For the first time in a long time, I can confidently say that I have seen almost every film that can be considered a front runner for Best Picture in 2022. Unless Hollywood decides to sneak in a white savior biopic, a slavery black trauma-porn period piece, or a Hollywood era circle jerk- we’re in for a rather diverse group of Best Picture candidates. It may be too early to tell, but I think it could be fun to make predictions long before the nominees are announced. I think it could be fun to see how close I am when the actual nominations come out as a testament of well I understand the academy and their choices.
So let’s get into 10 candidates for Best Picture. Before we get into the official list, let’s look at some of the honorable mentions. These are films that I haven’t quite pegged as being on the list, but have a very real chance of making the list.
I didn’t see this film, but “Coda” is a Sundance Film Festival darling the feels tailor made for the academy. It has all the emotional manipulation you would expect from a Best Picture node, and has all of the critical clout without the general audience consensus that often comes with nominated films. Look for this one to creep into most nomination lists despite no one really having claimed they’ve seen it.
I want so much for this movie to make the list, but I think the only nomination it will get is for Best Actor for Andrew Garfield. It is a truly wonderful film, and celebration of creativity and broadway, but due to its niche audience and appeal I don’t think that it will eek out some of the other, stronger candidates.
“The Lost Daughter“
One of the best and most complex films released this year, “The Lost Daughter” has contender written all over it. Look for Olivia Coleman to win another award for her work here, but outside of some of other categories, I don’t think this one lands on the Best Picture list. However, it has all the makings of an Oscar contender, so don’t count it out completely.
This one will more than likely only highlight the incredible work of Peter Dinklage, but “Cyrano” was bumped up from its original release date to be considered at this years Academy Awards. That speaks to the confidence of the studio, and “Cyrano” is a really well made film that just may be good enough to make the list.
“The Tragedy of Macbeth”
There is a lot to love when it comes to Hollywood and “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” It sports two actors who will without a doubt be nominated for their performances, and a beloved director who could very well make it onto the list simply by existing. Due to the very difficult release method and mismanaged marketing of film, “Macbeth” very well may be the critics choice that doesn’t quite reach the Best Picture list.
Now that the honorable mentions are out of the way, let’s look at the most likely front runners for Best Picture. These are in no particular order, just the 10 films I think will be nominated.
“Being the Ricardos “
The film isn’t that good, but “Being the Ricardos” hits a lot of notes that the Academy adores. It’s a behind the scenes look at a Hollywood icon, and stars two actors who typically get recognized for their work as well as a writer/director in Aaron Sorkin who the academy simply can’t get enough of. The film is messy as hell, and isn’t as good as it thinks it is, but feels like a shoe in for a nomination.
“House of Gucci“
This one feels like it shouldn’t belong, especially when you consider how polarizing “House of Gucci” actually is. Despite the discourse, this one feels like a sure fire hit for Ridley Scott, and will creep its way onto the list of the best films of the year despite not really being that good.
“Don’t Look Up “
One of the most difficult films of the year, “Don’t Look Up” has found its way into the audience conversation. Perhaps a bit too brazen and intentionally difficult to get through, the Academy loves Adam McKay. Despite the critical discourse that seems split down the middle, look for “Don’t Look Up” to make the list of Best Picture Nominations.
Here’s the thing about “Nightmare Alley:” everything I’ve heard has said its a mediocre film at best, but you can’t discount the Academy’s love for period pieces and Guillermo Del Toro. It almost doesn’t matter what film Del Toro made, the Academy has deemed it necessary to include his work ever since “The Shape of Water.” It may not be the most critically acclaimed film of the year, but don’t let that dissuade you from including it on the Best Picture list this year.
As much as I loved “Belfast,” it is everything Best Picture Nominations are made of. Period piece? check. Feel good themes juxtaposed against a tumultuous time? check. Recognized and honored writer and director? Check. Black and white cinematography? Check. “Belfast” is what awards movies are made of, and you shouldn’t be surprised if “Belfast” shows up on a lot of nomination lists in January.
I’m not particularly a fan of “Dune” as it wasn’t really made for me. But the production value, incredible, stunning visuals and Academy darling director Denis Velenue prime “Dune” as being a key contender on the Best Picture list. “Dune” probably won’t win the Best Picture category, but look for it to sweep the production and visual categories.
“King Richard “
This movie screams Academy Awards. It’s a sports biopic starring Academy darling actors with a feel good biopic attitude. “King Richard” is tailor made for the Oscars, and despite being completely cliche in its base genres, the film is really, really good and I will be shocked if it doesn’t make the list.
“Licorice Pizza “
The Academy loves two things: Location Celebration and Paul Thomas Anderson. “Licorice Pizza” has both of those things in spades, sporting the most accessible and enjoyable outings from the acclaimed director that is sure to show up on just about every single category at the Oscars. Of all my predictions, “Licorice Pizza” being absent from all of the more prestigious list will be shocking.
“Power of the Dog “
This is perhaps the frontrunner for the winner. “Power of the Dog” is like “There Will Be Blood” but less off-putting and far more interesting (don’t come at me, I said what I said). I actually peg this one to win it all, as it sports a critical darling behind the camera in Jane Campion as well as the kind of film that takes over everything despite audiences being split on it.
I don’t think anyone would’ve thought that a remake that no one asked for from a director we didn’t know wanted to make the film could be such a wonderful cinematic experience. “Westside Story” has a strong chance to duplicate its triumphant run when it was first released, and leave it to Steven Speilberg to make magic twice. It can be easy to count this one out, but “Westside Story” is the front runner for a total sweep.
So there you go, my prediction for the Academy Awards Best Picture contenders. We’ll have to wait until February 8th to see how accurate I am, but I’m confidence I’m going to pass with flying colors this year.
What were some of your favorite films of the year?