinct and hard work that goes into finding and creating costumes is so important to the success of a film. Jenny Beavan is the current favourite, but the costumes in all these films were brilliant.

 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  1. Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram and Justin Raleigh – The Eyes of Tammy Faye

  2. Donald Mowat, Love Larson and Eva von Bahr – Dune

  3. Goran Lundstrom, Anna Carin Lock and Frederic Aspiras – House of Gucci

  4. Nadia Stacey, Naomi Donne and Julia Vernon – Cruella

  5. Mike Marino, Stacey Morris and Carla Farmer – Coming 2 America

Who Should Win: Goran Lundstrom, Anna Carin Lock and Frederic Aspiras – House of Gucci

 

Some people thought Jared Leto was actually good in House of Gucci, so I feel anyone behind the scenes deserves some recognition for this.

 

Best Live Action Short Film: Aneil Karia and Riz Ahmed – The Long Goodbye

Best Documentary Short Subject: Ben Proudfoot – The Queen of Basketball

Best Animated Short Film: Dan Ojari and Mikey Please – Robin Robin

 

Honourable Mentions

 

If you’ve made it this far, then you may well be interested to hear some of my thoughts on the films that didn’t get nominated or are highly unlikely to win.

 

My favourite of the year was C’mon C’mon, starring Joaquin Phoenix and young Woody Norman. A beautiful film, elegantly shot in black and white with a career-best performance from Phoenix. At such a young age, I was so impressed with the sensitivity and precision of Woody Norman and hope that he’ll stick around in the industry.

 

Mass, expertly written and directed by Fran Kranz was a deeply moving and hauntingly real film with knockout performances by Ann Dowd and Jason Isaacs. Ann Dowd is one of my favourite actresses, and she was brilliant in this role.

 

Spencer was another excellent film, and while I’m pleased Kristen Stewart got her nomination, I’ll need someone to explain how it wasn’t even considered for Director, Cinematography, Original Score, Production and Costume Design.

 

Flee and The Summit of the Gods were two fantastic animated foreign films. Flee is the first film to be nominated in Documentary, Animated and Foreign feature. It likely won’t win any though, which is a damn shame.

 

Ron’s Gone Wrong was such a charming and funny Disney film, co-written by Peter Baynham, who worked on Borat.

No Time to Die raised some eyebrows, but as a huge fan of Cary Joji Fukunaga I was definitely satisfied. Daniel Craig is my favourite Bond, and he signed off with his best performance as 007.

 

I really enjoyed Sean Baker’s controversial latest entry in Red Rocket. It cleverly highlighted the long-term impacts and difficulties with being involved in porn without encouraging sympathy for a truly awful main character.

 

Finally, I have to mention two low-budget British films starring the electric Stephen Graham; Boiling Point and Help. He gives outstanding performances in both, and further cements his position as one of my favourite actors, perhaps even surpassing Tom Hardy as ‘the best actor going’. Jodie Comer also had a good year, with strong showings in both The Last Duel and Help.

 

This has been a really strong year for film, especially under such incredibly difficult circumstances. To all the writers, directors, actors, producers and everyone else behind the scenes who has worked so hard, thank you for making this film lover very happy indeed.