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Need Help With Your 2022 Oscar Picks? We’ve Got The Inside Scoop

We asked seven Indianapolis-area film experts for their insights into this year’s potential Academy Award winners.
A photo of movie popcorn for an Oscar story

Looking to best your co-workers in this year’s Oscar pool? You’ve come to the right place. We asked seven local women filmmakers, critics, and scholars for some of their 2022 Academy Awards picks, and they gave us their thoughts on this year’s winners. Spoiler alert: Looks like Kristen Stewart may be getting her first golden statuette.

 
 
 
 
 
 

THE EXPERT PANEL

A photo of Aly Caviness drinking out of a mugALY CAVINESS
Co-founder and contributor of Midwest Film Journal and member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association

midwestfilmjournal.com

A black and white photo of Coye Lloyd smilingCOYE LLOYD
Film scholar

coyelloyd.com, @koi_phish

A photo of Emily Wheeler with a black cat tail across her faceEMILY WHEELER
Contributor at Film Inquiry

filminquiry.com

A photo of Hannah Myers smilingHANNAH MYERS LINDGREN
Documentary filmmaker, producer & editor at Tilt23 Studios

hannahmlindgren.com, @hannahmyerslindgren

A photo of Julia Ricci smilingJULIA RICCI
Senior film programmer at Heartland Film

heartlandfilm.org, @heartlandfilm

A photo of Louise Henderson smilingLOUISE HENDERSON
Executive director at Kan-Kan Cinema

kankanindy.com, @kankancinema

A photo of Tiera Hollanquest smilingTIERA HOLLANQUEST
Screenwriter and producer

BEST PICTURE

Nominees:

BELFAST
CODA
DON’T LOOK UP
DRIVE MY CAR
DUNE
KING RICHARD
LICORICE PIZZA
NIGHTMARE ALLEY
THE POWER OF THE DOG
WEST SIDE STORY
INSIDER PICKS:

Aly Caviness: Dune

“While I’m fully convinced that ‘The Power of the Dog’ will dominate this awards cycle, ‘Dune’ is still my pick for Best Picture. With an impeccable track record, Denis Villeneuve has shifted science fiction from the red-headed stepchild of the Academy Awards to a serious contender each time he releases a new movie. His strength in blending stunning visuals and concepts with meaningful emotional catharsis made him the perfect choice to successfully bring Frank Herbert’s classic novel to the screen.”

Coye Lloyd: Dune

“A prestige sci-fi film worth both the hate and the hype, Dune allows audiences the dignity of figuring it out for themselves.”

Emily Wheeler: Drive My Car

“When a 3-hour long Japanese film breaks into the major categories at the Oscars, you know it’s great.”

Hannah Myers Lindgren: Dune

“When it comes to the ‘Best Picture’ category, I want to choose a film that just WOWED me. This year, that film was definitely ‘Dune.’ From the scale of it, to the score, to the beautiful cinematography and acting performances, ‘Dune’ really checked all the boxes for me. Not to mention it was a truly excellent adaptation of difficult source material. They really brought the heart of the ‘Dune’ universe to life in every possible way that a film could.”

Julia Ricci: West Side Story

“Up until this point I would have said ‘The Power of the Dog,’ but the recent streaming release of ‘West Side Story’ has given it a lot of buzz, despite it flopping in theaters. It’s truly a magnificent film and I would love to see it win.”

Louise Henderson: Belfast

“‘Belfast’ edges out ‘Drive My Car’ and ‘CODA’ for me. The former is a subtle work of art, the latter is a powerful film whose truths resonated deeply for me. Belfast, however, is a coming-of-age story that hits its marks. Though told through the eyes of a young boy, the film beautifully captures how a family lived, loved, and made agonizing decisions during a time of political turmoil.”

Tiera Hollanquest: Don’t Look Up

“We are all on the same side and just trying to survive, but no one believes that due to the political divide. This movie portrayed the times that we are in perfectly.”

DIRECTING

Nominees:

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

INSIDER PICKS:

Aly Caviness: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Coye Lloyd: Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car

Emily Wheeler: Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Hannah Myers Lindgren: Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

“Throughout ‘Belfast,’ you can clearly see the intentional choices that Kenneth Branagh made as director. Whether it’s first introducing the Troubles through the frozen panic in Buddy’s eyes (and the camera movement around him), or the reflection of the movie in Granny’s glasses being in color while the rest of the film is in black and white, I love that you can see the thought behind every scene in this film. I also believe that you can see and feel when a film is personal for a director, and Belfast is definitely a prime example of that.”

Julia Ricci: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

“Campion crafted a richly-layered film with all of the elements stealthily coming together with intentionality and precision. Masterful work. She’s also the only woman in the 94-year history of the Oscars to be nominated for Best Director twice.”

Louise Henderson: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

“While she’s won a screenplay Oscar, it’s time for this deeply talented director to get her due.”

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Nominees:

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

INSIDER PICKS:

Aly Caviness: Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Coye Lloyd: Will Smith, King Richard

Emily Wheeler: Andrew Garfield; tick, tick…BOOM!

Julia Ricci: Will Smith, King Richard

“I would be happy if any of them won, but Will Smith’s performance really blew me away; I forgot I was watching Will Smith.”

Louise Henderson: Benedict Cumberbatch

“It’s a tough pick between Cumberbatch and Denzel Washington, but I’m going with Benedict for his complete immersion into the dark and tangled world of Phil.”

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Nominees:

CIARÁN 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

INSIDER PICKS:

Aly Caviness: Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

“‘The Power of the Dog’ didn’t do much for me personally (and yes, I know I’m in the minority there), but if there’s one thing I enjoyed about it, it was Jesse Plemmons. His quiet yet affecting turn as a lonely rancher finally finding someone kind with whom he can share his life gave us one of the best scenes of the entire year. The fact that he shared this scene with Kirsten Dunst, his real-life partner and fellow nominee, is just icing on the cake. The sentimental side of me can’t help but hope that they both take home His and Hers Supporting Oscars this year.”

Coye Lloyd: Ciarán Hinds, Belfast

Emily Wheeler: Troy Kotsur, CODA

Julia Ricci: Troy Kotsur, CODA

“Kotsur seems to have a great chance of winning after taking home the Screen Actors Guild Award. His performance as a deaf father to a hearing girl is at the heart of this story, and I love that he and this wonderful film are getting recognized this awards season.”

Louise Henderson: Troy Kotsur, CODA

“A dark horse option, but how cool would it be for Troy to join his co-star Marlee Matlin (Oscar, 1987) for a second Oscar win for a deaf actor?”

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Nominees:

JESSICA CHASTAIN

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

OLIVIA COLMAN

The Lost Daughter

PENÉLOPE CRUZ

Parallel Mothers

NICOLE KIDMAN

Being the Ricardos

KRISTEN STEWART

Spencer

INSIDER PICKS:

Aly Caviness: Kristen Stewart, Spencer

“Kristen Stewart is the obvious choice this year, but there’s a good reason for that. Wielding one of the most fascinating faces in contemporary cinema like a knife as a fictionalized version of Princess Diana, Stewart proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that her talent not only exists, but that it is exemplary. A win for this role, and this actress in particular, would be completely deserved.”

Coye Lloyd: Kristen Stewart, Spencer

“Watching ‘Twilight’ star Kristen Stewart melt into the mystical and illusive Princess Diana was an unexpected rollercoaster of emotions. I’m excited to see where Stewart’s newfound confidence takes her depths next.”

Emily Wheeler: Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Julia Ricci: Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Louise Henderson: Kristen Stewart, Spencer

“The dark horse in this category, Kristen Stewart never fails to bring the full force of her talent to a role—and in this case, she truly understood, and conveyed—Diana’s deep psychological turmoil. The glaring miss in this category is Caitriona Balfe—the emotional heart and soul of Belfast.”

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Nominees:

JESSIE BUCKLEY

The Lost Daughter

ARIANA DEBOSE

West Side Story

JUDI DENCH

Belfast

KIRSTEN DUNST

The Power of the Dog

AUNJANUE ELLIS

King Richard

INSIDER PICKS:

Aly Caviness: Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter

Coye Lloyd: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Emily Wheeler: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

“Playing Anita requires moving through a complicated emotional arc on top of all that singing and dancing, and DeBose made it look effortless. It’s the best performance of the year, full stop.”

Hannah Myers Lindgren: Judi Dench, Belfast

“I think it could be easy to overlook Judi Dench’s role in ‘Belfast,’ but for me, she really balanced out the film. I loved how her relationships with each of the other characters helped better define who they were.”

Julia Ricci: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

“I love this version of ‘West Side Story,’ and DeBose gives a standout, charismatic performance that also cuts to the emotional core of the film. It would also be a historic win, since Rita Moreno won this award for playing the same character in the 1961 version. Two actors winning an Oscar for playing the same character has only happened twice before.”

Louise Henderson: Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

“She is the best part of this film. Every scene she’s in is powerful.”

Tiera Hollanquest: Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter

“Jessie Buckley’s character was conflicting, but her acting made it impossible not to relate to the struggles she faced as a woman trying to balance motherhood and a career.”

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

Nominees:

BELFAST

Written by Kenneth Branagh

DON’T LOOK UP

Screenplay by Adam McKay; Story by Adam McKay & David Sirota

KING RICHARD

Written by Zach Baylin

LICORICE PIZZA

Written by Paul Thomas Anderson

THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD

Written by Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier

INSIDER PICKS:

Coye Lloyd: Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier; The Worst Person in the World

“‘The sum of Western guilt sat beside home on the couch” is my favorite line in this Norwegian anti rom-com-dram. In its way, ‘Worst Person’ finds itself revealing the melancholy inherent in the thrill of falling in love.”

Emily Wheeler: Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier; The Worst Person in the World

“Vogt and Trier complete their wonderful Oslo Trilogy with a romantic comedy that sneaks up and wallops you in its back half. After writing so many great films they shouldn’t be able to surprise like that, but they did.”

Hannah Myers Lindgren: Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier; The Worst Person in the World

“One of the (many) reasons why I loved ‘The Worst Person in the World’ is because the writing and the structure of the film felt unique and refreshing. The dialogue in most rom-coms and dramas ends up being surface level, but the conversations in this film felt rich and authentic. When Julie tells Aksel she loves him but she also doesn’t love him—I felt so seen! That’s something anyone who has gone through a breakup can connect with.”

Julia Ricci: Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier; The Worst Person in the World

“It’s the dark horse of this category, but it’s a beautifully written story that authentically captures the uncertainty young adults go through. There are several quotes from this film that I have written down and still think about.”

Louise Henderson: Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

“Branagh successfully tells a story on several levels through the eyes of a little boy. The Troubles are the backdrop, but his writing portrays the difficult decisions that political situation pushes the family into in a beautifully nuanced way.”

Tiera Hollanquest: Zach Baylin, King Richard

“This story of Black fatherhood was refreshing as it is not written about enough in this industry.”

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Nominees:

ENCANTO
FLEE
LUCA
THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES
RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON
INSIDER PICKS:

Aly Caviness: Luca

“It is perhaps a little too easy for adults to dismiss an animated film so content with its own simplicity that at first glance it seems unremarkable. That’s ‘Luca’ in a nutshell. Among these nominees, ‘Luca’ is truly something special, Pixar’s best movie in recent memory that only gets richer and more emotionally resonant each time you watch it. You can trust me on that one. Thanks to my toddler, I’ve seen ‘Luca’ close to 50 times, and each time was as magical as the last.”

Coye Lloyd: Flee

Emily Wheeler: Flee

“The animation evokes the emotions of a subject who barely dares speak.”

Julia Ricci: Flee

“‘Encanto’ appears to be the clear frontrunner, but it would be nice to see ‘Flee’ win. It’s an incredible documentary that is entirely animated, pushing the boundaries of both animation and documentary storytelling. It’s also nominated for Documentary Feature and International Feature.”

Louise Henderson: Flee

“This film shows the power of storytelling with animation, in this case, a man coming to grips with the contrast of his present stable life and partner to his refugee experience and having to conceal his sexuality.”

Tiera Hollanquest: Encanto

“I loved the songs, the lessons, and characters. Everything about this film was amazing!”

Stephanie Groves is the Executive Editor of Indy Maven and she has never won an Oscar pool.

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