2022 Oscar Predictions: Can 'Coda' make history over critic darling 'The Power of the Dog?'
Courtesy of the AMPAS
As the long gestating 2022 award season is finally winding down after what seems like an eternity; and whether or not folks agree on what could or should win Best Picture, I think we can all find common ground on one aspect: Let’s move the awards back into the early-to-middle February because this late March slot ain’t working for anyone, except for maybe the team at Apple TV+ who have managed to turn their Sundance pickup “Coda” into a sure-fire Best Picture contender.
Since The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have made the decision to guarantee 10 Best Picture nominees, many weren’t surprised to see “Coda,” a charming and wholesome film starring a predominantly deaf cast, make the cut. However, if you’d asked me two weeks ago, I would have told you the big prize was surely going to Netflix and Jane Campion’s critical darling “The Power of the Dog.” Sure, “The Power of the Dog” has picked up a solid collection of bellwethers from various critic orgs, as well as Best Picture at the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the British Academy (BAFTAs) and Campion got the top prize at the Directors Guild (DGA).
But suddenly, “The Power of the Dog” has seen its momentum stifled by Sían Heder’s heartwarming saga about a Child of Deaf Adults (CODA) trying to navigate the daily turmoils of her family’s fishing business and attending college. Some call it slight and there’s even been unfair comparisons to “Green Book” and that it’s a glorified “Disney Channel movie.” I completely disagree. There’s a reason it was my number one movie of 2021.
Still, it’s going to make for an interesting foot race come Sunday night when the Oscars are set to unveil their selections, albeit in a slightly altered format (in a controversial decision, ABC has mandated a three hour runtime, which has resulted in producers of the telecast slashing eight categories, including Best Score and Makeup/Hairstyling, and re-editing them into the live broadcast). Perhaps that’ll make room for a live performance of the smash-hit “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” but it undermines the work of many artists who have worked hard to get a nomination. Despite the pleas from many within the industry, it look as though the cuts will stay as planned.
In any respect, the theme producer Will Packer has touted is: “Movie lovers unite.” It seems each year The Academy tries something new which can either result in disaster or perfection. Last year, they ended on a mute note when Best Actor was presented as the final award (traditionally it was always Best Picture) and Anthony Hopkins won and was noticeably absent and the show cratered instantly because producers gambled the late Chadwick Boseman would snag the prize. Let’s hope that type of chaos doesn’t happen and we can stay focused on celebrating the best in cinema, not a botched finale.
Without further ado, my Oscar predictions in all 23 categories.
BEST PICTURE: CODA
COULD WIN: THE POWER OF THE DOG
True, “Coda” only has three Oscar nominations coming into Sunday which, historically speaking, spells bad news for any nominee. It signals a lack of enthusiasm across the board (no director, actress, or editing nom is significant) but Apple TV+ has worked diligently to get this movie seen and has watched its efforts rewarded with a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) ensemble win, Producers Guild for Best Picture (PGA - which is the only other award body that uses a preferential ballot like the Oscars) and Writers Guild (WGA) for Best Adapted Screenplay. Don’t count out “The Power of the Dog” because it’s neck and neck, but one thing we can predict: for only the third time in Oscar history, a film directed by a female will win Best Picture and a streamer (Apple or Netflix) will also win for the first time. I’m giving the edge to “Coda“ because the momentum is hard to ignore, but I won’t be shocked to hear “The Power of the Dog” called.
BEST DIRECTOR: JANE CAMPION - THE POWER OF THE DOG
Campion has been on a roll all season and that doesn’t look to stop on Oscar Sunday. This is a safe choice though it’s hard to bet against Steven Spielberg’s direction for his much adored reimagining of “West Side Story.”
BEST ACTOR: WILL SMITH - KING RICHARD
Will Smith has been all over the circuit this season lobbying for his transformative performance as Richard Williams, father to Tennis royalty Venus and Serena Williams, in the tearjerker “King Richard.” There was a time when it looked like Benedict Cumberbatch might steal the spotlight with his role in “The Power of the Dog,” but recent precursor awards, the SAG, BAFTA’s and BFCA’s have said otherwise. Smith will go home an Oscar winner after previously being nominated two times prior for “Ali” and “The Pursuit of Happyness.”
BEST ACTRESS: JESSICA CHASTAIN - THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE
COULD WIN: KRISTEN STEWART - SPENCER
Another chaotic field where nothing is certain, the Best Actress race has been fun to watch. At the start of the season, it seemed like Kristen Stewart’s to lose for her stunning portrayal as Princess Diana in “Spencer.” Except, Stewart didn’t nab a much needed SAG nomination (for context, no actress has ever won the Best Actress Oscar without getting a SAG nomination). Could Stewart make history? Possibly and the love is there, however, the ball is in Jessica Chastain’s court for her performance as the Diet Coke-obsessed televangelist Tammy Faye in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” But honestly, it’s anyone’s guess. Toss this category up as a maybe.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: ARIANA DEBOSE - WEST SIDE STORY
Pencil this one in as a sure thing, Ariana DeBose should go home an Oscar winner for the same role that netted Rita Moreno a gold statue when the original “West Side Story“ released in 1961. It would be a landmark moment as DeBose would be the first Afro Latina to win an Oscar. It’s about time.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: TROY KOTSUR - CODA
Another sure bet come Oscar Sunday is Troy Kotsur for Best Supporting Actor in “Coda.” He would be only the second deaf actor to win an Oscar after, ironically enough, his fellow-”Coda” co-star: Marlee Matlin who won for “Children of a Lesser God” in 1987.
Predictions in all remaining categories can be found below:
Best Animated Feature Film: ENCANTO (alternate: THE MITCHELL’S VS. THE MACHINES).
Best Cinematography: DUNE
Best Costume Design: CRUELLA
Best Documentary Feature: SUMMER OF SOUL (alternate: FLEE)
Best Documentary (Short Subject): THE QUEEN OF BASKETBALL
Best Film Editing: DUNE
Best Original Screenplay: BELFAST (alt: LICORICE PIZZA)
Best Adapted Screenplay: CODA (alt: THE POWER OF THE DOG)
Best International Feature Film: DRIVE MY CAR
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE
Best Score: DUNE Best Original Song: "Dos Oruguitas" from ENCANTO
Best Production Design: DUNE
Best Short Film (Animated): ROBIN ROBIN
Best Short Film (Live Action): THE LONG GOODBYE
Best Sound: DUNE
Best Visual Effects: DUNE
The 94th annual Academy Awards air live on Oscar Sunday March 27th at 8pm EST and will be hosted by Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall.