2022 Oscar Predictions and Snubs

Disclaimer: I am fully prepared to look foolish in a few days’ time.

Best Picture

What Will Likely Win: The Power of the Dog. Sometimes it is the less interesting crowd-pleaser that trumps art at the Oscars, and there has been a sudden surge behind CODA recently. But The Power of the Dog has more going for it in the eyes of the Academy voters – serious, moving, affirming, technically impressive, and not overly controversial.

What Should Win: Dune. Truth be told, there are about six nominees that I would be fine with taking the big award, but Dune is the greatest achievement of them all. Not that it matters all that much, but if the Academy is trying to make itself relevant again then giving this award to such a big blockbuster would be one way to do that.

What’s Been Snubbed: The French Dispatch. We could also slot The Tragedy of Macbeth in here, both being the highest artistic accomplishments of the year, but no showing for Oscars-favourite Wes Anderson anywhere at all is the bigger shock.

The Power of the Dog (Directed by Jane Campion)

Best Director

  • Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza)
  • Kenneth Branagh (Belfast)
  • Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog)
  • Steven Spielberg (West Side Story)
  • Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car)

What Will Likely Win: Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog. Academy voters are itching to recognise her after she missed out in this category for The Piano in 1994.

What Should Win: Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog. It is an evenly balanced category this year, but Campion’s direction just slightly transcends the others.

What’s Been Snubbed: Denis Villeneuve for Dune. You could also put in Joel Coen for The Tragedy of Macbeth or Wes Anderson for The French Dispatch, both of which might be better films. But to see Dune nominated in so many categories yet miss out here is particularly strange.

Dune (Directed by Denis Villeneuve)

Best Actor

What Will Likely Win: Will Smith for King Richard. It’s not close to the best performance of the year, but voters really want to give him some sort of recognition, and this might be the closest he’s going to get to what the Oscars consider a “worthy” performance.

What Should Win: Benedict Cumberbatch for The Power of the Dog. He plays against type as a gruff, mean rancher with a vulnerable underside, and easily delivers one of his best screen performances.

What’s Been Snubbed: Oscar Isaac for The Card Counter. He is intense, exacting, and dark in this performance, but maybe a little too much for the traditional Academy voter.

Will Smith as Richard Williams in King Richard.

Best Actress

What Will Likely Win: Jessica Chastain for The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Again, this seems to be the year where the Academy hands out trophies to those who haven’t got one yet, and Chastain’s performance as televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker is entirely transformational.

What Should Win: Kristen Stewart for Spencer. It is a bizarre, psychological performance that only Stewart could have pulled off with her brooding screen persona, but this portrayal of Princess Diana might be a little too out-there for the Academy.

What’s Been Snubbed: Frances McDormand for The Tragedy of Macbeth. Surprising, given how much awards attention has been lauded on her in recent years. But maybe the thinking is that it’s just time to give others a turn.

Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye Bakker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Ciarin 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)

What Will Likely Win: Troy Kotsur for CODA. An emotional, heart-warming performance that offers decent representation within the Academy, even if the movie itself is less than outstanding.

What Should Win: Kodi-Smit McPhee for The Power of the Dog. It isn’t the strongest category this year, so McPhee doesn’t have too much trouble coming out on top for his quiet, sensitive performance.

What’s Been Snubbed: Mike Faist for West Side Story. I haven’t quite seen a Riff like him before, playing the gang leader as viciously self-destructive boy lashing out at a society that he knows no other way of interacting with. His dancing and musical talents don’t hurt either.

Mike Faist as Riff in West Side Story.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter)
  • Ariane DeBose (West Side Story)
  • Judi Dench (Belfast)
  • Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog)
  • Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard)

What Will Likely Win: Ariana Debose for West Side Story. She is vibrant, compelling, and carries so much screen presence – this performance can’t be faulted.

What Should Win: Ariana Debose for West Side Story. No issues with the Academy’s pick on this one if all goes as expected.

What’s Been Snubbed: Kathryn Hunter for The Tragedy of Macbeth. Hunter singlehandedly reinvents the concept of witches with her contortionist physicality and eerie vocal work.

Ariana DeBose as Anita in West Side Story.

Best Original Screenplay

What Will Likely Win: Licorice Pizza. It’s breezy, funny, light, but is also written with such tenderness in its vignette structure, dipping us into the 1970s San Fernando Valley.

What Should Win: The Worst Person in the World. The chapter breaks, the voiceover, the dialogue – everything about this screenplay is magnificently constructed, playing out like a coming-of-age novel for those approaching 30.

What’s Been Snubbed: The Card Counter. Paul Schrader is one of the best screenwriters of all-time, and his character studies are nothing less than remarkable. This may be a little too understated, cerebral, and gloomy for the Oscars though.

Licorice Pizza (Screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson)

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • CODA
  • Drive My Car
  • Dune
  • The Lost Daughter
  • The Power of the Dog

What Will Likely Win: The Power of the Dog. It isn’t always a guarantee, but often the Best Picture winner will take home one of the screenplay awards. If all goes as expected there, then it should take this category too.

What Should Win: Dune. The magnificent feat of translating this book to the screen shouldn’t be underestimated. Other screenwriters have tried and failed due to the sheer scale and complexity. In years to come it will stand tall among the great cinematic narratives.

What’s Been Snubbed: The Green Knight. This screenplay moves poetically and rhythmically, offering fantastically lyrical monologues to great actors, and effectively bridging the wide gap between ancient Arthurian legend and the cinema screen.

The Power of the Dog (Screenplay by Jane Campion)

Best 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)

What Will Likely Win: Drive My Car (Japan). The groundswell behind this has been quiet but powerful. It only makes sense for it to win here given its Best Picture nomination.

What Should Win: The Hand of God (Italy). The best foreign film of the year comes from the tremendously skilled Italian auteur Paolo Sorrentino, bringing his tragic and playful childhood to cinematic life.

What’s Been Snubbed: Titane (France). Not that I would ever expect the Academy to go for this disturbing, auto-erotic body horror.

The Hand of God (Directed by Paolo Sorrentino)

Best Original Score

  • Don’t Look Up
  • Dune
  • Encanto
  • Parallel Mothers
  • The Power of the Dog

What Will Likely Win: Dune. Hans Zimmer is an Oscars-favourite, and let’s be honest – only Jonny Greenwood’s score for The Power of the Dog comes close to matching the musical genius of this.

What Should Win: Dune. The man invented entirely new instruments for the film. Just give it to him already.

What’s Been Snubbed: Spencer. The stronger Jonny Greenwood score of the year, and the only one that could have really given Dune a run for its money with its chaotic, syncopated jazz perfectly underscoring Princess Diana’s mental breakdown.

Spencer (Music score by Jonny Greenwood)

Best Original Song

  • ‘Down to Joy’ (Belfast)
  • Dos Origuatas (Encanto)
  • ‘Somehow You Do’ (Four Good Days)
  • ‘Be Alive’ (King Richard)
  • ‘No Time to Die’ (No Time to Die)

What Will Likely Win: ‘No Time to Die’ from No Time to Die. The last Bond film was a cultural phenomenon, and this song has mulled around in the public consciousness since its release two years ago.

What Should Win: ‘No Time to Die’ from No Time to Die. Billie Eilish’s song might be the best of the Daniel Craig era – after ‘Skyfall’ of course. It incorporates the main Bond theme into its instrumentation in such an unexpected and wonderful way.

What’s Been Snubbed: ‘So May We Start’ from Annette. I know, everyone wants to talk about Bruno, and Annette doesn’t exactly have Oscar vibes. But it is an all-round more ambitious movie, not to mention musically.

No Time to Die (Song written and performed by Billie Eilish)

Best Sound

  • Belfast
  • Dune
  • No Time to Die
  • The Power of the Dog
  • West Side Story

What Will Likely Win: Dune. In virtually every other awards show this season, Dune has swept this category. Don’t expect any upsets here.

What Should Win: Dune. This epic world of foreign plants and diverse cultures is built just as much through the intricate sound as through its production design – the sounds of sand worms tunnelling beneath the ground, supernatural voices, and the twinkling of spice in the air are all entirely visceral.

What’s Been Snubbed: Last Night in Soho. Edgar Wright’s editing and sound design go hand in hand, and as he pushes beyond his comfort zone with a straight horror film, the eerie atmosphere he builds aurally is worth recognising.

Last Night in Soho (Sound by Ben Meechan, Jeremy Price, and Colin Nicolson)

Best Production Design

  • Dune
  • Nightmare Alley
  • The Power of the Dog
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • West Side Story

What Will Likely Win: Dune. The detail and scale of Villeneuve’ space opera is epic and awe-inspiring – a colossal triumph of world building through production design.

What Should Win: Dune. It might be transcended in raw beauty by The Tragedy of Macbeth, but we can attribute that a little more to the cinematography. Dune is the slightly larger success in this category.

What’s Been Snubbed: The French Dispatch. It is unbelievable that it wasn’t nominated in any categories, but this one most of all. Truth be told, it also should have won with its Jacques Tati-inspired architecture and gorgeously pastel colour palettes.

The French Dispatch (Production design by Adam Stockhausen)

Best Cinematography

  • Dune
  • Nightmare Alley
  • The Power of the Dog
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • West Side Story

What Will Likely Win: Dune. See a pattern forming? I will be very surprised if it doesn’t dominate these technical categories.

What Should Win: The Tragedy of Macbeth. As excellent as Dune is in this department, Joel Coen’s masterpiece lives and dies by its expressionistic lighting, the quality of which hasn’t been seen in a long time.

What’s Been Snubbed: Passing. Eduard Grau proves to be a master of camera focus and composition in this black-and-white drama, crafting one of the most aesthetically stunning films of the year.

The Tragedy of Macbeth (Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

What Will Likely Win: The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Without its hair and makeup, there is no Tammy Faye.

What Should Win: Dune. Perhaps one of the few technical categories that Dune isn’t set on dominating, even if it deserves it for the detailed character designs.

What’s Been Snubbed: The Green Knight. Even beyond the impeccable design of the Green Knight itself with its bark-like skin and intensely detailed prosthetics, Alicia Vikander passes off as two different women here – and it isn’t just because of her excellent performance.

Dune (Makeup and hairstyling by Donald Mowat, Love Larson, and Eva von Bahr)

Best Costume Design

  • Cruella
  • Cyrano
  • Dune
  • Nightmare Alley
  • West Side Story

What Will Likely Win: Cruella. It doesn’t just have good costumes. This movie is about costumes. And that might just be the favourite movie genre of many costume designers.

What Should Win: Dune. See above – the character designs are integral to Villeneuve’s world and artistic vision.

What’s Been Snubbed: The French Dispatch. It is a strong category this year so there are no major complaints, but Anderson’s regular collaborator Milena Canonero does work here that melds so beautifully into his quaint interpretation of 20th century France. It might be a little too easy to take for granted.

Cruella (Costume design by Jenny Beavan)

Best Film Editing

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

What Will Likely Win: Dune. An easy win.

What Should Win: Dune. There is such a subtle precision to not just the action sequences, but also in the editing of supernatural phenomena, purposefully slipping in discontinuous shots that don’t quite match up to throw us off.

What’s Been Snubbed: Last Night in Soho. It’s Edgar Wright doing all his usual kinetic transitions and match cuts, but with a disorientating psychological twist. A perfect match of style and content, though the Oscars don’t traditionally go for horror films.

Dune (Editing by Joe Walker)

Best Visual Effects

What Will Likely Win: Dune. Is seeing Dune all over this page getting boring yet? Prepare for the same sort of repetition on Oscars night.

What Should Win: Dune. Its visual effects are unintrusive and fit organically into the practical elements of Villeneuve’s world, while still being absolutely mind-blowing. A tricky balance to strike.

What’s Been Snubbed: The Green Knight. Another film that merges visual effects perfectly with production design and practical cinematography to build an entirely new, detailed world. Also, those giants are breathtaking.

The Green Knight (Visual effects by Kev Cahill, Tim Nagle, and Eric Saindon)

The Oscars Ceremony will be televised live (AEDT) on Seven and streaming live on 7plus nationally from 11am-2pm on Monday, 28th March.


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