My 2022 Oscar Predictions.

This year’s Oscars are set to unfold on Sunday (March 27) and strangely I’m a little more excited by who will take home the big prizes than I was last year. Maybe it’s because the pandemic hasn’t completely ruined the release of some of the most anticipated films in recent years such as Dune and No Time to Die.

Interestingly last year I predicted 10/19 in the categories that I looked at. The all important acting awards were given to Frances McDormand, Daniel Kaluuya, Youn Yuh-jung and Anthony Hopkins, who wasn’t able to give a winner’s speech, but in the morning after posted a video from Wales in recognition of his Oscars triumph. In truth I’m still kicking myself for choosing Chadwick Boseman over Anthony Hopkins considering I thought Hopkins deserved the Oscar. In my post-awards comments I said “There is a lesson there somewhere” when it comes to listening to your head over your gut. Lets hope I’ve got it right this year.

To make it a little easier for you, I have highlighted in BLUE who I believe deserves to win followed by a short statement why. Please note, I have declined again to comment on the Best Documentary, Best Short Documentary, Live Action Short and Best Animated Short categories. I haven’t seen any of the nominees. Be sure to let me know if you agree or disagree with my choices. It’s always interesting to hear someone else’s perspective. So anyway, just ahead of the ceremony lets see how I go. Enjoy!


Best Picture:

“Don’t Look Up”
“King Richard”
“Licorice Pizza”
“The Power of the Dog”
“Nightmare Alley”
“West Side Story”
“Tick, Tick… Boom!”

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science nominated ten films this year for the honour of being named the best motion picture of 2021. Come on, seriously, it’s a little overkill don’t you think? Half of them don’t stand a chance with The Power of the Dog and Belfast pretty much frontrunners vying for the top prize. But don’t count out Steven Speilberg’s West Side Story as this year’s dark horse. Anyway, if Speilberg’s film wins it will be the first musical to win since Chicago did it in 2002. And let’s hope there is no La La Land announcement gaffe by presenters. But when it comes down to the actual voting, I believe The Power of the Dog will win out convincingly even despite my own bias in terms of not even rating it as one of my favourite films of 2021


Best Director:

“Denis Villeneuve, Dune”
“Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog”
“Kenneth Branagh, Belfast”
“Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza”
“Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car”

I love Steven Spielberg. Our history goes back a long way when he blew my mind with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). It’s hard not to underestimate his presence this year in the best director category. Already a two-time winner, Spielberg is seemingly poised to pick up a third for the most unlikely film of his career in West Side Story. But what about Kenneth Branagh? Well, the respected actor and director has an odds on chance to create history with his semi-autobiographical film Belfast about the Troubles in the late 1960s. However, in truth my head says that Campion looks to be the director to beat even though my heart says Spielberg. After a long absence, Campion’s return to feature films will most likely be rewarded with an Oscar for directing. Her adaption of 1967 Thomas Savages novel is impressive. Some say her brilliance behind the camera is on par with her film The Piano (1993). 


Best Actor:

“Will Smith, King Richard”
“Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog”
“Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom!”
“Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth”
“Javier Bardem, Being The Ricardos”

If my two cents means anything to anyone, the best actor award looks like it’s a two-man race, between Will Smith and Benedict Cumberbatch. In truth, I would dearly love to see one of my favourite actors in Will Smith win this year for his portrayal of Venus and Serena Williams’ father who helped coach them to tennis greatness. While we often remember Smith as a blockbuster action man, it is his real-life dramatic performances that truly highlight what an incredible actor he really is. It’s fair to say he is often overlooked when it comes time to the awards season but this year incredibly Smith has almost all but cleaned up with a Golden Globe, BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild to his credit and with those accolades under his belt I see no reason why he won’t win here.


Best Actress:

“Kristen Stewart, Spencer”
“Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter”
“Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers”
“Nicole Kidman, Being The Ricardos”
“Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye”   

I kind of feel bad I didn’t include Nicole Kidman in my ten best actresses of the 2010s. That said would it be an awful thing to bet against fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman for best actress this year? It sure would, especially after her extraordinary transformation as Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos. “This (role) was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Kidman said recently. I have no doubt she is right but Jessica Chastain in recent weeks has all the momentum she needs to win her first Oscar for her role as the larger-than-life American evangelist Tammy Faye Bakker. In short, Chastain will win because of her extraordinary knack of playing strong female characters. It’s a virtue that the Academy often rewards. 


Best Supporting Actor:

“Ciaran Hinds, Belfast”
“Troy Kotsur, Coda”
“Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog”
“J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos”
“Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog”

This is one of the hardest categories to predict this year. While Belfast’s Ciaran Hinds is potentially a deserving winner, I feel like the Academy will create history announcing veteran deaf actor Troy Kotsur as best supporting actor for his performance as a deaf father in the film Coda. If he wins he will join a very small exclusive club alongside Marlee Matlin as the only deaf actors to win an Oscar. Interestingly, Matlin who plays Kotsur wife onscreen in Coda is a big fan of the veteran who has repeatedly proven himself as an actor with both “beautiful signing skills and great acting ability.”


Best Supporting Actress:

“Jessica Buckley, The Lost Daughter”
“Ariana DeBose, West Side Story”
“Judi Dench, Belfast”
“Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog”
“Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard”

My gut feeling says that West Side Story’s Ariana DeBose will take home the Oscar as best supporting actress. Interestingly, others point to Kirsten Dunst in arguably a career best performance in The Power of the Dog to upset Debose. Honestly, I don’t see it. That leads us to the only other nominee in Judi Dench who might upset DeBose. Dench has always been consistently good at her craft, she is a past winner and her role as “Granny” (Kenneth Branagh’s grandmother) alongside Ciaran Hinds and Jamie Dornan in Belfast is quite special. But in truth I have to circle back to Ariana DeBose, who is for most people the overwhelming favourite.


Best Adapted Screenplay:

“The Lost Daughter”
“Drive My Car”
“The Power of the Dog”

This is one of those categories that haunts me. It’s pretty much hit and miss. While I would love to say Denis Villeneuve’s vision of Frank Herbert’s epic novel Dune will win, I’m going out on a limb to pick Maggie Gyllenhael’s The Lost Daughter to take home that honour. It would be a great consolation prize given the fact that Gyllenhael was overlooked in the Best Director category. 


Best Original Screenplay:

“Dont Look Up”
“Licorice Pizza”
“The Worst Person nine the World”
“King Richard”

Maverick director-writer Paul Thomas Anderson is long overdue for an Oscar. Seriously why not honour him here for his coming-of-age comedy drama Licorice Pizza. 


Best Cinematography:

“Nightmare Alley”, Dan Laustsen
“Dune”, Greig Fraser
“The Power off the Dog”, Ari Wegner
“the Tragedy of Macbeth”, Bruno Delbonnel
“West Side Story”, Janusz Kaminski 

There is an incredible scene in Steven Speilberg’s West Side Story that has everyone going gaga over it. It involves an ambitious shot where Janusz Kaminski’s camera follows the cast of characters from West Side Story into a gym where a dance is taking place. In one long continuous action the camera proceeds to float above the dancers like magic. Guillermo del Toro weighed in on this shot calling it “masterly” and “virtuoso”. In short, Kaminski would be justified in feeling hard done by if he doesn’t win. While I hate to say it, there can only be one winner and unfortunately I feel Kaminski will narrowly miss out to Greig Fraser for his sublime camerawork for Dune. Dune is visually big and beautiful with its sweeping landscapes of the fictional desert planet of Arrakis. Even it’s emotional and intimate moments in this character-driven epic capture something very special. Interestingly, last year Fraser told The Hollywood Reporter, ”You don’t want to be the guy who messes up the photography in Dune”. It’s safe to say he didn’t. 


Best Makeup & Hairstyling:

“The Eyes of Tammy Faye” 
“House of Gucci“
“Coming 2 America”

This is a two-way battle between Cruella and The Eyes of Tammy Faye. I’ll go with The Eyes of Tammy Faye simply because Jessica Chastain is completely unrecognisable. The makeup team pull off an amazing job here right down to Chastain’s incredible fake eyelashes. 


Best Original Score:

“Don’t Look Up”, Nicholas
“Dune”, Hans Zimmer
“Encanto”, Germaine Franco
“Parallel Mothers”, Alberto Iglesias
“The Power of the Dog”, Jonny Greenwood

The last time Hans Zimmer won an Oscar was way back in 1994 for The Lion King. Since then he has accumulated a lifetime of Oscar nominations and this year he could finally pick up a long overdue second Oscar. Dune’s score is epic and emotive as the film itself. Perhaps most impressive of all is the female choir that underscores Dune’s most dramatic moments.  


Best Original Song:

“No Time To Die”, Billie Eilish, Finneas
“Dos Oruguitas”, Lin-Manuel Miranda
“Somehow You Do”, Diane Warren
“Be Alive”, Beyonce
“Down to Joy”, Van Morrison

Dos Oruguitas” from Disney’s “Encanto” just might put a stop to Billie Eilish’s Grammy Award winning  “No Time to Die” which has already won multiple awards this season. But I believe the latest Bond movie theme song will prevail. It’s a moody subtle theme compared to Bond themes of the past. Eilish’s melancholy vocals elevates this track into a class of its own. 


Best Production Design:

“Nightmare Alley” 
“The Power of the Dog”
“The Tragedy of Macbeth”
“West Side Story”

Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley is 1930s to a tee. Even the magnificent carousel is apparently authentic down to the smallest screw. Take out Dune from the equation and Guilllermo noir nightmare stand a chance to win. But with Denis Villeneuve’s Dune standing in Nightmare Alleys way, it is favourite to win. In short, Dune’s stunning world building sets it apart from the rest. 


Best International 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.

Thomas Page from CNN entertainment recently said, “The future of the Oscars is global”. And so it should be. Bong Joon-ho’s social satire thriller Parasite created history in 2020 as the first international or foreign language film to be named best picture. For so long international films have been subbed or overlooked. Films like Drive My Car continue to make inroads into our lives and our cinematic experiences. I’ve always been a big fan of International films. It’s a guilty pleasure in my household. Films like La Dolce Vita, Amiele, Cinema Paradiso and The Leopard (II Gattopardo) are my favourite films of all time. Anyway, I transgress. In short, Drive My Car is red-hot favourite to take home the Oscar on Sunday.


Best Costume Design:

“Nightmare Alley”
“West Side Story”

Many commentators agree that Dune is set to upstage Cruella in this category. I’m not so sure. The simple fact is the costume designs for Cruella are absolutely incredible. Every single costume is lively and  flamboyant. It’s safe to say all the other nominees will take a back seat to Cruella.


Best Sound:

“No Time To Die“
“The Power of the Dog”
“West Side Story”

Dune is definitely a movie you want to see on the big screen. I was personally blown away with both the visuals and soundscape. My theatre seat vibrated so much I thought I was going to take off!


Best Film Editing:

“Don’t Look Up” 
“King Richard“
“The Power of the Dog”
“Tick, Tick… Boom!”

In my review of my favourite films of 2021, I said that I was tipping that Dune would pick up this year an Oscar or two, possibly for cinematography, editing or sound. I believe now it will likely clean up in the technical department including this category. 


Best Visual Effects:

“Free Guy“
“No Time To Die“
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”
“Spider-Man: No Way Home”

There can only be one winner here. Dune. It relies heavily upon visual effects to create an absolute spectacle onscreen. 


Best Animated Feature:

“The Mitchells VS. The Machines”
“Raya and the Last Dragon”

So Encanto goes up against Flee, Luca and more as Best Animated Feature. It is without a doubt one of my favourite Oscar categories. The last two years I have correctly predicted the winner here. Will I go three years in a row in getting this right? I hope so. Without further ado I believe in this year’s tight race Disney’s musical fantasy Encanto will prevail largely for its animation, diversity and irresistible songs.  

Robert Horvat is a Melbourne based blogger. He believes that the world is round and that art is one of our most important treasures. He has seen far too many classic films and believes coffee runs through his veins. As a student of history, he favours ancient and medieval history. Music pretty much rules his life and inspires his moods. Favourite artists include The Beatles, Pearl Jam, Garbage and Lana Del Rey.

4 comments on “My 2022 Oscar Predictions.

  1. I’ve seen only “The Power of the Dog” and “Being the Ricardos”, so cannot comment or take issue with any of your choices. “The Power of the Dog” has certainly been one of the most polarizing films in recent memory, with people either finding it brilliant or an awful bore. My husband and I liked it a lot.

  2. Will Smith giving Chris Rock a smackdown was as unexpected as ‘Coda’ winning Best Picture – beautiful film but a total shock that it won. Personally I feel like I won the lottery or an Oscar for my strike rate predicting the winners this year 😉 Amazingly I got 16/19 in the categories I looked at. I completely screwed up in the script department and you can’t blame me for going with the red hot favourite ‘The Power of the Dog’ to win. I can’t tell you how happy I am for Will Smith winning Best Actor for ‘King Richard’ and I’m also sure we will be talking about his out of character reaction to Rock and his very emotional and contrite acceptance speech for weeks to come. Moving on, I am equally thrilled one of my favourite actresses of all time won her first Oscar for Best Actress. Jessica Chastain is an amazing woman and deserved of the top acting prize for her performance in ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’. While there is a lot more that I would like to say, I want to just finally comment on Dune’s incredible six win Oscar haul. Despite missing out on the big award for Best Picture and Denis Villeneuve being snub for Best Director, I’m sure everyone at Team Dune is excited it cleaned up. It’s fair to say Dune stands as a technical marvel.

  3. How do you feel about the Will Smith/ Chris Rock thing while I understand why he smacked him one…to defend his wife’s honour, he could have done it in a more classy way without resorting to violence

    • Tough one especially because I really like Will Smith. But I guess if I was Will Smith I would have walked out and left the Academy embarrassed when they announced his name as Best Actor. He was red hot favourite. Maybe even better if I was Will I would have given Jada a huge hug and kiss and Chris Rock would have felt the shame.

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