It’s that time of year again. The 94th Academy Awards, otherwise known as the Super Bowl for movie-lovers, is right around the corner. The competition is stiff this year, as this batch of nominees is filled with memorable moments and incredible talents. Many of which are instant classics. Like every year, suspense is in the air until the winners are finally revealed on that big night.
Once again, I’ve put plenty of effort into watching as many of this year’s nominees as I possibly could. I’ve made guesses in the past about who would take home the golden statues, and have done an okay job at doing so. Now, I hope to improve on my Oscar-predicting prowess.
Here are Nonstop Nerd’s predictions for the 2022 Academy Awards:
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Troy Kotsur “Coda”
This is a rather clear choice this year, as none of the other nominees stood out quite that much, but Troy Kotsur’s performance is so outstanding that he has received a BAFTA, SAG award and a Critic’s Choice Award for it. He’s the first deaf male actor to win those awards. It’s certainly plausible that it’ll be the same case at the Oscars.
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Ariana Debose “West Side Story”
This may be one of the toughest categories to make a decision for. Most of the nominees, like Kirsten Dunst and Jessie Buckley, absolutely shine and give some of the most memorable performances of their respective films. However, Ariana Debose feels almost as much of a main character in West Side Story as Rachel Zegler. The scene between her and Valentina in the convenience store is where she especially steals the spotlight. This one could go either way, but it’ll most likely be Debose to receive the award.
“The Power Of The Dog” Ari Wegner
The Power of the Dog is an exceptionally well-shot film. The lighting conveys the tone of each scene perfectly with great use of shadow to hide lesser-important detail and bring the more important ones into focus. Each shot of the western landscape is absolutely breathtaking. The cinematography captures an unsettlingly beautiful backdrop thanks to the help of the natural landscapes. There’s no doubt that Ari Wegner takes this one home for The Power of the Dog.
“Dune” Jacqueline West and Robert Morgan
Although there are a few nominees who truly shine in this category, like Cruella and Cyrano, it’s a safe bet that the winner will be Dune. From magnificent royal garb, to the armor of soldiers from a desert planet, and even to the attire of a pseudo-religious organization, West and Morgan created some of the most striking costumes in modern science fiction. These costumes may look alien, but they look like they would all actually exist in this universe without ever feeling too over-the-top.
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
“The Eyes Of Tammy Faye” Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram, and Justin Raleigh
This one absolutely has to go to The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Jessica Chastain is completely unrecognizable because of the work of the incredible makeup team. She looks exactly like the woman she is portraying. Plus, she and Andrew Garfield look to realistically age as time progresses throughout the film. The makeup genuinely makes them look like the same person at different ages. A team this talented must be recognized.
“Flee” Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen, and Charlotte De La Gournerie
Not only is Flee the only film ever to be nominated for Best Documentary Feature, Best International Film, and Best Animated Feature, but it’s also incredibly powerful. It tells the dramatic and real journey of a refugee and all the hardships he goes through to achieve a safe and happy life. The way he tells his story is extremely suspenseful and captivating. Flee is a documentary that needs to be seen and stands out from the rest by a mile.
DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
“The Queen Of Basketball” Ben Proudfoot
It’s shocking how Lusia Harris’s story hasn’t been told until now. She made history by scoring the first basket in women’s basketball at the Olympics. She helped open the door for women in sports and yet her story has gone untold until this film’s release. As a documentary, it’s filmed and edited very well between interviews with the legend herself and real footage from decades ago. It’s an inspiring story and also entertaining to watch. The win will either go to this or Audible, but I’m pulling for the Oscar to go to The Queen of Basketball.
“tick, tick…Boom!” Myron Kerstein And Andrew Weisblum
Tick, tick…Boom! is one of the most uniquely-edited films in recent years. The story is driven by cutting to Jonathan Larson’s stage play and his daily life, which gives the film an intriguing flow. The tone is also heavily controlled by the editing. The happier musical numbers cut quicker to show excitement, the speed at which the argument Jon has with Susan cuts increases as it becomes more heated, and the more somber scenes are barely cut to focus on the emotion. This is genius-level editing, so it simply must win for this category.
INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
“Drive My Car” Japan
As one of the most emotional films of the year, I definitely expect Drive My Car to drive home with a victory. The story is captivating, the characters are grounded and interesting, and the whole film is beautifully shot. The plot, along with surprises we find out about along the way, is simple but hard not to get invested in. Despite it being long, it’s a must-watch. Plus, it’s the only international film to be nominated for best picture, which speaks volumes regarding how great it is.
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
“Parallel Mothers” Alberto Iglesias
This one is an extraordinarily tough choice, especially between Parallel Mothers, Dune, and The Power of the Dog. However, the one that has the most emotion behind it while also just being entertaining to listen to would have to be the score for Parallel Mothers. I’m no music expert, but Parallel Mothers has my vote for Best Original Score.
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
“Be Alive” From King Richard; Music and Lyric by Dixson and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
This one is undoubtedly a toss up between Beyoncé’s “Be Alive” and Billie Eilish’s “No Time to Die.” “Be Alive” has an extremely important message behind it, plus it’s got a great beat. Since the song is both powerful and entertaining, it’s a safe bet to assume Beyoncé will get the Oscar.
“West Side Story” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena Deangelo
The production design in West Side Story is something to marvel at as it completely transports the audience to the 50s. The sets are tremendous and visually striking. There are some moments when the sets feel like characters themselves. They also add a lot to the musical numbers as they provide fun locations to dance in and on. The sets are a massive part of West Side Story’s story, so it deserves the win.
“Dune” Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill, and Ron Bartlett
The sound design throughout Dune is nothing short of impressive. The engines of starships blaring, the buzzing of energy shields protecting their wearers, the floating of the Hunter-seeker, and the clash of blades are just a few of the examples of the unique sounds created for the film. The sound design further immerses the audience into this incredible sci-fi world. It all blends together masterfully as well. Kudos to this sound team. They definitely deserve this award.
“Dune” Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor, and Gerd Nefzer
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings or Free Guy definitely would have won any other year, but Dune is a visual masterpiece. This effects team found a way to make giant sand worms, holographic shields, and starships looks totally real. The designs for the ships and creatures are very well thought out, like having one of the space crafts resemble a firefly with the wings being the propellers. Dune has completely raised the bar for visual effects in filmmaking going forward. I don’t see any other nominee winning this one.
SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
“The Long Goodbye” Aneil Karia and Riz Ahmed
The Long Goodbye is both entertaining and contains a powerful and important message about how people of certain nationalities are often treated. There’s also a truly shocking and terrifying moment that is particularly jaw-dropping. Riz Ahmed was nominated for his role in Sound of Metal last year, but this year, he’ll get the win thanks to making and starring in The Long Goodbye.
SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
“Robin Robin” Dan Ojari and Mikey Please
This category is filled with a few bizarre nominees this year, but the surefire winner would have to be Robin Robin. It’s absolutely delightful for audiences of all ages to watch and has some of the best stop-motion animation seen in quite some time. The Windshield Wiper is great for what it is but barely contains a story. Affairs of the Art is just plain annoying to sit through. Bestia is legitimately one of the most disturbing films ever made despite it’s unique animation. Robin Robin simply has to win this one.
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
“The Mitchells Vs. The Machines” Mike Rianda, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Kurt Albrecht
Sorry Disney, Encanto is great, but The Mitchells vs. the Machines is my guess for the winner this time. The Mitchells vs. the Machines blends stylistic 3D animation with hand-drawn 2D animation to create an incredible aesthetic. The movie is also hilarious and heartfelt. Encanto may seem like a front-runner in the eyes of many, but it’s another example of Disney Animated Studios reusing designs and aesthetics. Lord and Miller beat Disney for this same award with Into the Spider-Verse, and we’ll likely see a repeat of that this year.
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
“The Power Of The Dog” Written by Jane Campion
A movie is nothing without its script, and The Power of the Dog is an incredible film. The dialogue is clever, the story is twisted, and there are genuine surprises throughout. This film is nominated for the most awards this year, and a project of that high quality begins with a great script. Jane Campion should definitely win this one.
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
“Belfast” Written by Kenneth Branagh
One of the things that makes the script for Belfast so great is that it’s a very personal story for writer and director Kenneth Branagh. It may be fiction, but much of it is based on how he viewed his life and experiences as a 9 year-old boy. He’s also said that the story has been “swirling in his head for 50 years.” It shows that this is a story that’s been developing in his mind for so long. The script is filled with fantastic drama, dialogue, and heartfelt moments. This should be an easy win for Belfast.
“Belfast” Kenneth Branagh
Once again, Belfast is a very personal story, and it’s rather clear that Branagh put his heart and soul into this film. The overall directing is tremendous. There are a handful of tracking shots that really pull in the audience. The use of subtle pop culture tie-ins and televised footage brilliantly makes the story feel more real while providing a sense of when it all takes place. Every event truly feels like we’re seeing the world through the eyes of a 9 year-old during some rather serious events. It would be a bit of a surprise if Belfast doesn’t take this one.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Jessica Chastain “The Eyes Of Tammy Faye”
Jessica Chastain disappears into the role of Tammy Faye, but it’s not just because of the outstanding makeup. She carries this rollercoaster of a movie with her strong performance. Even her voice matches the real-life person she plays, proving how skilled she can be. Her acting must be seen in this film. There’s no way Chastain is losing this one.
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Will Smith “King Richard”
Will Smith is one of the best and most versatile actors out there. It’s time he’s won his Oscar. His performance as Richard Williams is easily one of his strongest. Like Jessica Chastain, he sounds and acts exactly like the real-life person he is portraying, which is a difficult feat. Smith perfectly captures the character’s emotional side, stress, and how he feels about his family and sacrifices for them. He also genuinely feels like a real fun-loving dad. This is exactly what an Oscar-worthy performance looks like.
“The Power Of The Dog” Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, and Roger Frappier, Producers
I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t as “wowed” by some of the Best Picture nominees as I have been in recent years, but The Power of the Dog is definitely a top-notch film. The sets, costumes, dialogue, acting, cinematography, and story work together to perfectly craft something special. It even has several themes that are handled very well, like toxic masculinity versus positive masculinity, the stress of an LGBT-identifying person staying in the closet, classism, and more. It’s an undoubtedly powerful film. As stated earlier, there’s definitely a good reason it’s nominated for the most awards this year. The Power of the Dog should absolutely win Best Picture.