Baftas 2022 predictions: Who will win and who should win

·8-min read
Our Baftas 2022 predictions are here (Netflix/20th Century Studios/MGM/Universal)
Our Baftas 2022 predictions are here (Netflix/20th Century Studios/MGM/Universal)

The Baftas are back in business. After 2021’s ceremony was hosted in an empty Royal Albert Hall, with winners delivering tearful speeches over Zoom, the British film awards will once again be held in-person, in all its star-gazing excess.

Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic Dune currently leads the pack with 11 nominations, but it’ll have a tough time picking up awards outside of the traditional craft categories like sound and costume design. Expect a lot of competition from Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, which has eight nominations in total, and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, which has six.

In 2020, BAFTA drastically changed its voting process in order to combat a historic lack of diversity within its nominations. We’re now seeing the results of those new rules — and it’s pretty exciting.

Read more: Everything you need to know about Baftas 2022

Quite a few of the categories this year differ drastically from the Oscars, allowing the Baftas to carve out its own identity. The ceremony is no longer just another pitstop on the way to the Academy Awards.

That said, will it effect who actually wins? Here are our predictions for the night.

What will win Best Film at the Baftas 2022?

Nominees: The Power of the Dog, Belfast, Dune, Licorice Pizza, Don't Look Up

Ciaran Hinds stars as
Ciaran Hinds stars as "Pop" and Judi Dench stars as "Granny" in director Kenneth Branagh's Belfast (Focus Features)

Will win: Belfast

Should win: The Power of the Dog

The overall narrative of this year’s awards season has The Power of the Dog in a fairly comfortable position to win. It picked up Best Drama Motion Picture at the Golden Globes, after all, even though their voters are notoriously partial to an uncomplicated crowdpleaser – which this story of tangled desires shared between Montana farmers is certainly not.

It seems to be building off some of the positive momentum of last year’s season, where Chloê Zhao’s Nomadland won Best Picture and broke records for women directors. That said, I wouldn’t consider The Power of the Dog a lock at this point, since it failed to pick up a single nod at last weekend’s Screen Actors Guild awards. And that could open the door for homegrown crowdpleaser Belfast to sneak through.

Let’s make one thing clear: Jane Campion’s exquisite slice of western revisionism is the worthiest winner out there. I can only hope I got my prediction wrong this time.

Who will win Best Director at the Baftas 2022?

Nominees: Aleem Khan - After Love, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi - Drive My Car, Audrey Diwan - Happening, Paul Thomas Anderson - Licorice Pizza, Jane Campion - The Power of the Dog, Julia Ducournau - Titane

Jane Campion and Benedict Cumberbatch on the set of The Power of the Dog (Kirsty Griffin/Netflix)
Jane Campion and Benedict Cumberbatch on the set of The Power of the Dog (Kirsty Griffin/Netflix)

Will win: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Should win: Julia Ducournau, Titane

Kenneth Branagh is surprisingly absent from this category. There are two possible explanations here. One, the Baftas might not, in fact, be as enamoured with Belfast as I assumed. Or, two, this is one of those accidental snubs that will be avenged on BAFTA night – remember, for example, the outrage when Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated for Best Director for Argo at the 2013 Oscars and how that narrative helped secure the film’s Best Picture win? Either way, Campion’s at least got this category in the bag.

Read more: The biggest Bafta snubs and surprises

Again, Campion is a very worthy winner, but she’s already got such a strong shot at the Oscars. Wouldn’t it be great to see the fantastically gnarly Titane awarded here – it wasn’t even put forward as France’s pick for the Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards, let alone nominated, so this is it’s only shot at making a mark on awards season.

What will win Outstanding British Film at the Baftas 2022?

Nominees: After Love, Ali & Ava, Belfast, Boiling Point, Cyrano, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, House of Gucci, Last Night in Soho, No Time to Die, Passing

Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson appear in
Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson appear in "Passing" by Rebecca Hall (Netflix)

Will win: Belfast

Should win: Passing

Belfast surely has to win something on the night. Kenneth Branagh is a national treasure! This is his most personal film yet! It’s certainly hard to imagine that voters will go for anything else in this category, unless a different flavour of national pride takes over and the Baftas decide to honour Daniel Craig’s final outing as Bond in No Time to Die.

Passing's chances here are sadly minimal, partially because Rebecca Hall’s film is a distinctly American story about light-skinned Black Americans in the Twenties “passing” as white to cross the country’s oppressive racial divides. But it’s such a beautiful, sensory film – the sort of unassuming triumph that always sadly gets passed over this time of year.

Who will win Best Actress at the Baftas 2022?

Nominees: Lady Gaga - House of Gucci, Alana Haim - Licorice Pizza, Emilia Jones - CODA, Renate Reinsve - The Worst Person in the World, Joanna Scanlan - After Love, Tessa Thompson - Passing

Lady Gaga stars as Patrizia Reggiani in Ridley Scott's House of Gucci (MGM/Universal Pictures)
Lady Gaga stars as Patrizia Reggiani in Ridley Scott's House of Gucci (MGM/Universal Pictures)

Will win: Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Should win: Tessa Thompson, Passing

What a wild category – there’s not a single overlap with the Oscar nominations this year. No Jessica Chastain for The Eyes of Tammy Faye. No Kristen Stewart for Spencer. No Olivia Colman for The Lost Daughter (another national treasure shunned!). No Nicole Kidman for Being the Ricardos. No Penélope Cruz for Parallel Mothers. The awards prognosticators are all up in arms about it. I can’t help but love the drama. And what a prime opportunity this is to not reward the same names and faces every year. That said, I think the Baftas will take obvious bait here — everyone was so surprised that Lady Gaga’s ferocious turn in House of Gucci didn’t make the cut over at the Academy Awards. Surely the Baftas will show her some sympathy.

Read more: Biggest Oscars snubs of 2022

I’d rather see my pick for the biggest snub of the Academy Awards win here. Tessa Thompson’s work in Passing is delicate and layered, communicating complex emotions with subtlest of gestures. It’s not a flashy performance, but it’s a masterful one.

Who will win Best Actor at the Baftas 2022?

Nominees: Adeel Akhtar - Ali & Ava, Mahershala Al - Swan Song, Benedict Cumberbatch - The Power of the Dog, Leonardo DiCaprio - Don’t Look Up, Stephen Graham - Boiling Point, Will Smith - King Richard

Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank in The Power Of The Dog (Kirsty Griffin/Netflix © 2021)
Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank in The Power Of The Dog (Kirsty Griffin/Netflix © 2021)

Will win: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Should win: Andrew Garfield - Tick, Tick, Boom!

Benedict Cumberbatch will face some very tough competition here from Will Smith, who’s an overall favourite in the Best Actor race. Plus, his speech after winning the Screen Actors Guild award was overflowing with the kind of earnestness and emotional generosity that’s made him the star he is. That said, every Brit nominated at the Baftas comes into the competition with the upper hand, and Cumberbatch delivered not one but two performances this year, in The Power of the Dog and artist biopic The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, that proved he can do much more than irritable genius schtick.

And if we’re talking homegrown talent, then where on earth is Andrew Garfield? His take on Rent creator Jonathan Larson is so electric, and so heartfelt, that the only conclusion I can come to is that the British simply hate musicals.

Who will win Best Supporting Actress at the Baftas 2022?

Nominees: Catríona Balfe - Belfast, Jessie Buckley - The Lost Daughter, Ariana DeBose - West Side Story, Ann Dowd - Mass, Aunjanue Ellis - King Richard, Ruth Negga - Passing

Ariana DeBose and David Alvarez dance through the streets in 'West Side Story'. (Niko Tavernise/20th Century Studios)
Ariana DeBose and David Alvarez dance through the streets in 'West Side Story'. (Niko Tavernise/20th Century Studios)

Will win: Ariana DeBose - West Side Story

Should win: Ariana DeBose - West Side Story

Awards season is always built around narratives, and there are very few this year quite as compelling as Ariana DeBose’s. She’s the breakout star of a new adaptation of one of the most famous musicals ever written, directed by the GOAT himself, Steven Spielberg. And she’s in the role played once before by Rita Moreno, who became the first Latina to win an acting Oscar. She’s also such a vibrant presence in the film, delivering every kick and high note with absolute commitment.

It’s very hard to argue against this one. DeBose is one of the easiest wins of the season.

Who will win Best Supporting Actress at the Baftas 2022?

Nominees: Mike Faist - West Side Story, Ciarán Hinds - Belfast, Troy Kotsur - CODA, Woody Norman - C’mon C’mon, Jesse Plemons - The Power of the Dog, Kodi Smit-McPhee - The Power of the Dog

Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur, Marlee Matlin and Daniel Durant in CODA (Apple TV+)
Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur, Marlee Matlin and Daniel Durant in CODA (Apple TV+)

Will win: Troy Kotsur - CODA

Should win: Mike Faist - West Side Story

Conventional wisdom would suggest that Kodi Smit-McPhee is the surest bet for this category. He’s already picked up a Golden Globe and swept through most of the critics groups. But I’m ready to take a gamble. At the SAG awards, The Power of the Dog was defeated by the power of the underdog, and CODA, a heartwarming drama about a majority-deaf family, picked up the award for best ensemble cast. Troy Kotsur also won Best Supporting Actor that night, and I think that might be repeated here.

The slight downside of there being so much attention around DeBose (and she deserves it, don’t get me wrong) is that it’s created the idea that her performance is singular within West Side Story. Which is a shame, only because Mike Faist, as Riff, is thrillingly combustive in the role. It’d be nice to see him win, too.

Watch: Disney invites Brit to the Baftas

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