TFCA Friday: Special Oscars Edition!

March 25, 2022

The Oscar race is on! With just over a dozen members of the Toronto Film Critics Association reporting, we’ve assembled our annual Oscar predictions to help readers with their Oscar pools. Unfortunately, there’s so little consensus among our critics that we might not provide the handiest of cheat sheets. Fear not, because we’re a passionate punch!

Members are split when it comes to the big race. Early frontrunner The Power of the Dog is lagging behind underdog CODA, as the majority of our members are placing their bets on Sîan Heder’s crowd-pleasing drama about a mostly deaf family to triumph over Jane Campion’s auteurist western. However, we’re nearly unanimous that Campion will put an Oscar next to her TFCA Award. The Best Director race is a runaway in our poll with 92.3% of critics betting on Campion. Her only challenger seems to be some kid named Steven Spielberg, who could find favour for daring to tamper with a tried-and-true classic and succeeding.

The other odds-on favourite is our own TFCA Award winner for Best Picture, Drive My Car, in the race for Best International Feature. With over 90% of the critics calling that race for the Japanese drama, it might be one of the safer bets of the night. In some cases, we’re evenly split, including ties in two of the three shorts categories!

Here are the TFCA members’ collective Oscar predictions ahead of Sunday’s show. And if you’re eager to watch some speeches, check out the thank you notes from some of the TFCA Awards winners, most of whom are Oscar nominees!

Best Picture

Will win: CODA – 58.3%

Watch out for: The Power of the Dog – 41.7%

Also nominated: Belfast, Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley, West Side Story

Best Director

Will win: Jane Campion – 92.3%

Watch out for: Steven Spielberg – 7.7%

Also nominated: Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza; Kenneth Branagh, Belfast; Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car

Best Actress

Will win: Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye – 76.9%

Watch out for: Kristen Stewart, Spencer – 23.1%

Also nominated: Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter; Penélope Cruz, Parallel Mothers; Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Best Actor

Will win: Will Smith, King Richard – 69.2%

Watch out for: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog and Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth – 15.4% each

Also nominated: Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos; Andrew Garfield, tick, tick…BOOM!

Best Supporting Actress

Will win: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story – 76.9%

Watch out for: Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog – 15.4%

Dark horse: Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter – 7.7%

Also nominated: Judi Dench, Belfast; Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Best Supporting Actor

Will win: Troy Kotsur, CODA – 84.6%

Watch out for: Ciarán Hinds, Belfast and Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog – 7.7% each

Also nominated: J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos; Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

Best Original Screenplay

Will win: Belfast OR Licorice Pizza – 30.8% each

Watch out for: King Richard and The Worst Person in the World – 15.4% each

Long shot: Don’t Look Up – 7.7%

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will win: The Power of the Dog – 46.2%

Watch out for: The Lost Daughter – 38.5%

Dark horse: CODA and Drive My Car – 7.7% each

Also nominated: Dune

Best International Feature

Will win: Drive My Car (Japan) – 92.7%

Watch out for: The Hand of God (Italy) – 7.7%

Also nominated: Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (Bhutan), Flee (Denmark), The Worst Person in the World (Norway)

Best Documentary Feature

Will win: Summer of Soul – 69.2%

Watch out for: Flee – 23.1%

Dark horse: Attica – 7.7%

Also nominated: Ascension, Writing with Fire

Best Animated Feature

Will win: Encanto – 76.9%

Watch out for: Flee – 15.4%

Dark horse: The Mitchells vs. the Machines – 7.7%

Also nominated: Luca, Raya and the Last Dragon

Best Cinematography

Will win: Dune – 50%

Watch out for: The Power of the Dog – 33.3%

Dark horses: The Tragedy of Macbeth, West Side Story – 8.3% each

Also nominated: Nightmare Alley

Best Film Editing

Will win: Dune – 41.7%

Watch out for: The Power of the Dog – 25%

Dark horses: King Richard and tick, tick…BOOM! – 16.7% each

Also nominated: Don’t Look Up

Best Music – Original Score

Will win: The Power of the Dog – 41.7%

Watch out for: Encanto – 33.3%

Dark horse: Dune – 25%

Also nominated: Don’t Look Up, Parallel Mothers

Best Music – Original Song

Will win: “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die – 66.7%

Watch out for: “Dos oruguitas” from Encanto – 25%

Dark horse: “Down to Joy” from Belfast – 8.3%

Also nominated: “Be Alive” from King Richard; “Somehow You Do” from Three Good Days

Best Production Design

Will win: Dune – 38.5%

Watch out for: Nightmare Alley and West Side Story – 23.1% each

Dark horses: The Power of the Dog, The Tragedy of Macbeth – 7.7% each

Best Costume Design

Will win: Cruella – 46.2%

Watch out for: West Side Story – 38.5%

Dark horses: Cyrano and Nightmare Alley – 7.7% each

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Will win: The Eyes of Tammy Faye – 61.5%

Watch out for: Dune – 23.1%

Dark horses: Cruella and House of Gucci – 7.7% each

Also nominated: Coming 2 America

Best Sound

Will win: Dune – 76.9%

Watch out for: West Side Story – 23.1%

Also nominated: Belfast, The Power of the Dog, No Time to Die

Best Visual Effects

Will win: Dune – 84.6%

Watch out for: Free Guy and Spider Man: No Way Home – 7.7% each

Also nominated: No Time to Die, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Best Documentary, Short Subject

Will win: The Queen of Basketball – 50%

Watch out for: Three Songs for Benazir and When We Were Bullies – 20% each

Dark horse: Lead Me Home – 10%

Also nominated: Audible

Best Live Action Short

Will win: The Dress OR The Long Goodbye – 36.4% each

Watch out for: Please Hold – 18.2%

Dark horse: Ala Kachuu – Take and Run – 9.1%

Also nominated: On My Mind

Best Animated Short

Will win: Affairs of the Art OR Robin Robin OR The Windshield Wiper – 27.3% each

Watch out for: Bestia – 18.2%

Also nominated: Boxballet

Most Egregious Snub?

We asked members which omission—or potential snub—rankles them most. Here’s what we heard:

Andrew says: Cate Blanchett for Best Supporting Actress in Nightmare Alley

Anne says: not giving The Power of the Dog everything!

Chris says: Rita Morena for Best Supporting Actress in West Side Story

Jim says: Pig

Johanna says: Dan Stevens  (Best Supporting Actor) was so damn good in I’m Your Man

Nathalie says: Ann Dowd for Best Supporting Actress in Mass and The Green Knight for everything

Pat says: Denis Villeneuve for Best Director and Meryl Streep for Best Supporting Actress in Don’t Look Up

Peter says: Alana Haim for Best Actress in Licorice Pizza


Are you even excited for the Oscars this year?

Despite all the changes to the show, our members say:

Always! = 84.6%

Heck, no. = 15.6%


Need some more pointers? Read our members’ Oscar takes?

For readers in the “Heck, no” camp when it comes to being excited about the Oscars, Johanna Schneller and Barry Hertz at The Globe and Mail suggest some major changes the Oscars could use to connect with audiences without compromising the integrity of the show or the awards. For one, the issue could be to ditch the boradcasters in favour of the streamers: “The non-monetary benefits alone would pay serious long-term dividends. Unconcerned by commercials or live viewership, the streamers would likely let producers run the show as long as they want. There could be algorithmic suggestions to catalogue content related to the nominated films, thus exposing viewers to more of the often under-the-radar work. Far more audiences will have access to the show, too, given how many subscribers streamers boast and how relatively few people still pay for network TV (the Oscars are the one night of the year I pull out my digital antenna from the basement). And we could finally stop obsessing over ratings, given that streamers are loath to reveal any coherent viewership information any way.”


Hertz also offers his picks for who will and should win and makes a case for Mr. Spielberg: “I’m not saying that Spielberg needs another Best Director Oscar – the man already has two – but there just isn’t another 2021 movie that showcases a filmmaker at the true height of their powers like West Side Story. The film (don’t dare call it a remake!) is a glorious and genuine movie-movie: a vivid, sweeping, beautiful piece of top-tier pop-art.


At the Toronto Star, Peter Howell breaks down the unexpected change of course in the Best Picture race: “If the Oscars were based strictly on merit, The Power of the Dog would win this prize in a walk. Campion’s sinewy adaptation of Thomas Savage’s stealth novel of cowboy identity is a triumph of form and content, a fact recognized by numerous pre-Oscar awards and nominations that include Campion’s writing and directing and the performances of all four of the film’s major cast members. But there’s no denying the power of a great underdog story and Sian Heder’s CODA has that in spades.”


At the National Post, Chris Knight offers his picks and predictions, including some good points about why Dune deserves it: “OK, this is my own pet peeve at play, but guess how many science-fiction movies have won best picture? Zero. The list of nominees isn’t even that long: The Martian, Her, Gravity, Inception, Avatar, Arrival, District 9, E.T., and a little picture called Star Wars! 2001: A Space Odyssey, widely considered one of the greatest movies in history, wasn’t even nominated. It’s time. Also, it was directed by Canada’s Denis Villeneuve. But that’s almost beside the point.”


At POV Magazine, Marc Glassman and Pat Mullen break down the documentary races: the agree that Summer of Soul will take it, but would vote differently on their personal ballots. But both agree that Lead Me Home deserves the short prize.


At That Shelf, Pat Mullen and Courtney Small weigh in on the races, learn the perils of trying Twitter Spaces with an old phone, and wonder what CODA‘s rally means: “On the other hand, one could say this is all Oscar blogger spin in the final stretch. The late surge for CODA resembles the momentum that Hidden Figures seemed to have in 2016 when it too won the SAG’s ensemble prize and scored a Best Picture nomination. Noise grew around an underdog, people started taking Hidden Figures seriously, and suspicions grew that La La Land didn’t actually have the deal sealed. Onlookers were right—La La Land didn’t win, but neither did Hidden Figures. Either way, the growing support for CODA is probably worse news for Belfast, which would be more likely to benefit from the ranked ballot given its feel-good mainstream appeal.”



At Classical FM, Marc Glassman is rooting for Drive My Car but thinks it’ll be The Power of the Dog in first: “A wonderful comeback production by Jane Campion and the big feature film that Benedict Cumberbatch always seemed capable of making. What’s not to love? One caveat: it is a genre picture upended. Yes, pro-gay and anti-bullying. But is it the best film of the year?”