2022 Oscar Nomination Predictions

Nominees for the 94th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, February 8th this year, with the ceremony itself taking place on March 27th. Because of the extended window for eligibility last year (due to covid), this year's hopefuls will be plucked from a pool of films released between March 1, 2021 to December 31st, 2021. 276 films were eligible this year, down from 366 last year.

Here are my predictions for this year's nominees:

Best Picture

1) The Power of the Dog - The frontrunner. This is my choice for winning Best Picture this year (at this point). A critical favorite with powerful performances sure to receive their own nods in other categories.

2) Belfast - Another critical darling, this black-and-white film has all the hallmarks of a Best Picture winner.

3) Dune - The most mainstream choice is an adaptation of Frank Herbet's science fiction classic novel "Dune." Previously adapted by David Lynch to poor reception, Denis Villeneuve has thrilled audiences with its epic scope, sumptuous visuals, and an all-star cast.

4) Licorice Pizza - Paul Thomas Anderson films deservedly receive plenty of recognition, and his latest film has been hailed across the board.

5) West Side Story - Despite a lukewarm reception at the box office, Steven Spielberg's musical remake has received tons of acclaim.

6) King Richard - No Oscar list would be complete without a Biopic. Will Smith's performance in the lead role has been universally praised.

7) CODA - A favorite on the awards circuit, this is another one that ticks a lot of boxes for a best picture nominee.

8) Drive My Car - As Parasite's win in 2020, proved, foreign films are viable candidates to sweep the awards. This critic favorite is the latest example of a film that could push past a token "Foreign Film" nomination.

9) Don't Look Up - Despite being divided among critics, there are very passionate champions for this movie, and it has a lot of regarded talent behind it.

10) tick, tick...Boom! - There are several other films that could round out this list for me, but this is the most appealing to me, especially given the recent love for Andrew Garfield, following his appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Other contenders I could see securing nominations include The Tragedy of Macbeth, Being the Ricardos, and Nightmare Alley, and to a lesser extent, House of Gucci, Paraellel Mothers, Cyrano, Spencer, The French Dispatch and Passing (which I would love to see nominated, but I just don't think it's in the cards). If anything, I could see Drive My Car being pushed out by Being the Ricardos, which has been gaining momentum as of late, or The Tragedy of Macbeth, which was an early favorite.

Best Director

1) Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog)

2) Kenneth Branagh (Belfast)

3) Denis Villeneuve (Dune)

4) Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car)

5) Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza)

Campion is the frontrunner here, and is favored pretty significantly to win. Hamaguchi is a more unconventional choice, but I'm expecting he will sneak in, earning a snub for Steven Spielberg (West Side Story). Guillermo Del Toro (Nightmare Alley) could also be nominated, but I'm betting his recent win for The Shape of Water will inspire voters to look at other options.

Best Actress

1) Kristen Stewart (Spencer)

2) Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers)

3) Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter)

4) Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos)

5) Lady Gaga (House of Gucci)

Stewart was the frontrunner initially but has fallen from favor recently, although I still think she is a shoe-in for a nomination, if not ultimate winner. The academy LOVES impersonations of famous people, often over more nuanced performances, so Stewart and Kidman scratch that itch, while Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye) is very likely to receive a nod for her turn as Tammy Faye, but I'm thinking this will be another snub. Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza) is another favorite, but I'm expecting that she will be edged out by other names that carry more star power. Another option is Rachel Zegler (West Side Story), but I think the new young underdog actress slot will be filled by Alan Haim. Frances McDormand (The Tragedy of Macbeth) is always an Academy favorite, and Jessica Hudson (Respect) stands a chance, but I believe they will be shut out.

Best Actor

1) Will Smith (King Richard)

2) Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog)

3) Andrew Garfield (tick, tick...Boom!)

4) Simon Rex (Red Rocket)

5) Nicholas Cage (Pig)

The performances of these actors all made their respective films, which is why I think they will ultimately be the actors chosen for nominations. Simon Rex and Nicholas Cage are long shots, but Rex is really charming in his role, and Cage has been favored at other awards ceremonies, and critics loved both of their performances. There are some other contenders, of course, including Peter Dinklage (Cyrano), Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos), Bradley Cooper (Nightmare Alley), Leonardo DiCaprio (Don't Look Up) and Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth), and I can see any one of them taking Rex's or Cage's spot, especially Washington, who is likely to get a nod. There's a lot of wiggle room in this category this year.

Best Supporting Actress

1) Ruth Negga (Passing)

2) Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog)

3) Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard)

4) Caitriona Balfe (Belfast)

5) Ariana DeBose (West Side Story)

Best Supporting Actor

1) Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)

2) Jamie Dornan (Belfast)

3) Ciaran Hinds (Belfast)

4) Troy Kotsur (CODA)

5) J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos)

Best Adapted Screenplay

1) Dune

2) The Power of the Dog

3) The Lost Daughter

4) Passing

5) The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Original Screenplay

1) Licorice Pizza

2) Belfast

3) Being the Ricardos

4) King Richard

5) Parallel Mothers

Best Cinematography

1) Dune

2) The Power of the Dog

3) Belfast

4) The Tragedy of Macbeth

5) The Green Knight

Best Costume Design

1) Cruella

2) Dune

3) West Side Story

4) House of Gucci

5) Nightmare Alley

Best Film Editing

1) Dune

2) West Side Story

3) Belfast

4) The Power of the Dog

5) Licorice Pizza

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

1) Cruella

2) Dune

3) The Eyes of Tammy Faye

4) House of Gucci

5) Coming 2 America

Best Production Design

1) Dune

2) Nightmare Alley

3) West Side Story

4) The Tragedy of Macbeth

5) The French Dispatch

Best Score

1) Dune

2) The Power of the Dog

3) King Richard

4) Parallel Mothers

5) The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Song

1) No Time To Die (No Time To Die)

2) King Richard (Be Alive)

3) Encanto (Dos Oruguitas)

4) Don't Look Up (Just Look Up)

5) Four Good Days (Somehow You Do)

Best Sound

1) Dune

2) A Quiet Place Part II

3) No Time To Die

4) West Side Story

5) tick, tick...Boom!

Best Visual Effects

1) Dune

2) Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

3) Godzilla vs. Kong

4) Spider-Man: No Way Home

5) The Matrix Resurrections

Best Animated Feature

1) The Mitchells vs the Machines

2) Flee

3) Encanto

4) Luca

5) Raya and the Last Dragon

Best Documentary Feature

1) Flee

2) Summer of Soul

3) The Rescue

4) Ascension

5) The Velvet Underground

Best International Film

1) Drive My Car

2) The Worst Person in the World

3) A Hero

4) Flee

5) The Hand of God

Best Animated Short

1) Us Again

2) Robin Robin

3) The Windshield Wiper

4) Namoo

5) Step Into the River

Best Documentary Short

1) The Queen of Basketball

2) Coded: The Hidden Love of J.C. Leyendecker

3) Terror Contagion

4) Audible

5) Three Songs for Benazir

Best Live Action Short

1) The Long Goodbye

2) When the Sun Sets

3) Tala'vision

4) Les Grandes Claques

5) Stenofonen


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