Oscar 2022: Nominations–Using Just Math per

Oscar Nominations: Using Just Math

‘The Power of the Dog,’ ‘Belfast,’ ‘Dune,’ ‘Licorice Pizza’ and ‘West Side Story’ are a mathematical lock for the top category.

We are well underway in the second Hollywood awards season impacted by COVID-19. Already, there have been delays for the Grammys, the Critics Choice Awards, and the Producers Guild Awards, among others.

Eligibility Window: Only 10 Months

As a domino effect from last year’s Oscar delay, this year will be the shortest eligibility window in history: from March 1 to December 31, 2021.

The show must go on, short of an unexpected wrinkle between now and March 27.

On Feb. 8, the nominations announcement in all categories. But for those of us who can’t wait that long to find out who’s in front, we can turn to math.



Lady Gaga stars as Patrizia Reggiani in Ridley Scott’s HOUSE OF GUCCI.

The formula gives more weight to those awards that have historically done the best predicting–especially the Producers Guild, Directors Guild, and Screen Actors Guild–in each of the eight most prominent categories.

That gives us not only the likelihood each film is nominated, but also early glimpse into the current standings in the Oscar race.

Best Picture

For the first time since 2010, there will be 10 nominees, per a rule change.

A quintet of films at the top–The Power of the Dog, Belfast, Dune, Licorice Pizza, West Side Story–are sure nominees. All are above 97.5 percent to be nominated for the top category.

King Richard, CODA, and Don’t Look Up are probably in. Tick, Tick … Boom! and Nightmare Alley are the next two, so if there isn’t even a single upset, that pair will round out the field.

Odds are, at least one film from outside the top ten sneaks in. From Being the Ricardos to The Tragedy of Macbeth, ten films sit between 9 percent and 21 percent to get nominated.

Jane Campion is a near-lock to become the first female director with multiple Best Director nominations, for her gripping work on The Power of the Dog.

After that, the model favors the next four most likely Best Picture winners: Spielberg (West Side Story), Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), and Denis Villeneuve (Dune).

But none of these directors, aside from Campion, are sure things. If one of them falters, look to Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car) as the most likely nominee. True, he didn’t get a Directors Guild, Golden Globe, or Critics Choice nomination. But thanks to the BAFTA nod and other critics circle honors, he’s made a strong case for Oscar contention.

Best Actor


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Will Smith (King Richard) is a virtual guarantee for his third Best Actor nomination, and thanks to his Golden Globe win, it might be his first Academy victory. Chief competitors are: Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog), Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick … Boom!), and Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth).

For the fifth spot? Nicolas Cage (Pig) and Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos) are the most likely to hear their names called, but the math says this last nomination is a toss-up. Bardem picked up SAG and Golden Globe nominations, but Cage has more nominations from other groups earlier this awards season.

Best Actress


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Four actresses received Screen Actors Guild, Critics Choice, and Golden Globe nominations: Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter), Lady Gaga (House of Gucci), and Golden Globe champion Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos).

And yet, the actress who piled up the critic circle honors, Kristen Stewart (Spencer), was nowhere to be found when the SAGs or BAFTAs announced their shortlists. That could leave open a spot for Critics Choice/BAFTA nominee Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza), or SAG nominee Jennifer Hudson (Respect), or Golden Globe musical/comedy winner Rachel Zegler (West Side Story).



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Kodi Smit-McPhee’s role in The Power of the Dog–all sorts of critics groups have given him the most honors of anyone this awards season.

Unlike the other three acting categories, there’s a lot less consensus among the major groups as to who the top four or five are this year. Troy Kotsur (CODA) appears to be in second place, but no one else reaches 75 percent, making this the most likely acting category to see some upsets. Ciaran Hinds (Belfast) got a BAFTA and Critics Choice nomination, while Ben Affleck (The Tender Bar) earned the SAG nod, and both received Golden Globe consideration.

Jared Leto (House of Gucci) is a weak favorite to round out the top five.

Best Supporting Actress


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Ariana DeBose has made clean sweep of awards season thus far, including a Golden Globe win for her role in West Side Story, and this might be hers to lose. Her fellow SAG nominees Caitriona Balfe (Belfast), Kristen Dunst (The Power of the Dog), and Ruth Negga (Passing) are all likely to join DeBose at the Oscars.

The model splits from the Screen Actors Guild on the last pick, going with King Richard’s Aunjanue Ellis over Mass’ Ann Dowd or Nightmare Alley’s Cate Blanchett.

Best Original Screenplay


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The screenplays of BelfastBeing the RicardosLicorice Pizza, and Don’t Look Up are nearly tied for the top spot, with King Richard favored to round out the group.

We can often look to the Writers Guild as one key data point, but this year, both Belfast in the original category and The Power of the Dog in the adapted category are ineligible, and while the model accounts for that, it’s still going to make this a trickier year than most to ascertain the correct percentages in the screenplay races.

Best Adapted Screenplay


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We could be looking at a big night for The Power of the Dog. Jane Campion’s film is in first place in four of these eight rankings (Picture, Director, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay), along with second place for Actor and third for Supporting Actress.

If some film is going to knock The Power of the Dog off its Adapted Screenplay pedestal, look to DuneThe Lost Daughter, or CODA. For the fifth spot, Writers Guild nominee West Side Story and BAFTA nominee Drive My Car lead the way.

Ben Zauzmer is the author of Oscarmetrics: The Math Behind the Biggest Night in Hollywood.