Play Hard

Everything you need to know about the 2022 Oscar nominations

It's that time of year again – the biggest night in Hollywood’s awards season is nearly upon us. Here’s what you need to know…

Written by High Life North
Published 26.02.2022

The Academy Awards is an annual opportunity for Hollywood’s crème de la creme to celebrate and acknowledge the work of their peers.

This will be the first time in three years that the Oscars, as they’re affectionately known, has had a host. With event organisers hoping that this year will not be one to be miss, they’ve gone all out to secure hosts Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall to lead the evening’s celebrations.

It’s a pretty big year for Netflix, as its western The Power of The Dog is the first of its streamed movies to be nominated for an Oscar. Directed by Jane Campion and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, the film actually leads the awards proceedings with a total of 12 nominations – including Best Actor, Best Director and Best Picture.

The Power of The Dog is closely followed in the nominations tally by sci-fi epic Dune, which has 10 nominations. Sir Kenneth Branagh’s autobiographical black and white gem, Belfast, and Steven Spielberg’s take on classic musical West Side Story, are then tied in third, claiming seven nominations apiece.

So, here’s what you need to know about the individual nominations and our tips on who may just edge it on the night…


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

HLN predicts… Jesse Plemons

Personally, Ciaran Hinds would be our favourite to win for his performance in Belfast, However, he faces stiff competition from both Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee, who were both phenomenal in Netflix’s epic western, with our money on Plemons to edge it. J.K. Simons (of Whiplash fame) would be a surprise winner for his small role in Being The Ricardos.


Judi Dench – Belfast

Jessie Buckley – The Lost Daughter

Ariana Debose – West Side Story

Kirsten Dunst – The Power of The Dog

Aunjanue Ellis – King Richard

HLN predicts… Judi Dench

Dame Judi hasn’t won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress since Shakespeare in Love in 1998, in which she played Queen Elizabeth I. We reckon it could be her time again this year. Not that it’s a foregone conclusion, though – there are some truly stand-out performances in this category, particularly from Ariana Debose and Kirsten Dunst.


Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of The Dog

Andrew Garfield – Tick, Tick....BOOM!

Javier Bardem – Being The Ricardos

Will Smith – King Richard

Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth

HLN predicts… Will Smith

Although Brits Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Garfield go head-to-head in the battle for Best Leading Actor, we think the title race is more likely to be between Will Smith and Denzel Washington. And both actors thoroughly deserve it. Although Denzel has received the most Oscar nominations of any black actor, we have a sneaky suspicion Hollywood’s love of celebrating their own through the medium of biopics will triumph.



Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter

Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Penelope Cruz – Parallel Mothers

Nicole Kidman – Being The Ricardos

Kristen Stewart – Spencer

HLN predicts…Nicole Kidman

Kidman is probably the favourite for her role in biographical drama Being the Ricardos, in which she plays I Love Lucy actress Lucille Ball stupendously. Olivia Colman will be a real threat to her crown, though, having won in this category three years ago for her portrayal of Queen Anne in The Favourite. For Kristen Stewart to win for her depiction of Princess Diana would be something of a surprise, considering Spencer received such mixed reviews at the box office.


Kenneth Branagh – Belfast

Jane Campion – The Power of The Dog

Ryusuke Hamaguchi – Drive My Car

Steven Spielberg – West Side Story

Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza

HLN predicts… Kenneth Branagh

Our money is on Branagh to nab this award for his autobiographical, coming-of-age drama, Belfast. But we’d love to see The Power of The Dog director Jane Campion emerge victorious, especially as she’s the first female director to have been nominated for Best Director twice, having directed the critically-acclaimed The Piano back in 1993. Paul Thomas Anderson is also one to watch here.




Don't Look Up

Drive My Car


King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Nightmare Alley

The Power of The Dog

West Side Story

HLN predicts Belfast 

This one is toooough to call. But slightly edging it for us is Kenneth Branagh’s modern-day masterpiece, chronicling his own experiences as a nine-year-old during The Troubles of 1969 Belfast.

Don’t Look Up could be a surprise contender. Leonardo DiCaprio was on fine form (as he always is) leading an all-star cast in the environmental comedy, which sees a comet on a collision course with Earth – and no-one that bothered by it. (Pretty topical, huh?)

And we’re not writing off The Power of The Dog yet, either. 2022 could be the year Netflix clinch their first Best Picture Oscar, and it would be thoroughly deserved. In her captivating exploration of toxic masculinity, sexuality and how they can lead to an individual’s destruction, Jane Campion taps into an inherently topical discourse with expert dexterity.

Do you agree with our predictions? Let us know on Instagram.

Fancy some film inspo? Here are the 21 films coming out this year that are top of our must-watch list.

The 94th Academy Awards will be broadcast live on Monday 28th March between 1am–4am.


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