Nicole Burnham
Nicole Burnham

2022 Academy Awards Predictions

Mar 23, 2022

Do not, under any circumstances, look to me for help with your March Madness basketball pool, either on the women’s or the men’s side. My brackets were dead in the first two hours of play. However, if you have a ballot waiting in your inbox to participate in an Oscar pool, that’s my wheelhouse. Here’s your annual cheat sheet.


Best Picture   



Don’t Look Up

Drive My Car


King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story


This is likely the tightest race of the night, with a toss-up between CODA and The Power of the Dog. I’m throwing my vote to The Power of the Dog.



Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Ryûsuke Hamaguch, Drive my Car

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story


Given her wins at other awards shows this season, this is as close to a gimme as you’ll get, with the possible exception of International Feature Film.


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


Colman would have a strong shot if she hadn’t picked up a statuette recently (for a FABULOUS turn as Queen Anne…if you haven’t seen The Favourite, get it in your queue.) This year, however, you’re best to choose Chastain.


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


Smith is a strong favorite, though oddsmakers have Garfield climbing. My head says Smith. My heart says…Cumberbatch. WHAT TO DO? Sigh. Since it’s a pool, I’ll pick Smith. But I’ll toast Cumberbatch. I’d really like to see him win.


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

Aujanue Ellis, King Richard


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 Smith-McPhee, The Power of the Dog


This is a tight one between Troy Kotsur and Kodi Smith-McPhee. The ensemble cast of CODA won the SAG, however, which may be the nudge that shifts the odds to Kotsur.


Original Screenplay

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Adam McKay and David Sirota, Don’t Look Up

Zach Baylin, King Richard

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Eskil Vogt and Joachim Trier, The Worst Person in the World


This is a hotly contested race. I think it’s a close call between Belfast and Licorice Pizza. Every Academy expert has a different reason for why one or the other will win…or why The Worst Person in the World could potentially play spoiler. If you have a favorite, you may as well go with it.


Adapted Screenplay

Siân Heder, CODA

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car

Jon Spaihts, Denis Velleneuve, and Eric Roth, Dune

Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog


The Power of the Dog has momentum here, but the spoiler could be Drive My Car. Choose your favorite.


Animated Feature




The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Raya and the Last Dragon


Documentary Feature




Summer of Soul

Writing with Fire


Flee could be the upset winner here, but I’m going with the odds-on, feel-good favorite: Summer of Soul.


International Feature Film

Drive My Car


The Hand of God

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

The Worst Person in the World


This should be a solid pick. If there’s an upset, it would be The Worst Person in the World.




Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story


Another tight race. Dune, The Power of the Dog, and West Side Story all have buzz. Take your pick. I’m going with Dune.


Film Editing

Don’t Look Up


King Richard

The Power of the Dog

Tick, Tick…Boom!


Tough call here between Dune and The Power of the Dog. I’m throwing my money behind Dune.


Costume Design   



Nightmare Alley

West Side Story


Makeup and Hairstyling

Coming 2 America



The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci


If your pool has these two categories, pick up two easy wins for Costume Design and Makeup and Hairstyling. Both are heavy favorites.


Original Score

Don’t Look Up



Parallel Mothers

The Power of the Dog


Hans Zimmer FTW.


Original Song

“Be Alive” – King Richard

“Dos Oruguitas” – Encanto

“Down to Joy” – Belfast

“No Time to Die” – No Time to Die

“Somehow You Do” – Four Good Days





No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story


Belfast could be the surprise win here, but I’m checking the box for Dune.


Production Design


Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story


Oddmakers and buzz have Dune here, but Nightmare Alley’s gorgeous 1930s carnival could be the upset.


Visual Effects


Free Guy

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Spider-Man: No Way Home


Documentary (Short Subject)


Lead Me Home

The Queen of Basketball

Three Songs for Benazir

When We Were Bullies


Top picks here are Audible (a football documentary) and The Queen of Basketball. I’m going with the Queen (hey, I write romance novels about royalty.) However, if you saw and loved Audible, you wouldn’t be going out on a limb to pick it.


Short Film (Live Action)

Ala Kachuu – Take and Run

The Dress

The Long Goodbye

On My Mind

Please Hold


Short Film (Animated)

Affairs of the Art



Robin Robin

The Windshield Wiper


Looking for a 2022 Printable Oscar Ballot? Here are two options:


Rotten Tomatoes

Vanity Fair (look for the “Printable Ballot” box on the left side of the page)

Good luck!

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