27 Mar Final 2022 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture and Best Director
This is CODA vs. The Power of the Dog. The Oscar voting period is from March 17th to the 22nd and during that time, CODA undoubtedly surged, winning PGA on the 19th and WGA on the 20th. The timing of these awards are one of the central reasons most pundits have CODA winning Best Picture. However, CODA didn’t have significant backlash until it won these awards and The Power of the Dog won three awards (DGA, BAFTA, and CCA), the weekend before the voting period opened.
Additionally, every Best Picture winner in the preferential era has won at either PGA or WGA, which as previously-mentioned, are both awards CODA has won (though The Power of the Dog was ineligible for a nomination at the WGA). CODA’s eleventh-hour spike and the film’s broad likeability and accessibility are its advantages, though it being oft-compared to a Lifetime movie will likely hurt it in the eyes of an Academy that awarded critical favorites like Moonlight, Parasite, and Nomadland in only the last five years.
What does The Power of the Dog have going for it? It’s probably the most acclaimed of the nominees (other than Drive My Car) and has the stats and path of recent Best Picture winners. It has a DGA nomination, a BAFTA Best Film nod, and Film, Director, and Screenplay mentions from the Golden Globes, all accolades that every Best Picture winner in the preferential era has had and that CODA does not have (Campions film won DGA, BAFTA, and the Globe for Best Drama as well). It went to the fall festivals, unlike CODA (the film premiered at Sundance in early 2021 and was released to streaming in August), has an editing nomination (which every BP winner in the preferential era except for Birdman, which was made to look like it was shot in one take, won), unlike CODA, and is the nomination leader with 12 total, unlike CODA. The thing The Power of the Dog doesn’t have going or it is that it is perceived by some as a cold, artsy pick in contrast to the warm and accessible nature of CODA. It has a 6.9 IMDb score which would be the lowest, by far, of any winner in the preferential era (Nomadland and The Shape of Water were the previous lowests with 7.3s). CODA, in contrast, has an 8.0.
When it comes to sociocultural relevance, which has been a significant factor in most Best Picture winners of the last six years, CODA, with its focus on a deaf family, seems to have the upper hand. However, The Power of the Dog with its examination of closeted homosexuality in the 1920s also has this “sociocultural importance” factor. Sam Elliott’s comments against The Power of the Dog likely helped the film as it emphasized that the toxic masculinity it identified is still alive and well today.
In the end, I am going to go with The Power of the Dog as this Academy is the one that nominated Drive My Car in Picture, Director, and Adapted Screenplay and awarded Moonlight in 2017 and Nomadland last year. I doubt they award a film like CODA that feels even slighter than something like Green Book. But then again, this year does kind of remind me of the 2019 when the broadly entertaining Green Book beat the black-and-white Roma, but Green Book had a lot more important stats under its belt that CODA doesn’t have (Editing nod, BAFTA Best Film nod, DGA nod, Golden Globe Best Film, Director, and Screenplay nods, etc.). CODA could win, but I don’t think I’m ready to see all the stat-destruction that a CODA win would entail.
The Power of the Dog – GG (Drama), DGA, CCA, BAFTA
CODA – SAG, PGA, WGA
West Side Story – GG (Comedy/Musical)
Don’t Look Up
Drive My Car
Pick: The Power of the Dog
C(h)ampion is taking this. There is really no question about it. Barring nothing extremely unexpected, she will become the third woman to win Best Director and the second consecutive after Chloe Zhao won last year for Nomadland.
Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog – GG, CCA, DGA, BAFTA
Steven Spielberg – West Side Story
Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza
Kenneth Branagh – Belfast
Ryusuke Hamaguchi – Drive My Car
Pick: Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog