The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Academy Awards

by Bill Grinnell

The Academy Awards ceremony is the biggest event of the year for me. I actually refer to it as Film Geek Christmas, and yes, as much as I hate to admit it, this day is more important to me than Christmas.

This year’s race is the most volatile I have ever seen in more years than I care to admit to doing this. Almost nothing seems certain.

There are only a handful that can be counted on: Jane Campion winning for Best Director, Drive My Car as Best International Film, and Encanto as Best Animated Feature. Everything else is wide open and it seems like anyone could win.

Here are my best guesses for Oscar night 2022:

Best Picture

Early on during awards season it looked like Belfast was going to win this year. The Power of the Dog has quickly overtaken it. Though there is a last minute surge for Coda, it has only three nominations and has previously been seen as a much lesser film. It could win, but I predict The Power of the Dog in the end.

Best Actor

This is a tough three way race this year. Will Smith has been the early front runner, but there is a sizeable camp out there for Benedict Cumberbatch. Andrew Garfield’s performance is also hard to ignore. The majority of the awards have been going to Smith, but there is a strong chance that Cumberbatch comes from behind. The chances increase if a run starts for The Power of the Dog. He’s my choice, but in the end the odds favor Will Smith.

Best Actress

This one has turned into a vigorous contest. Originally, it looked like Olivia Coleman was on her way to a second Best Actress win (and she could still pull off a huge upset, much like her first win.) There’s been a lot of interest and admiration for Kristen Stewart’s performance as Princess Diana, but not enough to bring it to the top. Jessica Chastain surged to the top during the height of awards season, but she may have peaked just a bit early. Going into the ceremony, there’s a lot of buzz about Penelope Cruz. She could very well pull it off, but I’m gambling that in the end Chastain will come out on top. She’s highly respected amongst her peers and has come in second for her first two nominations. Three could be the charm, but Cruz is peaking.

Best Supporting Actor

This is another race that’s turned around as well. Like so many others this year, the early consensus was for Kodi Smitt-McPhee. But during the height of awards season the momentum switched to Troy Kotsur. I think it’s so strong that it’s enough to sweep him to victory, but Smitt-McPhee’s performance is so strong that he could pull a come from behind win.

Best Supporting Actress

Though not as strong a change as Best Supporting Actor, there has been a late flip for the second place title. When the nominations came out, everyone thought it was between DeBose and Kirsten Dunst. But Aunjanue Ellis is peaking, though not enough to take the award away from DeBose. She’s one of the surer wins of the night. It will also mark the first time both an original performance and a remake performance has won an Academy Award. Rita Moreno won Best Supporting Actress in 1961 for playing Anita in the original movie.

Best Director

The exciting thing about the Best Director Oscar this year is that a woman will win two years running. This one is the surest thing of the night. Jane Campion will win for her understated, subtle direction of The Power of the Dog. This win will also mark this type of direction taking the prize two years running.

and all the rest….

Winners are featured in Bold-italic type, followed by the Runner-Up and Outside Chance predictions.

Best Original Screenplay

  • Belfast
  • Licorice Pizza
  • Don’t Look Up

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • The Power of the Dog
  • Coda
  • The Lost Daughter

Best Cinematography

  • Dune
  • The Power of the Dog
  • West Side Story

Best Film Editing

  • Tick Tick Boom
  • Dune
  • The Power of the Dog

Best Production Design

  • Dune
  • Nightmare Alley
  • The Power of the Dog

Best Costume Design

  • Cruella
  • West Side Story
  • Dune

Best Original Score

  • Dune
  • The Power of the Dog
  • Parallel Mothers

Best Original Song

  • No Time to Die
  • Dos Oruguitas
  • Down to Joy

Best Sound

  • Dune
  • No Time to Die
  • West Side Story

Best Visual Effects

  • Dune
  • Spider Man: No Way Home
  • No Time to Die

Best Makeup and Hair

  • The Eyes of Tammy Faye
  • Dune
  • Cruella

Best Animated Feature

  • Encanto
  • The Mitchells vs. the Machines
  • Flee

Best International Film

  • Drive My Car
  • The Worst Person in the World
  • Flee
Categorized as Reviews

By Bill Grinnell

Bachelor's Degrees in Drama and History from the University of Washington in 1997. 144 credits in Drama and 90 in History with a 3.45 gpa.

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