HOLLYWOOD—I am usually excited about the Academy Awards, but for 2022 I don’t feel that much excitement and I quite don’t know why. It could be the pandemic, the unpredictability of awards season or the fact that I have a very strong idea, as I have had in the past about who will walk away with the golden statue on March 27. In the past, I would do predictions for the ‘Main Six’ as I call it (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress). This year things are very and I mean very different.
Why? I can tell you 4 out of those 6 categories are virtual locks in terms of who will walk away with the top prize. So look I’m not going to keep you in suspense at all. Best Actor is going to Will Smith for “King Richard.” He has cleaned up this awards season and I see no candidate who could claim the prize except Andrew Garfield for “Tick, Tick…Boom,” but the momentum is NOT in Garfield’s court. Besides, Smith is long overdue, as plenty like to call it in the industry.
For Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, Troy Kotsur “CODA” and Ariana DeBose “West Side Story” should prepare their acceptance speeches because if they don’t win I will be flabbergasted. Let it be known people, I’ve seen “West Side Story” a second time, and I liked it more the second time around than the first time around. It really proves the weight that DeBose has with carrying that movie in my opinion. She is a standout people.
For Best Director, for the first time EVER we will have consecutive women helm the prize. Last year it was Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland” and this year it will be “The Piano” auteur Jane Campion for “The Power of the Dog.” Campion is a standout and she deserves it people, she is the best of the bunch, even though I do believe Kenneth Branagh should be a bigger contender for “Belfast” people.
So that means the two categories where I’m NOT certain is Best Actress and Best Picture. Best Actress because things have been all over the place this awards season, some nominated for Golden Globes, some were not, some nominated for Screen Actors Guild Awards, some were not, some nominated for BAFTA prizes, some not and then you have the Academy Awards. So we have Jessica Chastain “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” Kristen Stewart “Spencer,” Penelope Cruz “Parallel Mothers,” Olivia Colman “The Lost Daughter” and Nicole Kidman “Being the Ricardos.”
Here is the problem for 3 of the contenders: they’re previous Oscar winners. Colman and Kidman have already won Best Actress Oscars. Cruz won for Best Supporting Actress. So those wins might work against those three. Stewart who was believed to be the front-runner all season long hasn’t won any major prizes people. So that leaves Chastain, and I’m not just saying this because I think she should have won the Oscar nearly a decade ago for her riveting performance in “Zero Dark Thirty.” She is transformative as Tammy Faye, she blew me away on the screen, so I think Chastain is the expected winner, but do not be surprised if Stewart managed to be triumphant with a win.
Best Picture which I really have NOT been a fan of more than 5 movies being nominated people. I’m sorry we know a bunch of these flicks don’t have a chance, but whatever. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences should have simply nominated “The Dark Knight” in 2009 and we wouldn’t have this problem we have now. With that being said this is a two-person race: “The Power of the Dog” vs. “CODA.” Now I know plenty of people are thinking it has to be “The Power of the Dog” which has picked up plenty of hardware this awards season, but has every member in the Academy actually seen it? My answer is no. In addition, it’s not that feel good picture people.
“CODA” has the edge when it comes to making the viewer feel good after watching. It has so much heart; it is indeed a strong movie with riveting performances. “CODA” has likeability over “The Power of the Dog’s” critical acclaim so that is going to be the battle that comes into play for members of the Academy that cast their votes and remember it’s a preferential ballot, which means likability is a strong play people. I feel like “CODA” has that likability aspect for many voters, where “The Power of the Dog” does not. Rarely does Best Picture and Best Director split when it comes to the Oscars. That has happened more in the past 10 years because I think AMPAS likes to share things a bit more across the board for movies.
“The Power of the Dog” has an edge because Campion will when Best Director for her movie, but I expect “CODA” to have that slight edge when it comes to Best Picture. Best Picture should be “The Power of the Dog,” but “CODA” has plenty of momentum especially after winning the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Motion Picture. Do you agree with my picks? We’ll find out on Sunday, March 27 if I’m right or if surprises will be unleashed to movie lovers.