Now that it’s June and the 2022 Cannes Film Festival is in the books, it’s a point in the year to take stock, Oscar wise. Of course, what you’ll find is that we literally know almost nothing. This is usually par for the course, give or take when Cannes has a clear cut player everyone is sure the Academy’s membership will love. That’s not a yearly occurrence and happens somewhat infrequently. So, wherever you stood prior to the festival is more or less where you still should be. At the same time, I haven’t updated my predictions in a while, so what better time than now? All of this is to say I used the fest as an excuse to tinker with my Year in Advance picks for the Academy Awards.
When I previewed the festival last month (here), I had this, in part, to say:
As things get underway, the movies obviously aren’t just attempting to draw in critical acclaim. They’re also hoping to get Academy Award buzz, helping to launch the beginnings of an awards season that’s aching to begin. Today, much like we did around this time last year (here), we’ll look at what’s hoping to capitalize on the buzz, as well as whether that’s something that usual happens at the festival.
As a reminder, Cannes doesn’t historically launch Oscar fare, or at least more than one or two major contenders a year. Even then, it’s more often in the Best International Feature (formerly the Best Foreign Language Feature) category. The recent success of something like Bong Joon Ho‘s Parasite is far more the exception than the rule. To that end, will something this year be another Parasite, or are we looking at a quiet Cannes, Oscar wise? Last year, Drive My Car and The Worst Person in the World were able to score multiple Academy Award nominations, while would-be contenders like The French Dispatch, A Hero, Red Rocket, and Stillwater ultimately were snubbed. Then, there was Titane, which took home the Palme d’Or but couldn’t get the Academy to notice it.
Cannes sometimes does launch an Oscar juggernaut. No Country for Old Men springs to mind, for example. So does, as it turned out to a lesser degree, the aforementioned Parasite. However, it’s far from a sure thing. Usually it takes another festival or the precursors to really establish where we’re at, contender-wise. That’s just the name of the game.
Did anything make a mark? Well, the Competition titles didn’t seem to signify anything major. Broker, Close, and Decision to Leave all could have potential as International contenders that break through elsewhere, but so much depends on campaigns, submissions, and other things not related to quality. Something like Armageddon Time will be in the conversation, but will need to do better elsewhere than at Cannes, where the reviews were strong, but not soaring.
Frankly, the more populist fare like Elvis and Top Gun: Maverick may ultimately be what ends up doing the best with Oscar, interestingly enough. The former may not be the Best Picture player some thought it might be, but Austin Butler seems like he’ll be in the thick of the Best Actor race. The latter could be a force in the tech categories, but as a certified blockbuster with some of the year’s best reviews, maybe there’s truly some upward mobility?
Remember, it’s still early. My last predictions article (found here) may look similar to this new one, but that’s the nature of the beast right now. I’m remaining very conservative, which is why I’m not only holding off on anything too major for Top Gun: Maverick, but still have Everything Everywhere All At Once outside of the Best Picture field. That certainly can change, but it won’t be for a bit, since nothing concrete, Oscar-wise, happens in the summer.
As always, you can see my new crack at advance Oscar predictions here at Awards Radar. We shall see, but this list is sure to change once again when I give it another update, likely in a month or so. Until then, the usual suspects from the initial ranking still loom large…
Stay tuned for an update to these Oscar predictions as the summer continues!