Just under a year after the strange online event that was the 2021 Academy Awards, the Oscars will be returning to our screens on March 27th in traditional style. Full crowds, red carpets, and a return to its traditional home in the Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles represent a tentative yet hopeful step forward in our return to cinematic normality post COVID.
What should you expect this year? It’s actually quite hard to predict. Omicron has continued to delay awards contests meaning an out and out winner has so far not surfaced. However, in preparation for the big day expect more controversial decisions, last minute mistakes and a wealth of inconsistencies and robberies. Therefore, we at The Mancunion thought we’d have a crack at predicting the results ourselves. Will we predict correctly? Who knows? Will we moan if our opinions don’t come true? Most definitely.
Benjy (chief film editor):Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog has emerged as the front runner for this year’s Best Picture and in all likelihood will win it. However, to me Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast has all the sentimentality and hard-hitting social commentary required to win this. Stylishly filmed in black and white Belfast may be a good bet given the Academy Awards and Golden Globes have a history of awarding Best Picture to different films.
Florrie (deputy film editor): With its recent success at the Golden Globes, winning Best Picture, and a massive 12 Oscar nominations, The Power of The Dog seems to be the one to watch.
Michal (senior cultural editor): If there is one thing that became clear after this year’s Oscar nominations, it is the strength of The Power of the Dog. This Best Picture frontrunner managed to get an impressive number of 12 nominations, with shocking nods in production design, sound, and supporting actor for Jesse Plemons. It might seem that The Power of the Dog is set for an Oscar glory, especially with its main rivals, Belfast and Licorice Pizza, missing a crucial editing nomination. Yet, in the era of the preferential ballot, you can never be certain about the Best Picture winner.
Joe (investigations editor): This year’s Best Picture is a competitive category, but I predict that Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog will beat the rest to take home the award. The Academy seems to be giving a lot of love to Campion’s Western so it makes sense that Netflix’s prize pooch will take home top honours.
B: Campion will sweep up.
F: Let’s have another female win, Jane Campion with The Power of The Dog.
M: It seems like the Best Director will be an easy win for Jane Campion. One thing that seems baffling is the snub of Dune’s Denis Villeneuve, especially considering that the film is the clear frontrunner in several below-the-line categories: editing, cinematography, production design, visual effects etc.
J: Despite tough competition from Academy favourites Steven Spielberg, Kenneth Branagh, and Paul Thomas Anderson, I predict that Jane Campion will win the coveted statuette.
B: Nomination snubs have been the talking point in this category. Lady Gaga (House of Gucci) would’ve been a solid choice but she hasn’t made it! Whilst Nicole Kidman is favourite, I would like to see the award go to Olivia Colman for The Lost Daughter. A brilliant performance and a classic Oscar Bait film if I’ve ever seen one.
F: Seems as though everyone’s a little shocked about the missing Lady Gaga. Although her performance in House Of Gucci was certainly memorable, I am over the moon that Olivia Colman has made this category. Her performance is beautiful and heart breaking in The Lost Daughter. With moments of true discomfort and sadness, she manages to create a subtext which is hard to bear. Olivia for the win.
M: In the past few weeks, it remained clear that Best Actress seems to be between Lady Gaga (House of Gucci) and Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos). With Lady Gaga getting a shocking nominations snub, Golden Globe winner Nicole Kidman remains the most logical choice. However, if we have seen a few shocking decisions in this category in this season already, we can definitely see another one on the night.
J: A surprising Gaga snub has opened the category and really anyone could win it. That being said, I predict the Academy will go for a familiar favourite in Nicole Kidman but if Kristen Stewart wins for Spencer, I am done with the Oscars.
B: A more obvious list of nominees it’s got to be Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog. Will Smith in King Richard will definitely provide adequate competition whilst Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of Macbeth would be my personal, but incredibly unlikely choice. I just don’t see Cumberbatch losing this.
F: This feels like a completely new role for Cumberbatch, and I think he deserves his first win.
M: The lead actor category remains more or less open. Will Smith (King Richard) is on his way to win his first Oscar. However, the Academy’s love for The Power of the Dog means that Benedict Cumberbatch might pull off a surprise win here.
J: Another tight race between multiple stars will make for tense viewing but I think Benedict Cumberbatch will take Will Smith’s promised crown in an upset that will have Smith fans up in arms.
Best Supporting Actress
B: Another difficult category to predict. Kirsten Dunst is in with a shot for her role in (yet again) The Power of the Dog, whilst I’d like to see Ruth Negga gain recognition for her role in Passing. However, after her Golden Globe win, I have a feeling Ariana DeBose will probably win this for West Side Story.
F: I would love to see Jessie Buckley win alongside Olivia Colman. Their performances lie together, both aligning with the character so well that we are swept away by the emotive subtext of the film.
M: Supporting categories have seemed locked in for a long time, and it would be unreasonable to bet on anyone other than Ariana DeBose (West Side Story).
J: Once again a highly competitive category, it could really be anyone’s night but I’m going to go for Jessie Buckley to win for The Lost Daughter. A relative newcomer to Oscar season, Buckley’s deeply emotive performance will surely resonate with voters looking to make another star.
Best Supporting Actor
B: Kodi Smit-McPhee looks to be taking this award home for The Power of the Dog but faces stiff competition from the host of Belfast stars in the running.
F: Can we take Jared Leto out of the running? I think with the amount of recognition The Power of the Dog is getting, I can see Kodi Smit-McPhee winning best supporting actor.
M: Much like the above, best supporting actor seems like an obvious choice in Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog).
J: Kodi Smit-McPhee is the current frontrunner, but I think (probably incorrectly) that the Oscar will go to Troy Kotsur for CODA. A win would make him the first deaf actor to win an Oscar (his CODA co-star Marlee Matlin won gold back in ‘87) and his touching performance hopefully tugged on the Academy’s heartstrings.
B: The Golden Globe for the Best Original Screenplay has already been won by Kenneth Branagh and I have a feeling he will sweep up the Oscar. However, he does face stiff competition in the form of Licorice Pizza and even Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up.
F: I would love to see Drive My Car win best adapted screenplay. Hamaguchi integrates three short stories from Murakami’s Men without women collection with ease. Although it has been said that Murakami’s literature isn’t meant for cinema, Hamaguchi manages to create the meditative nature of a Murakami novel, forefronting the character’s emotional landscapes effortlessly. I hope Best Original screenplay will go to Paul Thomas Anderson.
M: The Best Adapted Screenplay category seems like another win for Jane Campion. On the other hand, Best Original Screenplay looks like an interesting two-horse race between Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza) and Kenneth Branagh (Belfast). Both films did not do well on the nomination’s morning, missing some important nods they were supposed to get. Right now, I would say Paul Thomas Anderson is likely to win his first ever Oscar – he’ll definitely win the Writers’ Guild Award due to Belfast being ineligible there, and he might surprise at BAFTAs as well. However, it is certainly not yet over for Branagh.
J: For the Best Original Screenplay I predict that voters will award Branagh’s Belfast for its screenplay but really Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza could be in with a chance. However, if Don’t Look Up Wins then I will simply look down at my phone screen as I go on twitter to malign McKay’s monument to mediocrity. Best Adapted Screenplay: The idealist in me is backing CODA as it took a bog-standard story and turned it into one of the best films of the year. I’m probably wrong but a man can dream.
Best Musical Score
B: Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack for Dune was truly astonishing and is the clear winner in this category. However, whilst not a score, Billie Eilish’s No Time to Die is bound to win best song.
F: I can’t see anything other than Dune winning this category. With an epic score and incredible cinematography, I won’t be surprised if the film wins in both.
M: As mentioned above, Dune has seen a host of nominations, most notably in its sound, and score, making it the obvious choice this year.
J: Dune will easily win by the simple fact that Hans Zimmer’s music could win awards if it was one note played on repeat. A left-field choice will be Nicholas Brittell for Don’t Look Up – he’d be a worthy winner because his talent lies in being the best part of overrated films and shows (yes I am looking at you Succession).
Other Notable Categories
B: Regarding best non-English speaking film it’s got to be Drive My Car whilst I hope Dune gains recognition for its stunning visual effects.
F: As a Murakami fan (and now a Hamaguchi fan) I am ready to see the portrait of grief, loss and loneliness, that is Drive My Car, win Best International Feature.
M: One thing worth mentioning is the success of this season’s critic’s favourite, Drive My Car. Despite being a 3-hour long, international film, rather inaccessible to mainstream audiences, and despite not having any large studio funding its awards campaign, the Japanese masterpiece managed to find its way into Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. All this on top of Best International Feature, which it is clearly winning. It is yet another important step for the Academy, which has been proving that it is becoming more aware of international cinema.
J: West Side Story could easily win costume whilst Dune will sweep every technical award. Summer of Soul will win Best Documentary and Drive My Car will triumph in the Best International Feature Category. I predict a lot of snubs for King Richard as its momentum never really gathered and seems to be playing second-fiddle to Belfast as the Academy’s forever the Bridesmaid but never the Bride film this year.