Oscars 2022: Everett Picks & Predicts After Film’s Most Chaotic Year


As awards season continues, the film industry’s biggest night of the year nears closer every day. With the February 8 nominations announcement, here’s who I predict in all 23 categories of the 94th Academy Awards, along with my own preferences. This year’s picks will no doubt have serious implications for the film industry as it emerges in a post-pandemic world, solidifying trends that change the way we produce, watch, and critique the visual arts. With the Critics Choice and Screen Actors Guild Awards occurring just a few weeks before the Oscars themselves, along with an unusual year of film distribution, predicting winners has never been more difficult.


BEST PICTURE

Who will win: The Power of the Dog

Who should win: The Power of the Dog

For the second year in a row, the Oscars have had to deal with a changing film industry, delayed release schedules, and the growing domination of streaming services. The 2022 nominees for Best Picture reflect this shift, with nearly half of the films distributed by streaming services and a number of films that were set for release in 2020 delayed to this year. While West Side Story is a modern remake of a previous Best Picture winner, the main contenders in this list are Belfast, Dune, and The Power of the Dog, a psychological drama concerning ranchers in 1920s Montana. In this film, a rancher becomes obsessed with tormenting his brother’s new wife and stepson when his brother abandons his father’s ranching business to live with his new family at their inn. So far, all major precursor awards have named The Power of the Dog as the winner in their drama picture categories, and it seems that, without any major shake-ups, it will continue its trajectory to win the Oscar. Its themes of sexuality, treachery, and resentment shake up the typically sluggish “cowboy genre” and redefines the expectations of period dramas as lofty and inaccessible. It certainly deserves the win, and all signs point to a relatively uncontested race.


BEST DIRECTOR


Who will win: Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog)

Who should win: Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog)

The Best Director category seems the easiest of the major categories to predict since Jane Campion has won essentially every major precursor award for directing Best Picture frontrunner, The Power of the Dog (winning at the Golden Globes as well as numerous regional critic circles). She received her first nomination all the way back in 1994 for her film The Piano, a similarly formatted film taking place in her native New Zealand, and has since maintained a style of twisting otherwise ordinary period dramas with psychosexual hooks. Her directorial style is unique enough to deserve recognition, and her work in The Power of the Dog is indeed her best chance to snag the coveted golden statue. Her biggest competition in the early stages of the race, Denis Villeneuve for Dune, was shockingly snubbed this year. Other competitors, namely Paul Thomas Anderson and actor/filmmaker Kenneth Branagh, would need a serious reversal of fortune in the coming weeks to have a chance at winning. Ryusuke Hamaguchi maintains the recent tradition of nominating one foreign language filmmaker in the category, and Spielberg seems just happy to still be receiving recognition since there isn’t a rush to award him what would be his fourth Oscar, and third in the directorial category.


BEST ACTOR

Who will win: Will Smith (King Richard)

Who should win: Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog)

The Oscars have a long history of awarding overdue actors for just fine performances in an effort to make up for past snubs and to reward a lifetime career. This seems to be the case in 2022 with Will Smith in King Richard, in which he plays Richard Williams, the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams, during their adolescence and rise to global fame. His performance is indeed moving and deserving of recognition, but it is not anything we have not already seen in nominated biopics, even from Smith himself (see Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness). However, he has won each major precursor, so it seems like the Academy will decide that now is his time. Cumberbatch, however, delivers a stellar and career-best performance in The Power of the Dog as a crazed rancher who taunts his new sister-in-law and her effeminate son. He still has a chance to best Smith in the coming weeks, as the recent predictive success of the BAFTAs has proven the British wing of the Academy retains considerable influence. Nominee Andrew Garfield had a busy year in 2021, starring in Marvel’s ambitious franchise crossover Spider-Man: No Way Home and securing a nomination for his musical biopic Tick, Tick… Boom!, but he hasn’t gained much traction for an Oscars victory. Both Javier Bardem and Denzel Washington should be proud of their nominations as well, but the award seems to be Smith’s to lose.


BEST ACTRESS

Who will win: literally anyone, but I’ll predict Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos)

Who should win: Kristen Stewart (Spencer) or Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye)

This one’s a serious doozy. All major precursor awards have had a different set of nominees with little overlap and no continuity, save for Nicole Kidman winning at this year’s Golden Globes (which has had a considerable decline in predictive legitimacy in the actress categories over the last few awards seasons). None of the five nominees were nominated at the BAFTAs, and speculated front runner Lady Gaga was shut out entirely for House of Gucci. Stewart has dominated in the critics circles for her brilliant performance as a tortured Princess Diana in Spencer, but her snub in the SAG nominations demonstrates that many Academy members still haven’t seen past her Twilight days. Jessica Chastain gives an equally formidable performance as infamous televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Penélope Cruz, Olivia Colman, and Kidman are all previous Oscar winners, so the stakes are lower for their recognition; more than likely, the true frontrunners will emerge between whoever wins the upcoming SAGs and the delayed Critics Choice Awards.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Who will win: Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)

Who should win: Troy Kotsur (CODA)

With the exception of J.K. Simmons, a previous winner in the category for 2014’s Whiplash, all of the Supporting Actor contenders are first-time nominees. So far, Kodi Smit-McPhee has dominated every major awards circuit for his performance as the awkward teenage innkeeper’s son who feels the ridicule of his predatory step-uncle. However, Smit-McPhee still has a long acting career ahead of him, and vote splitting due to the surprise nomination of his co-star Jesse Plemons makes his Oscar victory anything but a guarantee. Indeed, Troy Kotsur of CODA gives a heart-wrenching and truly Oscar-worthy performance as a deaf father struggling to connect with his hearing daughter as she pursues a career in music.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Who will win: Ariana DeBose (West Side Story)

Who should win: Ariana DeBose (West Side Story) or Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog)

The Supporting Actress category is similar to the Supporting Actor category, with all first-time nominees, save for a previous category winner (Judi Dench for 1997’s Shakespeare in Love). There is also a clear frontrunner that has dominated virtually every precursor ceremony: West Side Story’s Ariana DeBose. DeBose plays Anita, the role that earned Rita Moreno her Oscar in the 1961 original, cementing her musical acting skills as on par with the legendary Moreno. Dunst, on the other hand, the well-known actress who has been long overdue for a nomination, also gives a powerful performance as the tormented innkeeper who resorts to alcoholism to deal with her abusive brother-in-law in The Power of the Dog. Either would be equally deserving of the win, but it seems DeBose has a considerably better chance.


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY


Who will win: Licorice Pizza

Who should win: Licorice Pizza


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Who will win: The Power of the Dog

Who should win: The Power of the Dog


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY


Who will win: The Power of the Dog

Who should win: Dune


BEST FILM EDITING


Who will win: Dune

Who should win: The Power of the Dog


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS


Who will win: Dune

Who should win: Dune


BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Who will win: Cruella

Who should win: Cruella


BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

Who will win: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Who should win: The Eyes of Tammy Faye


BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Who will win: Dune

Who should win: Dune or Nightmare Alley


BEST SOUND


Who will win: Dune or West Side Story

Who should win: Dune


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE


Who will win: Dune

Who should win: Dune


BEST ORIGINAL SONG


Who will win: “No Time to Die”

Who should win: “No Time to Die”


BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

Who will win: Drive My Car

Who should win: Drive My Car


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Who will win: Encanto

Who should win: Flee


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE


Who will win: Summer of Soul

Who should win: Flee or Summer of Soul


BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

Who will win: Robin Robin

Who should win: The Windshield Wiper


BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT


Who will win: The Queen of Basketball

Who should win: The Queen of Basketball


BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM


Who will win: The Long Goodbye

Who should win: The Long Goodbye

Photo Credit: Town and Country Magazine

 

Everett Bonner is a junior in the SFS studying International Politics.