2022 Oscar Nominations: Our Predictions

This article originally appeared in Patrick Henry High School’s ‘The Patriot Press’ in February 2022. It has been lightly edited for republication.

2021’s tremendous return to movie theaters was a great symbol of hope for many struggling in the COVID-19 pandemic. The familiar smell of popcorn, the feeling of getting your ticket, and seeing the bright lights paint the picture of a fun, heartbreaking, suspenseful, satisfying story creates an experience like no other. Unfortunately, the inevitable pandemic was still an obstacle for many communities. Luckily, streaming services have been something of a savior throughout these unique few years, and watching movies has been possible for so many.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Arguably one of the best parts of movies are their unforgettable soundtracks and incredible original songs. This year, we saw movie musicals steal the box office, with hits like Encanto and Tick, Tick…BOOM!. Music is really what helps to pull together a movie and create powerful moments.

Among our predicted nominees is “No Time to Die”, written by Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas for the newest installment in the James Bond franchise. The song recently won a Golden Globe and has been critically acclaimed by the film and music industries alike.

Another song worth mentioning is “Dos Oruguitas” from the animated film Encanto. The song was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton and song-writer for Moana. The song is sung entirely in Spanish and soundtracks the most emotional moment in the film. The song has also been critically acclaimed and is another frontrunner in this category.

Our predictions

“No Time to Die,” No Time to Die

“Dos Oruguitas,” Encanto

“Here I Am (Singing My Way Home)” Respect

“Be Alive,” King Richard

“Guns Go Bang,” The Harder They Fall

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

From Luca to The Mitchells vs. The Machines, this year was an incredible year for animation. We saw many heartfelt stories for all ages hit the big screen and largely affect the lives of many people around the world.

The first notable film in this category is Luca, a Disney-Pixar film that came out on Disney+ in 2021. The film had a different animation style from what we usually see from Pixar, and told the incredible story of a young sea monster who makes his way to land and meets another sea monster friend. The film shows their coming of age story and centers around familial relationships and friendships alike.

Another notable film is Encanto, a new Disney movie that tells the story of a young girl with a magical family learning to find herself and her place in her family. The film has some of the biggest songs since Frozen with “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” hitting the top five on worldwide charts. The film also won a Golden Globe and is critically acclaimed across the globe. The movie is definitely one of the best of 2021 and is worth a watch.

Our predictions

Raya and the Last Dragon

Luca

Encanto

Flee

The Mitchells vs. The Machines

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Supporting actors can easily make or break a movie, which is why some of the year’s most popular movies featured very talented casts all around. Specifically, Kodi Smit-McPhee is a favorite contender for his portrayal of deranged Peter in The Power of the Dog, for which he won a Golden Globe.

It is safe to say that narrowing down this list was difficult. So, although they did not make the final cut, special recognition should be given to West Side Story’s David Alvarez and Mike Faist, The Tender Bar’s Ben Affleck, and Bradley Cooper for Licorice Pizza.

Our predictions

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Tony Kotsur, CODA

Ciarán Hinds, Belfast

Jamie Dornan, Belfast

JK Simmons, Being the Ricardos

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

It is no secret that supporting casts are the backbone of any movie, and these women are no exception. This year’s most popular movies featured so much supporting talent, especially in such movies as Belfast and The Power of the Dog.

However, one film’s supporting actresses stood out among the rest. In Steven Speilberg’s new West Side Story, Ariana DeBose stole the show as Anita. In scenes like “America” and “A Boy Like That”, Debose gave an unforgettable and emotional performance that secured her as the frontrunner for this award. For this role, she won the Golden Globe for best supporting actress as well. Another memorable part of this film was Rita Moreno, who iconically played Anita in the first West Side Story adaptation. Now she plays Valentina, the Puerto-Rican widow of the famous Doc. Although she likely will not be nominated in this category, Moreno’s nostalgic, outstanding performance could not go unnoticed.

Our predictions

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Caitríona Balfe, Belfast

Ruth Negga, Passing

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

BEST ACTOR

The heart of a film is its acting, and 2021 gave us some amazing performances by lead actors. Notably, Will Smith played Richard Williams in King Richard, a film about the father of Serena and Venus Williams and how he impacted their lives and careers. Smith was incredible and won a Golden Globe for the role.

Another notable performance is Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick…BOOM!). Garfield played Jonathan Larson in his musical memoir and won a Golden Globe for his performance. Many fans and critics are praising Garfield for his moving performance and singing abilities — Garfield’s newfound talent.

Our predictions

Will Smith, King Richard

Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick…ВОOM!

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

BEST ACTRESS

Lead actresses had an incredible year in cinema. Several of the most favored movies this year were female led, such as The Lost Daughter and CODA. Many moving performances could not fit onto this list, including Rachel Zegler in West Side Story, Jennifer Hudson in Respect , and Emilia Jones in CODA.

Despite incredible performances all around, Being the Ricardos’ Nicole Kidman  is an identifiable frontrunner for this award. Kidman already won a Golden Globe for her performance.

Our predictions

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

BEST PICTURE

With so many incredible films having come out this year, narrowing down this category was a challenge. Golden Globe winners West Side Story and The Power of the Dog were the first thought, with Belfast, the frontrunner, next. Thanks to a plethora of attention to their spectacular acting and direction, King Richard, CODA, Licorice Pizza, Tick, Tick…BOOM! and The Tragedy of Macbeth made our list. Finally, there would be no true best picture nominations without a few blockbusters, so Denis Villenueve’s Dune and Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up were the last additions.

Another blockbuster film from 2021 was Spider-Man: No Way Home. Many fans are arguing that No Way Home should be nominated for best picture as it has quickly become one of the highest-grossing and most popular movies of all time. In the past, Marvel Studios’ Black Panther has been nominated for Best Picture, so an abundance of fans and movie-goers are saying the newest Spider-Man installment should also be nominated. Although the general population believes No Way Home and its actors deserve Oscars, many members of the academy disagree, with one director saying that superhero movies “aren’t art”. Many fans fired back, saying that No Way Home has all the elements that make it worthy of an Oscar. Most people doubt that the film will get nominated, but Marvel, Sony, and fans are still pushing for its nomination.

Our predictions

West Side Story

The Power of the Dog

Belfast

King Richard

CODA

Tick, Tick…BOOM!

Licorice Pizza

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Dune

Don’t Look Up

By Emma Clifford and Gracie Levine, Patrick Henry High School