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Oscars predictions 2022: Who will take home the big awards?

The 94th Academy Awards will air at 8 p.m. ET this Sunday, March 27 on ABC live from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. For the first time in four years, the festivities will include not just one host, but three of them: Wanda Sykes, Regina Hall, and Amy Schumer, each of whom is expected to bring their unique style and sense of humor to the job.

The stars will be out in full force to celebrate the best in cinema for the year, with movies like Power of the Dog, Dune, Belfast, and West Side Story dominating the nominations. While eight awards will be handed out and accepted prior to the live telecast in order to streamline the process (it will still be three hours long!), these will be mostly for behind-the-scenes roles, like film editing, makeup and hairstyling, and production design. This year will also add a new category:Fan favorite movie, which will be voted on by viewers via Twitter using the hashtag #OscarsFanFavorite or by creating a virtual ballot on the Oscars Fan Favorite website. But the big winners will walk up to the podium live.

Who will those big winners be? We have put together some predictions of the most talked-about categories.

Will Smith as Richard Williams in King Richard.
Anne Marie Fox

Best Actor

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)

Prediction: Among one of the most talented actors to have never won an Academy Award, not to mention an actor with one of the biggest box office hauls, it’s time for Will Smith to finally take home the trophy. Smith has been nominated twice before, for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness, but King Richard might finally be the film to bring it home for the former rapper and sitcom star. He beautifully captures the essence and struggle as Richard Williams, a father and coach who only wants the best for his talented daughters, tennis players Venus and Serena Williams. Buoyed by the tennis stars’ involvement in the making of the movie and worthy supporting performances by the child actors who play them as young girls, Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, this could finally be Smith’s year.

Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter.
Yannis Drakoulidis / Netflix

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye)
Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter)
Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers)
Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos)
Kristen Stewart (Spencer)

Prediction: With an Academy Award already to her name for The Favourite in 2019, it’s possible that Olivia Colman could surprise with a win for this psychological drama written and directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal . She plays Leda, a troubled middle-aged college professor who meets Nina (Dakota Johnson), a young mother who briefly loses her child on the beach and can’t find her favorite stuffed animal that has gone missing. Having struggled once as a young mother herself, Leda can relate, but as it turns out, the missing toy has a lot more significance than realized. The character is multilayered and mysterious, which might give Colman a leg up over the also deserving Jessica Chastain and Academy favorite Nicole Kidman.

Jessie Plemons in a suit and cowboy hat in Power of the Dog.
Kirsty Griffin / Netflix

Best Supporting Actor

Ciaran Hinds (Belfast)
Troy Kotsur (CODA)
Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog)
J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos)
Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)

Prediction: Jesse Plemons is an overlooked actor who has convincingly played everyone from a ruthless killer to a quirky, lonely cop in both movies and on TV. He toes the line of comedy and drama beautifully, delivering a powerful performance every time. While the The Power of the Dog leans far more to the dramatic side, it may just be the film to raise his star a little higher. Plemons’ first Academy Award nomination may be when he brings home the big prize.

Ariana DeBose dancing in a scene from West Side Story.
20th Century Studios / Everett

Best Supporting Actress

Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter)
Ariana DeBose (West Side Story)
Judi Dench (Belfast)
Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog)
Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard)

Prediction: Kirsten Dunst has been acting since she was a child, and the fact that this is her first Academy Award nomination is baffling. But the combination of acting, singing, and dancing might be what leads the Academy to overlook her in favor of relative movie newcomer, Ariana DeBose. As an original cast member in Hamilton and trained theater actor, this marks the up-and-comer’s first Academy Award nomination, and she’ll likely take the win.

Jane Campion with a white sheet around her head talking to Benedict Cumberbatch behind-the-scenes of The Power of the Dog.
Kirsty Griffin / Netflix

Best Director

Belfast (Kenneth Branagh)
Drive My Car (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson)
The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion)
West Side Story (Steven Spielberg)

Prediction: We’ll have to give this one to Power of the Dog, with The Piano‘s Jane Campion delivering a movie based on powerful source material and featuring an incredible cast and beautiful cinematography and score. The movie has also earned the distinction of being the first film directed by a woman to receive more than 10 Academy Award nominations. If Campion were to win, it would mark two years in a row that the category has honored a female director, with Chloe Zhao having won in 2021 for Nomadland.

Timothy Chalamet walking in the desert with his hair flying in a scene from Dune.
Chia Bella James / Warner Bros.

Visual Effects

Free Guy
No Time To Die
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Spider-Man: No Way Home

Prediction: Dune has mesmerized viewers with its cinematic visual effects, and it will likely bring home the win in the category. The future-set sci-fi epic directed by Denis Villeneuve covers the first half of the Frank Herbert novel of the same name, following the noble Atreides family through a deadly war on an inhospitable planet. Digital Trends‘ own Rick Marshall praised how the visual effects made an “unfilmable epic possible” in his interview with visual effects supervisor Paul Lambert. who detailed the lengths they went to achieve some of the most captivating scenes. It will be a surprise if Dune doesn’t win.

A scene from the Disney animated film Encanto, showing the family performing magic.

Animated Feature Film

The Mitchells vs. The Machines
Raya and the Last Dragon

Prediction: It’s a near certainty that Encanto will take home the award this year, thanks in large part to the original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda that had every child under the age of 12 declaring that “we don’t talk about Bruno.”The musical fantasy story itself provides a wondrous look at a young girl who is desperate to save her family and their magical house when she learns the magic that has been bestowed on the family for generations is beginning to disappear. With themes of love, loss, and acceptance, the film is a shoo-in to win.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Kodi Smit-McPhee sit in a field in a scene from The Power of the Dog.

Best Picture

Don’t Look Up
Drive My Car
King Richard
Licorice Pizza
Nightmare Alley
The Power of the Dog
West Side Story

Prediction: Dominating the ceremonies with 12 nominations, it’s likely that The Power of the Dog, a Western psychological drama that touches on topical and emotional material, including love, loss, jealousy, and sexuality, will earn the big win of the night. With its star -tudded cast that includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, and Jesse Plemons, the movie, based on the Thomas Savage novel of the same name, has already received the distinction of being named one of the best films of 2021 by the American Film Institute and took home the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama.

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