Final 2022 Oscar Predictions
The Friendly Film Fan Makes Our Final Picks for the Winner’s Circle at the 94th Annual Academy Awards
Hello, everyone, and welcome back to The Friendly Film Fan! Much has been made of the Oscars frankly ridiculous ceremony production choices over the past couple of months, from their not requiring vaccinations for attendees, to their cutting eight categories out of the ceremony entirely, to adding a musical performance for an un-nominated song when they cut the eight categories previously mentioned “for time,” to their refusal to invite Rachel Zegler who starred in one of their most-nominated films (later walked back as Zegler was added to the presenters list and thus will attend the ceremony), to adding five rounds of presenters (some of whom have nothing to do with movies), to picking three hosts seemingly at random, to rebranding the stupid Best Popular Film Oscar idea as “Oscars Fan Favorite” just to get Spider-Man more awards time than it deserves, to the frankly deeply obvious attempt by Disney (who owns ABC and ESPN where that “Play Along” thing is happening) to strongarm the Academy into removing most of the categories they’re most likely to lose to Warner Bros, to any number of other idiotic decisions the Academy has made in the past 30 minutes to appease everyone who’s never cared that much about them anyway and piss off everyone who still works in and loves the movie industry and world, myself included. Much has also been made of the Oscar races as they’ve been reworked and re-shaped into things almost no one saw coming from the time nominations were announced until now, but we’ll get into all that with the individual categories. For now, I have a few final thoughts before all is said and done.
This is the least excited I’ve been for an Oscars ceremony in a long time, which is saying quite a lot, considering the pedigree of film involved. Regardless of how disastrous both the Academy’s and Disney’s leadership have been under David Rubin and Bob Chapek respectively, however, I am hopeful for the future. I’m hopeful that with a far more diversified and internationally recognized membership, the Academy can still surprise, as they did by handing Parasite Best Picture two years ago – a fact that still shocks and delights me to this day – or as they did by giving one of the Original Screenplay nominations this year to Joachim Trier’s phenomenal The Worst Person in the World. The wider range of stories available to be told, the better the good ones become in the telling, and the more interesting the world becomes as a whole. And I am hopeful that the Academy itself will be so emboldened by this year’s backlash to its worst decisions that next year will go almost in the complete opposite direction and force them to recognize that their ratings as they were are not coming back and that the best path forward is to honor, with some adjustments in diversity of body and method, the way the Oscars used to be – a movie awards show for movie enthusiasts specifically, not merely a concert for the common public.
With all that said, let’s get into the reason we’re all here. Here are The Friendly Film Fan’s Final Predictions for the 94th Annual Academy Awards!
Best Documentary Short
Will Win: The Queen of Basketball
Could Steal: Audible
Dark Horse: When We Were Bullies
Should Have Been Nominated: Coded: The Hidden Love of J.C. Leyendecker
The Documentary Short category is usually the one I look forward to most out of the Shorts categories as a whole, and there was some really fascinating stuff this year, from the bizarre history of Camp Confidential to the New York Times’ forensic analysis of the January 6 insurrection in Day of Rage, but none swept me quite so much off my feet as Coded, which recounted the subtle homoerotic works of artist J.C. Leyendecker, and all the artists he would inspire later on. It’s a real shame that wasn’t nominated, as it was the best of the shortlist, but you could do a lot worse with a win for The Queen of Basketball here – it’s brief, it’s charming, and its subject is a sincere delight to watch as she recounts her days playing the sport in her youth. Of the nominees, however, I would probably hand this one over to Netflix’s piercing Three Songs for Benazir. The only one of these nominees I haven’t seen, actually (and won’t get to see until after Sunday), is the Dark Horse candidate When We Were Bullies, which hasn’t made a huge splash in terms of notoriety but has had steady support the whole way here.
Best Animated Short
Will Win: Robin Robin
Could Steal: The Windshield Wiper
Dark Horse: Boxballet
Should Have Been Nominated: N/A
Another category in which one of the key nominees was not available for viewing, I never saw Boxballet as of this writing; not that it matters much, because it seems Aardman Animation’s Netflix vehicle Robin Robin will probably take this one handily, and it’d hardly be a bad pick. What’s more bizarre is the inclusion of something like Affairs of the Art in the nominee pool at all – the film is simply so batshit insane and borderline incoherent one wonders how it ever got to this point as it rushes from thing to thing without taking a breath or making sense of any of it. Perhaps that’s the point, but it was not a film I connected to in almost any way. Bestia, too, is bizarre, dark, and discomforting, but that one actually does make a lot more sense if one knows the context in which it was made, and what it’s actually about. For my money though, this should be going to the stunning animation work in The Windshield Wiper, which isn’t exactly foreign stylistically, but feels the freshest out of these five choices. Or, at least, out of the four I’ve gotten to see.
Best Live-Action Short
Will Win: The Long Goodbye
Could Steal: Please Hold
Dark Horse: On My Mind
Should Have Been Nominated: N/A
Having not seen everything on the Oscar shortlist for this category, I can’t really say whether anything’s missing or not, but the lack of enthusiasm for The Dress is a little strange (not that it’s easy to get hyped for such a downer film, but there really should be more support for it). Ala Kachuu is definitely the best-looking film in this category, but it’s almost 40 minutes long, and the longer ones don’t tend to fare that well here. This has been lined up for The Long Goodbye for a while, especially since the Academy really loves Riz Ahmed, who helped write it and stars in it, and it clocks in at a brief but nonetheless affecting eleven minute runtime. There does seem to be a little bit of support behind On My Mind, and films as weak against their competition as Please Hold have been known to win before (remember Two Distant Strangers?), so it’s not a total lock, even if no one else really has the key.
Will Win: Dune
Could Steal: N/A
Dark Horse: Belfast
Should Have Been Nominated: N/A
There are no really egregious omissions here, and it’s fairly obvious that Dune is going to win this award, perhaps the surest bet of the night beyond Visual Effects, International Feature, and the Supporting Actor/Actress categories. If there’s any Dark Horse, it’s Belfast, but don’t expect it to be winning any derbies come Sunday night.
Best Visual Effects
Will Win: Dune
Could Steal: N/A
Dark Horse: No Time to Die
Should Have Been Nominated: Eternals or Godzilla vs. Kong or The Matrix: Resurrections or The Suicide Squad
Since no one else seems to want to, I’ll come right out and say that the Free Guy and Spider-Man nominations in this category are bad picks, and shouldn’t be here. The visual effects in both films are largely terrible (some of the green screen compositing in Spider-Man is downright atrocious), but I guess they were always going to be here, given how popular they both were at the box office, and this tends to be the spot where the most popular films do well. There are films that came out in 2021 with far cleaner effects than either of those, including but not limited to Eternals, Godzilla vs. Kong, and Matrix 4, but since none of those films are here, it’s all but impossible for anything to steal this award from the deserving and unbeatable sci-fi juggernaut that is Dune. If there is a Dark Horse here at all, it’s No Time to Die, whose visual effects are far more involved than you might think and honestly are excellent, given how seamlessly they’re woven into the film, but since that also has no chance at taking on Dune either, nothing is stealing this award from Denis Villeneuve’s epic sandworm tale.
Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: Kenneth Branagh, Belfast
Could Steal: Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up or Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza
Dark Horse: Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt, The Worst Person in the World
Should Have Been Nominated: Mike Mills, C’mon C’mon or Fran Kranz, Mass
Somehow, Don’t Look Up managed a WGA win in this category and threw the whole race into chaos, but it doesn’t seem to have affected the Oscars that much in terms of what’s still expected to win (it’s just now far more possible than it was that Adam McKay’s deeply unsubtle script could pull an upset). The main battle here still seems to still be Licorice Pizza vs. Belfast, and while I would much rather see Paul Thomas Anderson’s ode to life in the San Fernando valley or the brilliant Nordic entry of The Worst Person in the World take home this award, my instincts are telling me Belfast is the smarter play here, and every time I ignore my instincts, it never works out for me. Plus, Belfast has won way more of these and has seven Oscar nominations (including one for Best Director for Kenneth Branagh, which means the Academy is thinking of rewarding him for something), whereas Licorice Pizza only has three nominations and some questionable moments in its writing that landed PTA in some hot water just before voting began (though it doesn’t seem that hot water has stuck around all that much).
Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: Siân Heder, CODA
Could Steal: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
Dark Horse: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car
Should Have Been Nominated: N/A
Will it be CODA? Will it be The Power of the Dog? CODA did take home the WGA award for Adapted Screenplay (and as we’ve established, Don’t Look Up inexplicably won in Original), but neither The Lost Daughter nor The Power of the Dog was eligible to compete in those awards, so winning there was literally impossible for either of them. On the other hand, CODA also succeeded in winning the BAFTA for Adapted Screenplay, which those two challengers were competing for, so it’s pretty safe to say that Siân Heder stands a pretty good chance of winning this category as well, perhaps inevitably leading to a clean sweep for her AppleTV+ film here, in Best Supporting Actor, and in Best Picture. But, on yet another hand, CODA was not nominated for BAFTA’s Best Picture category, which The Power of the Dog won, so a win here for the Academy may not translate to a Best Picture win for CODA after all. Regardless, it’s a two horse race the whole way to Best Picture, and the winner of that race may well be decided here.
Best Original Song
Will Win: “No Time to Die,” No Time to Die
Could Steal: “Dos Oruguitas,” Encanto
Dark Horse: “Be Alive,” King Richard
Should Have Been Nominated: “So May We Start,” Annette
“No Time to Die” is a great song, and I’ll be very happy to see Billie Eilish win her first Oscar, but is it the best song in this group? Not quite – in fact, it’s not the best of the Bond songs either (though living up to “Skyfall” is a tall order no matter who the challenger is). “Dos Oruguitas” deserves to take this the most, but let’s not overlook the fact that Beyonce is also up for an Oscar this year. Rewarding one of the most celebrated performers of all time would be a good opportunity for the Academy to bring more casual viewers into the fold, and they really seemed to like King Richard, so it’s entirely possible that this is the award they give it, if only to ensure it’s recognized.
Best Original Score
Will Win: Hans Zimmer, Dune
Could Steal: Jonny Greenwood, The Power of the Dog
Dark Horse: Alberto Iglesias, Parallel Mothers
Should Have Been Nominated: Antonio Pinto, Nine Days or James Newton Howard, Raya and the Last Dragon or Carter Burwell, The Tragedy of Mabeth
Hans Zimmer is winning his second Oscar, and there is no refuting this, especially since we know the famed composer created entirely new instruments just to capture some of the sounds he wanted – you don’t create new instruments without getting awarded or recognized for it somehow, and especially not if the film’s music is this distinct. If there is any support for someone outside of Dune to steal this, though, it’s Jonny Greenwood for his work on The Power of the Dog, which has a lot of support amongst both critics and industry professionals.
Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Will Win: The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Could Steal: Cruella
Dark Horse: Coming 2 America
Should Have Been Nominated: N/A
Having not seen Coming 2 America, I can’t speak to its chances of winning, but it does seem to have a lot more support than previously thought, after having won at least one major makeup award, and very recently at that. However, it seems to foolish to predict anything except either Tammye Faye or Cruella for a win here; the former has a nominee in the current lead for Best Actress, and the other already has a character design award its poised to win, so neither would be especially surprising. I’m giving the edge here, though, to The Eyes of Tammy Faye, as the makeup work in that movie is not only excellent and uncannily recreates the televangelist to a frankly uncomfortable degree, but does a lot of heavy lifting in aiding the performance of the star wearing it as well. What should win, though, is Dune, not only for making Baron Harkonnen a terrifying villain on screen and bringing a distinct look to everyone outside of Caladan, but also for giving us Oscar Isaac in that glorious beard as he peers through his set of binoculars.
Best Costume Design
Will Win: Jenny Beavan, Cruella
Could Steal: Luis Sequeira, Nightmare Alley
Dark Horse: Jacqueline West and Bob Morgan, Dune
Should Have Been Nominated: In the Heights or Spencer
Is Cruella technically a period piece? I suppose so, since it is set in the 1970s, but most of its costumes have little to do with what was commonly worn at the time, especially as its protagonist is literally a fashion designer whose outfits defy the time in which they appear. All one has to do to understand Jenny Beaven’s inevitable is see the trash dress unfurl from the garbage truck and it’s instantly known that Cruella is winning this award. It’s unlikely anything upsets in this category, but I’d give the edge for that to Nightmare Alley here. If nothing else, that movie is known for its design work above everything, so it should not be underestimated.
Best Production Design
Will Win: Patrice Vermette, Dune
Could Steal: Tamara Deverell, Nightmare Alley
Dark Horse: N/A
Should Have Been Nominated: N/A
There’s no real dark horse in Production Design because there are really only two contenders that matter – the stunning creation of Dune or the sumptuous lived-in history of Nightmare Alley. Del Toro’s films are no stranger to this category, although they’ve never won the award, but Nightmare Alley is easily the most grounded of the auteur’s works, so designer Tamara Deverell won’t be battling against any sci-fi elements or outlandish creature design in order to capture the minds of Oscar voters who are more averse to that sort of thing. Nightmare Alley is a remake, however, and thus isn’t creating something entirely new so much as bringing vividly to life a world that the original 1947 film couldn’t quite conjure in as much detail. Dune, on the other hand, is more adaptation than remake, and thus almost entirely creation from start to finish, which lends it a lot more credence in this category. The ships, the palaces, the sandworms, the costumes all play into the different facets of Production Design as an idea, and to bring a world so vividly to life with little – if anything – to go on from previous adaptations, and make it look this stunning, is a feat all its own. Dune should take this category handily, but don’t be surprised if an upset falls to Nightmare Alley – filmmakers and craftspeople really seem to love that movie.
Best Film Editing
Will Win: Joe Walker, Dune
Could Steal: Hank Corwin, Don’t Look Up or Pamela Martin, King Richard
Dark Horse: Peter Sciberras, The Power of the Dog
Should Have Been Nominated: N/A
While unbridled by an egregious lack of nominations for films that deserved to be here, Best Film Editing is nonetheless still a pretty tricky category. On the one hand, a win in this category hasn’t translated to a Best Picture win since 2009’s The Hurt Locker, even though a nomination here is almost essential to a nomination for the big prize. That said, CODA does not have a nomination here at all despite its current frontrunner status in Best Picture, and The Power of the Dog doesn’t seem to be the frontrunner in this category either. King Richard did win the ACE Eddie award for this category, so it has the best chance to steal from the far more deserving Dune, but don’t underestimate Don’t Look Up’s flashiness, even if it’s unlikely to propel that film to a gold statue. The Oscars tends to reward the most editing over anything else but it’s also generally tied to winning the Sound category (hence Ford v Ferrari’s win here two years ago in addition to its victory in Best Sound Editing). Don’t Look Up definitely has the most editing out of all of these nominees, but isn’t nominated in Sound at all, and since Dune is expected to win that category, a win here makes the most sense as well. Still, it’s unlikely The Power of the Dog walks away with only one Oscar on Sunday night, so if there’s an upset to be had, this seems like the most likely spot, along with our next category.
Will Win: Greig Fraser, Dune
Could Steal: Ari Wegner, The Power of the Dog
Dark Horse: Janusz Kaminski, West Side Story
Should Have Been Nominated: N/A
Best Cinematography – one of the most absolutely stacked categories of the entire set – hasn’t been nearly as far apart of a race as many had predicted it to be, with Dune stumbling more than a few times to Ari Wegner’s magnificent work on The Power of the Dog. However, Greig Fraser did just take home the ASC award for Dune, and is having a huge moment having just seen even more of his stellar work debut in The Batman, so it’s a pretty safe bet that that Dune will win here too. Watch out for The Power of the Dog, though. It’s a lot closer to a win than you might think, and if that movie is to take home more than just one Oscar, it’s like Film Editing or Cinematography that it has the best shot at stealing.
Best Documentary Feature
Will Win: Summer of Soul (…or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Could Steal: Attica
Dark Horse: Writing With Fire
Should Have Been Nominated: The Rescue
It was a genuine surprise that neither of NatGeo’s two documentary shortlisters made the Oscar nominations in this category, but even more surprising was that one of those was The Rescue. Not only was the harrowing tale of retrieval of a boys’ soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand one of the most riveting thrillers of the year (despite knowing the outcome), it came from a team that had won this award before in 2018 for their work on Free Solo, and The Rescue is an even better movie than that was. That said, this has been Summer of Soul’s to lose for a long, long time – since Sundance in January of 2021, truthfully. Questlove’s directorial debut is an excellent film, and fully deserving of a win here, but if you do check out anything else beyond that, show some love to Attica, a phenomenally well-directed account of the tragically-ended takeover at Attica prison in 1971 by Stanley Nelson, for which the documentarian won the DGA award for direction of a documentary. This category has been known to surprise before (though not very often), so if anything could steal the win, it’d be that.
Best International Feature Film
Will Win: Drive My Car (Japan)
Could Steal: The Worst Person in the World (Norway)
Dark Horse: Flee (Denmark)
Should Have Been Nominated/Shortlisted: Titane (France)
Although it’s not an above-the-line category, this is one of the other awards this year that’s pretty much all wrapped up. International films don’t get nominated in this category and Best Picture without winning the former, so Drive My Car essentially has this one in the bag. (But there is a lot of groundswell support for The Worst Person in the World, so it may be a closer second-place finish than we think. That film is also nominated in Best Original Screenplay.)
Best Animated Feature
Will Win: Encanto
Could Steal: The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Dark Horse: Luca
Should Have Been Nominated: N/A
Flee is to animated filmmaking what Spider-Verse was back in 2018: it just elevates the form in every conceivable way it could. Flee is the best example in years of what makes animation such an essential medium of filmmaking, and it represents what great movies can be when people come together to tell a story that’s really and truly special, which represents both the resiliency of the human spirit and the creativity of the human mind. It should be the obvious winner. As it happens though, Disney has this category pretty well locked up, and “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is the most popular song of theirs since “Let It Go,” so this seems like a losing battle for everything else. It seems weird to talk about PIXAR, the once dominate studio in this category, as the Dark Horse candidate (how did we get to this point?), but such as it is, Luca does have some small groundswell support. If anything is gonna steal it, though, it’s probably The Mitchells vs. the Machines, which a lot of industry people, especially animators, seem to love more and more as it continues being discovered. In fact, it did win the Annie Award, but those don’t usually tend to have much bearing on the Oscar winners, given how Klaus won in 2019, but ended up losing the Oscar to Toy Story 4 anyway.
Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Troy Kotsur, CODA
Could Steal: Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog
Dark Horse: Ciarán Hinds, Belfast
Should Have Been Nominated: Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza or Mike Faist, West Side Story or Jason Isaacs, Mass or Anders Danielsen Lie, The Worst Person in the World or Woody Norman, C’mon C’mon
For a while, it seemed as if Kodi Smit-McPhee had it in the bag for his performance in The Power of the Dog, much like the film he stars in, Troy Kotsur’s momentum for his brilliant work in CODA has continued to surge through the industry awards with win after win, making him the first deaf actor to have won several of his accolades, and potentially the first to ever win the Oscars’ Best Supporting Actor category. That’s a milestone the Academy would be foolish to pass up, so it’s unlike they do that here, despite how good Smit-McPhee really is in Jane Campion’s adaptation. If there’s a dark horse here, it’s Ciarán Hinds in Belfast, whose warm-hearted grandfather character lends the movie its soul, and is largely the reason the grandparent characters are interesting at all. The real kicker for this category, though, is the “Should Have Been Nominated” section, any of which could have taken the J.K. Simmons spot, and all of which are far more interesting performances. Either way, this is Troy Kotsur’s award to lose, and god help us if we let him lose it.
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
Could Steal: Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog
Dark Horse: Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter
Should Have Been Nominated: Ann Dowd, Mass
If there’s any above-the-line category that one could call a definite lock, it’s Best Supporting Actress. Ariana DeBose is dancing away with this one all the way off the Dolby stage, and you can put all the money in the world on that. (Though the support for Jessie Buckley in The Lost Daughter is stronger than previously thought, and swapping Caitríona Balfe’s Supporting Actress nomination for Judi Dench in the same movie is as gate-keepy as awards shows like this can get.)
Will Win: Will Smith, King Richard
Could Steal: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog
Dark Horse: Andrew Garfield, tick, tick…Boom!
Should Have Been Nominated: Nicolas Cage, Pig
For an American to win Best Actor on a Brit’s home turf when that Brit is in the running for the same Oscar (and is not far behind) sure is something, so it’s pretty definite that Will Smith will most likely take home his first Oscar for his great work in King Richard, despite Benedict Cumberbatch nipping on his heels. Smith’s performance is great movie star material, so him winning is hardly any misstep on the Academy’s part, but Cumberbatch is on another level in The Power of the Dog. That said, the Dark Horse candidate is Andrew Garfield here, whose film tick, tick…Boom! wasn’t that far off from receiving a Best Picture nomination and does boast a spot in Best Film Editing. Industry pros seemed to love Garfield as Jonathan Larson in the Lin Manuel-Miranda directed adaption of Larson’s second musical work, and given Larson’s reputation in the industry, don’t be surprised if the shock win goes to the undisputed movie MVP of 2022.
Will Win: Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Could Steal: Penélope Cruz, Parallel Mothers
Dark Horse: Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter
Should Have Been Nominated: Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World
Perhaps not the hottest or even closest race in the whole ceremony, but definitely the most unpredictable is the race for Best Lead Actress. It’s highly unlikely Kristen Stewart wins in this category, given how she was not recognized on the SAG longlist (SAG members make up the majority of the Academy’s actors branch), but then again, it was also unlikely she would be nominated, and look how that turned out. Also a surprising but absolutely deserving nomination was Penélope Cruz, snatching the spot most pundits (including myself) had predicted for Lady Gaga. Cruz doesn't seem to have won any awards, industry-wise or critics-wise, but there is a lot of talk about industry support for her on the ground, and given the sheer chaos this category hosts just in the nominees, it could still throw yet more chaos our way by rewarding her astonishing performance. Nicole Kidman is the only actress besides Jessica Chastain to win one of the major awards pre-Oscars, but that was the Golden Globes, which seem to have less and less influence on the Oscars each year, and she already has an Oscar for a role most people were fine with but unimpressed by, so it’s unlikely she takes home a second one. That leaves us with Olivia Colman and Jessica Chastain. Chastain has won a couple of the industry awards (one of them televised), but hasn’t exactly been on a hot streak with them all season long, though she is still the frontrunner of the category. The dark horse candidate though, is Olivia Colman, who’s stolen races twice now in which she was not expected to win. She bested heavy favorite Glenn Close in 2019 to take home the Best Actress Oscar for The Favourite and also took out other heavy favorite Emma Corrin for the most recent Best Actress Emmy Award for her work in The Crown. Colman is the queen of stealing races, and while it’s unlikely she steals this one, viewers should watch out for her nonetheless.
Will Win: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
Could Steal: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car
Dark Horse: Steven Spielberg, West Side Story
Should Have Been Nominated: Denis Villeneuve, Dune
Since the Academy so rudely snubbed Denis Villeneuve of one of the top three spots he deserved, this race was over almost as soon as it began. With the DGA award handily won, it seems obvious enough that Jane Campion will likely walk away with this award as well, and she should. Her work on The Power of the Dog is undeniable; even if one doesn’t particularly like the movie itself or isn’t as interested in its many interweaving layers as some others, the method of control to bring a story as complex as that to life in such a vivid and precise manner is not something voters can easily ignore. The Oscars are also no stranger to Best Director/Best Picture splits, especially recently (it’s happened five time in the past nine years), so even if The Power of the Dog might be in trouble in Best Picture, Director seems pretty locked up tight. The only candidate here with a shot at stealing the win, though, is Ryûsuke Hamaguchi for his work in adapting the three-hour Japanese epic journey through the themes of Uncle Vanya that is Drive My Car. If there’s a genuine shock in a Best Director upset win, he would be it (even if Steven Spielberg is the Dark Horse candidate no one’s paying close enough attention to…somehow).
Will Win: CODA
Could Steal: The Power of the Dog
Dark Horse: N/A
Should Have Been Nominated: C’mon C’mon or Flee
And finally, we’ve come to it: the big one. Easily the hottest race in the whole thing at the moment (which doesn’t happen with Best Picture often), CODA’s momentum has surged to unprecedented levels following the start of Oscar voting and a string of industry award wins, including the SAG ensemble award and the PGA for Best Film, bolstered by a frankly killer Oscar campaign headed by its fantastic cast. The Power of the Dog held the top spot in many a predictions list (including this one) for a very long time, but it seems the tide has officially shifted toward CODA’s favor; if it wins, it will break a host of Oscar stats held for decades, including the necessity of a Best Film Editing nomination and the presence of a Best Director candidate. Frankly, The Power of the Dog deserves this more in my opinion as the far more complex, deeply nuanced, and challenging movie between the two, and it could still easily come out on top to be Netflix’s first-ever Best Picture win, but the Academy does have something of an anti-Netflix edge to it with its oldest members staunchly standing against streaming services (though CODA does belong to AppleTV+), and something tells me that if Roma couldn’t muster up all the right votes for a win there even with its Best Director win, Jane Campion’s interesting but uncomfortable homoerotic cowboy drama about generational cycles of abuse and repression may not be the thing everyone rallies around this time either. (Then again, Roma did have a language barrier to work against, and that was before Parasite broke that glass ceiling. POTD doesn’t have that added challenge to overcome with voters.) All that to say, I was a really big fan of Siân Heder’s heartwarming musical journey through deafness, so if CODA does win, I’ll hardly be upset, but I do wonder if we’ll look back in 5 years or so and wonder if the right decision was made.
And, at long last, those are my final predictions for the 94th Annual Academy Awards! What do you think of these predictions? Any we disagree on? What are you hoping to see take home Oscar gold? Let me know in the comments section below, and thanks for reading!
- The Friendly Film Fan
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Film critic in my free time. Film enthusiast in my down time. Writer for Bitesize Breakdown.