After an awards season that was up-ended by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 Oscars should see a return to relative normalcy. The 94th Academy Awards is set for February 27, 2022 in its traditional home, the Dolby Theater. Films released theatrically from March 1 to December 31 of 2021 are eligible for consideration. Many of the strongest contenders are films that were intended to compete at the 2021 Oscars but were pushed back when cinemas shuttered for most of the year. (Scroll down for the 2022 Oscar predictions for Best Picture, which will have a guaranteed 10 nominees.)
To make our Best Picture Oscar predictions, we consider many factors, the most important of which is the effect of the preferential ballot that is used only for this race (voters rank all the nominees with the winner being the one that is the consensus choice.) We also take into account the pedigree of the filmmakers, the critical reception to their previous films, the box office tally and the track record of the studios.
Early contenders were launched at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Cannes has moved from May to July while Telluride is scheduled for Labor Day weekend. The three other festivals used as launching pads — Venice, Toronto and New York — should return in some modified form this fall.
UPDATED: May 7, 2021
Director: Leos Carax
Writers: Ron Mael, Russell Mael
Cast: Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard
Plot: A stand-up comedian and his opera singer wife, have a 2 year old daughter with a surprising gift
Writer/Director: Andrew Dominik who adapted the novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates.
Cast: Ana De Armas, Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Julianne Nicholson
Plot: A fictionalized take on the life of Marilyn Monroe.
“Canterbury Glass” (New Regency)
Writer/Director: David O. Russell
Cast: Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, Robert De Niro Rami Malek, John David Washington, Zoe Saldana
Plot: A doctor and a lawyer form an unlikely partnership.
“C’mon, C’mon” (A24)
Writer/Director: Mike Mills
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Gaby Hoffmann, Woody Norman, Artrial Clark
Plot: An artist (Phoenix) left to take care of his precocious young nephew (Norman) forge an unexpected bond over a cross country trip.
Writer/Director: Sian Heder
Cast: Emilia Jones, Marlee Matlin, Eugenio Derbez, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant
Plot: As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family who is torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents.
“The Courier” (Lionsgate – March 19)
Director: Dominic Cooke
Writer: Tom O’Connor
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel Brosnahan, Jessie Buckley
Plot: The true story of the British businessman who helped the CIA penetrate the Soviet nuclear programme during the Cold War.
“Cry Macho” (Warner Bros. – October 22)
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writers: Nick Schenk, N. Richard Nash adapted the novel of the same name by Nash.
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Dwight Yoakam, Fernanda Urrejola
Plot: A one-time rodeo star and washed-up horse breeder takes a job to bring a man’s young son home and away from his alcoholic mom.
“Don’t Look Up” (Netflix)
Writer/Director: Adam McKay
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Chris Evans, Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance
Plot: Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn humankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.
“Don’t Worry Darling” (New Line)
Director: Olivia Wilde
Writers: Katie Silberman, Carey Van Dyke, Shane Van Dyke
Cast: Olivia Wilde, Florence Pugh, Gemma Chan
Plot: A 1950’s housewife living with her husband in a utopian experimental community begins to worry that his glamorous company may be hiding disturbing secrets.
“Dune” (Warner Bros.)
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Eric Roth, Jon Spaihts and Villeneuve, who adapted the novel of the same name by Frank Herbert.
Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin
Plot: The son of a noble family is entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.
“The Electrical Life of Louis Wain” (Amazon)
Director: Will Sharpe
Writers: Sharpe, Simon Stephenson
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrea Riseborough, Claire Foy
Plot: The story of the prolific English artist who rose to prominence at the end of the 19th century.
Director: Chloe Zhao
Writers: Matthew K. Firpo, Ryan Firpo, Chloe Zhao
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden
Plot: The saga of the Eternals, a race of immortal beings who lived on Earth and shaped its history and civilizations.
“Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” (20th Century)
Director: Jonathan Butterell
Writers: Dan Gillespie Sells, Tom MacRae, who adapted their stage musical of the same name.
Cast: Max Harwood, Lauren Patel, Richard E. Grant
Plot: A teenager from Sheffield, England wants to be a drag queen.
“The Eyes Of Tammy Faye” (Searchlight Pictures)
Director: Michael Showalter
Writer: Abe Sylvia
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Vincent D’Onofrio
Plot: Televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker seek redemption after their religious empire and marriage crumbles.
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Writers: Craig Luck, Ivor Powell
Cast: Tom Hanks, Caleb Landry Jones, Samira Wiley, Laura Harrier, Skeet Ulrich
Plot: An ailing inventor, who is the last man on Earth, builds an android to keep him and his dog company and goes on a cross-country journey.
“The French Dispatch” (Searchlight Pictures)
Writer/Director: Wes Anderson
Cast: Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet,Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Steve Park, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson.
Plot: A love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th-century French city that brings to life a collection of stories published in “The French Dispatch” magazine.
“House of Gucci” (UA)
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Roberto Bentivegna
Cast: Al Pacino, Salma Hayek, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Lady Gaga, Jeremy Irons
Plot: The story of how Patrizia Reggiani, the ex-wife of Maurizio Gucci, plotted to kill her husband, the grandson of renowned fashion designer Guccio Gucci.
“In the Heights” (Warner Bros. – June 26)
Director: John Chu
Writer: Quiara Alegría Hudes, who adapted her book for the musical of the same name.
Cast: Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, Jimmy Smits
Plot: A bodega owner has mixed feelings about closing his store and retiring to the Dominican Republic after inheriting his grandmother’s fortune.
“Good Joe Bell” (Solstice Studios)
Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Writers: Diana Ossana, Larry McMurtry
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Reid Miller, Connie Britton, Maxwell Jenkins, Gary Sinise
Plot: The true story of a small town, working class father who embarks on a solo walk across the U.S. to crusade against bullying after his son is tormented in high school for being gay.
“A Journal for Jordan” (Sony)
Director: Denzel Washington
Writer: Virgil Williams, based on the memoir of the same name by Dana Canedy
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Tamara Tunie, Robert Wisdom, Chanté Adams
Plot: 1st Sgt. Charles Monroe King, before he is killed in action in Baghdad, authors a journal for his son intended to tell him how to live a decent life despite growing up without a father.
“King Richard” (Warner Bros.)
Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Writer: Zach Baylin
Cast: Will Smith, Jon Bernthal, Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton.
Plot: A look at how tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams became who they are after the coaching from their father Richard Williams.
“The Last Duel” (Disney)
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Nicole Holofcener who adapted the novel of the same name by Eric Jager.
Cast: Damon, Affleck, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer
Plot: In 14th century France, the friendship of two knights is put to the test by a young woman.
“Last Night in Soho” (Focus)
Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Edgar Wright
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Jessie Mei Li, Matt Smith
Plot: A young girl, passionate about fashion design, is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters her idol, a dazzling wannabe singer.
“The Many Saints of Newark” (Warner Bros.)
Director: Alan Taylor
Writers: Lawrence Konner, David Chase
Cast: Billy Magnussen, Vera Farmiga, Jon Berntha, Leslie Odom Jr., Corey Stoll, Ray Liotta
Plot: A look at the formative years of New Jersey gangster, Tony Soprano.
“Next Goal Wins” (Searchlight Pictures)
Director: Taika Waititi
Writers: Iain Morris and Waititi, who adapted the documentary of the same name.
Cast:: Michael Fassbender, Elisabeth Moss, Kaimana, Beulah Koale, Rachel House, Armie Hammer.
Plot: A coach takes the American Samoa national football team to the World Cup.
“The Northman” (Focus)
Director: Robert Eggers
Writers: Sjon, Robert Eggers
Cast: Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, Björk, Ralph Ineson, Ethan Hawke
Plot: Set in Iceland at the turn of the 10th century, a Nordic prince sets out on a mission of revenge after his father is murdered.
“Nightmare Alley” (Searchlight Pictures)
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writers: del Toro and Kim Morgan, who adapted the novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham.
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins
Plot: A corrupt con-man teams up with a female psychiatrist to trick people into giving them money
“The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)
Director: Jane Campion
Writer: Campion, who adapted the novel of the same name by Thomas Savage.
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons
Plot: A pair of brothers who own a large ranch in Montana are pitted against each other when one of them gets married.
“Red, White, and Water” (A24)
Director: Lila Neugebauer
Writer: Elizabeth Sanders
Cast; Jennifer Lawrence, Brian Tyree Henry, Samira Wiley
Plot: A US soldier suffers a traumatic brain injury while fighting in Afghanistan and struggles to adjust to life back home.
Director: Liesl Tommy
Writer: Tracey Scott Wilson
Cast: Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Tate Donovan
Plot: The life story of legendary R&B singer Aretha Franklin.
“Soggy Bottom” (UA – December 25)
Writer/Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Cast: Cooper Hoffman, Bradley Cooper, Alana Haim and Benny Safdie
Plot: Set in 1970s San Fernando Valley, the film follows a high school student, who is also a successful child actor.
Director: Tom McCarthy
Writers: Thomas Bidegain, Noé Debré
Cast: Matt Damon, Abigail Breslin, Camille Cottin, Deanna Dunagan
Plot: A father travels from Oklahoma to France to help his daughter who has been arrested for murder.
“Those Who Wish Me Dead” (Warner Bros.)
Director: Taylor Sheridan
Writer: Michael Koryta
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Jon Bernthal
Plot: A teenage murder witness finds himself pursued by twin assassins in the Montana wilderness with a survival expert tasked with protecting him — and a forest fire threatening to consume them all.
“The Tragedy of Macbeth” (A24)
Director: Joel Coen
Writers: Coen, who adapted William Shakespeare’s play of the same name
Cast: Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Brendan Gleeson
Plot:A Scottish lord becomes convinced by a trio of witches that he will become the next King of Scotland, and his ambitious wife supports him in his plans of seizing power.
“The Whale” (A24)
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writer: Samuel D. Hunter
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Hong Chau, Sadie Sink, Samantha Morton, Ty Simpkins
Plot: A 600-pound middle-aged man tries to reconnect with his 17-year-old daughter.
Director: Nora Fingscheidt
Writers: Peter Craig, Hillary Seitz, Courtenay Miles, Sally Wainwright
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jon Bernthal
Plot: Ruth Slater, a woman released from prison after serving a sentence for a violent crime, re-enters a society that refuses to forgive her past.
“West Side Story” (20th Century – December 10)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Tony Kushner, who adapted the stage play of the same name by Arthur Laurents
Cast: Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, Corey Stoll, Brian d’Arcy James, Rita Moreno
Plot: Teenagers Tony and Maria, despite having affiliations with rival street gangs, the white Jets and Puerto Rican Sharks, fall in love in 1950s New York City.
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