Oscars 2022: Best Actress–Who Will Win (or How Would I Vote)

Who Would Win–Who Should Win

The likely winners versus the most deserving winners, respectively, ahead of the 94th Oscar show this Sunday, March 27.

Good or mediocre, long or short, make sure to watch the Oscar telecast!

Best Actress

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Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye COURTESY OF TIFF

WILL WIN: Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

This might be the closest race, featuring five nominees whose films aren’t up for best picture: past winners Olivia Colman, Penélope Cruz and Nicole Kidman, two-time past runner-up Jessica Chastain and rookie Kristen Stewart.

Chastain has the momentum, having won SAG and Critics Choice Awards for the sort of showy performance that voters like.

SHOULD WIN: Penélope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

The incandescent Cruz has always had a special symbiosis with Pedro Almodóvar, and she’s never been better than here, with roiling emotions and generosity of spirit.

Best Supporting Actor

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WILL WIN: Troy Kotsur, CODA

Expect a raucous ovation and visual applause when Troy Kotsur, who is the first deaf man nominated for an acting Oscar, is announced as the winner for his role in CODA.

(The only other deaf person who has won an acting Oscar: Kotsur’s CODA co-star Marlee Matlin, 35 years ago.)

SHOULD WIN: Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Smit-McPhee’s Peter first appears too delicate, too weak to withstand the macho taunting of Cumberbatch’s Phil Burbank and his fawning cowhands. But in a thrilling reversal of power, Peter quietly assesses the situation and takes control with lethal results.

Best Supporting Actress

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Ariana DeBose as Anita in 20th Century Studios’ West Side Story. COURTESY OF NIKO TAVERNISE/20TH CENTURY STUDIOS

WILL WIN: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Sixty years after Rita Moreno won this category’s Oscar for her role as Anita in West Side Story, Ariana DeBose is poised to win it for the same part in Steven Spielberg’s reimagining of that project, having swept the precursor awards. If an upset were to occur, it would likely come from King Richard’s Aunjanue Ellis.

SHOULD WIN: Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Dunst has been exploring a rich spectrum of characters since she was a child. Her latest, Rose, is like fine porcelain, polished to a gleaming shine when soft-spoken, gentle George (played by her real-life partner, Jesse Plemons) brings love into her lonely life, but quickly revealing the cracks as she endures the terrorizing cruelty of her new brother-in-law. — DR

Best Original Screenplay

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Jamie Dornan (left) and Jude Hill in Belfast ROB YOUNGSON / FOCUS FEATURES

WILL WIN: Belfast

One cannot count out Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza (BAFTA’s pick) or Adam McKay for Don’t Look Up (the Writers Guild’s), but this seems the likeliest spot for the Academy to recognize the man behind a third best picture nominee, Kenneth Branagh, for his autobiographical film Belfast.

SHOULD WIN: The Worst Person in the World

It’s rare to encounter a romantic comedy as fresh, insightful and alive with bittersweet tenderness as this reflection on the fumbling mistakes we make as we figure out who we are. That’s due in part to the luminous Renate Reinsve as Julie, but especially to the wisdom and compassion of director Joachim Trier and regular co-writer Eskil Vogt’s screenplay.

Best Adapted Screenplay


This is a likely bellwether for the best picture contest, as it pits CODA (which won BAFTA and Writers Guild awards) against The Power of the Dog (which landed the Critics Choice prize). Beyond that, some voters will want to seize this chance to ensure that CODA’s Sian Heder takes home a statuette, as Campion surely will for best director.

SHOULD WIN: Drive My Car

Campion’s work exploring gender and family dynamics amid the loneliness of the American West excels at period storytelling with a jagged lyricism that feels boldly contemporary. But I give the edge to the expansion by Hamaguchi and co-writer Takamasa Oe of a slender Murakami story into a work of mesmerizing emotional scope.


Best Documentary Feature

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WILL WIN: Summer of Soul

This contest is between two nominees which have been widely seen and discussed by Academy members: Flee (which won several doc community awards) and Summer of Soul (which won BAFTA, Critics Choice, Spirit and PGA awards). Some voters dislike animation and/or subtitles, and many voters love music docs, so the smart (but not certain) bet is Questlove’s directorial debut.


I’ll be cheering for Questlove’s seemingly unstoppable win for the joyous Summer of Soul. That said, Danish director Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s heartbreaking yet hopeful story of a refugee’s difficult path to self-acceptance as he grapples with his cultural roots and his identity as a gay man is a testament to the complexity of this unique film.

Best International Feature

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WILL WIN: Drive My Car

Before Japan’s Drive My Car, only six films up for this award had ever also received picture, director and screenplay noms. Five went on to win this award. The one that didn’t (The Emigrants) lost to a film with only one other nom, for screenplay (The Garden of the Finzi Continis). So there is a ray of hope for Norway’s The Worst Person in the World, if not Flee.

SHOULD WIN: Drive My Car

Duh. It was a strong year for this category, as evidenced by the number of standout international films that either didn’t make the cut or were not submitted by their respective countries. But no film resonated more powerfully in this time of loss and isolation than the Japanese entry. Its failure to win would be a genuine shocker. — DR

Best Animated Feature

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The Madrigals from Disney’s Encanto COURTESY OF DISNEY

WILL WIN: Encanto

Encanto is nominated in this category and also for song and score. The Mitchells vs. the Machines held its own at precursor awards and has gotten a big push from Netflix. And Flee certainly uses animation in a unique way. The Disney bloc could split among EncantoLuca and Raya and the Last Dragon, but the smart money’s still on Encanto.


I love all five of these, and it’s notable that the nominees include three films from under the Disney umbrella that expand the cultural horizons of mainstream animation. The tangy Mediterranean flavor, the warmth and heartfelt embrace of otherness made Pixar’s imaginative coming-of-age tale stay with me most of all. 

Forecasts the Rest…

Best Cinematography: The Power of the Dog

Best Costume Design: Dune

Best Film Editing: Dune

Best Production Design: Dune

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Best Score: Dune

Best Song: “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

Best Sound: Dune

Best Visual Effects: Dune

Best Animated Short: Robin Robin

Best Documentary Short: The Queen of Basketball 

Best Live-Action Short: The Long Goodbye