GVN’s 2022 Oscar Predictions

The Oscars is coming up this weekend and odds from SportsBettingDime.com have The Power of the Dog as -175 favorite to win the Best Picture category while Belfast (+250) and West Side Story (+600) follow behind. Two of GVN’s resident movie lovers are here to dish on their predictions for the biggest categories of the night…at least the ones we’ll actually get to see. #PresentAll23. Ahem. Fellas, take it away!

Larry: Brandon, this awards season has been absolutely crazy. I can’t think of a recent Oscars in which so many categories have been this up in the air. I’m really excited to share our predictions with each other and see where we land. Regardless of who you think is going to win, do you have a film that you’ll be rooting for during the ceremony?

Brandon: For all different kinds of reasons, this awards season has been a hot mess, so part of me is glad for it to be over! The one film I’m rooting hard for and would love to see sweep is Dune. No other film in contention this season stuck with me quite like that one, and in my opinion, strikes a balance between motion picture art and entertainment spectacle. How about you?

Larry: For me, I’d love to see Drive My Car take home every award it can. It’s probably my favorite Best Picture nominee and one of the best films of the year. The fact it’s included here is a massive accomplishment and it deserves to be praised! But I’m also a huge supporter of CODA and Flee, so here’s hoping we see some love for those films as well. Okay, enough chit chat. Let’s do this.

 

Best Cinematography

Dune (pictured)

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Brandon: It’s the battle of otherworldly color and Elizabethean black-and-white. While this season’s shortlist is incredibly strong, Dune and The Tragedy of Macbeth particularly stand out for how deeply they relied on shot composition and color to immerse audiences in their world. You could fill an art gallery of jaw-dropping stills and scenes from the first half of Dune alone, and the sheer scale of it all will likely be enough to land Greig Fraser his first Oscar for his unforgettable work. And yet, as hard as I’m rooting for Dune across the board, I can’t help but be moved by The Tragedy of Macbeth, which treats its monochromatic palette like a primary character to startlingly impactful effect.

Larry: Macbeth’s cinematography is out of this world, ironically more than Dune’s, in my humble opinion. Every single frame, quite literally, is artful, helping to inform the story in some way. And the actors interact with it in countlessly fascinating ways, and it was all shot in interiors!! The film nerd in me can’t help but freak out about the film, but it’s clear that Dune’s wide-sweeping technical accolades across the awards circuit makes this a lock to win. And hey, I’m not complaining. Dune is a massive achievement, I’d be happy to see it win. The rest of the category is super strong too; all of these films deserve to be here. I especially am happy to see Nightmare Alley getting some love…gosh, I love me some good film noir.

Will Win

Larry: Dune

Brandon: Dune

Should Win

Larry: The Tragedy of Macbeth

Brandon: The Tragedy of Macbeth

 

Animated Feature

Encanto (pictured)

Flee

Luca

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Raya and the Last Dragon

Larry: If the absolute explosion of “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” was any indication, Encanto has become an absolute sensation with children and a mainstay in most households. Just because it is so deeply ingrained in everyone’s brain, not to mention also being a fun, meaningful story from the Mouse House, I think the film is a lock at this point. I’ve heard some rumblings of an upset from The Mitchells vs. The Machines, which I think is a fan favorite, but it just didn’t get the same traction. If it were me, Flee would be winning all of the awards, but its distribution between three categories apparently hurts more than it helps. You would think breaking a record in such a fashion would give the film better odds, but alas. I adored Flee and think it was easily the best of the bunch here.

Brandon: I would live for the chaos of Disney’s three entries splitting the votes and Flee claiming the prize for a genuinely innovative and thoughtful film that also made history landing in three separate sub-categories. However, I’m humming “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” as I type this, and I imagine a majority of Academy voters will be doing the same as they fill out this ballot.

Will Win

Larry: Encanto

Brandon: Encanto

Should Win

Larry: Flee

Brandon: Flee

 

Adapted Screenplay

CODA

Drive My Car

Dune

The Lost Daughter (pictured)

The Power of the Dog

Brandon: If I were smart, I would throw my weight behind CODA, which further burnished its frontrunner status with a win at the Writer’s Guild of America awards last weekend. However, the Academy likes to reward auteurs in the Screenplay category, especially when they get squeezed out of Best Picture or Best Director. That’s why I’m leaning towards Maggie Gyllenhaal’s filmmaking debut The Lost Daughter, which won Best Screenplay at Venice and nearly swept the Independent Spirits. The fact that it landed a surprise nomination for Jessie Buckley suggests that there’s some passion for the film, and its script is one of its strongest points. The other daring, and deserving, choice would be Drive My Car, which unspools a tense rehearsal period for a Japanese theater production into a deeply moving and resonant exploration of unresolved grief. Yūsuke’s speech about his wife in the final act is a punch through the heart.

Larry: Well, call me smart then, cuz I’m putting all of my betting chips in the CODA pool. As much as I enjoyed The Lost Daughter, and as much as I would genuinely love love LOVE to see Drive My Car take the award, I’m thinking this crowdpleaser is going all the way. As some have been quick to point out, CODA is not the most technically savvy film in the circuit, as its performances and screenplay really carry the film as it tugs on your heartstrings. Thus, it would make sense for them to honor it in this category. But let’s be honest, Drive My Car took a short story and stretched it into some of the most well-paced three hours I’ve ever experienced on film. Frankly, it’s absurd that it isn’t a lock, but I’ll have my fingers crossed.

Will Win

Larry: CODA

Brandon: The Lost Daughter

Should Win

Larry: Drive My Car

Brandon: Drive My Car

 

Original Screenplay

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

The Worst Person in the World (pictured)

Larry: Maybe the most difficult category to predict this year!! It has been a whirlwind from a stats perspective, especially with Don’t Look Up taking home the WGA right from under our noses. Belfast was the early favorite for this category, but then lost the BAFTA to Licorice Pizza, which lost the Critics Choice to Belfast! And now people are saying that, because votes are being divided, The Worst Person in the World now has a shot of taking it home. While I would love that, considering that movie utterly broke my heart, I think I’m going to stick with Licorice Pizza. It’s Paul Thomas Anderson doing a lot of inside baseball Hollywood stuff, which is a double dose of love from The Academy.

Brandon: I’m not especially passionate about any of the nominees here, but I’m going to go out on a limb and pick The Worst Person in the World. The fact that it even landed a nomination was a delightful stunner, reflecting the expanding international tastes of Academy membership. Given how split the field feels this year, this feels like the category most vulnerable to a surprising (and delightful) upset.

Will Win

Larry: Licorice Pizza

Brandon: The Worst Person in the World

Should Win

Larry: The Worst Person in the World

Brandon: The Worst Person in the World

 

Best Supporting Actress

Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story (pictured)

Judi Dench, Belfast

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Brandon: At this point, you can make a reasonable case that the role of Anita in West Side Story is designed to win awards. As Rita Moreno did before her, Ariana DeBose is better poised than any other acting nominee this year to triumph and bring home the Oscar for her particularly unforgettable turn in the role. Her inevitable coronation is unabashedly deserved. Her passion for the material scorches every frame she’s in, whether she’s dancing in the iconic “America” number, or screaming in horror and rage at the attempted assault on her by the Jets. She is undeniable.

Larry: I completely agree. The supporting categories this year are both absolute locks and DeBose owns her time in West Side Story like no other nominee in this category. I know Dunst had the initial wave of support, as most categories did for The Power of the Dog, but it certainly has fizzled since. I am happy to see Aunjanue Ellis get some love for King Richard, a film she absolutely owns as well. Those who have seen the movie already know what her Oscar clip will be. But yes, I’d like to see Spielberg’s adaptation take home SOMETHING on Sunday, and this is its best bet.

Will Win

Larry: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Brandon: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Should Win

Larry: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Brandon: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

 

Best Supporting Actor

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Troy Kotsur, CODA (pictured)

Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Larry: Another clean sweep on our end. Troy Kotsur’s underdog story was the first sign that CODA had support in the race, which many assumed was a non-starter after winning big at Sundance but given little to no fanfare when it dropped on Apple TV+ in August. But Kotsur’s hilarious but heartfelt performance is absolutely deserving of this, and I’m excited to see him take it. If you wanted to throw a hail mary, Kodi Smit-McPhee was the first to gain momentum in this category, but I feel as though that has all but fizzled at this point. 

Brandon: There isn’t much for me to add. Troy Kotsur delivers one of my favorite performances of 2021, delivering two emotional knockouts in CODA’s final act that left me personally wrecked. Putting the historic significance of his potential win aside (he would be only the second Deaf actor after co-star Marlee Matlin to win), Kostur is CODA’s beating heart, and if the film is resonating as much as it appears to be amongst voters, it’s because of him. His loss is inconceivable in that regard.

Will Win

Larry: Troy Kotsur, CODA

Brandon: Troy Kotsur, CODA

Should Win

Larry: Troy Kotsur, CODA

Brandon: Troy Kotsur, CODA

 

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Penélope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart, Spencer (pictured)

Larry: Ooooooo, this is a toughie. It was almost foolish to suggest Kristen Stewart wouldn’t take this award home after hearing first reactions to her transformative performance. But, with Chastain getting so much support for The Eyes of Tammy Faye so close to the voting period, I don’t think Stewart is going to end up taking it. Oddly, both her and Chastain’s performances are very much the kind of performances the Oscars love to see, but Chastain just goes harder, not to mention portraying an icon many voting members will surely be familiar with. However, my personal favorite in this category is easily Penélope Cruz in Parallel Mothers, a film that honestly deserves more recognition than just two nominations. Cruz is the anchor of the film, with a multifaceted portrayal of motherhood that had me hooked to the screen. She and Almodovar are just absolute gold together.

Brandon: This category has been giving me hives all season, Larry. After Lady Gaga missed a nomination after popping up at every precursor, it’s literally anyone’s game. However, I’m going against the grain of predicting Chastain, largely because I feel like the last-minute swell of support is a misnomer. Stewart had a Herculean task in bringing Princess Diana to the big screen, especially after Emma Corrin’s successful take in The Crown, and her success is still staggering. Plus, she has the strongest narrative as a first-time nominee who crawled out of the wreckage of the Twilight franchise to become one of the most interesting young actresses in Hollywood. If I had to pick an alternate, I agree that Cruz and Almodovar are an irresistible pair, and her landing in the category despite a fairly lowkey season shows some genuine support that could land her a second win. 

Will Win

Larry: Jessica Chastain

Brandon: Kristen Stewart

Should Win

Larry: Penélope Cruz

Brandon: Kristen Stewart

 

Best Actor

Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick … Boom!

Will Smith, King Richard (pictured)

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Brandon: Will Smith has seemed like a foregone conclusion to win his first Oscar since King Richard premiered at Telluride, and it’s easy to understand why. His performance as Venus and Serena’s relentless father is his most complex in years, and after three decades of being one of Hollywood’s most successful and likable stars, there’s more than enough goodwill to mount a reasonable “overdue” campaign. Smith’s charisma is potent, and I believe that Academy voters will fall victim and award him both for his strong performance and body of work. That said, my heart bleeds for Andrew Garfield, whose performance in Tick, Tick … Boom! is the textbook definition of a tour-de-force. It’s possible that Garfield’s own charm offensive, buoyed by his near-omnipresence this awards season, may offer an upset, but this is readily Will’s to lose.

Larry: I agree with you 100%, Brandon. Garfield is easily my favorite in the category, fully embodying the life and personality of Jonathan Larson. He learned so much for the role yet never felt like he was doing too much, hiding behind prosthetics or overt accents, like the Academy usually rewards. Speaking of which, Smith does do a great job in the film and I’m happy to see him take it home, but I still don’t even think he’s second best in the category. Denzel Washington is incredible in Macbeth, reciting prose and verse in a way that is so authentic to his charisma without sacrificing the poetry. If the world was right, either Garfield or Washington would provide an upset. 

Will Win

Larry: Will Smith

Brandon: Will Smith

Should Win

Larry: Andrew Garfield

Brandon: Andrew Garfield

 

Best Director

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog (pictured)

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Larry: Despite most of Power’s momentum having petered out, Jane Campion has never wavered as the favorite in this category. The Power of the Dog is a well-crafted vision, all with Campion at the helm. Netflix has done one hell of a campaign too, pushing her and all the women of Power as forces to be reckoned with. However, again, as a fan of the achievement that is Drive My Car, it’s criminal that Ryusuke Hamaguchi isn’t on lock for this. Drive My Car has so much emotional tact in every frame. Shots last for the exact right length. Every performance is well cast. It’s a complete, whole masterwork that deserves recognition at this level. And, of course, I can’t count out Spielberg or PTA, both of whom direct their respective films very well. West Side Story has ingenious camerawork, and Licorice Pizza is so unafraid to be grimy and imperfect in its visual portrayal of the 70’s. Branagh is sorta…there. Lots to unpack here, Brandon!

Brandon: I will never get over Denis Villeneuve’s snub for Dune. Ever. Well, at least until he wins for Dune: Part Two in three years. That aside, I’m fine with Jane Campion claiming her well-deserved and long-overdue first Oscar for her immaculately-crafted film. She poses a challenge to the audience that justifies film as an art form, rather than just a mode of entertainment (cough, Academy, cough). Larry, we are definitely on the same page about Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Drive My Car, and if anyone were to upset Campion, I’d want it to be him. However, I can’t forget the wave of emotion that crashed over me watching West Side Story in theaters. Spielberg took one of the most iconic and beloved properties in pop culture and revitalized it in new, unexpected, and enthralling ways. It’s a clinic on why we go to the movies, and he deserves to be acknowledged for that, in my opinion.

Will Win

Larry: Jane Campion

Brandon: Jane Campion

Should Win

Larry: Ryusuke Hamaguchi

Brandon: Steven Spielberg

Best Picture

Belfast

CODA (pictured)

Don’t Look Up

Drive My Car

Dune

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Brandon: Having seen all 10 nominees, this is a surprisingly solid, well-rounded and represented shortlist. There’s no film that would send me into an apoplectic fit over it winning. (I would be irritated by Don’t Look Up, which is too condescending for its own good.) I think the rapturous fall festival response to Belfast was pretty overstated for a film that felt just fine to me; the same goes for King Richard. I was deeply intrigued by Nightmare Alley, but I think the Academy can only tolerate a weird slow burn every once-in-a-while as its Best Picture, and maybe The Shape of Water will still suffice for voters loving Guillermo del Toro. Licorice Pizza is a compelling look at suspended adolescence and growing up too fast, but the screenplay is stronger than it is as a film. Drive My Car is an absolute marvel and deserved more recognition, but I think the relatively dense runtime and thematic material will limit its appeal. 

West Side Story is another superlative notch on Steven Spielberg’s belt, but its middling box office performance will likely make it an underappreciated one in the short and long-term. For me, Dune is a triumph across the board and the only comfort I gain in its failure to gain momentum this season is that the Academy will almost certainly make good with Dune: Part Two. That leaves The Power of the Dog, the meditative Western that seemed unbeatable merely a week ago, and CODA, the scrappy, lovely family drama from Apple that has catapulted to the top of the heap with key critical precursor wins. As utterly charmed as I was by CODA, I think that Jane Campion’s incisive, psychological takedown of toxic masculinity will edge out the Sundance upstart giving Netflix its first Best Picture trophy. I wouldn’t mind being proved wrong, though.

Larry: Looks like I’m taking CODA to my grave. I just think that you can feel the momentum this film has had over the course of the season and it feels oddly reminiscent of Parasite’s victory two years ago. I voted against it then, believing that The Academy wasn’t ready to reward the fan favorite. While it isn’t a complete 1-to-1, I will not be making that same mistake twice. I think Power is a more traditional Oscar winner but has lost its steam. I adore Drive My Car and believes it deserves top honors, but I agree Brandon, it’s longer runtime, as well as basic internalized xenophobia, likely cost it some votes. I’m very happy to see Nightmare Alley and West Side Story here, two of my other favorites of 2021. Dune and King Richard I admire but would not have put in this category and…yeah, the rest I wouldn’t even really acknowledge. No offense!! But yeah, this should be an interesting race this year…it’s really gonna come down to the wire.

Will Win

Larry: CODA

Brandon: The Power of the Dog

Should Win

Larry: Drive My Car

Brandon: Dune

 

Larry: Aaaaaaaaaaand we did it! It’s the end of the line. Of course, we didn’t have time to hit up every category and share every prediction. For more unfiltered Oscars thoughts, especially on the day of, you can follow me @_heylarry_ on Twitter! Brandon, where can the people find you?

Brandon: You guys can follow along with my gradual meltdown over the Oscars at @blewis1103. Looking forward to ripping my hair out and loudly typing “JUSTICE FOR DUNE” with you on Sunday, Larry!

Larry: Absolutely!! Until then, best of luck on your Oscar pools, everyone!

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