The 2022 awards season is almost over. After the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, the BAFTAs and the various Guild Awards, it is time for the main attraction of the awards season — the Academy Awards. With just four days until the Oscars, here are Imprint’s predictions for 11 Oscar categories.
Best Picture: The Power of the Dog
The Power of the Dog not only led the Oscars this year with 12 nominations, but it also won all major best picture awards this year (including BAFTAs and Critics’ Choice) except the Producers Guild of America (PGA) award. While it was the frontrunner for most of the season, the PGAs made it clear that this race is a toss-up.
A major contender to upset this prediction would be CODA, which won the PGA for best picture as well as the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award for best performance by an ensemble. The PGA is the only award other than the Oscar that uses a preferential ballot voting system, which could explain a CODA upset in this category.
Fun fact: The Power of the Dog is the first film directed by a woman to receive over 10 Oscar nominations. Either victory in this category (The Power of the Dog or CODA) would only be the second time a woman-directed film would win the best picture Oscar.
Best Director: Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog
Jane Campion has been dominating the awards season this year. Similar to Chloe Zhao’s victory last year, the Oscar for directing this year is practically locked in.
Fun fact: This year, Campion became the first woman to receive a second Oscar nomination for directing.
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Will Smith in King Richard
Will Smith has managed to snag every best actor award this season, and given his amazing performance as Richard Williams in King Richard, it’s not surprising. There is no reason to believe that he will not continue this streak and take home the Oscar.
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Despite Kristen Stewart being the fan favourite in this category, the race for the Oscar is between Jessica Chastain and Nicole Kidman. Interestingly, there was no overlap between the BAFTAs and the Oscars for this category this year — the first time in history — making this prediction fairly hard. Chastain won the SAG and the Critics Choice this year while Kidman won the Golden Globe. Both gave memorable but very different performances, with Chastain’s likely to beat Kidman’s in the eyes of the Academy voters.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Troy Kotsur in CODA
Troy Kotsur gave one of the most memorable performances across all four acting categories this year. His name was being thrown around as the frontrunner for this award before the nominations even came out and as expected, he swept all best supporting actor awards this season, almost guaranteeing his Oscar victory.
Fun fact: Kotsur is the first male deaf actor to be nominated for an acting Oscar, and the second overall. If he wins, he will be the first deaf actor to win an acting Oscar. Interestingly, the first deaf actor to be nominated was his CODA co-star Marlee Matlin.
Best Actress in Supporting Role: Ariana DeBose in West Side Story
Ariana DeBose was part of the ensemble for Hamilton just a few years ago, and now she is an Academy Award-nominated actress, leading the 2022 race. Although many categories seem to be locked in going into the Oscars weekend, an upset in this category would be particularly surprising.
Best Original Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza
The writing awards have been the most interesting races this year. The Original Screenplay race was led by Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast. Branagh took home the Critics’ Choice and the Golden Globe this year while Anderson won the BAFTA. Given the fact that a British film like Belfast would have had an edge at the BAFTAs, I think Anderson will be taking this one home.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Sian Heder for CODA
Much like the best picture race, the Adapted Screenplay also comes down to CODA and The Power of the Dog. Sian Heder won this year’s BAFTA, while Campion won the Critics Choice. In a race this closely contested, it is hard to avoid letting personal opinions influence the prediction. Heder has done a fantastic job adapting the french film La Famille Bélier. The switch between ASL and English in the screenplay has been communicated well using different font modifiers, as well as parentheses, making it very easy for the reader to visualise the writer’s intent. I believe that Heder will be taking home the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay this year.
Best Animated Feature Film: Encanto
Encanto is not only one of the best animated films this year but also one of the most popular ones. It is likely to win the best animated feature Oscar, with the only possible upset being The Mitchells vs. the Machines.
Best Live Action Short Film: The Long Goodbye / Best Animated Short Film: Robin Robin
Given that the Oscar precursors aren’t very helpful at indicating the short film frontrunners, this prediction is largely based on personal opinion as well as observations regarding which short films have been able to remain in the conversation leading up to Oscars weekend.