2022 Oscars: Here are the movies expected to win big

Starring some of Hollywood’s brightest stars, including Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst, the western psychological drama, “The Power of the Dog,” is expected to be a heavy hitter at this year’s Academy Awards, with 12 nominations.

Still, film critic Richard Crouse anticipates that the night’s most coveted statue will be presented to “CODA” for best picture. “CODA,” an acronym for child of deaf adult, is a coming-of-age comedy about a teenage girl named Ruby, the only hearing member of a deaf family in Massachusetts.

“I think it’s going to be ‘CODA’s’ year to upset that ‘Power of the Dog’ train that seems to have been going all the way through awards season,” Crouse told CTV News Channel on Sunday ahead of the Oscars. “Every year, there’s a movie that kind of comes out of nowhere, and all of a sudden, everyone’s talking about it the next day, and I think CODA is going to be that movie this year.”

Ahead of Hollywood’s biggest night, Crouse also shared his predictions for who will take home some hardware for the rest of the ceremony’s top categories.

In the category of best actress, Jessica Chastain is favored for the win, Crouse said. While she started the awards season as an underdog, her performance in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” quickly picked up steam, he said, and she won best actress at the Screen Actors Guild Awards last month.

“When you use the algorithm, the Academy Awards algorithm, which is just simply looking at who’s won what over the span of awards season, she is a front-runner here,” said Crouse.

This image released by Searchlight Pictures shows Andrew Garfield as Jim Bakker, center, and Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye Bakker in a scene from “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” (Searchlight Pictures via AP)

“The Eyes of Tammy Faye” is a romantic drama that tells the story of the rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker. Both Nicole Kidman and Kristen Stewart are presenting some fierce competition in the category for their roles in “Being the Ricardos” and “Spencer,” respectively. Other nominees include Olivia Colman for “The Lost Daughter,” and Penelope Cruz for “Parallel Mothers.”

Among those nominated for best actor, Crouse sees the award going to Will Smith for his role in “King Richard.” After losing out on best actor in 2002 for his portrayal of boxer Muhammad Ali, Crouse anticipates this nomination will end with a knock-out victory for Smith’s talented performance.

“Richard Williams was someone who walked his own path and made decisions that often seemed inexplicable, and you couldn’t always understand his motivations,” said Crouse. “So you needed an actor that brings real movie-star heft [and] real movie-star charisma to keep us onside with that character for the whole time, and Will Smith does it.”

“King Richard” is a biographical sports drama that centers around Richard Williams and his two daughters, tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams. Smith is up against some big names for the award, including Javier Bardem for “Being the Ricardos,” Benedict Cumberbatch for “The Power of the Dog,” Andrew Gardield for “Tick, Tick…Boom!” and Denzel Washington for “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”

Will Smith in a scene from

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Will Smith in a scene from “King Richard.” (Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

For best supporting actress, Crouse predicts the winner will be Ariana DeBose for her performance in “West Side Story,” directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg. DeBose plays Anita in the film, a role that also won actress Rita Moreno an Academy Award in 1962.

“There’s a bit of history on her side,” said Crouse. “[And] she’s fantastic in the movie. She can sing, she can dance, she can act – it’s the trifecta there.”

Other nominees in the category include Jessie Buckley for “The Lost Daughter,” Judi Dench for “Belfast,” Kirsten Dunst for “The Power of the Dog,” and Aunjanue Ellis for “King Richard.”

For best supporting actor, Crouse anticipates Kodi Smit-McPhee from “The Power of the Dog” will be taking home the statue.

“He’s one of the only characters in the movie that you can really, truly understand their motivations behind what they’re doing,” said Crouse.

Jesse Plemons is also nominated in the same category for his performance in “The Power of the Dog,” as are Ciaran Hinds for “Belfast,” Troy Kotsur for “CODA,” and JK Simmons for “Being the Ricardos.”

The 94th Academy Awards are expected to revert back to their original format this year, with the red carpet rolling out at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles for the first time since 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last year was so glum, and it was a pandemic show,” said Crouse. “It just didn’t feel like the Academy Awards is supposed to feel, which is kind of fun, kind of frivolous [and] glamorous. It’s where we get to see Hollywood on their biggest night.”

Troy Kotsur and Marlee Matlin in

This image released by Apple TV+ shows Troy Kotsur, left, and Marlee Matlin in a scene from “CODA.” (Apple TV+ via AP)

The awards show, however, returns with a number of changes, including the removal of several awards that are anticipated to result in a shorter broadcast. The ceremony will also be led by three hosts, comedians Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall, with each expected to helm one hour of the show.

“I hope that works and keeps it on track,” said Crouse. “It’s important to keep the energy up and that’s what was missing from last year.”

The telecast for this year’s Oscars ceremony will start at 8 pm EDT.

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