The 94th Academy Awards are set to take place on March 28th – once again later than their usual spot in the calendar – and here are our Oscars 2022 predictions.
We’ve looked back over the nominations and winners from the last decade to work out who could collect the most coveted gongs this year.
Who will win Best Picture at the 2022 Oscars?
It may seem counter-intuitive, but having the most nominations across all categories doesn’t guarantee that a movie will win Best Picture. In the last 10 years, only two Best Picture winners had more nominations than their rivals: Birdman was tied on nine with The Grand Budapest Hotel in 2015 and The Shape of Water was up for 13 awards in 2018.
The Power of the Dog is a hot favourite in the Oscars Best Picture odds this year but, along with Dune, it has been nominated across a double-digit number of categories, which could count against it. Four of the last six winners had six nominations or fewer, which could favour another front-runner in West Side Story.
What could count against Steven Spielberg’s remake is its generous budget of $100m. The Best Picture award isn’t usually won by those who throw money at their films, with nine of the last 10 recipients costing $23m or less to produce. The exception – Argo’s $45m cost in 2013 – is still cheaper than five of the movies on the 2022 shortlist. Dune’s colossal $165m price tag dwarfs that of its fellow nominees, so perhaps Belfast – made for a fairly modest $25m – will sway the judges.
In better news for Spielberg, it looks like a recognised director matters more than a strong lead in the battle for Best Picture. Eight out of the last 10 winners also had a Best Director nomination, with five going on to win both awards. However, West Side Story is not alone in this respect, with all five Best Director nominees also in the frame for Best Picture in 2022.
Interestingly, a strong supporting cast has been more influential than an impressive lead performance in recent years. Collectively, the last 10 Best Picture winners had a total of 13 nominations across the Best Supporting Actor or Best Supporting Actress categories, compared to just six for either Best Actor or Best Actress.
All of this points towards The Power of the Dog and Belfast doing well, as they are the only two Best Picture nominees this year which are also nominated for Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.
Who will win the individual awards at the 2022 Oscars?
There has been a distinct bias towards younger filmmakers over the last decade, with the average age of the Best Director being just over 49, which is over four years younger than that of the average losing nominee. Drive My Car director Ryusuke Hamaguchi is the youngest nominee by eight years in 2022, with Paul Thomas Anderson the only other director still under 60.
Youth has also been an advantage in the Best Supporting Actor category, with the last 10 winners having been almost three years younger than their rivals on average. This could play into the hands of current favourite Kodi Smit-McPhee (25) or outsider Jesse Plemons (33), who each have at least two decades on the other three actors vying for this award.
This pattern is inverted for the Best Actress award, with recent winners tending to be nearly three years older than the rest of the field. Nicole Kidman – who won the award 20 years ago in 2002 – is the oldest contender this year at 54 and it is no surprise to see her widely tipped for success in the Oscars odds this time around.
Another point in Kidman’s favour is that half of the Best Actress winners in the last decade had won an Academy Award previously, compared to just two of the last 10 Best Actor winners. With the latter award favouring those who have not tasted Oscar success before, 2022 could be the year that Will Smith, Benedict Cumberbatch or Andrew Garfield are finally recognised.
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