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Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars and Emmys ceremonies from film awards editor Clayton Davis. Following history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Oscar and Emmy predictions are updated regularly with the current year's list of contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. The eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and is subject to change.

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2022 OSCARS PREDICTIONS:
BEST ACTOR

UPDATED: March 24, 2022

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY

Reinaldo Marcus Green’s sports drama “King Richard” has given double Oscar nominee Will Smith (also nominated for best picture as a producer), the vehicle to nab a long overdue statuette. After debuting at the Telluride Film Festival, the “Rocky” of tennis movies was an inspirational tale for so many in the middle of the pandemic. 

Winning the prize, he’ll be the third person to win an acting award for a film that he also produced. The first were Laurence Olivier for “Hamlet” (1948) and Frances McDormand for “Nomadland” (2020). Best actress hopeful Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”) could also join this company. 

Despite Smith not campaigning as much as his closest competitors – Andrew Garfield for “Tick, Tick … Boom!” and Benedict Cumberbatch for “The Power of the Dog” – after winning the Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics Choice and SAG award, he seems to be locked and loaded for his winning moment. Only one performer in the history of all four televised awards ceremonies existing (27 years) has lost the Oscar after winning with every group. That was 20 years ago — when Smith nabbed his first nom for “Ali” (2001) — where Denzel Washington, nominated this year for “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” was able to surpass Russell Crowe for the best picture winner “A Beautiful Mind.” 

If there is a “Russell Crowe loss” – it would be Garfield in a beloved role and huge presence this year with “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” for which his co-star Jessica Chastain is heavily contending. 

Javier Bardem has the respect of his colleagues for “Being the Ricardos” but it truly seems like Smith’s year. 

Will win: Will Smith, “King Richard” (Warner Bros) 

Could win: Andrew Garfield, “Tick, Tick … Boom!” (Netflix) 

Should win: Andrew Garfield, “Tick, Tick … Boom!” (Netflix) 

Should have been here: Simon Rex, “Red Rocket” (A24) 

Precursor Awards Leader:
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)
Awards Season Calendar


ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

  1. Will Smith
    "King Richard" (Warner Bros)
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    THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "You will be representing every little Black girl on Earth." - Richard Williams (Smith)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Two nominations

    PRODUCERS: Tim White, Trevor White and Will Smith
    DIRECTOR: Reinaldo Marcus Green
    SYNOPSIS: A look at how tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams became who they are after the coaching from their father Richard Williams.
    STARRING: Jon Bernthal, Aunjanue Ellis, Tony Goldwyn, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Will Smith


  2. Andrew Garfield
    "Tick, Tick ... Boom!" (Netflix)
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    THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "Louder than Words" - Jonathan Larson (Garfield)

    OSCAR HISTORY: One nomination

    PRODUCERS: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Julie Oh
    DIRECTOR: Lin-Manuel Miranda
    SYNOPSIS: On the cusp of his 30th birthday, a promising young theater composer navigates love, friendship and the pressures of life as an artist in New York City.
    STARRING: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, Vanessa Hudgens, Joshua Henry, MJ Rodriguez, Judith Light, Bradley Whitford


  3. Benedict Cumberbatch
    "The Power of the Dog" (Netflix)
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    THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "::bathing in the river::" - Phil Burbank (Cumberbatch)

    OSCAR HISTORY: One nomination

    PRODUCERS: Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Roger Frappie
    DIRECTOR: Jane Campion
    SYNOPSIS: Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.
    STARRING: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee


  4. Denzel Washington
    "The Tragedy of Macbeth" (Apple Original Films/A24)
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    THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow" - Lord Macbeth (Washington)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Nine nominations, two wins: "Glory" (1989) for supporting actor and "Training Day" (2001) for best actor

    PRODUCERS: Joel Coen, Robert Graf, Frances McDormand
    DIRECTOR: Joel Coen
    SYNOPSIS: A Scottish lord becomes convinced by a trio of witches that he will become the next King of Scotland, and his ambitious wife supports him in his plans of seizing power.
    STARRING: Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Corey Hawkins, Harry Melling, Brendan Gleeson, Bertie Carvel, Alex Hassell, Moses Ingram, Kathryn Hunter, Matt Helm


  5. Javier Bardem
    "Being the Ricardos" (Amazon Studios)
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    THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "Enjoy the show!" - Desi Arnaz (Bardem)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Three nominations, one win: "No Country for Old Men" (2007) for supporting actor

    PRODUCERS: Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch
    DIRECTOR: Aaron Sorkin
    SYNOPSIS: Follows Lucy and Desi as they face a crisis that could end their careers and another that could end their marriage.
    STARRING: Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Tony HAle, Alia Shawkat, Jake Lacy


AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Best Actor)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The most awarded films in Oscar history are “Ben-Hur,” “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at 11 statuettes. The most nominated films in Academy history are “All About Eve,” “Titanic” and “La La Land” at 14. “La La Land” is the only film of the three to have lost best picture. The most prominent Oscar “losers,” meaning most nominated and walk away with zero awards, are 1977’s “The Turning Point” and 1985’s “The Color Purple” at 11 each. Daniel Day-Lewis has the most wins in this category with three, while Marlon Brando, Gary Cooper, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Fredric March, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn and Spencer Tracy have two. Tracy and Sir Laurence Olivier have the most nominations in this category, with nine. Anthony Hopkins is currently the oldest winner and nominee ever at 82 for “The Father,” recently surpassing Henry Fonda for “On Golden Pond” and Richard Farnsworth for “The Straight Story.” Adrien Brody is the youngest winner ever for “The Pianist” at 29, while Jackie Cooper is the youngest nominee ever for “Skippy” at 9.


2022 Academy Awards Predictions

2021 Oscars predictions are here.

About the Academy Awards (Oscars)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners have been selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Seventeen branches are represented within the near 10,000 person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.

  • The date for the 94th Oscars will be held on Sunday, Mar. 27, 2022