Combustible Celluloid

94rd Academy Awards (2022)

Gold Standard

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Here is the full list of 2022 Oscar nominations, with links to the films I've reviewed during this bizarre year, as well as notes, my picks and predictions. Films released between March 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 were eligible. (I make no promises with my predictions. I usually don't score much better than 66%, and with this year as off-the-rails as it is, there could be quite a few left turns and surprises.) The ceremony will be held on Sunday, March 27, 2022.

Update: Dune won six awards, while CODA won three and The Eyes of Tammy Faye won two. The Power of the Dog, King Richard, West Side Story, Belfast, Encanto, No Time to Die, Cruella, Summer of Soul, and Drive My Car each won one, in addition to short film winners The Queen of Basketball, The Windshield Wiper, and The Long Goodbye. Some awards were groundbreakers, and I did pretty good with my predictions (I got 20 out of 23, or 87%), and yet everyone will be talking about Will Smith's appalling behavior, rather than history-making moments.

Best Picture
Don't Look Up
Drive My Car
King Richard
Licorice Pizza
Nightmare Alley
The Power of the Dog
West Side Story

Notes: The list is missing many of my favorites, such as The Tragedy of Macbeth, Passing, and Spencer, but it's a decent batch. I recently caught up with King Richard, which is the most Oscar-baitey of the bunch (I will post my review forthwith), and I can see it squeaking by with a win, similar to Green Book. I could get behind wins for CODA, which took the SAG ensemble award, or The Power of the Dog, which is possibly the front-runner. But Drive My Car is easily the best of these ten. Update: with CODA winning both the PGA and the SAG awards, I think that puts it in 1st place, though there's no telling for sure...

If I Had a Vote: Drive My Car
Prediction: CODA
The Winner: CODA

Best Director
Kenneth Branagh – Belfast
Ryusuke Hamaguchi – Drive My Car
Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza
Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog
Steven Spielberg – West Side Story

Notes: I respect and admire all five of these folks. It's a really good list. Spielberg and Campion are here together for the first time since 1993 (Schindler's List and The Piano). Branagh is here for the first time since 1989 (Henry V, his debut). I think this is Campion's award. She's a brilliant director, and her win would make the Academy look good.

If I Had a Vote: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
Prediction: Jane Campion
The Winner: Jane Campion

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem – Being the Ricardos
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog
Andrew Garfield – Tick, Tick... Boom!
Will Smith – King Richard
Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth

Notes: For my money, the year's most daring and powerful performance was Nicolas Cage's in Pig, but the Academy went with no less than three biopics. Cumberbatch is great, but his character is so vile. It would be easy to see voters preferring Will Smith's inspirational performance instead. All that aside, Denzel Washington is my favorite Macbeth of all time. Update: Will Smith's behavior at the ceremony will continue to be debated...

If I Had a Vote: Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Prediction: Will Smith, King Richard
The Winner: Will Smith

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter
Penélope Cruz – Parallel Mothers
Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos
Kristen Stewart – Spencer

Notes: Three biopics here, too, except Spencer isn't really one; it's much more powerful and subversive than the others. But Stewart really has no chance of winning, sadly. Even more sadly, Jessica Chastain, who is a great actor and who is more than astonishing in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, is probably going to win for what is little more than trash... and, like Judy, utterly disposable and not worth watching ever again. (I have not reviewed the film because I couldn't take watching it and only skimmed through it.)

If I Had a Vote: Kristen Stewart, Spencer
Prediction: Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye
The Winner: Jessica Chastain

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Ciarán Hinds – Belfast
Troy Kotsur – CODA
Jesse Plemons – The Power of the Dog
J. K. Simmons – Being the Ricardos
Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog

Notes: This is a good batch in a category that is usually one of the keys to what was best about the year. And only one biopic! No complaints, but, for me, Hinds was the most touching.

If I Had a Vote: Ciarán Hinds, Belfast
Prediction: Troy Kotsur, CODA
The Winner: Troy Kotsur

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Jessie Buckley – The Lost Daughter
Ariana DeBose – West Side Story
Judi Dench – Belfast
Kirsten Dunst – The Power of the Dog
Aunjanue Ellis – King Richard

Notes: One biopic. This is a pretty good batch, although for somewhat depressing roles. I'd lean toward Dench or DeBose myself. I loved Buckley last year in another Netflix film, I'm Thinking of Ending Things, but she wasn't nominated. I'm not sure I get the fuss over The Lost Daughter...

If I Had a Vote: Judi Dench, Belfast
Prediction: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
The Winner: Ariana DeBose

Best Animated Feature Film
The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Raya and the Last Dragon

Notes: I liked all five of these; I really liked Mitchells, and I loved Encanto. And it seems like others are on board with me.

If I Had a Vote: Encanto
Prediction: Encanto
The Winner: Encanto

Best Adapted Screenplay
CODA – Sian Heder
Drive My Car – Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe
Dune – Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth
The Lost Daughter – Maggie Gyllenhaal
The Power of the Dog – Jane Campion

Notes: There's no question for me here: it's Drive My Car, based on a great story (and parts of two others) by Haruki Murakami. But it's not going to win. Campion seems to be the front-runner (she won for writing The Piano), and I could see the much-loved CODA upsetting, too. Some seem to think that Gyllenhaal could win, which would make for a good speech.

If I Had a Vote: Drive My Car
Prediction: The Power of the Dog
The Winner: CODA

Best Original Screenplay
Belfast – Kenneth Branagh
Don't Look Up – Screenplay by Adam McKay; Story by Adam McKay and David Sirota
King Richard – Zach Baylin
Licorice Pizza – Paul Thomas Anderson
The Worst Person in the World – Eskil Vogt and Joachim Trier

Notes: None of these were my favorites. Belfast is really good, but I do wish it had been meatier, or darker. As I wrote in my review, Licorice Pizza is barely a screenplay, but it has a lot of good stuff in it. PTA is now widely considered a master, and he has racked up 11 nominations (for Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay), but has never won. I'd say he has a lock on this. Update: Kenneth Branagh won, and I think he deserved it.

If I Had a Vote: Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza
Prediction: Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza
The Winner: Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Best Original Song
"Be Alive" from King Richard – Music and lyrics by DIXSON and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
"Dos Oruguitas" from Encanto – Music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
"Down to Joy" from Belfast – Music and lyrics by Van Morrison
"No Time to Die" from No Time to Die
– Music and lyrics by Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell
"Somehow You Do" from Four Good Days – Music and lyrics by Diane Warren

Notes: We all wish "We Don't Talk About Bruno" could have been here. And I wish I liked Beyoncé's song a little more. No, the best one by far here is "No Time to Die." Billie Eilish's take on it makes it one of the five best James Bond songs of all time. Some seem to think she could win... could she?

If I Had a Vote: "No Time to Die"
Prediction: "No Time to Die"
The Winner: "No Time to Die"

Best Original Score
Don't Look Up – Nicholas Britell
Dune – Hans Zimmer
Encanto – Germaine Franco
Parallel Mothers – Alberto Iglesias
The Power of the Dog – Jonny Greenwood

Notes: Jonny Greenwood owned this year with music for The Power of the Dog, Spencer, and Licorice Pizza. Spencer was my favorite, and yet, as good as The Power of the Dog is, I'd have to rank Zimmer's Dune score even higher. It's just... really, really good.

If I Had a Vote: Hans Zimmer, Dune
Prediction: Hans Zimmer, Dune
The Winner: Hans Zimmer, Dune

Best Sound
Belfast – Denise Yarde, Simon Chase, James Mather and Niv Adiri
Dune – Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett
No Time to Die – Simon Hayes, Oliver Tarney, James Harrison, Paul Massey and Mark Taylor
The Power of the Dog – Richard Flynn, Robert Mackenzie and Tara Webb
West Side Story – Tod A. Maitland, Gary Rydstrom, Brian Chumney, Andy Nelson and Shawn Murphy

Notes: I would doubt that I, or most moviegoers, really know what to listen to when it comes to great sound design in a movie, especially given the concept of streaming on flat-screen TVs with tiny, thin little speakers. That said, Spielberg's West Side Story endlessly impressed me with its technical aspects, top-to-bottom. So, for a stab in the dark, it'll be my pick. My prediction is Dune.

If I Had a Vote: West Side Story
Prediction: Dune
The Winner: Dune

Best Costume Design
Cruella – Jenny Beavan
Cyrano – Massimo Cantini Parrini and Jacqueline Durran
Dune – Jacqueline West and Robert Morgan
Nightmare Alley – Luis Sequeira
West Side Story – Paul Tazewell

Notes: I don't really have a horse in this race. The costumes I myself would most like to wear would belong to Nightmare Alley. But the rule for this category, as well as several others, is to not look for the "best," but rather for the "most." Hence, my prediction.

If I Had a Vote: Nightmare Alley
Prediction: Cruella
The Winner: Cruella

Best Animated Short Film
Affairs of the Art – Joanna Quinn and Les Mills
Bestia – Hugo Covarrubias and Tevo Díaz
BoxBallet – Anton Dyakov
Robin Robin – Dan Ojari and Mikey Please
The Windshield Wiper – Alberto Mielgo and Leo Sanchez

Notes: I hope to catch up with the two I haven't seen. Netflix's Robin Robin could have the advantage here.

If I Had a Vote: ?
Prediction: Robin Robin
The Winner: The Windshield Wiper

Best Live-Action Short Film
Ala Kachuu (Take and Run) – Maria Brendle and Nadine Lüchinger
The Dress – Tadeusz Łysiak and Maciej Ślesicki
The Long Goodbye – Aneil Karia and Riz Ahmed
On My Mind – Martin Strange-Hansen and Kim Magnusson
Please Hold – K.D. Dávila and Levin Menekse

Notes: The Long Goodbye, which stars last year's Best Actor nominee Riz Ahmed, has a good shot. And it's available to watch on YouTube.

If I Had a Vote: ?
Prediction: The Long Goodbye
The Winner: The Long Goodbye

Best Cinematography
Dune – Greig Fraser
Nightmare Alley – Dan Laustsen
The Power of the Dog – Ari Wegner
The Tragedy of Macbeth – Bruno Delbonnel
West Side Story – Janusz Kamiński

Notes: To put a point to it, both The Tragedy of Macbeth and West Side Story contain some of the very best cinematography I have ever seen in films. And neither of them are going to win. The front-runners now are The Power of the Dog and Dune. I'm not yet sure which one I'll predict... Update: With Dune winning the Cinematographer's Guild award, it's a front-runner now.

If I Had a Vote: The Tragedy of Macbeth
Prediction: Dune
The Winner: Dune

Best Documentary Feature
Ascension – Jessica Kingdon, Kira Simon-Kennedy and Nathan Truesdell
Attica – Stanley Nelson and Traci A. Curry
Flee – Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen and Charlotte De La Gournerie
Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) – Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein
Writing with Fire – Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh

Notes: Flee has been nominated in three different categories, and some people think it should or will win one of them, but I'm thinking it might not. Summer of Soul is so good, and it's also that documentary rarity; it's worth seeing again.

If I Had a Vote: Summer of Soul
Prediction: Summer of Soul
The Winner: Summer of Soul

Best Documentary Short Subject
Audible – Matthew Ogens and Geoff McLean
Lead Me Home – Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk
The Queen of Basketball – Ben Proudfoot
Three Songs for Benazir – Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei
When We Were Bullies – Jay Rosenblatt

Notes: For my own pick, it's Bullies, mainly because it's by a legendary indie filmmaker, Jay Rosenblatt, who has never been nominated, and it's a very personal film for him. The wonderful The Queen of Basketball looks to have perhaps the best shot at winning.

If I Had a Vote: When We Were Bullies
Prediction: The Queen of Basketball
The Winner: The Queen of Basketball

Best Film Editing
Don't Look Up – Hank Corwin
Dune – Joe Walker
King Richard – Pamela Martin
The Power of the Dog – Peter Sciberras
Tick, Tick... Boom! – Myron Kerstein and Andrew Weisblum

Notes: My joke here is that Dune is way too long, and it's only half a movie, so why is it nominated for Best Editing? Yet, sadly, it's the front-runner to win. My personal pick is the shortest one on the list, and the one that has the most snap and crackle.

If I Had a Vote: Tick, Tick... Boom!
Prediction: Dune
The Winner: Dune

Best International Feature Film
Drive My Car (Japan) in Japanese – directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Flee (Denmark) in Danish – directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen
The Hand of God (Italy) in Italian – directed by Paolo Sorrentino
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (Bhutan) in Dzongkha – directed by Pawo Choyning Dorji
The Worst Person in the World (Norway) in Norwegian – directed by Joachim Trier

Notes: No question here. It's Drive My Car, both the best and the front-runner.

If I Had a Vote: Drive My Car
Prediction: Drive My Car
The Winner: Drive My Car

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Coming 2 America – Mike Marino, Stacey Morris and Carla Farmer
Cruella – Nadia Stacey, Naomi Donne and Julia Vernon
Dune – Donald Mowat, Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
The Eyes of Tammy Faye – Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram and Justin Raleigh
House of Gucci – Göran Lundström, Anna Carin Lock and Frederic Aspiras

Notes: If this were just "hair," I might be inclined to go with Cruella but "makeup" surpasses it and makes the likely winner The Eyes of Tammy Faye, for the most makeup in a movie. Like... SO much makeup. Bleh.

If I Had a Vote: Dune
Prediction: The Eyes of Tammy Faye
The Winner: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Best Production Design
Dune – Production Design: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Zsuzsanna Sipos
Nightmare Alley – Production Design: Tamara Deverell; Set Decoration: Shane Vieau
The Power of the Dog – Production Design: Grant Major; Set Decoration: Amber Richards
The Tragedy of Macbeth – Production Design: Stefan Dechant; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh
West Side Story – Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo

Notes: Three of these films, Nightmare Alley, The Tragedy of Macbeth, and West Side Story, are master classes in production design. And yet, Dune is probably going to win... again.

If I Had a Vote: Nightmare Alley
Prediction: Dune
The Winner: Dune

Best Visual Effects
Dune – Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor and Gerd Nefzer
Free Guy – Swen Gillberg, Bryan Grill, Nikos Kalaitzidis and Dan Sudick
No Time to Die – Charlie Noble, Joel Green, Jonathan Fawkner and Chris Corbould
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – Christopher Townsend, Joe Farrell, Sean Noel Walker and Dan Oliver
Spider-Man: No Way Home – Kelly Port, Chris Waegner, Scott Edelstein and Dan Sudick

Notes: And Dune is projected to win again here, making it probably the movie with the most awards. But people really love Spider-Man: No Way Home, probably more than anyone loves Dune. Could it swing in here and steal the award?

If I Had a Vote: Spider-Man: No Way Home
Prediction: Dune
The Winner: Dune

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