Oscars 2022 predictions: Will ‘Power of the Dog’ reign supreme?

What’s going to win best picture at the 94th Academy Awards? Lindsey Bahr and Jake Coyle present their views ahead of the highly anticipated ceremony on March 27 (March 28 in the UAE)



Photos: Reuters/File
Photos: Reuters/File

By AP

Published: Wed 23 Mar 2022, 7:04 PM

Last updated: Wed 23 Mar 2022, 7:05 PM

BEST PICTURE NOMINEES

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

BAHR: At this point it really feels like the award will go to The Power of the Dog. It is paradoxically both a safe choice and a game changer in that it would be a first best picture win for Netflix after years of trying. Jane Campion’s last major shot at picture (and director) was with The Piano, but in 1994 that basically stood no chance against Schindler’s List. This time, it’s her film that has the leg up on the Spielberg. And yet there is a possibility that CODA could Little Miss Sunshine/Green Book its way in there as the feel-good alternative — which was what Belfast was supposed to be. (Since this article was first published, the chances for CODA improved after winning the top honour at the Producers Guild this weekend.)

COYLE: I’m calling the CODA upset. The smart money is on Campion’s film. But the win for CODA at the Screen Actors Guild — where The Power of the Dog failed to get nominated for best ensemble — suggests strong passion for the film, and maybe a crowd-pleasing advantage on the academy’s preferential ballot. Either film, though, will symbolise the ascent of streaming in Hollywood. It would hand a streaming service — Netflix or Apple — Hollywood’s most prestigious honour for the first time. Maybe that’s a big deal, maybe it’s belated confirmation of what everyone has known for some time.

BEST DIRECTOR NOMINEES

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

COYLE: Director Jane Campion has long been the frontrunner. For the trailblazing filmmaker, who nearly three decades ago became only the second woman nominated in this category, it’s a coronation long in coming. Campion, the first woman ever to be twice nominated for best director, will win, and her cinematographer, Ari Wegner, will become the first woman to win that award.

BAHR: Yes, but will she thank actor Sam Elliott?

BEST ACTOR NOMINEES:

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

BAHR: It’s always a bit of a snooze when categories are locked for months, but it would be a major surprise if Will Smith didn’t get his first Oscar win for King Richard. After a period of giving some possibly TMI interviews, Smith stepped back from the spotlight, let the race play out and still emerged triumphant.

Not only did he give a terrific performance in the film, but his SAG speech, in which he was funny, humble and gracious to his co-star Aunjanue Ellis and subjects Venus and Serena Williams, was also a helpful reminder of the power of his star charisma. This is such a safe, respectable batch, though. It may have been fun to add some Simon Rex (for Red Rocket) chaos to the mix.

COYLE: Smith will over-share his way to the Oscar, a deserved win for one of the movies’ most insanely charming stars. Smith might have already won best actor (for Ali) if not for Denzel’s titanic performance that year in Training Day.

This time, it’s Smith’s turn. If I could add someone here, it’d be Adam Driver in Annette. If he can’t have best actor, then he should surely take the award for most devastating and fiercely committed singing performance opposite a puppet baby. Wait, I’m being told that isn’t an Oscar category.

BEST ACTRESS NOMINEES:

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

COYLE: This has been the cruelest of categories, laying waste to most expectations. Lady Gaga, Caitríona Balfe, Jennifer Hudson and my favourite performance of the year — Renate Reinsve (The Worst Person in the World) — are just some of the masses among the snubbed. Yet, surprisingly, a very Oscar bait-y performance from a movie released early in the season — Jessica Chastain as the televangelist Tammy Faye — has moved to favourite status after winning the SAG Awards. That may partly be because Chastain, a three-time nominee but never a winner, is one of Hollywood’s best actors and the time has come to honour her, for a film she steered into existence. I think she’ll win, but Olivia Colman — typically brilliant in The Lost Daughter — could sneak in for her second Academy Award.

BAHR: Chastain should have already won several Oscars at this point, and not even necessarily for the ones she got nominations for (The Help and Zero Dark Thirty). However improbable for a movie that has some big issues, including the way it turns a blind eye to Tammy Faye’s complicities in the scam, the tide has shifted in her favour and she’ll probably get her win. Still, I still think there’s a small possibility that it will go to Kristen Stewart, who has been on a rollercoaster path after starting the season at the top.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR NOMINEES:

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

BAHR: Among mostly first-time nominees, CODA’s Troy Kotsur went from breakthrough to frontrunner over the past couple months, winning at SAG, BAFTAs and Critics Choice and he’s likely to continue that streak. The support for Kotsur and CODA has only become more enthusiastic recently and it would be a history-making win. He is the first deaf man to have ever been nominated for an acting prize.

COYLE: It’s a very likeable group of performers but Kotsur has this one in the bag. I think it will be one of the night’s best moments, not just because of the historic nature of Kotsur’s win, but because it’s just reward for an actor who has long toiled and thrived on Los Angeles stages. Hinds was, though, fabulous in Belfast and the unnominated Richard Jenkins in The Humans was also about as good as it gets.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEES:

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

COYLE: Thanks to her show-stopping, breakthrough performance in West Side Story, DeBose has had this category locked down all season, and it’s hard not to be moved by the historical symmetry. Sixty years ago, Rita Moreno won for the same role, Anita, in 1961’s West Side Story, making her the first Latina to win an Oscar. Still, it was a crime to neglect Kathryn Hunter’s multiplying witches in Macbeth. What’s foul isn’t always fair.

BAHR: I was prepared for Kirsten Dunst to finally get her moment up on that podium but Kiki’s shrimp will have to wait. At least she broke the seal and got a nomination. And DeBose should definitely be ready with a killer speech. Do you think she’ll take Moreno as her date? Maybe she’ll don the black and gold dress Moreno wore in 1962 and famously repeated in 2018.


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