Oscars 2022 Final Best Picture winner predictions

“Shakespeare in Love” versus “Saving Private Ryan.”

“Crash” versus “Brokeback Mountain.”

“The Hurt Locker” versus “Avatar.”

“The King’s Speech” versus “The Social Network.”

“Moonlight” versus “La La Land.”

“Green Book” versus “Roma.”

“Parasite” versus “1917.”

When the 2022 Oscars crown its Best Picture winner, we’ll get to add “CODA” versus “The Power of the Dog” to that list of all-time Academy Awards battles.

What once seemed like a no-brainer win for “The Power of the Dog,” which led all films with 12 Oscar nominations, has become a toss-up race with no clear winner. While “The Power of the Dog” has proved sticky — it won Jane Campion a Best Director honor from the Directors Guild and earned top prizes at BAFTA and the Critics Choice Awards — no film since “Parasite” has arguably generated as much enthusiasm on the campaign trail as “CODA.” The Sundance 2021 hit about a deaf family and their hearing daughter has won over audiences for over a year, and earned major prizes from the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Writers Guild Awards, BAFTA Awards in adapted screenplay, and perhaps most significantly, Producers Guild Awards. It is that last victory that could provide a preview of Sunday’s Oscars ceremony: “CODA” beat “The Power of the Dog” on a preferential ballot, which is the same system the academy uses to pick the Best Picture winner.

But while this year’s Best Picture race has settled on those two films — if either feature wins, it will become the first streaming movie to ever take the top Oscars prize — there are eight other nominees worth mentioning one last time. Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” didn’t match the nominations tally of its 1961 predecessor, but did surface in Best Director and Best Supporting Actress for Ariana DeBose, among other categories. “West Side Story” was pegged as the crowd-pleasing alternative to “The Power of the Dog,” but the coronavirus pandemic has slightly altered that narrative. With the theatrical business still struggling to support adult dramas, plus a massive spike in cases this winter due to the omicron variant of the disease, “West Side Story” has failed to generate the financial success it might have were this 2019. It also underperformed at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, where its only nominee was DeBose. (That guild members received a late physical screener was cited as a potential reason for its snubs.)

Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” and Reinaldo Marcus Green’s “King Richard” both, in prior years, likely would have been box-office hits as well. But in 2021, each struggled to overcome the obstacles facing awards contenders – adversity augmented by the lack of televised awards shows in January due to rising coronavirus cases. “For the box office — when there was a fully functioning box office — those award shows were everything,” Nancy Utley, the former co-chairman of Fox Searchlight, told the New York Times. “The recognition there became the reason to go see a smaller movie. How do you do that in the current climate? It’s hard.”

Still, it’s possible each of those films wins something on Oscars night. “King Richard” is expected to give Will Smith his first Academy Award, while “Belfast” could make Branagh a first-time winner if its screenplay prevails. 

The remaining five slots went to “Dune” (which had 10 nominations and is the lone nominee that could be counted as a blockbuster theatrical hit), Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza,” Adam McKay‘s climate-change comedy-drama “Don’t Look Up,” Guillermo Del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley” (another drama that got washed away at the box office due to the current climate for theatrical releases), and Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car,” which has won numerous major critical prizes and is one of the most awarded films on that front in the modern era. (“Drive My Car” landed four total nominations, including Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.)

Christopher Rosen Final Oscars 2022 Best Picture Predictions (as of Monday, March 21)

  1. “CODA”
  2. “The Power of the Dog”
  3. “Belfast”
  4. “King Richard”
  5. “West Side Story”
  6. “Dune”
  7. “Drive My Car”
  8. “Don’t Look Up”
  9. “Licorice Pizza”
  10. “Nightmare Alley”

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