2022 Oscars Picks and Predictions

Written by Gabriel Gage March 25, 2022

               Throw down the red carpet and throw ON your swankiest attire – the Oscars are here! It’s time for the beloved annual celebration of the movies from box office biggies to the quiet indie sleepers.

               This year’s Academy Awards will be guided by the hosting trio of Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer, and the great Regina Hall. With guests and presenters ranging from Hollywood luminaries like Bill Murray and Halle Barry to celebrity odd balls like DJ Khalid and Tony Hawk, it’s set to be an interesting night.

While I don’t receive advanced “Screeners” of awards-season contenders like Renegade’s own Director’s Guild of America member, Hunter Kalman, I am a film fanatic and have seen nearly every movie nominated for all the major awards. In preparation for the big night, I have written out my thoughts for a few of my favorite awards.

  • Best Picture Nominees: Belfast, CODA, Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog, West Side Story

My Pick: The Power of the Dog

Prediction: The Power of the Dog

Jane Campion’s western tale of the woes of hyper-masculinity is as brutally tense as it is heartbreaking. The film features an all-star cast of Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. Though not my favorite of the year, this execution provides the perfect balance of drama and tension for the Academy’s traditional voting base. It is also worth noting that The Power of the Dog is Campion’s second “Best Picture” nomination nominated for Best Picture; her first being 1993’s The Piano, which was nominated but lost to Schindler’s List. The Power of the Dog is available to watch on Netflix now.

  • Actress in a Supporting Role Nominees: Jessie Buckley in The Lost Daughter, Ariana DeBose in West Side Story, Judi Dench in Belfast, Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog, Aunjanue Ellis in King Richard

My Pick: Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

Prediction: Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

In typical Oscar tradition, the supporting actress/actor categories are consistently difficult to pick from and routinely means eliminating roles that are just as deserving as the ones who make the cut. However, this year’s Best Supporting Actress winner seems painfully obvious to me. In Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story, Ariana DeBose completely dominates every moment of screentime. As Anita, like her predecessor Rita Moreno, DeBose fills the movie with intoxicating levels of energy and proud Puerto Rican pageantry. As someone who did not particularly care for this version of West Side Story, DeBose gave an undeniably magnetic performance.

Best Animated Feature Nominees: Encanto, Flee, Luca, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Raya, and the Last Dragon.

My Pick: Luca

Prediction: Flee

If you have not seen Flee, then a one-month Hulu subscription is well worth the cost. Director Jonas Rasmussen beautifully fuses animation and documentary to share the story of Amin Nawabi (an alias) and his flight from Afghanistan to Denmark. It seems likely that Flee could win all three Academy Awards for which it is nominated: Best Animated Feature, Best International Feature, and Best Documentary Feature. It is for that reason that I have an alternative pick… Pixar’s Luca. My favorite animated film of 2021 focuses on two sea monster boys and the bonds they make over a summer on the Italian Riviera. Luca plays with themes of friendship and of being an outsider to deliver a universal and relatable story.

Best Editing Nominees: Don’t Look Up, Dune, King Richard, The Power of the Dog, tick, tick…BOOM!

My Pick: tick, tick…Boom!

Prediction: Dune

Editing is an odd category to predict. Over the last decade the award has gone to musical biopics, war epics, historical fiction, sci fi hits, and indie dramas alike. The smart pick this year seems to be Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, a science fiction epic with tense drama and large-scale battles mixed throughout. My own choice in this category, however, would celebrate the musical stylings of tick, tick…Boom!. This film seamlessly travels between narrative drama, small stage production, and grand theatrical pomp with fluidity and grace. The audience is launched from scene to scene without an ounce of confusion between styles and staging.

  • Best Visual Effects Nominees: Dune, Free Guy, No Time to Die, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spider-Man: No Way Home

My Pick: Dune

Prediction: Spider-Man: No Way Home          

Visual effects have largely become a harmonious piece of any largescale film production. If VFX artists aren’t creating believable worlds out of pure fantasy then they are remodeling streets, redesigning backgrounds, or simply touching up the cast member’s blemishes. Many productions rely on talented VFX artists to deliver flawless motion capture, rotoscoping, 3D modeling, and countless other duties. I think this award will likely be given to box office juggernaut Spider-Man: No Way Home for a truly VFX dependent blockbuster with general acclaim from both critics and audiences. That said, I believe Dune is deserving of the Oscar for their gargantuan undertaking. The universe of Dune is astoundingly complex on paper, and to execute that vision so perfectly in a monumental feature film is truly remarkable. The film is filled with masterful visual effects work from the grimy technology of the dreaded House Harkonnen to the staggering size and power of the Sandworms of Arrakis. This award for “Best Visual Effects” has some tough contenders competing this year

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I’ve listed the rest of my Oscar picks below if you’re curious. And, I’d love to see your picks, disagreements, or the movies you thought were snubbed in the comments below!

              

Actress in a Leading Role Nominees: Jessica Chastain for The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Olivia Coleman for The Lost Daughter, Penelope Cruz for Parallel Mothers, Nicole Kidman for Being the Ricardos, Kristen Stewart for Spencer

My Pick: Kristen Stewart for Spencer

Prediction: Olivia Coleman for The Lost Daughter

Actor in a Leading Role Nominees: Javier Bardem in Being the Ricardos, Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog, Andrew Garfield in tick, tick…BOOM!, Will Smith in King Richard, Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of Macbeth

My Pick: Andrew Garfield in tick, tick…BOOM!

Prediction: Will Smith in King Richard

Actor in a Supporting Role Nominees: Ciaran Hinds in Belfast, Troy Kotsur in CODA, Jesse Plemons in The Power of the Dog, J.K. Simmons in Being the Ricardos, Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog

My Pick: Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog

Prediction: Troy Kotsur in CODA

Best Directing Nominees: Kenneth Branagh for Belfast, Ryusuke Hamaguchi for Drive My Car, Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza, Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog, Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

My Pick: Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Prediction: Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Best Adapted Screenplay Nominees: CODA screenplay by Siân Heder, Drive My Car screenplay by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Takamasa Oe, Dune screenplay by Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth, The Lost Daughter written by Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Power of the Dog written by Jane Campion

My Pick: Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Prediction: Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Best Original Screenplay Nominees: Belfast written by Kenneth Branagh, Don’t Look Up screenplay by Adam McKay; Story by Adam McKay & David Sirota, King Richard written by Zach Baylin, Licorice Pizza written by Paul Thomas Anderson, The Worst Person in the World written by Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier

My Pick: Licorice Pizza written by Paul Thomas Anderson

Prediction: Belfast written by Kenneth Branagh

Best Documentary Feature Nominees: Ascension, Attica, Flee, Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), Writing with Fire

My Pick: Flee

Prediction: Flee

Best International Feature Nominees: Drive My Car, Flee, The Hand of God, Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, The Worst Person in the World

My Pick: The Worst Person in the World

Prediction: Flee

Best Cinematography Nominees: Greg Fraser for Dune, Dan Laustsen for Nightmare Alley, Ari Wegner for The Power of the Dog, Bruno Delbonnel for The Tragedy of Macbeth, Janusz Kaminski for West Side Story

My Pick: Greg Fraser for Dune

Prediction: Greg Fraser for Dune

Best Original Score Nominees: Nicholas Britell for Don’t Look Up, Hans Zimmer for Dune, Germaine Franco for Encanto, Alberto Iglesias for Parallel Mothers, Johnny Greenwood for The Power of the Dog

My Pick: Johnny Greenwood for The Power of the Dog

Prediction: Hans Zimmer for Dune

Best Original Song Nominees: “Be Alive” from King Richard – Music and Lyric by DIXSON and Beyoncé; “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto – Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda; “Down to Joy” from Belfast – Music and Lyric by Van Morrison; “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die – Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell; “Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days – Music and Lyric by Diane Warren

My Pick: “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die – Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell

Prediction: “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die – Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell

Best Sound Nominees: Belfast, Dune, No Time to Die, The Power of the Dog, West Side Story.

My Pick: West Side Story

Prediction: Dune

Best Costume Design Nominees: Cruella, Cyrano, Dune, Nightmare Alley, West Side Story

My Pick: Dune

Prediction: Cruella

Best Makeup and Hairstyling Nominees: Coming 2 America, Cruella, Dune, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, House of Gucci.

My Pick: House of Gucci

Prediction: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Best Production Design Nominees: Dune, Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog, The Tragedy of Macbeth, West Side Story

My Pick: Dune

Prediction: Dune