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Predicting the 2022 Oscar nominations

Greg W. Locke

Whatzup Features Writer

Published June 2, 2021

The box office isn’t exactly a hot topic in the U.S. We’re all still feeling let down by the recent Oscars telecast.

So I figured I’d take this week to do something silly: I’m going to attempt to predict the 2022 Oscar nominations.

I’ve done this in years past and done pretty well, but things are different in 2021. Not only do we have all the 2020 prestige films that were held, but, generally speaking, we don’t know what’s going to happen at the 2021 film festivals. We also don’t know what films are going to be released in the 2021 film cycle.

But hey, let’s do it.


Rumors are that J.K. Simmons’ portrayal of William Frawley in Being the Ricardos is incredible.

Buzz has already started for Bradley Cooper’s performance in PT Anderson’s new movie, Soggy Bottom, though it’s not clear if he’s in a leading or supporting role.

Adrien Brody and Bobby Cannavale’s performances in Blonde are starting to get some buzz, and so are Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s performances in Ridley Scott’s dramatic period piece The Last Duel. Damon and Affleck co-wrote the script, but I’m not sure if they are co-leads, co-supporting roles, or what. As good as it sounds on paper, that film could be a hot mess.

Adam McKay’s new film, Don’t Look Up, is already known for its super-stacked cast, including supporting work from Timothée Chalamet, Ron Perlman, Jonah Hill, Tyler Perry, Matthew Perry, Himesh Patel, and Mark Rylance. I could see any of them bringing home a nomination.


Frances McDormand’s performance in Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth is probably going to get attention.

Samantha Morton returns to prestige-level filmmaking in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, and could be a surprise winner if no other big names stand out. The script is said to be incredible.

Abigail Breslin is the second lead in the new Tom McCarthy film, Stillwater, opposite Matt Damon. Hard to say how that one is going to turn out. McCarthy isn’t exactly a sure-thing as a filmmaker, but I could see Breslin getting a lot of love come Oscar time.


This should be the year’s most competitive category.

It begins with Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance in Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up, which could be the movie of the year. Matt Damon’s performance in Stillwater has Oscar bait written all over it. Michael B. Jordan is the lead in Denzel Washington’s next film, A Journal for Jordan, and it feels like his time has come to get the big nomination.

Joaquin Phoenix returns in Mike Mills’ C’mon C’mon in a role that I’ve heard is perfect Oscar bait. Oscar Isaac’s role in Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter sounds especially promising and, like Jordan, it feels like it’s time for Isaac’s Oscar moments to really begin. I’d bet almost anything that there will be a strong push for Denzel to win for his role in The Tragedy of Macbeth.

Then we have Adam Driver’s portrayal of Maurizio Gucci in House of Gucci. Driver has slowly become one of the most notable American leading men, and his time may be here to be taken seriously as a Best Actor frontrunner.

If I were to put money on anyone in this category, it would be Driver. And let’s not count out Brendan Frazer and his fat suit in The Whale.


Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani in House of Gucci seems like the frontrunner right now. Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball in Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos is sure to get serious attention, much like Ana de Armas’ portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in Andrew Dominik’s much anticipated Blonde.

I’m not sure if Gaby Hoffman is a lead in the new Mike Mills film, C’mon C’mon, or playing a supporting role, but either way, she seems poised to get proper acclaim after several years of interesting, brave work.

Both Jennifer Lawrence and Cate Blanchett have roles in the new Adam McKay film, as does Melanie Lynskey.

I could see any of them getting a nomination, if not all of them.


I think we might finally, after over 25 years, see Wes Anderson win Best Director. The French Dispatch looks like the kind of film that gets awarded Best Director. The other Anderson, PT, has his new flick, Soggy Bottom, which should get attention.

Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, Andrew Dominik, Darren Aronofsky, and Mike Mills will likely be in the conversation, as long as their films are released during the qualifying period.


Here are the 10 flicks I think could get Best Picture nominees: Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Soggy Bottom, Mike Mills’ C’mon C’mon, Tom McCarthy’s Stillwater, Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up, David O. Russell’s Canterbury Glass, Denzel Washington’s A Journal for Jordan, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, Terrence Malick’s The Way of the Wind, and Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story.

Then there’s the new David O. Russell film, which is a mystery. I’m not sure what it’s going to be called (working title is Canterbury Glass), or when it will come out, but I know it’s a historical drama with an incredible cast that includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Timothy Olyphant, Margot Robbie, Robert De Niro, Christian Bale, Zoe Saldana, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Chris Rock, Andrew Riseborough, Michael Shannon, Mike Myers, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Alessandro Nivola. Don’t be surprised if this one swoops in and gets a dozen or more nominations.

Next Year’s Telecast

As for the Oscars telecast, I’m going to guess that they’ll do one of two things: Go back to producing the show in the old fashioned, regal Hollywood way, or completely reinvent it from scratch and aim it at a younger crowd.

Either way, I’m not sure the Oscars show is something people are going to look forward to in the way they used to. That might be over.

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