Predicting the 2022 Oscars

The Oscars are here again! 2021 ended up being a pretty great year for movies and a lot of the nominees are some of my favorites from the past year. From blockbusters like Dune to small, heartwarming dramas like CODA, the Best Picture lineup is surprisingly good.

I’m certainly no expert, but I’m putting myself out there and predicting some of the biggest categories before the awards are handed out.

Best Picture

Credit: Netflix

Belfast
CODA
Don’t Look Up
Drive My Car
Dune
King Richard
Licorice Pizza
Nightmare Alley
The Power of the Dog
West Side Story

My pick: Honestly I love a lot of the movies that are nominated this year. With the exception of two or three, I’d be happy with any of them winning. But my heart is with West Side Story, CODA and Dune.

Who will win: The Power of the Dog seems unstoppable, but CODA has had a huge surge recently. My head says Power of the Dog, but my heart says CODA.

Best Director

Credit: Netflix

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

My pick: Again, my heart is always with Stephen Spielberg. He’s undeniably a master at what he does, but for West Side Story to be his first musical ever? And it’s as good as it is? Truly incredible.

Who will win: Jane Campion directed an incredibly tense slow burn with a final act full of twists and mystery.

Best Actress

Credit: Searchlight Pictures

Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye)
Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter)
Penélope Cruz (Parallel Mothers)
Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos)
Kristen Stewart (Spencer)

My pick: Oscar Winner Kristen Stewart sounds pretty great. Her performance as Princess Diana is engrossing, compelling, and a little uncomfortable.

Who will win: This is one of the big categories that seems to still be a little up in the air. Olivia Coleman is an awards darling these days (and rightfully so), but Jessica Chastain certainly did the most acting as Tammy Faye, so I think she’ll pull away with a win here.

Best Actor

Credit: Warner Bros.

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

My pick: Andrew Garfield really had a great year in 2021. His performance as Jonathan Larson in Tick, Tick…Boom! is sensational. He learned to sing for the role and gives each scene such energy and manic creativity.

Who will win: Will Smith has been the frontrunner for this category ever since King Richard first premiered. I think all of Hollywood wants him to win and recognize him for all the work he’s done. Plus, he does a great job in bringing humanity to an odd and often frustrating man.

Best Supporting Actress

Credit: 20th Century Studios

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

My pick: I’d give all the Oscars to West Side Story if I could, and Ariana DeBose is a perfect Anita. But I also have to shoutout Aunjanue Ellis. For all the big, loud and bold choices Will Smith Makes as Richard Williams, Ellis’s portrayal as his wife Brandy is much quieter and more reserved. She nearly steals the show out from under Will Smith and was by far my favorite part of King Richard.

Who will win: Ariana DeBose seems the most deserving of an Oscar from West Side Story. She’s phenomenal and I will be thrilled when she wins.

Best Supporting Actor

Credit: Apple

Ciarán 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)

My pick: Kodi Smit-McPhee gives a subdued, quiet and nuanced performance in Power of the Dog that really only makes sense in the final few minutes. Your eye stays on Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst, while Kodi lurks in the background to give you an unexpected punch in the heart.

Who will win: I absolutely adore CODA, and Troy Kotsur’s performance as the deaf father of a hearing child is simultaneously heartwarming and heart breaking. I’m so excited that these incredible deaf actors are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Credit: Netflix

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

My pick: I’ve never read the original Dune book, but just looking at how big it is on my shelf is intimidating, so the fact that this world was so expertly displayed on screen and set up in a way that made sense to audiences is remarkable. It’s a big swing for a big budget blockbuster, and it lands so well.

Who will win: The Power of the Dog certainly has momentum here, but I think The Lost Daughter might come from behind and take this one home.

Best Original Screenplay

Credit: Bron, MGM

Belfast
Don’t Look Up
King Richard
Licorice Pizza
The Worst Person in the World

My pick: Belfast is an intimate family drama set against the background of a war and expertly balances the light and dark moments. And The Worst Person in the World is a wonderful new look at romance and how messy life and growing up is. I’d love either of these two winning.

Who will win: I wouldn’t be surprised if Belfast wins, but I’m going to say Licorice Pizza takes this category.

Best Animated Feature

Credit: Netflix

Encanto
Flee
Luca
The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Raya and the Last Dragon

My pick: I loved all these nominees in this category. Disney has really upped their game with movies like Encanto and Luca that have so much heart and don’t conform to the traditional beats of storytelling (neither one has a traditional villain). BUT – The Mitchells vs. the Machines is one of the best movies of last year. It’s chaotic, exciting, hilarious, relatable and full of depth and emotion.

Who will win: I’m honestly not sure with this category – it could be a neck-and-neck finish between Encanto, Luca and The Mitchells, but I’m going to put my bets on The Mitchells vs the Machines.

Predicting the 2021 Oscars

What a year for movies it’s been. With movie theaters shut down for most of 2020 and major blockbusters and other highly anticipated movies delayed, the film industry certainly faced a reckoning. But through all that, some truly fantastic movies still debuted. And with so many movies being released through streaming services this year, I’ve seen more Oscar nominees than ever before.

With the Oscars coming up this weekend, I thought I’d make my final predictions for the biggest categories. Let me know what you think!

Best Picture

© 20th Century Studios

The Father
Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
Minari
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Who should win: The crop of Best Picture nominees this year includes some truly remarkable movies, even if most people haven’t seen a lot of them. Minari is my personal favorite and one that I’ll certainly revisit more than others on this list. Judas and the Black Messiah is based on a true story that feels more relevant today than ever before. The Father was probably the most surprising movie on this list that I loved a lot more than I thought I would. But Nomadland is an experience that’s hard to describe. It’s both sad and hopeful, small and vast, individualist and collective. It’s gotten a lot of love already this year, and I think that momentum will push it to Oscar glory.

Who will win: Nomadland


Best Director

© 20th Century Studios

Thomas Vinterberg – Another Round
David Fincher – Mank
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman

Who should win: Lee Isaac Chung created a story so simple yet so universal and fully draws you into the heart of every character and every scene in Minari. Emerald Fennell on the other hand created a much sharper movie that challenges audience expectations and leans into the uncomfortable and unpleasant nature of its story. But Chloe Zhao makes Nomadland feel epic in scope, from its huge landscapes to the tender looks at the people living this life. 

Who will win: Chloe Zhao, Nomadland


Best Actor in a Leading Role

Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins – The Father
Gary Oldman – Mank
Steven Yeun – Minari

Who should win: This is really a strong category. Riz Ahmed gives his all as a heavy metal drummer who begins to lose his hearing, and his journey through frustration and anger is fully engaging. Anthony Hopkins is truly heartbreaking as a father battling with dementia, and you really feel the fear, confusion and anger that brings. Steven Yeun is so full of hope and optimism as he begins his new life with his family and always makes you feel like his dreams are possible. But Chadwick Boseman is absolutely electric in Ma Rainey. He commands your presence in every word, every line and every monologue he says. I already miss him so much.

Who will win: Chadwick Boseman


Best Actress in a Leading Role

Credit: Courtesy of Focus Features

Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Andra Day – The United States v. Billie Holiday
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

Who should win: This category includes two powerhouse actresses who have won Oscars for their performances in the past – Viola Davis and Frances McDormand – and three first-time nominees. Viola Davis is amazing in everything, and her performance as Ma Rainey really brings life to the story and elevates it beyond a filmed version of a play. Frances McDormand has such an interesting role in Nomadland – part traditional storytelling and part documentarian as she shares the screen with non-actors playing slightly fictionalized versions of themselves. Both Davis and McDormand have a strong case to win Best Actress, but I think Carey Mulligan’s powerful and haunting performance in Promising Young Woman will put her over the top.

Who will win: Carey Mulligan


Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom Jr. – One Night in Miami
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal
Lakeith Stanfield – Judas and the Black Messiah

Who should win: Another category full of memorable performances – Leslie Odom Jr. is fantastic as Sam Cooke and Paul Raci brings a naturalism and gravity to his role in Sound of Metal. Both Lakeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya are outstanding in Judas and the Black Messiah – Stanfield so thoughtful and understated, Kaluuya both bombastic and sensitive. Daniel Kaluuya seems to have this one wrapped up this season.  

Who will win: Daniel Kaluuya


Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman – The Father
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Yuh-jung Youn – Minari

Who should win: This is an interesting category this year, and one of the few spots where we could see an upset. For a movie starring Sacha Baron Cohen in his iconic role as Borat, Maria Bakalova is a true scene-stealer in her role as Borat’s daughter. She brings a comedic innocence to the movie that helps balance some of the wilder aspects. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Olivia Coleman heartbreakingly portrays a daughter whose father is slowly succumbing to dementia. Coleman is great in everything (I’m enjoying her run as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown right now). And Amanda Seyfried is one of the true bright spots in Mank, a movie that otherwise is shockingly boring. But Yuh-jung Youn is incredible in Minari and is one of the heartbeats of the whole movie. I think she has an edge to win this award.

Who will win: Yuh-jung Youn


Best Animated Feature Film

Onward
Over the Moon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

Who should win: Soul is definitely the frontrunner here, and rightfully so. It’s another Pixar classic that works just as much for adults as it does for kids. Onward is another great Pixar entry, but certainly more standard in terms of the story it’s telling than Soul. Wolfwalkers was a personal favorite this year – the animation style is so unique and enchanting to look at and its story, while familiar, has a lot of heart and excitement.

Who will win: Soul


Best Adapted Screenplay

© 20th Century Studios

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
The Father
Nomadland
One Night in Miami
The White Tiger

Who should win: It seems like there were a lot of movies based on plays that came out last year – One Night in Miami, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and The Father included. I thought One Night in Miami and The Father both did a great job making their stories feel cinematic. Nomadland, though, weaves a story together through real experiences full of hope and opportunity.

Who will win: Nomadland


Best Original Screenplay

Credit: Courtesy of Focus Features

Judas and the Black Messiah
Minari
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Who should win: What a year to tell the stories of The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Judas and the Black Messiah. The parallels from those events to the world today are often haunting. I think Judas tells a better story than the Chicago 7, but people love to love Aaron Sorkin. Sound of Metal is a great immersive story, and Minari is both beautiful and heartbreaking, a universal story everyone can empathize with. Promising Young Woman is more biting and showier than the other stories nominated here, and certainly makes a good use of dramatic twists while raising a lot of questions to consider once the movie ends.

Who will win: Promising Young Woman


Best Original Score

Da 5 Bloods – Terence Blanchard
Mank – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
Minari – Emile Mosseri
News of the World – James Newton Howard
Soul – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste

Who should win: I’ve seen all the movies nominated in this category except News of the World – and honestly, only the scores for Soul and Minari made an impression on me. Minari’s score is absolutely gorgeous, but the way Soul creates two completely different sounds – from the jazz standards of the “real world” to the ethereal soundscapes of the soul world – is outstanding.

Who will win: Soul