Oscars 2022: picks and predictions

Jordan V., Staff Writer

As Oscar season approaches once again, film enthusiasts are buzzing with their unfailing opinions and predictions. Due to a dangerous blend of enthusiasm and narcissism, I feel it necessary to throw my own hat into the ring and share my takes on this year’s awards. 2021 proved to be quite the exciting year for my favorite art medium, and I’m excited to see what the Academy deems the best of the best.

Jane Campion’s western drama “The Power of the Dog,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst has earned itself a staggering 12 nominations, more than any other film this year, including Campion for best direction, Cumberbatch for best actor, Dunst for best supporting actress, and of course, best picture. Because of this impressive tally, it’s safe to assume that “The Power of the Dog” has best picture in the bag. If Academy voters were enthralled by so many of the film’s individual elements, enough to grant it eleven other nominations, logic suggests they preferred it over any of 2021’s other offerings, making the most prestigious award of the night a no-brainer. 

As for my own opinion, “The Power of the Dog” is an uncomfortable slow burn of a film that uses a deceptively boring and drawn out first act to make the striking revelations of the second and third that much more engaging in such a manner that demands a re-watch or two.

Despite these merits, “The Power of the Dog” is not my first choice for best picture. That distinction goes to “West Side Story,” Steven Spielberg’s remake of the classic musical. The 1961 original was already a near perfect film, thanks to stunning cinematography and music by the legendary Steven Sondheim that brings to life a beautiful retelling of the “Romeo and Juliet” type story. Spielberg takes these same elements and elevates them to an entirely new level of movie magic, like so many of his films have done before. It’s the most overwhelmingly cinematic film I’ve seen in a long time. For that, it absolutely deserves to join its predecessor as a best picture winner.

As for acting awards, Andrew Garfield proved himself a true Jack-of-all-trades with his incredibly compelling performance as tortured artist Jonathan Larson in “tick, tick… BOOM!,” and will likely take home the award for best actor. Nicole Kidman’s portrayal of Lucielle Ball in “Being the Ricardos” was uncannily spot on, and will win her best actress for sure. Lastly, my guess is that both supporting actor and supporting actress will go to “The Power of the Dog” thanks to chilling and simultaneously heartbreaking performances from Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee. 

Possibly the easiest award of the entire ceremony to guess is “Encanto” for best animated feature, as it’s been beloved by critics and audiences alike. Not to mention, the Academy almost always gives this category to Disney. The award for cinematography belongs in the hands of Janusz Kaminski for his incredible work on “West Side Story.” Last but not least, and although I don’t agree, the award for directing will go to Jane Campion for “The Power of the Dog.”

Will I look a little foolish when these predictions are inevitably proven false on March 27th? Probably, yes. But, I can’t deny how fun it’s been to put the list together. Here’s to a great year of filmmaking ahead. 🔳

Future Jordan here! Oscar night has come and gone, Chris Rock is icing his left cheek, and boy was I off base with a few of these guesses. For all that care to point and laugh at my spectacular failure to predict the Academy’s choices, here’s my score: 

Category: Jordan’s Pick: Actual Winner:
best picture “The Power of the Dog” “CODA”
best actor in a leading role Andrew Garfield Will Smith
best actress in a leading role Nicole Kidman Jessica Chastain
best actor in a supporting role Kodi Smit-Mcphee Troy Kotsur
best actress in a supporting role Kirsten Dunst Ariana DeBose
best animated feature “Encanto” “Encanto”
best cinematography “West Side Story” “Dune”
best director Jane Campion Jane Campion