Which movies are favourites to win at the 2022 Oscars Awards?
There are clear favourites in most of the marquee categories, including Jane Campion and Will Smith, but surprises can never be ruled out at the Oscars.
Ever since the 71st Academy Awards were held in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles at the end of the last century, three words have struck fear into even the most grizzled Hollywood executives: Shakespeare in Love. Directed by John Madden and written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, the Harvey Weinstein-produced Elizabethan romcom swept the board at the Oscars, landing seven awards including Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. Few begrudged Judi Dench a statuette for her performance as Queen Elizabeth I but there were certainly raised eyebrows as Gwyneth Paltrow beat Cate Blanchett – also for portraying Queen Elizabeth – and Meryl Streep to the acting prize and the movie itself got the nod ahead of Life is Beautiful and Saving Private Ryan.
Suffice to say, the Oscars throws the occasional curve ball. Driving Miss Daisy over My Left Foot for Best Picture is among the most often cited, while Quentin Tarantino must have thought he was a shoo-in for Pulp Fiction in 1994, only to find that life is indeed like a box of chocolates in a year that also saw The Shawshank Redemption miss out in seven categories.
The 94th Academy Awards are expected to be a fairly straightforward affair in terms of where the “big six” prizes land, but could there be a few twists and turns?
Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog has been nominated in 12 categories, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor (twice) and Best Supporting Actress and it will be a surprise if the New Zealand director, who lost out to Steven Spielberg in 1994, fails to go home with her arms full on Sunday. The main competition for the main prize comes in the form of CODA, which has leapt up the bookmaker’s odds over the last week on the back of a strong showing at the Producers Guild of America Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Also in the background, clicking its fingers menacingly, is Spielberg’s reimagining of West Side Story, which could upset the odds.
Campion is again widely expected to climb the steps to receive the coveted Best Director award, for which CODA helm Siân Heder was not nominated. The Power of the Dog certainly ticks all the boxes. A brooding, beautifully shot and ominously scored masterpiece, Campion’s psychological drama, set in Montana in the 1920s, has enthralled critics and won the film and directing categories at the Baftas, the Critics’ Choice Awards and the Golden Globes. The challengers are heavyweight in stature – Paul Thomas Anderson, Spielberg, Kenneth Branagh and Ryusuke Hamaguchi, whose Drive My Car is also in the mix for Best Picture and will undoubtedly win Best International Feature - but this one has Campion’s name half-engraved on it already.
On Sunday night, the Fresh Prince is expected to be crowned for his performance in King Richard – assuming Branagh doesn’t get mixed up - the Richard Williams biopic charting the rise of Venus and Serena Williams. Anyone who has seen it has probably already pinpointed the scene: when police and a social worker arrive at the Williams residence following a complaint from a curtain-twitching neighbour, Smith launches an impassioned defence of his children’s upbringing that almost has the steely eyed child-catcher in tears. It will be a huge surprise if Smith doesn’t win, but also a shame for one of Hollywood’s finest, Denzel Washington, who is in the mix for tackling The Tragedy of Macbeth. Washington, inexplicably, only has two Oscars to his name for Glory (1994) and Training Day (2001) from 10 acting nominations. The competition is fierce in this category, with Benedict Cumberbatch, Javier Bardem and Andrew Garfield rounding out the nominees.
Pretty much the only Power of the Dog-free category, Best Actress is also a star-studded affair with 16 nominations and three wins between Jessica Chastain, Olivia Colman, Penélope Cruz, Nicole Kidman and Kristen Stewart. However, it could be that the star of the Twilight series lands the big prize at the first attempt for her well-received portrayal of Princess Diana in Spencer. Chastain has also been widely tipped for The Eyes of Tammy Faye but this is one category serious Oscars punters are likely to be giving a wide berth.
Best Supporting Actor
Troy Kotsur earned a total of eight nominations at the big awards ceremonies for CODA and has so far only failed to pick up one, at the Golden Globes. The 53-year-old has bagged a Bafta, a Critics’ Choice Award, an Independent Spirit Award and two Screen Actors Guild nods for his role as Frank Rossi and could well add an Academy Award on Sunday. The Power of the Dog has two nominations for Supporting Actor – Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee – with Ciarán Hinds (Belfast) and J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos) rounding out a stellar line-up.
Best Supporting Actress
Much like Kotsur, Ariana DeBose has taken a hoover to pretty much every pre-Oscars awards event for her role as Anita in West Side Story and this is one category that the critics, bookmakers and industry media seem to have reached consensus on. A Bafta, a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild and a Critics’ Choice suggest that Kirsten Dunst, Jessie Buckley, Judi Dench and Aunjanue Ellis should be prepared to deploy their best “nice to be nominated” faces, but it wouldn’t be the biggest shock in Oscars history if the Grand Dame of British cinema adds to her considerable haul of accolades on Sunday for Belfast.