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Film

Oscars 2022: Far Out's predictions for 94th Academy Awards

We are fast approaching the moment we will find out the winners and losers of the 94th Academy Awards, as the Oscars 2022 is on the horizon. Here we make our predictions for every award.

For what feels like decades, the Academy Awards has been steadily losing its hold over modern moviemaking, with audiences caring less and less who wins year on year. Particularly after such controversies as #OscarSoWhite that forced the Academy to reflect on their identity after generations of supremacy, the influential American ceremony celebrating the finest films from the year just past have been trying to regain some admiration. 

Such change has been demonstrated in the past few years too, with the Academy passing several milestones in the previous two ceremonies, with Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite becoming the first foreign film of all time to win Best Picture in 2019 and Chloé Zhao making history as just the second woman ever to win Best Director for Nomadland in 2020. Whilst its slow progress, it’s certainly a start. 

The lineup for the 94th Academy Awards, celebrating the finest films of 2021, has made several similar leaps forward too, with Jane Campion being a notable addition to the Best Director category, becoming only the seventh female filmmaker ever to be nominated for the award. In addition Drive my Car by Ryusuke Hamaguchi became the most-nominated Japanese feature film of all time, with eight nominations altogether, including for Best Picture.

As the awards show hopes to further diversify, improve and inspire, let’s take a look at how we think the 94th annual Academy Awards will go down in 2022:

Oscars 2022 predictions:

Best Picture 

All in all, the 2022 lineup for Best Picture is pretty balanced, with a wide variety of genres and filmmakers covered across the board, from the Netflix disaster movie Don’t Look Up to Kenneth Branagh’s Irish human drama, Belfast.

With this being considered, there are multiple films that stand a realistic chance of taking home the coveted Oscar statuette, with three films standing out from the field of ten: Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Drive my Car, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune and The Power of the Dog by Jane Campion.

Having previously shown that they are on a mission to diversify, Drive my Car, possibly the most critically acclaimed of any of the Best picture nominees, has a strong chance of taking the category, along with Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, especially as audiences have long been demanding a popular film to take home the most significant award of the night. Having gained major momentum throughout the past few months, however, it is Campion’s The Power of the Dog who we think will take home the award, with the revisionist western making some pertinent statements about gender roles that makes a grand statement in the context of the genre. 

Predicted winner: The Power of the Dog – Jane Campion

  • Belfast –  Kenneth Branagh
  • CODA – Sian Heder
  • Don’t Look Up – Adam McKay
  • Drive My Car – Ryusuke Hamaguchi
  • Dune – Denis Villeneuve
  • King Richard – Reinaldo Marcus Green
  • Licorice Pizza – Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Nightmare Alley – Guillermo Del Toro
  • West Side StorySteven Spielberg

Best Director

Traditionally signalling who will win the Best Picture category, of the 93 films that have been awarded Best Picture, 67 have also been awarded Best Director. This isn’t to say someone like Steven Spielberg or Kenneth Branagh won’t take home the statuette for their respective efforts, though it does indicate that both Jane Campion and Ryusuke Hamaguchi are the strongest nods in this category. 

As we think The Power of the Dog will take home the biggest award of the night, we also think Campion will take home the award for Best Director, though Hamaguchi should certainly not be disregarded, particularly as it’s likely he will receive one win from eight of his films’ nominations. 

Predicted winner: Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog)

  • Kenneth Branagh (Belfast)
  • Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car)
  • Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza)
  • Steven Spielberg (West Side Story)

Best Actor

The Best Actor category this year is also pretty serious, with talented artists like Will Smith, Denzel Washington and Benedict Cumberbatch in the running. Although Javier Bardem probably did not deserve the nomination, Andrew Garfield’s work in Tick, Tick… Boom! was definitely stunning.

Both Will Smith and Denzel Washington have generated a lot of praise but Cumberbatch is a safe bet for the Best Actor category. He put in a powerful performance in the highly acclaimed western by Jane Campion and he was so deep in his method acting process that he started harassing his colleagues which definitely seems like something the Academy would reward with an Oscar.

Predicted winner: Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog)

  • Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos)
  • Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick…Boom!)
  • Will Smith (King Richard)
  • Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth)

Best Actress

The race for Best Actress became a little more interesting when The Lost Daughter was snubbed of a Best Picture nomination, making a predicted win for Olivia Colman a little more unlikely. In fact, none of the five films that each actress is nominated for features in the Best Picture category, making this category a tough one to call. 

Whilst Colman is a favourite of the Academy’s, we think she’s third choice here to both Nicole Kidman in Being the Ricardos and Kristen Stewart for Spencer. Of the two, it’s Kidman’s compelling performance in the Amazon film that we think will take home the prize, narrowly beating out Stewart as it’s likely the ceremony will want to honour the Hollywood nostalgia film in some shape or form.

Predicted winner: Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos)

  • Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye)
  • Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter)
  • Penélope Cruz (Parallel Mothers)
  • Kristen Stewart (Spencer)

Best Supporting Actor

Packed full of potential winners, this year’s Best Supporting Actor category is a difficult one to call, with each performance being worthy of success. With this being said, we consider Troy Kotsur and Kodi Smit-McPhee to stand out from the crowd due to their particularly powerful performances that truly complement their respective films. 

Winning the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor, Kotsur has plenty of momentum behind him for the Oscars, with the potential to become the first ever deaf actor to pick up the coveted award, though Smit-McPhee demonstrates serious competition as the young thorn in the side of the protagonist in Campion’s The Power of the Dog. Whilst the latter will pick up plenty of awards, the Academy will want to give CODA some love, so we predict Kotsur to make Oscar history.

Predicted winner: Troy Kotsur (CODA)

  • Cairân Hinds (Belfast)
  • Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog)
  • J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos)
  • Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)

Best Supporting Actress

Many were confused when it was announced that Judi Dench managed to get a nomination for her role in Belfast when there were so many other actresses who had put in much more powerful performances. However, the same cannot be said for the other contenders.

Kirsten Dunst and Jessie Buckley have some serious chances but it looks like Ariana DeBose is set to nab the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the Steven Spielberg adaptation of West Side Story. The film has provided a huge platform for her and it seems like it has already been cited as her breakthrough project.

Predicted winner: Ariana DeBose (West Side Story)

  • Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter)
  • Judi Dench (Belfast)
  • Kirsten Dunst (The Power of The Dog)
  • Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard)

Best Adapted Screenplay

This has to be one of the toughest categories of the year, especially because each adapted screenplay listed below has utilised a different approach for conceptualising the process of adaptation. Films like The Lost Daughter and The Power of the Dog have received a lot of attention but the winner has to be Drive My Car.

Ryusuke Hamaguchi weaving a three hour feature out of a Haruki Murakami short story is nothing less than spellbinding. Murakami has often been criticised for his lack of understanding when it comes to the female experience but Hamaguchi has filled in for the inadequacies of the original short, constructing a majestic exploration of the human condition.

Predicted winner: Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe (Drive My Car)

  • Siân Heder (Coda)
  • Jon Spaiths, Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth (Dune)
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Lost Daughter)
  • Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog)

Best Original Screenplay

As with any Oscars predictions list, there is a big difference between what should win the category and what will win. As much as we’d love to see King Richard, Licorice Pizza or The Worst Person in the World take home the award for Best Original Screenplay, we’ve got a bad feeling Adam McKay and David Sirota may be awarded an Oscar for their work on Don’t Look Up.

Though we don’t think it should win the award, we think the blunt satire and critique of modern society may be enough to prick the Academy’s ears and hand it the award over Paul Thomas Anderson’s worthy Licorice Pizza. We hope we’re wrong.

Predicted winner: Adam McKay and David Sirota (Don’t Look Up)

  • Kenneth Branagh (Belfast)
  • Zach Baylin (King Richard)
  • Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza)
  • Eskil Vogt and Joachim Trier (The Worst Person in the World)

Best Animated Feature

The Academy Awards have often sidelined the animation categories, with occasional Oscar winners transforming into cultural phenomenons such as Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away. Many have even argued that animated films should definitely be allowed to compete in the Best Picture category.

Our predicted winner for the Best Animated Feature proves it can hold its own among live-action films as well because it is undoubtedly one of the best cinematic experiences of 2021. One of the most beautiful animated gems to be added to the oeuvre of the New Queer Cinema, Flee deserves it much more than its competitors.

Predicted winner: Flee

  • Encanto
  • Luca
  • The Mitchells vs. The Machines
  • Raya and the Last Dragon

Best International Feature

The Best International Feature category generated a lot of discourse when Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite managed to climb out of this marginalised section and win the Best Picture Award too. This year, Hamaguchi has managed to do the same with his moving opus.

With Drive My Car, Hamaguchi managed to dig deep and create a sprawling tale about love, loss, lust and art while tracing the entirety of the human spectrum. Based on a short story by Murakami, Hamaguchi will make history for Japan if he manages to win this as well as the coveted Best Picture Award.

Predicted winner: Drive My Car

  • Flee
  • The Hand of God
  • Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom
  • The Worst Person in the World

Best Documentary Short

Although this is probably one of the minor categories of the Oscars, it is an incredibly important one. Short films are an indispensable part of the landscape of contemporary cinema because the format gives a lot of freedom to established artists as well as aspiring ones.

For this year’s edition of the Academy Awards, it seems like Ben Proudfoot’s latest documentary short The Queen of Basketball is set to nab the Oscar. It explores the life of Lusia “Lucy” Harris Stewart, one of the pioneers of women’s basketball whose name has faded into obscurity.

Predicted winner: The Queen of Basketball

  • Audible
  • Lead Me Home
  • Three Songs for Benazir
  • When We Were Bullies

Best Cinematography

Grieg Fraser has worked on several important projects but he has been on an incredible run lately. After winning an Emmy for his brilliant work on The Mandalorian, Fraser handled the cinematography for two of the biggest cinematic spectacles in recent memory – Dune and The Batman.

Although The Batman’s neo-noir stylisations have already earned a lot of praise, Fraser’s work on Dune is superior. Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s mesmerising universe was heavily dependent on a sublime visual framework and Fraser definitely pulled through.

Predicted winner: Greig Fraser (Dune)

  • Dan Laustsen (Nightmare Alley)
  • Ari Wegner (The Power of the Dog)
  • Bruno Delbonnel (The Tragedy of Macbeth)
  • Janusz Kaminski (West Side Story)

Best Costume Design

Costumes (along with hair and makeup) have long been the unsung hero of Hollywood filmmaking, helping to properly transport audiences to another authentic place and time entirely. This year’s category is filled with multiple strong contenders for the award, with Jacqueline West and Robert Morgan, Luis Sequeria and Paul Tazewell standing out from the pack. 

With each of Dune, Nightmare Alley and West Side Story relying on fantastic costumes to bring their worlds to life, there’s something about Paul Tazewell’s work on the musical remake we simply cannot look beyond, bringing vibrant colour to hundreds of dazzling dresses and suits.

Predicted winner: Paul Tazewell (West Side Story)

  • Jenny Beavan (Cruella)
  • Massimo Cantini Parrini and Jacqueline Durran (Cyrano)
  • Jacqueline West and Robert Morgan (Dune)
  • Luis Sequeria (Nightmare Alley)

Best Film Editing

A forgotten art, the editing process is just as important as the writing of the screenplay, as the post-production process determines how a story looks, feels and flows. Whilst Don’t Look Up is the only film in this category that is undeserved of the crown, it is Joe Walker’s edit for Dune that stands out in the rest of the strong pack of contenders. 

Working in perfect tandem with the film itself, Walker’s edit seems to function on its own, providing extra layers and subtext to Denis Villeneuve’s modern classic.

Predicted winner: Dune (Joe Walker)

  • Don’t Look Up (Hank Corwin)
  • King Richard (Pamela Martin)
  • The Power of the Dog (Peter Sciberras)
  • Tick, Tick… Boom! (Myron Kerstein & Andrew Weisblum)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Often, it is in the technical categories that you’ll see a surprise film from the previous year that you’d forgotten even came out, with Coming 2 America providing such a sensation when it was nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Unfortunately for the film, however, we don’t think it stands a chance of winning, particularly when it’s up against Dune, House of Gucci and The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

Though Dune and House of Gucci may be the popular favourites for this category, the work that went into Jessica Chastain for The Eyes of Tammy Faye is difficult to ignore, making it our pick for this category. 

Predicted winner: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

  • House of Gucci
  • Coming 2 America
  • Cruella
  • Dune

Best Original Score

Bringing any given film to life, providing it with the vim, vigour and energy to pursue, a soundtrack is pivotal to the enjoyment of each and every film. This year’s nominees are certainly strong with Germaine Franco’s Disney musical Encanto standing a strong chance as well as Johnny Greenwood’s work for The Power of the Dog.

Surely though, there should be little competition in this category, with Hans Zimmer having been worthy of Oscar glory for several years now. Not only is it time for Zimmer to win again, but the monumentally fantastic soundtrack for Dune is by far the very best of the year.

Predicted winner: Hans Zimmer (Dune)

  • Nicholas Britell (Don’t Look Up)
  • Germaine Franco (Encanto)
  • Alberto Iglesias (Parallel Mothers)
  • Johnny Greenwood (The Power of the Dog)

Best Original Song

The theme songs of James Bond films have always received a lot of attention. For the latest Bond film which marked the end of the road for Daniel Craig, it was current popular culture icon Billie Eilish who managed to get the opportunity in No Time to Die.

While there are some serious contenders like Lin-Manuel Miranda and Van Morrison, it looks like Eilish is going to edge them all out for the win. It will be another important award for the singer whose resumé is already very impressive for her age.

Predicted winner: ‘No Time to Die’ – Billie Eilish & Finneas O’Connell (No Time to Die)

  • ‘Be Alive’ – Beyoncé Knowles-Carter & Darius Scott (King Richard)
  • ‘Dos Oruguitas’ – Lin-Manuel Miranda (Encanto)
  • ‘Down to Joy’ – Van Morrison (Belfast)
  • ‘Somehow You Do’ – Diane Warren (Four Good Days)

Best Production Design

The cinematic experience is composed of various elements but since cinema is a visual medium, production design plays a vital role. It seems like there can only be one winner for this year’s category because it has blown the competition out of the water.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Dune was one of the most highly anticipated projects of last year because of the failure of David Lynch’s previous adaptation. However, Villeneuve’s Dune has proven to be an unparalleled visual spectacle and its production design is second to none.

Predicted winner: Patrice Vermette and Zsuzsanna Sipos (Dune)

  • Tamara Deverell and Shane Vieau (Nightmare Alley)
  • Grant Major and Amber Richards (The Power of the Dog)
  • Stefan Dechant and Nancy Haigh (The Tragedy of Macbeth)
  • Adam Stockhausen and Rena DeAngelo (West Side Story)

Best Sound

Villeneuve’s Dune has picked up multiple Oscar nominations this year which has delighted many audience members who genuinely think it was one of the best films of 2021. For some, it was the first film they saw after theatres reopened and it reminded them of the magic of the big screen.

While the visual spectacle of Dune was simply brilliant, Villeneuve maintained a lot of the narrative tension throughout the film by relying on his sound team. They have engineered the perfect sound design for a film like Dune which keeps the audience on the edge of their seats while facilitating their immersion in uncharted worlds.

Predicted winner: Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill, Ron Bartlett (Dune)

  • Denise Yarde, Simon Chase, James Mather, Nov Adiri (Belfast)
  • Simon Hayes, Oliver Tarney, James Harrison, Paul Massey, Mark Taylor (No Time to Die)
  • Richard Flynn, Robert MacKenzie, Tara Webb (The Power of the Dog)
  • Tod A. Maitland, Gary Rydstrom, Brian Chumney, Andy Nelson, Shawn Murphy (West Side Story)

Best Visual Effects

Often occupied by flashy Marvel movies and popular blockbusters, the Best Visual Effects category in 2022 is no different, with fan favourites Spider-Man: No Way Home and Free Guy hoping to take home a morsel of Oscar success. Unlucky for these box-office titans, however, there is an even bigger effects juggernaut in their midst. 

Dune is sure to take home the Oscar for Best Visual Effects, with the epic science fiction world being perfectly realised and recreated to the delight of science fiction fans across the world. 

Predicted winner: Dune

  • Free Guy
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  • No Time to Die
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home

Best Documentary Feature

This category is probably one of the most important selections of the Academy Awards because documentaries are highly powerful sociocultural documents. They convey important global issues to audiences from different cultures while also sharing the universal human experience.

Summer of Soul is the standout documentary of 2021, investigating the relevance of the Harlem Cultural Festival. The film has already picked up major accolades during the festival season and is now geared up to get the top honour at the Oscars.

Predicted winner: Summer of Soul

  • Ascension
  • Attica
  • Flee
  • Writing With Fire

Best Animated Short Film

The Academy Awards don’t have the best relationship with the animation medium, often unable to see past its vibrant colour that has resulted in many deeming it to be ‘childish’. The picks for Best Animated Short Film are fairly strong this year, however, with Bestia by Hugo Covarrubias and Aardman’s Robin Robin comfortably leading the pack ahead of the competition. 

Whilst Bestia is a truly terrific short film, the might of Aardman may simply be too much for any of the other films to muster, as we predict Robin Robin will take home the prize. Whilst this sounds like the film doesn’t award the prize, it’s anything but in reality, with the studio’s DIY-looking film being stuffed full of charm. 

Predicted winner: Robin Robin (Daniel Ojari, Michael Please)

  • Affairs of the Art (Joanna Quinn)
  • Bestia (Hugo Covarrubias)
  • Boxballet (Anton Dyakov)
  • The Windshield Wiper (Alberto Mielgo)

Best Live Action Short Film

Packed with talent from across the world, this year’s selection for Best Live Action Short Film is strong, with Ala Kachuu – Take and Run by Maria Brendle, The Long Goodbye by Aneil Karia and Please Hold by Kristen Davila carving out a lead in the category.

Following a young man whose life is derailed by inexplicable ‘justice’, Please Hold presents fascinating insight into the future of law and order with a highly enjoyable science fiction short that we believe will take home the top prize.

Predicted winner: Please Hold (Kristen Davila)

  • Ala Kachuu – Take and Run (Maria Brendle)
  • The Dress (Tadeusz Lysiak)
  • The Long Goodbye (Aneil Karia)
  • On My Mind (Martin Strange-Hansen)