MARCH 26 ― After months of campaigning, Hollywood’s biggest annual celebration of excellence in film will happen on March 28, 2022.
And after months of speculation, with favourites coming in and out of contention every few weeks, depending on the results of precursor awards shows and critical consensus, it is time for me to make my predictions for this year’s Oscars.
There are plenty of factors to consider when making these predictions, but the most important point to remember is to find just the right balance between one’s own personal choices, the patterns that have developed during a particular year’s Oscar race, and the historical patterns that have been taking place over the years.
That’s why I’ve included two things in all my predictions ― my pick for who will win it (based on the patterns) and who I think should win it (which takes into account my personal preferences, as well as the patterns).
Clearly there’s not going to be enough room for every single category here, so let’s just go with the major ones, and I hope you’ll have fun making your own predictions as well!
Throughout this year’s Oscar race, it’s almost an undisputed fact that The Power of the Dog is the clear favourite to take home the big prize.
But the results from the Producers Guild of America (PGA) awards last week have now thrown a huge spanner into the works, handing out their version of the Best Picture award to CODA.
Having already won the top gong at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards, CODA now has another fact going for it ― in the last 12 years, no film that has won at both the PGA and the SAG (like Birdman, The King’s Speech and Argo) has failed to go on and win Best Picture at the Oscars.
So even if The Power of the Dog can count wins at the Critics Choice and BAFTA in its favour, it’s really hard to overlook the fact that a huge upset is now possibly in the cards.
Should win: The Power of the Dog
Will win: CODA
While there’s every chance that an upset is going to happen in the Best Picture category, no such thing is going to happen here.
Even without her highly respected track record, Jane Campion’s work in The Power of the Dog is of such a staggeringly precise nature, and executed with the utmost skill, craft and artistry, with nary a step wrong throughout the whole carefully planned film.
And with wins at the Golden Globe, BAFTA and Critics Choice awards already under her belt, not even Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s internationally acclaimed work in Drive My Car (his nomination here is already a huge win, and that, I suspect, will be it for him here) will be enough to stop Campion from taking home this award.
Should win: Jane Campion
Will win: Jane Campion
Will anyone be able to stop King Richard here? Well, with almost a clean sweep at the precursor awards shows like the Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG and Critics Choice awards by Will Smith, it doesn’t look like anyone, even the ferocious and tortured Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog, will be able to.
And should Smith win this, as almost everyone’s expecting now, it’ll be because he did deliver an outstanding performance anyway, full of authority and belief, and one fully deserving of this award.
Should win: Benedict Cumberbatch
Will win: Will Smith
When Spencer was released during the start of the Oscar season last year, surely everyone felt that this might just be the year that Kristen Stewart wins an Oscar, but who would’ve thought the clear frontrunner now would come from a much more inferior movie, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, in the form Jessica Chastain?
Having already won at SAG and Critics Choice, Chastain is now the clear favourite to win this, though I’d much prefer Olivia Colman’s skilfully calibrated performance in The Lost Daughter to take home the award, with Stewart’s incarnation of Princess Diana a close second favourite.
Should win: Olivia Colman
Will win: Jessica Chastain
Best Supporting Actor
This category has long been the domain of scene stealers, just look at Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight or Joe Pesci in Goodfellas for easy examples, and there’s no bigger scene stealer in the field of Oscar contenders this year than Troy Kotsur’s lovable and horny dad in CODA, who made us both laugh and cry with effortless ease.
And with sweeping wins at the BAFTA, SAG and Critics Choice in his pocket already, it’s very unlikely that any kind of upset is in the cards here.
Should win: Troy Kotsur
Will win: Troy Kotsur
Best Supporting Actress
With wins at the BAFTA, Critics Choice and SAG already, it would be a huge shock if Ariana DeBose were to lose this one for her turn in West Side Story.
As much as I loved the performances by the other nominees here, especially that of Jessie Buckley as the younger version of Olivia Colman’s character in The Lost Daughter, there’s no denying the triple threat power ― acting, singing and dancing ― of DeBose. If there’s ever a sure thing in this year’s Oscars, it’s this one.
Should win: Ariana DeBose
Will win: Ariana DeBose
Best International Film
This will at the very least be a consolation prize for Drive My Car, having snagged surprise nominations in major categories like Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, but it’s unlikely to go all the way like Parasite did in 2020.
If there’s an upset in the cards this time, then it’ll surely come from The Worst Person In The World, but I very much doubt that’s going to be the case.
This is a lock for Drive My Car the day the nominations were announced, and deservedly so.
Should win: Drive My Car
Will win: Drive My Car
Best Original Screenplay
The two frontrunners in this category are undoubtedly Paul Thomas Anderson for his delightfully loose 70s comedy Licorice Pizza and Kenneth Branagh for his autobiographical Belfast, with a possible dark horse in the form of Adam McKay and David Sirota’s screenplay for Don’t Look Up, but with Licorice Pizza winning at the BAFTAs and Belfast winning at the Critics Choice Awards, it’s really more a battle between the former two for this award.
With Licorice Pizza being my personal favourite film among this year’s major Oscar contenders, I’ll simply go with Anderson winning this one.
Should win: Licorice Pizza
Will win: Licorice Pizza
Best Adapted Screenplay
While there might be an upset in the cards from CODA when it comes to the Best Picture category, I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind as to what a gorgeous achievement the screenplay by Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog is.
There’s a startling clarity to the proceedings there that eclipses even Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe’s imaginative expansion of Haruki Murakami’s short story in the three hour-long Drive My Car.
While I’d personally love to see Drive My Car taking home this prize, this one’s definitely The Power of the Dog’s award to lose.
Should win: Drive My Car
Will win: The Power of the Dog
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.