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The 2022 Oscars: Everything You Need To Know About This Year’s Best Picture Nominees

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

It’s that time of year again! The 94th Academy Awards are quickly approaching. While it’s known to be one of the most anticipated nights for both film enthusiasts and filmmakers, the Oscars are also welcome to anyone who loves a bit of glamour, nervous excitement, and the chance to see some of Hollywood’s biggest stars sitting together inside the famous Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Centre. 

Even though receiving an Oscar nomination within any award category is an accomplishment on its own, one of the most prestigious awards of the night is Best Picture. This year, ten films have been nominated. Film critics have already started sharing their win predictions, but most people are probably still trying to figure out which films they should watch before the winners are announced. Many of the nominees are not major blockbusters with household names, and some of them might not be well known to the general public. So, in order to prevent you from feeling confused and left out for another year in a row, I’ve created a guide that covers everything from each nominee’s average rating to its leading cast. You have lots of time to develop your own opinion on each film, however, make sure you start streaming early so you’ll be feeling like a total movie expert before the ceremony is broadcasted worldwide on Sunday, March 27th at 8 p.m. EST.

Don’t Look Up 

Known for its star-studded cast, Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up was released for streaming on Christmas Eve, topping Netflix’s viewing charts. The film follows an astronomy grad student (Jennifer Lawrence) and her professor (Leonardo DiCaprio) who discover that a dangerous comet is headed straight for Earth—one which will inevitably destroy all of mankind. By using characters that resemble some of the many controversial figures we know today, such as the careless President Orlean (Meryl Streep) and her son and Chief of Staff (Jonah Hill), McKay warns audiences of what will happen when we decide to value money over humanity and highlights the importance of environmental and political action. The plot may sound a little familiar, especially as we continue to tackle climate change and a global pandemic.

Don’t Look Up was ranked seventh out of the other nine nominees by Variety, so it will be interesting to see if this film will secure any wins or if it will go home empty-handed. Still, the Oscars always seem to leave room for surprises. 

Ratings: Don’t Look Up received an average rating of 7.2/10 on IMDB and a Tomatometer score of 56% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Where you can watch it: Don’t Look Up streams exclusively on Netflix.


Written and directed by the renowned Kenneth Branagh, Belfast tells the heartfelt and emotional story of a young boy and his family and their experiences of living in Belfast, Ireland, during the late 1960s. According to IMDB, the story is based on true occurrences from Branagh’s childhood, and has received mostly stellar reviews from viewers. After receiving the 2021 Audience Award at TIFF, it rightfully earned its spot as a top contender for Best Picture—and it’s looking hopeful. Variety ranked it second out of the other nine nominees, and this drama stars an impressive range of talented actors; Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench and Jude Hill.

Ratings: IMDB gave Belfast a score of 7.4/10 and an 87% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Where you can watch it: Belfast is available for rent or purchase through Prime Video


This drama film directed by Sian Heder and distributed by Apple Original Films follows teenager Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones), who is a child of deaf adults—also known as CODA. After her family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby is forced to choose between her dream of attending college for music and staying home to help her parents. As a recipient of three Oscar nominations, CODA has already made Oscar history. According to Deadline, it’s the first film with a predominantly deaf cast to be nominated for Best Picture, and Troy Kotsur, who plays Frank Rossi in the film, is also the first deaf male actor to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Not only that, the film will be entering the Oscars with multiple awards already, as well as the thousands of critic ratings that have distinguished it as one of the best films of the year. 

Ratings: On Rotten Tomatoes, CODA received a Tomatometer score of 96% and a rating of 8.1/10 on IMDB. 

Where you can watch it: CODA streams exclusively on Apple TV+.

Drive My Car 

Adapted from Haruki Murakami’s short story, Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s film Drive My Car follows stage actor and director Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) who accepts an offer to direct a play at a theatre festival two years after his wife’s unexpected death. However, because he needs to comply with the festival’s strict rules, he has to let chauffeur Misaki Watari (Toko Miura) drive his car. Drive My Car has distinguished itself as a beautiful portrayal of grief, loss, and what it means to be human, helping this film stand quite strong against the other nominees. As described by TIFF, Drive My Car “travels paths of loneliness, loss, and bereavement,” and marks Hamaguchi as “a rising director in the firmament of contemporary Japanese cinema.” It’s also the first Japanese film to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, with Hamaguchi as the first Japanese director to be nominated for Best Director since 1986. 

Ratings: IMDB gave Drive My Car a rating of 7.8/10 and it received a 98% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Where you can watch it: Drive My Car is currently only available to watch in theatres. 


Dune was one of the most anticipated films of 2021, and since its release back in October, this blockbuster adapted from Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel has done quite well with audiences. According to Deadline, Dune recently crossed the $400 million box office mark worldwide. Impressively, the film has been playing in theatres for more than five months, and audiences still can’t seem to get enough of it—probably because of its very expensive cast, stunning visual effects, and Hans Zimmer’s beautifully composed score. The film has also earned ten Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, although director Denis Villeneuve didn’t receive a nomination for directing. Even so, I don’t think this will diminish the film’s chances of bringing home any awards.

Ratings: IMDB has given Dune a rating of 8.1/10, while it also achieved a 83% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Where you can watch it: Dune is still available to watch in some theatres, but you also can rent or purchase it through Prime Video. 

King Richard 

Written by Zach Baylin and directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard is a biographical drama film that follows the early years of tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, following their journey to international success with the help of their father and dedicated coach, Richard Williams. While it’s a drama film about sports, this biopic also explores the power of strong family relationships. The film stars Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis and Jon Bernthal and has been appreciated for its award-worthy acting performances after receiving a total of five Oscar nominations. In an article published by Variety, the producers of the film, Tim and Trevor White, revealed that they actually spent years developing the story, and used their interest in the Williams family’s origin story as the fuel for their project. Ultimately, the film is said to be both inspiring and emotionally gripping, so if you’re a sports fan and love a good family-centred drama, King Richard sounds like a great pick. 

Ratings: IMDB gave King Richard a rating of 7.6/10 and on Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 90% Tomatometer score. 

Where you can watch it: King Richard is available for purchase through Prime Video. 

Licorice Pizza

Set in 1970s California, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza is a nostalgic rom-com drama that follows the romance between teenager Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) and Alana Kane (Alana Haim) and their experiences in San Fernando Valley. Known for her role in the pop band Haim, Licorice Pizza is Alana Haim’s first-ever acting role, and many of the other actors in the film are also considered newcomers. Besides this set of fresh faces, the film has landed three Oscar nominations and has been well received by audiences, but there has also been some controversy. Many viewers have accused the film of incorporating racist content, and others have criticized the large age gap between the two main characters. 

Ratings: Licorice Pizza has a rating of 7.7/10 on IMDB, and a 91% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Where you can watch it: Licorice Pizza is currently only available to watch in theatres. 

Nightmare Alley

Adapted from the 1946 novel by William Lindsay Gresham, Guillermo del Toro’s neo-noir thriller follows Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper), a con man and illusionist who teams up with corrupt psychiatrist Dr. Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett) who he soon discovers is even more dangerous than he is. The film has been described as haunting, visually stunning and psychologically twisting, and has been receiving many positive reviews; Variety film critic Peter Debruge described Cate Blanchett “as timeless a star as Hollywood has to offer,” and that the film granted her the “femme fatale role” that “Carol hinted she had in her.” 

Ratings: Nightmare Alley has a 7.2/10 rating on IMDB and a 79% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Where you can watch it: Nightmare Alley isn’t available on any streaming services in Canada yet, but you can currently watch it in theatres. 

West Side Story 

West Side Story is a classic, so it was understandable that many people felt uncertain and defensive after the news broke that Steven Spielberg would be remaking the story for today’s audiences. Despite the mixed opinions and its release turning out to be a letdown at the box office, West Side Story has blown away critics and audiences worldwide. The talented cast, led by rising star Rachel Zegler, combined with Spielberg’s artistic direction, has led many viewers to favour this film over the original. It has received a total of seven Oscar nominations and has been ranked fourth by Variety next to the other nine Best Picture nominees, making it both a strong contender and a new modern classic.

Ratings: On IMDB, West Side Story has a rating of 7.8/10, and a 92% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Where you can watch it: West Side Story is currently available to watch in theatres and will also be available for streaming on Disney+ beginning March 2nd.  

The Power of the Dog 

Another Netflix film has been hand-picked by the Academy, and The Power of the Dog is one of them. Out of all the Best Picture nominees, Jane Campion’s Western drama has been predicted to be the big winner of the award and has made it high up on prediction lists. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee, and is set in 1920s Montana—the perfect atmosphere for anyone who loves a good Western film. The story follows rancher Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch), who chooses to torment his brother’s new wife (Kirsten Dunst) and her son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) before finding himself entangled in something far from what he never imagined. The Power of the Dog is also leading the other Best Picture nominees with an impressive total of 12 Oscar nominations, and if the predictions are true, this film could very well be the winner of the category… but I guess we’ll have to wait until the ceremony to find out!

Ratings: IMDB gave the Power of the Dog a 6.9/10 rating and a 93% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Where you can watch it: The Power of the Dog streams exclusively on Netflix.

Claire is an English BA student at Toronto Metropolitan University. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending her free time wandering through the aisles of her local bookstore, attending concerts, and cooking new (and sometimes disappointing) recipes.