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

Who Should Win

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

Best Picture

Lazy loaded image


Only 10 films have ever received more nominations than The Power of the Dog, this year’s leader with 12.

Coda Cast

Photo: Cast of CODA

But it’s a polarizing film that may not play as well on the Academy’s preferential ballot as CODA, the story and cast of which charms everyone.

Either film would become the third female-directed best picture and first ever from a streamer.

SHOULD WIN: Drive My Car

No film is more deserving than Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s masterwork about processing grief through art and unexpected human connection, in this case between a middle aged director and the younger lover of his late wife.

Based on a Murakami short story, enriched with strands of Chekhov, this is a gracefully multi-nuanced meditation that takes its time to develop its characters and ultimately gain its considerable emotional power.

My ranking of the 10 Best Picture nominees in terms of their overall artistic quality:

1. Drive My Car, A

2. The Power of the Dog, A

3. CODA, A-

4. Dune, A-

5. Tick Tick Boom, B+

6. King Richard, B+

7. West Side Story, B

8. Belfast, B

9. Nightmare Alley, B-

10. Don’t Look Up, C

One of the worst films in Oscar’s history to be ever nominated for Best Picture.




Best Director

Lazy loaded image

WILL WIN: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Twenty-eight years after being nominated for The Piano, the trailblazing Jane Campion became the first female director ever nominated for this award a second time. Having swept every precursor prize, including the all-important Directors Guild Award, she’s the safest bet of the night and will become the third woman to take home this category’s Oscar. — SF

SHOULD WIN: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

I lean toward Hamaguchi for reasons stated above but am going with Jane Campion — not just because the ranks of Oscar-winning women directors are so thin. Campion draws indelible performances from her four leads while reconsidering the myths of the West through a blistering lens of corrosive masculinity, repressed sexuality and a stealth tale of queer revenge. — DR

Best Actor

Lazy loaded image
Will Smith in King Richard COURTESY OF WARNER BROS.

WILL WIN: Will Smith, King Richard

Playing a real person — especially a colorful, inspirational character — is not a bad way to position oneself for this category’s Oscar. Both Will Smith (King Richard) and Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick … Boom!) gave career-best performances doing so. Smith has been around longer, hails from a best picture nominee and dominated the precursors, so edge to him. — SF

SHOULD WIN: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

I’ll happily applaud a win for Will Smith, who’s terrific as the father driving his daughters to excellence in King Richard. But Cumberbatch towers above the rest of the field with his portrayal of the hardened shell of seething hatred concealing a shriveled pit of self-denial and yearning. — DR



Best Actress

Lazy loaded image
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 a bit of momentum, having won SAG and Critics Choice awards for the sort of showy performance that voters often reward. — SF

SHOULD WIN: Penélope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

No number of awards is too many for Olivia Colman, and Kristen Stewart’s fearless tightrope walk in Spencer was spellbinding. But the incandescent Cruz has always had a special symbiosis with Pedro Almodóvar, and she’s never been better than here, with roiling emotions and a generosity of spirit that practically spill off the screen. — DR

Best Supporting Actor

Lazy loaded image

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, just as he has been at every important pre-Oscars awards show. (The only other deaf person who has won an acting Oscar: Kotsur’s CODA co-star Marlee Matlin, 35 years ago.) — SF

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

Smit-McPhee’s Peter first appears as delicate as the paper flowers he makes, too weak to withstand the macho taunting of Cumberbatch’s Phil Burbank and his fawning cowhands. But in the most thrilling reversal of power in recent screen memory, Peter quietly assesses the situation and takes control with lethal efficiency. — DR

Best Supporting Actress

Lazy loaded image
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. — SF



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

Lazy loaded image
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 (which already won Critics Choice and Golden Globe awards). — SF

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. — DR

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. — SF

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. — DR



Best Documentary Feature

Lazy loaded image

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. — SF


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. — DR

Best International Feature

Lazy loaded image

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— SF

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

Lazy loaded image
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— SF




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. — DR

Feinberg 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