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25th March 2022

Final 2022 Oscars Predictions

The Power of the Dog or CODA? On the homestretch of the season, Head of Culture Michal Wasilewski presents his final predictions for 2022 Oscars.
Final 2022 Oscars Predictions
Photo: Jernej Furman @ Flickr

Following another prolonged season, we are inevitably coming to an end of celebrating 2021’s best films (according to the questionable taste of the Academy). The home stretch of the season saw a sudden and shocking rise of a new frontrunner, something I’ve never seen in any year of my following of the awards season.

The Power of the Dog lost its frontrunner status to CODA, a Sundance-winning crowdpleaser that although released back in August, is only now being watched for the first time by many voters. 

Despite the lack of a Best Picture nomination at the BAFTAs, CODA managed to win in two categories over the predicted winner The Power of the Dog – in Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actor, with CODA’s Troy Kotsur winning over Power’s Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Around the same time, CODA won three major guilds, WGA (Writers’ Guild), SAG (Screen Actors’ Guild) and PGA. PGA, the Producers’ Guild of America, is the only Oscars precursor using the same voting system for Best Picture as the Oscars, hence it is considered the greatest Best Picture predictor. Although it differed a few years in the near past (Oscar winners Parasite, Moonlight and Spotlight lost PGA to 1917, La La Land, and The Big Short, respectively), CODA’s PGA win is a part of an irresistible momentum. 

CODA’s cast is beloved in the US. The audience erupts every time CODA receives an award, reminding me of the love the Academy had for Parasite. In the past days, the film’s actors were even invited to the White House, showing that in certain circles CODA is being treated as if it already won.

The Power of the Dog’s fall resembles the path Roma followed back in 2019, a critical darling and the most acclaimed film of the year that was too difficult for a mainstream voter. “Boring and cold” are the words often used to describe both of these films by people with an aversion to slower and more intellectually challenging films. 

The only chance for The Power of the Dog is the changing nature of the Academy, which has been becoming more international in the past few years. With two recent winners Nomadland and Parasite, both of which are soaring artistic triumphs, the Oscars tend to choose art over crowdpleasers. Green Book’s win over Roma might as well have been the last breath of the old, mainstream Academy.

The Power of the Dog, which kept its frontrunner status for months, is still capable of pulling it off. There is hope that in a face-off between the film with artistic merit and a movie that seems to deliberately avoid it, the Academy will choose the former. Yet, the current momentum behind CODA seems hard to deny, giving it the edge in the last days before the ceremony.

Acting categories

This season has seen another crazy race for Best Actress, comparable to last year’s unforgettable four-fold race that ultimately saw Nomadland’s Frances McDormand win the Oscar. With the frontrunner changing numerous times throughout the season, the consensus seems to have settled on Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye). It is by far the most powerful performance of the bunch, and if the campaigners ensured enough people saw the film, Chastain shouldn’t have a problem winning. 

However, the recently published anonymous Oscar ballots show an overwhelming passion behind Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers), whose nomination was a major surprise in the first place. 

The anonymous ballots – interviews with anonymous Oscar voters who share their preferences with the media, don’t show a statistically significant proportion of the Academy voters. Yet, they accurately foresaw some passion wins in the last years, such as Anthony Hopkins’ win over Chadwick Boseman or Parasite’s Best Picture triumph. Chastain and Cruz aren’t the only possibilities, however, and this category is capable of the night’s biggest upset.

The other three acting categories seem locked in. Will Smith (King Richard) and Ariana DeBose (West Side Story) have been frontrunners for the entire season. Kodi Smit-McPhee, the critics’ favourite, fell to Troy Kotsur who won not only the SAG, but also surprised at the BAFTAs. Every speech given by Kotsur has been the highlight of the ceremony, whether at SAG, BAFTAs or the Critics’ Choice, and in this turn of events Kotsur’s win is as certain as those of Smith and DeBose.

Screenplay categories

Original Screenplay is still one of the most interesting categories. Licorice Pizza defeated Belfast on its home territory, but lost the Writers’ Guild Award to Don’t Look Up. Yet, somehow, the pundits’ consensus seems to be Belfast (it did win Globe and Critics Choice, but these groups don’t have a voter overlap with the Oscars – therefore Belfast losing at the BAFTAs is more important than its wins in other places). I’m going with Licorice Pizza that would bring Paul Thomas Anderson his first Oscar after 11 nominations, but Don’t Look Up and Belfast can’t be ignored. 

After CODA’s BAFTA win, Adapted Screenplay feels easy to predict. Even if The Power of the Dog manages to win Best Picture, the fact that the adapted screenplay category consists of three high-brow art-house films (PotD, Drive My Car, and The Lost Daughter), vote splitting between them seems likely, resulting in the sweet crowdpleaser’s win. 

Other categories

As usual, there are a few categories that seem extremely difficult to predict. This year, at least for me, it’s Original Screenplay, Editing and Live Action Short, but I won’t be delving into the details of my reasoning for the remaining categories here. Overall, my predicted winners in all 23 categories at the 2022 Oscars are:

Best Picture: CODA

Director: Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog)

Actor: Will Smith (King Richard)

Actress: Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye)

Supporting Actor: Troy Kotsur (CODA)

Supporting Actress: Ariana DeBose (West Side Story) 

Original Screenplay: Licorice Pizza

Adapted Screenplay: CODA

Animated Film: Encanto 

International Film: Drive My Car

Documentary Film: Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Cinematography: Dune

Production Design: Dune

Costume Design: Cruella 

Makeup and Hairstyling: The Eyes of Tammy Faye 

Editing: King Richard

Sound: Dune

Visual Effects: Dune

Original Score: Dune

Original Song: Billie Eilish – No Time to Die (No Time to Die)

Animated Short: Robin Robin

Documentary Short: The Queen of Basketball

Live Action Short: The Long Goodbye

Michal Wasilewski

Michal Wasilewski

Managing Editor of Culture for The Mancunion.

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