Is it too early to talk Oscars? The upcoming 2022 Academy Awards ceremony will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on March 27th, less than four months away. Studios are active now in releasing their awards contenders and building buzz for best acting, director, and picture nominations. The New York Times’ awards specialist Kyle Buchanan lists his choice for the top six contenders for Best Picture, which include Steve Spielberg’s musical WEST SIDE STORY, Kenneth Branagh’s feel-good drama BELFAST, and Adam McKay’s satirical comedy DON’T LOOK UP. Top acting contenders include Benedict Cumberbatch as a cold-hearted rancher in POWER OF THE DOG, Will Smith as the alpha-tennis father Richard Williams in KING RICHARD, and Kristen Stewart playing Princess Diana in SPENCER.
While last year’s Oscars were defined by small pictures released on streaming platforms (and setting a new low in television viewership), this year look for the Academy to highlight bigger budget films, which may include WEST SIDE STORY and DUNE as Best Picture nominees. This would signal the comeback of big-budget pics as Oscar-worthy contenders and recovery in theatrical releasing. This year’s ceremony takes place in March, halfway between the delayed April event from last year and the traditional dates in February. It may come to symbolize that the movie industry has now reached the halfway point in its recovery from the pandemic and its adjustment to the new realities of streaming.