Oscars 2022: Halle Berry vs Lady Gaga vs Nicole Kidman for best actress looks likely, Andrew Garfield spices up best actor race, and Dune could rival Belfast for best picture
- Best actress is one of this year’s most crowded races, with Lady Gaga and Halle Berry among the top contenders – but don’t discount Nicole Kidman
- Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast is seeing some competition for best picture, including from Dune, while Andrew Garfield could be a contender for the best actor award
We finally have a real best picture race.
But the Irish coming-of-age story may be more vulnerable than we think.
And then there’s Licorice Pizza, Paul Thomas Anderson’s totally charming ’70s romance featuring what entertainment site AwardsWatch called “an all-timer of a breakout performance” by pop-rock musician-turned-actress Alana Haim.
Anderson’s films There Will Be Blood and Phantom Thread have been major Oscar players, although the beloved writer/director has yet to win one himself. Critics have already fallen hard for Licorice Pizza, and it’s likely that Academy members will bite, too.
Here’s where other key races stand before we head into December:
Lady Gaga, Halle Berry may duke it out for best actress
Best actress is quickly becoming one of this year’s most crowded races, but contenders Lady Gaga (House of Gucci) and Halle Berry (Bruised) have been hard at work to ensure they’re not left out, with a flurry of interviews about the intense preparation their latest roles required.
She’s a huge part of why House of Gucci is this season’s most meme-able movie, with a high-camp murder story that sets it apart from more serious-minded awards hopefuls. If House of Gucci scores at the Thanksgiving box office, Gaga could ride the film’s crowd-pleaser status to her second Oscar win (after best original song for Star is Born duet Shallow).
Despite lukewarm reviews (65 per cent positive on Rotten Tomatoes), some voters will surely admire Berry’s unwavering commitment to bring Bruised to the screen, including making her directorial debut with the project.
Nicole Kidman could get the last laugh
But the drama started screening for industry members this past week and reactions so far have been surprisingly glowing, with journalists calling Kidman “marvellous” and “captivating”.
Aaron Sorkin’s kinetic script imagines a momentous week of production of sitcom I Love Lucy, as Ball and husband Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) battle tabloids, television executives and each other. After a somewhat jarring start, Kidman eases into the role and fully convinces you that she’s Ball during the film’s engrossing second half, which brims with Sorkin’s signature repartee and earnestness.
You can safely bet on Kidman to land her fifth Oscar nomination, after winning best actress nearly two decades ago for The Hours.
Andrew Garfield throws a grenade in the best actor race
Up until now, it’s been all but assumed that Will Smith will walk away with the best actor statue come Oscar night for King Richard, playing Serena and Venus Williams’ fiercely dedicated dad.
Although he’s still the presumed front-runner – with Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth) hovering over his shoulder – Andrew Garfield will certainly give them both a run for their money with his astounding work in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tick, Tick … Boom!
Garfield explodes off the screen as late Rent creator Jonathan Larson, holding his own with a cast of musical theatre veterans as he sings and dances to an infectious rock score.
His tearful, heart-wrenching ballad at the film’s climax is what Oscar clips are made of, and would all but sew up an awards victory in a less competitive year.