After BAFTA, comes Oscar

A look at the Acting Categories for the upcoming 94th Academy Award ceremony.


Agustin Noguera Villegas

2/8/20226 min read

The BAFTA nominations are out, which can only mean Oscar nominations are around the corner! And although some of the major categories have now solidified, some are just as elusive as ever. Let’s break down who will be nominated at the Oscars in the acting categories, and eventually take the gold, versus who I’d hope to be nominated and win.

** That being said, here are a few movies I still have yet to see that would most definitely change this list up a bit:

  • The Worst Person in the World

  • Cyrano

  • The Tragedy of Macbeth

  • Drive My Car

Best Supporting Actress

Who I BELIEVE will be nominated:

  • Kirsten Dunst - The Power of the Dog

  • Caitríona Balfe - Belfast

  • Aunjanue Ellis - King Richard

  • Ruth Negga - Passing

Winner: Ariana DeBose - West Side Story

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story.

I think DeBose would be a fantastic winner. She shines in every scene she’s given and elevates the famous role one played by West Side Story co-star Rita Moreno. And as someone who loves Hamilton and The Prom, it would be a delight to see her win, as she has proven herself to be an incredible performer on stage and in front of the camera. She, too, would be making history as one of the few openly queer performers to win an Oscar in the acting category - and the second Latina to win an Oscar for acting, with Rita Morena being the first, interestingly enough (and frankly, heartbreakingly) for the same role.

Who I WISH would be nominated:

  • Ariana DeBose - West Side Story

  • Kirsten Dunst - The Power of the Dog

  • Aunjanue Ellis - King Richard

  • Olga Merediz - In the Heights

Winner: Ann Dowd - Mass

Ann Dowd in Mass

Ann Dowd in Mass.

However, my favorite performance in the supportive category for this year belongs to Ann Dowd, for her portrayal of the mother of a school shooter in Mass. It should be noted that the entire cast of Mass is superb, but Dowd has two fantastic scenes that are both heartbreaking and life affirming. Her monologue at the end should be her nomination clip at the Oscars. Unfortunately, the film has had a turbulent campaign, partly because of the film’s small and independent distributor (Bleecker Street). With that being said, I still have hopes that Ann Dowd will be recognized for her performance. She is a revelation.

Best Actress

Who I BELIEVE will be nominated:

  • Lady Gaga - House of Gucci

  • Jessica Chastain - The Eyes of Tammy Faye

  • Olivia Colman - The Lost Daughter

  • Kristen Stewart - Spencer

Winner: Nicole Kidman - Being the Ricardos

Nicole Kidman in Being the Ricardos

Nicole Kidman in Being the Ricardos.

I frankly don’t see how the Academy doesn’t choose to award Kidman for her stellar work in Being the Ricardos. She’s working with a beloved cast of Oscar winners, and she’s being directed in (beloved screenwriter) Aaron Sorkin’s new film - in a film about the behind the scenes of show business. The narrative is already there, but I must emphasize what a stellar performance Kidman crafts as the woman behind the television icon, Lucille Ball. There is also to consider that the Academy has a knack for awarding multiple Oscars to some of their most beloved creatives. Renée Zellweger and Frances McDormand have recently won their second and third Oscars in the last two ceremonies. And for many, it is destined this year for one of the greatest actors alive (who is constantly giving phenomenal performances in both TV and film) to receive that elusive second Oscar.

Who I WISH would be nominated:

  • Nicole Kidman - Being the Ricardos

  • Olivia Colman - The Lost Daughter

  • Penélope Cruz - Parallel Mothers

  • Alana Haim - Licorice Pizza

=Winner:  Kristen Stewart - Spencer

Kristen Stewart in Spencer

Kristen Stewart in Spencer.

I would love for Kristen Stewart to take the gold home. It is my favorite performance of the year - and I am not the only one who thinks so, with over 25 critics groups crowning her with the “Best Actress” honor. She is sublime and ethereal; composed and contemplative; she is truly astounding and magical, delivering a career best. In her portrayal of Princess Diana, she crafts a picture of a lonely woman gasping for a freedom that never seems to arrive. I absolutely adored her and I hope she gets nominated, and ultimately wins.

Best Supporting Actor

Who I BELIEVE will be nominated:

  • Kodi Smit-McPhee - The Power of the Dog

  • Jared Leto - House of Gucci

  • Ciarán Hinds - Belfast

  • Bradley Cooper - Licorice Pizza

Winner: Troy Kotsur  - CODA

Who I WISH would be nominated:

  • Kodi Smit-McPhee - The Power of the Dog

  • Jason Isaacs - Mass

  • Woody Norman - C’mon C’mon

  • Vincent Lindon - Titane

Winner: Troy Kotsur  - CODA

Troy Kotsur in CODA

Troy Kotsur in CODA.

Troy Kotsur is both who I predict will win and who I would love to see win. He is hilarious when asked and comforting when needed - he is, in short, the literal and metaphorical definition of the word supporting. He is my pick not only because he’s fantastic, but also because if the Academy is to honor CODA, it will be in this category. His biggest competition is Smit-McPhee, and the Academy will most likely honor The Power of the Dog in both Best Director and Best Picture. So, I think that incentivizes voters to spread the love and give Kotsur the push he deserves to win Best Supporting Actor. It should be noted that Kotsur would make history as the second deaf actor to win an Oscar in the acting category - the first actress to do so being CODA co-star Marlee Matlin - and the first male deaf actor to win.

Best Actor

Who I BELIEVE will be nominated:

  • Benedict Cumberbatch - The Power of the Dog

  • Andrew Garfield - Tick, Tick… Boom!

  • Peter Dinklage - Cyrano

  • Denzel Washington - The Tragedy of Macbeth

Winner: Will Smith  - King Richard

Will Smith in King Richard.

The narrative of Will Smith to Oscar gold is more complex that people give him credit for. A previous two-time nominee, Smith has proven himself a master of both comedy and dramaturgy. I can see why to some a win for his performance as Richard Williams, the coach and father to famed tennis players Serena and Venus Williams, would be a way to honor Smith for his three decade span of work - for being a constant figure in box office drawn and for providing so many core memories to first time-movie-goers. I still remember when I went to see Men in Black II with my dad. But Smith does an incredible job in King Richard. His scene confronting the reporter for interrogating his daughter with inexcusable questions or when he has a father-daughter moment with Serena and tells her she will be the greatest of all time could alone be enough to award him the Oscar.

Best Actor

Who I WISH would be nominated:

  • Andrew Garfield - Tick, Tick… Boom!

  • Will Smith - King Richard

  • Nicolas Cage - Pig

  • Amir Jadidi - A Hero 

Winner: Benedict Cumberbatch - The Power of the Dog

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog.

I love Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as the cruel ranch-owner Phil Burbank. One of the greatest scenes of this year is the dueling instruments one with Kirsten Dunst, and although he is barely on-screen for it, his macabre presence is still felt throughout the scene and in every frame in the film. The way he terrorizes those he deems weaker; when he shows a moment of tenderness as the lays down in the grass with the used handkerchief of his former lover - Cumberbatch delivers. Not only that, but Cumberbatch had a lot of work to do for this film, including learning to play the banjo, braiding and knotting rope, whistling, horse riding, etc. He is just utterly deserving of the Oscar. 

I can’t wait to see the aforementioned films that I have yet to watch, and see how things look after Oscar nominations come out for these prospective nominees. 

Oscar nominations will be out early in the morning of February the 8th.