The 94th Academy Awards ceremony is right around the corner. Trust me; March 27 will arrive before you even blink. We’ve waited for a long time to say this, but the nominations for the 2022 Oscars are finally here!
Some categories have clear-cut favorites, whereas, in others, the award could go to several nominees. Let’s play god for a minute and give some early predictions for each category of the 2022 Oscars, going in alphabetical order.
Actor in a Leading Role
- JAVIER BARDEM in Being The Ricardos
- BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH in The Power Of The Dog
- ANDREW GARFIELD in Tick, Tick…Boom!
- WILL SMITH in King Richard
- DENZEL WASHINGTON in The Tragedy Of Macbeth
Most of the nominations for the Best Actor in a Leading Role came as no surprise. And, although I truly loved Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog, I lowkey hoped he’d get a nod for The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. Although he shined as Louis, it seems the western tale of Phil Burbank had more appeal to the Academy.
That being said, I don’t believe Cumberbatch takes the category. My pick is Andrew Garfield, who again displayed the vast array of his talent, despite being best-known for his role in Spider-Man: No Way Home this year. He definitely deserves it, but the common public opinion seems to be that it’ll be Will Smith’s year to take the Oscar for his portrayal of Richard Williams.
Actor in a Supporting Role
- CIARÁN HINDS in Belfast
- TROY KOTSUR in CODA
- JESSE PLEMONS in The Power Of The Dog
- J.K. SIMMONS in Being The Ricardos
- KODI SMIT-McPHEE in The Power Of The Dog
The Best Actor in a Supporting Role will be a tossup between the two actors from Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog. The film is remarkably directed (more on that later), but the thing that made it so great was the performances.
Almost every role in the movie is deep, every character complex, and every single action they do has a reason and a purpose. My top pick would be Kodi Smit-McPhee. The 25-year-old Australian would be the second-youngest actor to win an Academy Award, but it would be a well-deserved win.
Actress in a Leading Role
- JESSICA CHASTAIN in The Eyes Of Tammy Faye
- OLIVIA COLMAN in The Lost Daughter
- PENÉLOPE CRUZ in Parallel Mothers
- NICOLE KIDMAN in Being The Ricardos
- KRISTEN STEWART in Spencer
It seems that the competition for Best Actress in a Leading Role is quite tough every year, but this year has to be one of the tighter races in recent history. Many have Kristen Stewart’s interpretation of Princess Diana in the film Spencer at their top spot, but others push hard against the harrowing yet powerful performance.
I can’t help but love Olivia Colman’s role in The Lost Daughter the most. Maggie Gyllenhaal did an outstanding job in her first film, but Colman really carried it with her performance. Still, Colman won in 2019, whereas Nicole Kidman hasn’t won in two decades.
My money is on the Australian actress to win. It wouldn’t be undeserved – she was amazing as Lucille Ball. I just didn’t particularly like the movie.
Actress in a Supporting Role
- JESSIE BUCKLEY in The Lost Daughter
- ARIANA DeBOSE in West Side Story
- JUDI DENCH in Belfast
- KRISTEN DUNST in The Power Of The Dog
- AUNJANUE ELLIS in King Richard
I’m not a big fan of remakes, which is why I probably watched Spielberg’s West Side Story with a grain of salt. Still, Ariana Debose’s performance managed to captivate me. Rita Moreno won the Oscar for the same role in the early 60s. She was amazing, so I was critical of DeBose before the film even began – and yet, she captivated me.
Ariana brought something completely new to Anita, and I loved it. Still, it would be unprecedented for two actresses to get an Oscar for the same part, so it will probably be Aunjanue Ellis, who absolutely teared it up as Oracene Williams.
I know Will Smith might be the favorite for the Lead Role, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ellis walk out with the statuette, too.
Animated Feature Film
- ENCANTO – Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Yvett Merino, Clark Spencer
- FLEE – Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen, Charlotte De La Gournerie
- LUCA – Enrico Casarosa, Andrea Warren
- THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES – Mike Rianda, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Kurt Albrecht
- RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON – Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada, Osnat Shurer, Peter Del Vecho
The 2022 Animated Feature Film category is packed, culturally diverse, and everything we could’ve hoped for. Encanto is most people’s favorite, but I believe the Academy will look at more than just popularity. Encanto was a wonderful, colorful story with an incredible soundtrack, but it was jumpy and narrow at moments.
Raya and the Last Dragon will probably win, but I want to highlight how outstanding yet overshadowed Luca was. It was an amazing story about friendship, growing up, fitting in, and eventually choosing a path. It hit me right in the feels, and I’ll be legitimately screaming for it to win this award.
- BELFAST – Laura Berwick, Kenneth Branagh, Becca Kovacik, Tamar Thomas
- CODA – Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi, Patrick Wachsberger
- DON’T LOOK UP – Adam McKay, Kevin Messick
- DRIVE MY CAR – Teruhisa Yamamoto
- DUNE – Mary Parent, Denis Villeneuve, Cale Boyter
- KING RICHARD – Tim White, Trevor White, Will Smith
- LICORICE PIZZA – Sara Murphy, Adam Somner and Paul Thomas Anderson
- NIGHTMARE ALLEY – Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale, Bradley Cooper
- THE POWER OF THE DOG – Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, Roger Frappier
- WEST SIDE STORY – Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger
Now, the Best Picture award race is such an unpredictable one that it’s hard for me to put my finger on one and say – they win, hands down. First, I’d like to say that I believe Licorice Pizza, Dune, Don’t Look Up, and CODA are the least likely to win. Nightmare Alley is a fantastic film, but probably too dark and violent to get the Academy Award.
The obvious winner would be The Power of the Dog, deemed the most beautiful film of the year. However, they have eleven other nominations, so the Academy might give the last award to somebody else, especially seeing that Jane Campion is probably the frontrunner for Best Director, too.
Spielberg’s West Side Story is quite magical, but I don’t feel comfortable predicting that a remake will win Bes Picture, so I’ll bet on the artistic, warm expression from Kenneth Brannagh and his film Belfast.
Belfast is a stylistically similar movie to Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma (who was the favorite but lost Best Picture to Green Book in 2019), so maybe it’s time for a black-and-white photography win in 2022.
- DUNE – Greig Fraser
- NIGHTMARE ALLEY – Dan Laustsen
- THE POWER OF THE DOG – Ari Wegner
- THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH – Bruno Delbonnel
- WEST SIDE STORY – Janusz Kaminski
I’m a big noir fan, a bigger neo-noir fan, and the biggest Guillermo del Toro fan, so I sincerely hope that Dan Laustsen gets this category for his work on Nightmare Alley – yes, even though it’s a remake.
However, Cinematography will almost surely go to Dune due to their spectacular, innovative ways of filming, using the IMAX technology to its fullest potential. The film is visually stunning, and if Greg Fraser gets the Award here, I won’t be mad. Ari Wegner for The Power of the Dog is a dark horse that could stir the pot and eventually win.
- CRUELLA – Jenny Beavan
- CYRANO – Massimo Cantini Parrini, Jacqueline Durran
- DUNE – Jacqueline West, Robert Morgan
- NIGHTMARE ALLEY – Luis Sequeira
- WEST SIDE STORY – Paul Tazewell
So, I was lowkey hoping that Last Night in Soho is getting into the mix for the Best Costume design, but it was just wishful thinking – horror doesn’t fare well with the Academy, despite the pure 60s fashion awesomeness.
From the nominees, literally every film could take the prize. I’d eliminate West Side Story for being a remake and Dune because it’ll fare much better in other categories. I’d say it’ll be a tossup between the noir remake Nightmare Alley and an unlikely pick, Cruella. It’s not a film you’d expect to see win an Oscar, but the costume design was simply spectacular.
- BELFAST – Kenneth Branagh
- DRIVE MY CAR – Ryusuke Hamaguchi
- LICORICE PIZZA – Paul Thomas Anderson
- THE POWER OF THE DOG – Jane Campion
- WEST SIDE STORY – Steven Spielberg
Again, I love what Spielberg was able to do with West Side Story, but as you have probably noticed, I’m a fan of the 1961 film, so call me a bit biased. Realistically, I doubt Steven gets the Oscar for Best Director.
I also love the 60s, and I really felt them in Kenneth Brannagh’s Belfast, so I’ll be rooting for Mr. Poirot to get the Award. Still, the biggest favorite is Jane Campion, and I feel like it’s all but done. In 1994, Spielberg won Best Director for Schindler’s List and beat Jane Campion with The Piano. I feel the tables turning this year.
- ASCENSION – Jessica Kingdon, Kira Simon-Kennedy, Nathan Truesdell
- ATTICA – Stanley Nelson, Traci A. Curry
- FLEE – Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen, Charlotte De La Gournerie
- SUMMER OF SOUL (…OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED) – Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent, David Dinerstein
- WRITING WITH FIRE – Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh
I’ve only seen three out of five of these films so far, but it seems I’ve seen enough to know who – and why – will win. The obvious choice would be the Summer of Soul – it would not just be a crowdpleaser, but justice finally getting represented – only 50 years too late.
However, I really enjoyed Flee, as it’s a remarkable, original, hard-to-believe story you just have to hear, presented in a phenomenal, animated way.
Documentary (Short Subject)
- AUDIBLE – Matt Ogens, Geoff McLean
- LEAD ME HOME – Pedro Kos, Jon Shenk
- THE QUEEN OF BASKETBALL – Ben Proudfoot
- THREE SONGS FOR BENAZIR – Elizabeth Mirzaei, Gulistan Mirzaei
- WHEN WE WERE BULLIES – Jay Rosenblatt
The talk around the Internet suggests that Three Songs For Benazir is almost a lock to win the Oscar in this category. The love story between Shaista and Benazir is powerful and deeply moving, but I’d love to see another documentary getting love and winning this category.
The Queen of Basketball is a story about Lucy Harris, one of the pioneers of women’s basketball – who scored the first Olympic basketball points for women back in 1976 and was the only woman ever to be drafted into the NBA. Still, nobody even knows her name.
The serious social issues revolving around Lucy’s case had me melt, and I truly hope that this amazing woman finally gets the love and recognition she deserves her entire life.
- DON’T LOOK UP – Hank Corwin
- DUNE – Joe Walker
- KING RICHARD – Pamela Martin
- THE POWER OF THE DOG – Peter Sciberras
- TICK, TICK…BOOM! – Myron Kerstein, Andrew Weisblum
Once again, Dune is the favorite to take the Award for Best Film Editing. Indeed, Joe Walker did an outstanding job leading the way, combining all the spectacular elements this movie has into one phenomenal, futuristic, yet contextually sound film. Still, if I’m allowed to be biased, nothing would make me happier than to see Tick, Tick… Boom! taking this Award.
The crossover between the character’s thoughts, past, and present, is so wonderfully depicted that the film’s flow never gets lost despite the constant jumps. I loved the film, and I strongly believe Myron Kerstein and Andrew Weisblum deserve recognition for their work.
International Feature Film
- DRIVE MY CAR – Japan
- FLEE – Denmark
- THE HAND OF GOD – Italy
- LUNANA: A YAK IN THE CLASSROOM – Bhutan
- THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD – Norway
It should not surprise that Drive My Car is the favorite to win Best International Feature Film. It’s the only movie of the bunch that’s also nominated for Best Picture overall and the only film in the category that isn’t in English.
People are already deeming it the next Parasite, but after watching the film, I’m not convinced it can really compete in the main category. That’s why I’m about 99% sure this category is going to Japan.
Makeup and Hairstyling
- COMING 2 AMERICA – Mike Marino, Stacey Morris, Carla Farmer
- CRUELLA – Nadia Stacey, Naomi Donne, Julia Vernon
- DUNE – Donald Mowat, Love Larson, Eva von Bahr
- THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE – Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram, Justin Raleigh
- HOUSE OF GUCCI – Göran Lundström, Anna Carin Lock, Frederic Aspiras
Honestly, I can see almost every film from this list winning the Award – apart from Coming 2 America, which had incredible makeup and hairstyling but was a plain bad film overall.
Cruella had its perks – especially Emma Stones makeup and hair, as well as House of Gucci – just look at how unrecognizable Jared Leto was. However, I think the Academy is really choosing between Dune and The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and if you ask me, the latter should be the favorite.
Music (Original Score)
- DON’T LOOK UP – Nicholas Britell
- DUNE – Hans Zimmer
- ENCANTO – Germaine Franco
- PARALLEL MOTHERS – Alberto Iglesias
- THE POWER OF THE DOG – Jonny Greenwood
I’d love to say it’s a tossup here – but there’s really just one option here. If Dune doesn’t win in this category, something is very wrong with the Academy. Zimmer absolutely nailed the space score; paired with spectacular directing, photography, visual effects, and costume design – you really get immersed into the dystopian world.
I wish to point out that we have an animated film in the mix here, which isn’t unprecedented but still a great accomplishment for Encanto.
Music (Original Song)
- “Be Alive” from KING RICHARD – by DIXSON, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
- “Dos Oruguitas” from ENCANTO – by Lin-Manuel Miranda
- “Down To Joy” from BELFAST – by Van Morrison
- “No Time To Die” from NO TIME TO DIE – by Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell
- “Somehow You Do” from FOUR GOOD DAYS – by Diane Warren
There’s usually a clear favorite in the Original Song category, but this year, I have to say I’m not sure. Encanto went with Dos Oruguitas instead of Disney’s biggest hit of all time; We Don’t Talk About Bruno. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not mixing “best” with “most popular.” I’m just saying it had better chances if they went for the hit.
We have Beyonce’s first Oscar nomination for Be Alive in King Richard, and seeing her popularity and influence; I can see them getting the Award. However, my outright favorite is No Time To Die from Billie Eilish. Daniel Craig’s final James Bond movie was epic and completely different from what we’re used to – and the song reflected that which is why we love it so much.
- DUNE – Production Design: Patrice Vermette, Set Decoration: Zsuzsanna Sipos
- NIGHTMARE ALLEY – Production Design: Tamara Deverell, Set Decoration: Shane Vieau
- THE POWER OF THE DOG – Production Design: Grant Major, Set Decoration: Amber Richards
- THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH – Production Design: Stefan Dechant, Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh
- WEST SIDE STORY – Production Design: Adam Stockhausen, Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo
There are only two true options for this category. Dune is the clear-cut favorite because the work that Patrice Vermette and Zsuzsanna Sipos have done was simply remarkable. You are on another planet, in another galaxy with them.
However, after watching Nightmare Alley (two times, actually), I have to say I can see Tamara Deverell swooping in and claiming – probably the only Oscar – for the film, which has four nominations.
The wonderful design for The Power of the Dog might sound appealing, but I believe the film is destined to take the major categories, leaving the smaller ones such as this one for other films to take.
Short Film (Animated)
- AFFAIRS OF THE ART – Joanna Quinn, Les Mills
- BESTIA – Hugo Covarrubias, Tevo Díaz
- BOXBALLET – Anton Dyakov
- ROBIN ROBIN – Dan Ojari, Mikey Please
- THE WINDSHIELD WIPER – Alberto Mielgo, Leo Sanchez
I was really surprised that Disney’s short film Us Again (connected to Raya and the Last Dragon) didn’t get a nomination. The beautiful story of an elderly couple dancing in the rain, recapturing their youth, is all the heartwarming feel-good I needed for the Academy Award.
Now that we know it’s not going to happen, I believe it’ll be a tossup between Robin Robin and The Windshield Wiper. The first is a stop-animated adventure of a bird raised by mice, daring to go on a quest to find himself, whereas the second is a much more philosophical story of a man pondering what love is? If I had to pick, I’d pick The Windshield Wiper.
Short Film (Live Action)
- ALA KACHUU – TAKE AND RUN – Maria Brendle, Nadine Lüchinger
- THE DRESS – Tadeusz Łysiak, Maciej Ślesicki
- THE LONG GOODBYE – Aneil Karia, Riz Ahmed
- ON MY MIND – Martin Strange-Hansen, Kim Magnusson
- PLEASE HOLD – K.D. Dávila, Levin Menekse
I’m not going to delve into some crazy speculation here because I believe there’s a clear-cut favorite in this category. Although I loved On My Mind, I think The Long Goodbye will take the nod in the category. The story is powerful, gritty, and devastating, and yeah – Riz Ahmed is the writer and the lead role.
He didn’t win last year for the Best Actor in a Leading Role (although he was brilliant), so I believe the time is now. That being said, I haven’t had the chance to check out The Dress, so take it as a dark horse of the category.
- BELFAST – Denise Yarde, Simon Chase, James Mather, Niv Adiri
- DUNE – Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill, Ron Bartlett
- NO TIME TO DIE – Simon Hayes, Oliver Tarney, James Harrison, Paul Massey, Mark Taylor
- THE POWER OF THE DOG – Richard Flynn, Robert Mackenzie, Tara Webb
- WEST SIDE STORY – Tod A. Maitland, Gary Rydstrom, Brian Chumney, Andy Nelson, Shawn Murphy
So, the early betting odds have Dune as the favorite for this category, but I’m throwing a curveball here and going for West Side Story here. It’s a phenomenal composition and adaptation of a classic musical with a breath of freshness, paired with superior technological capabilities and opportunities the 60s film simply didn’t have.
Don’t sleep on No Time To Die, though. It had the best song, and it was gritty, suspenseful, emotional, and overall incredibly well-crafted – something we’ve come to expect from James Bond films.
- DUNE – Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor, Gerd Nefzer
- FREE GUY – Swen Gillberg, Bryan Grill, Nikos Kalaitzidis, Dan Sudick
- NO TIME TO DIE – Charlie Noble, Joel Green, Jonathan Fawkner, Chris Corbould
- SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS – Christopher Townsend, Joe Farrell, Sean Noel Walker, Dan Oliver
- SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME – Kelly Port, Chris Waegner, Scott Edelstein, Dan Sudick
The superhero genre doesn’t get as much love at the Academy Awards as they deserve. However, when it comes to Visual Effects, it’s no wonder we have two Marvel movies in competition to get the award.
I found Spider-Man: No Way Home the better movie than Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (albeit, Shang-Chi was fantastic, too), but the latter had the better visuals, and it’s not even close. Still, neither is my pick to win.
The winner for Best Visual Effects will be Dennis Villeneuve’s Dune. And, I can’t say I’m mad. The extraordinary world Villeneuve built to faithfully portray Frank Herbert’s dystopian universe from the Dune novels is well deserved the Academy Award for Visual Effects. You’ll feel like a part of Arrakis.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
- CODA – by Siân Heder
- DRIVE MY CAR – by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Takamasa Oe
- DUNE – by Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth
- THE LOST DAUGHTER – by Maggie Gyllenhaal
- THE POWER OF THE DOG – by Jane Campion
Jane Campion’s writing and deep, subtextual character development is my absolute favorite for the Adapted Screenplay award. This is the safest bet for Campion out of all 12 nominations, but the Academy often shakes things up in the Screenplay categories.
Instead, I’d love to see CODA get the victory here. It probably won’t get recognized in other categories where the movie is nominated. Still, I think the film’s narrative (Child Of Deaf Adults) is incredibly complex and developed very successfully.
Writing (Original Screenplay)
- BELFAST – Written by Kenneth Branagh
- DON’T LOOK UP – Screenplay by Adam McKay; Story by Adam McKay & David Sirota
- KING RICHARD – Written by Zach Baylin
- LICORICE PIZZA – Written by Paul Thomas Anderson
- THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD – Written by Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier
Paul Thomas Anderson has been nominated for an Academy Award five times now, and it’s time for him to win. Now, I’m not sure if Licorice Pizza is Oscar material for me – but it’s just a matter of personal opinion. The movie was funny thrilling, and if anything stood out, it’s Anderson’s writing, especially the dialogues.
That being said, I believe that if the Academy decides to go for a safe decision, Belfast might take this category, seeing that it’ll most likely miss the other major categories. If the Academy goes outside the box, then it’s a tossup between Licorice Pizza and King Richard.