Welcome to my Best Picture Oscar Predictions page for 2022
(Last Updated Saturday, October 23, 2021)
These are my predictions for Best Picture. I will be updating this list regularly as I see more films. Full disclosure, as of Saturday, October 23, 2021, I have yet to see the following films, which are rumored to be part of the upcoming awards season conversation.
- Licorice Pizza
- Don’t Look Up
- Nightmare Alley
- West Side Story
- Parallel Mothers
- Being the Richardos
- tick…tick Boom!
- House of Gucci
- The Tender Bar
- A Journey for Jordan
- After Yang
- A Hero – Have screener link; need to watch
Here are my initial predictions in no particular order:
Due to the Telluride Film Festival schedule, the world premiere of Belfast on Thursday evening didn’t generate a lot of festival buzz. However, the following day, most of the awards people at Telluride, including myself, attended the Belfast screening. After this second screening, the film started to generate a great deal of buzz and positive word of mouth. Belfast was one of a handful of films that I overheard people talking about during the festival. Even though I didn’t attend TIFF this year, the film generated even more buzz during that festival and won the People’s Choice Award. I think Belfast is Kenneth Branagh’s finest work to date as a filmmaker. Belfast as a film is very personal and raw, but never a downer. The short and sweet runtime of only 97 minutes is also worth noting as the film doesn’t waste any time getting to the point and makes for an engaging experience.
2. The Power of the Dog
Jane Campion’s latest film has been one of the most widely discussed films of the upcoming awards season. While I didn’t particularly enjoy this film, I can fully acknowledge that the performances, direction, and cinematography are top-notch and worthy of awards consideration. Many have labeled this film as an “anti-western” western, and I agree with that take. The film is very much a slow-burn drama that is gorgeously shot and wonderfully acted. To me, The Power of the Dog is this year’s Nomadland, where I understand and appreciate the film more than I enjoyed it. That said, Campion is long overdue for another Oscar nomination which hasn’t happened since her work on The Piano in 1993. I think with the level of star power involved, Campion will finally earn herself another Best Picture nomination with Power of the Dog.
Sian Heder’s CODA has been an audience favorite since its premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. The film won several awards at the Sundance Film Festival and was purchased by Apple TV Plus for 25 million dollars. CODA is a rare awards film that is a complete joy to watch even on repeat viewings. I have seen this film four times already, and it is the type of film that makes you feel happy and hopeful. Unlike the original French film, Heder made sure that her film featured deaf actors in leading roles. CODA is a massive win in the fight for representation on-screen, as Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant, and Marlee Matlin are equally incredible. Each of their performances is not only filled with humor and heart but authenticity. Emilia Jones as Ruby delivers what is easily one of the best performances that I have seen in all of 2021. CODA is a real crowd-pleaser, and after a year like 2020, where every film nominated felt emotionally draining, I think 2021 will be the year where several feel-good movies make their way back to the Oscars.
4. King Richard
Speaking of crowd-pleasers, King Richard is sure to warm Oscar voters’ hearts with this inspirational tale centered around Venus and Serena Williams and their rise to fame as tennis superstars. Led by a fantastic and sure to be an awards-nominated performance by Will Smith as Richard Williams, King Richard goes down easy. This film is such an enjoyable watch, even though the story does touch upon things such as gang violence and racism. Kudos to Reinaldo Marcus Green for making a film that tells an inspiring story that touches upon the negative but doesn’t go overboard with it. I can see this one getting several nominations, including Best Picture.
5. C’Mon C’Mon
Mike Mills’ C’Mon C’Mon was the underdog at the Telluride Film Festival. Like Belfast, the film premiered at Telluride with minimal initial buzz, but as the festival continued, the word of mouth for C’Mon C’Mon began to grow. Sadly, while I highly doubt that Joaquin Phoenix will score a Best Actor nomination (he’s excellent, but the odds are definitely against him), I do think this film will end up getting nominated for Picture and Original Screenplay. C’Mon C’Mon is a charming little film about a man named Johnny (Phoenix) who must look after his nephew Jesse (Woody Norman) while is mother deals with some personal issues. The chemistry between Phoenix and Norman is terrific, but Mills’ script elevates the performances. C’Mon C’Mon is a profoundly moving film that manages to be timely without being preachy. I can see this film being a true underdog this awards season.
One of the most talked-about films of the year is Spencer. The film stars Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana and has played at almost every major festival this fall. While the film can be a bit polarizing, most people who have seen Spencer have loved it. Spencer isn’t your typical biopic about Princess Diana but instead a horror film and a fairy tale. Kristen Stewart is a guaranteed lock for a Best Actress nomination, and let’s be honest, she’s probably going to sweep almost every ceremony leading up to the Oscars. Along with Best Actress, I can see Spencer nabbing a Best Picture nomination as well as a nomination for Score and Costume Design. I think the film deserves to be nominated for Direction and Cinematography, but I don’t think it will, sadly given how stiff the competition is in those categories.
My prediction is that Dune will receive more Oscar nominations than any other film this year. Denis Villeneuve’s passion project, which so happens to be a science-fiction epic, is likely to sweep almost every technical category at the Oscars. From Sound Mixing to Visual Effects to Cinematography, Dune will be nominated and more than likely win most of those categories. On top of those categories, I see the film getting a nomination for Picture and Director but not receiving any acting nominations. While an all-star cast is attached, I don’t think anyone stands out enough to be worthy of a nomination.
8. Licorice Pizza
Paul Thomas Anderson is a filmmaker whose work is often critically acclaimed. While I haven’t seen the film yet, my gut is saying that this will be a significant player. I also think that, unlike his past two films, Phantom Thread and Inherent Vice, Licorice Pizza looks more accessible and is rumored to be a lot shorter as well.
9. The Tragedy of Macbeth
While this Tragedy of Macbeth isn’t for everyone, it is a must-see for Shakespeare fans and those who love films where actors act their asses off. My prediction is that The Tragedy of Macbeth will be nominated in multiple categories but will more than likely only end up with one win if any at all. That being said, I can see the film snagging nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor for Denzel Washington, Best Actress for Frances McDormand, and several below-the-line awards, which will include Cinematography, Production Design, and Costume Design.
10. Being the Ricardos
Lucille Ball is a Hollywood Icon, and The Oscars love Nicole Kidman and Aaron Sorkin. This movie would have to be an absolute trainwreck not to be nominated, and I hear that the buzz from early test screenings has been all-around solid. I don’t know when I will see the film yet, but I hope that it will be sometime within the next couple of weeks.
What film will win Best Picture: Belfast
Predictions for next update: Spencer might be removed if tick…Tick Boom! is great. I will see tick…Tick Boom! in about two weeks at AFI Fest.