Your Quick Guide to the 2022 Oscars – Presenters, Performers, Predictions & Takeaways

Who will you see at this year’s Oscar’s ceremony?  And what’s the quick case for the nominees?   Below, a quick guide to the 2022 Academy Awards, including the latest on performances and presenters — and takeaways from the year’s most talked about movies.

When & Where Will the Oscars be Broadcast?

Sunday, March 27th.  8pm ET / 5pm PT.   ABC will broadcast the show live from its pre-pandemic venue, the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

Where to Stream the Oscars?

If you’ve cut the cord, you can livestream ABC on YouTube TV, FuboTV, Hulu with Live TV and DirecTV.  You can also stream the show live via abc.com or the ABC app.

What’s Different This Year?

The show will be shorter than usual as eight categories have been cut, much to the ire of many in the entertainment industry. But the people watching and crowd will be nearly back to a pre-COVID era audience of several thousand attendees, though many seats have been removed to spread people out.  The stage design has also been blown out to new levels, featuring over 90,000 Swavorski crystals and a mesmerizing swirling neon design intended, as set designer David Korins explains, to present “a modern portal into the future where we trade in the currency of elegance and electricity. A future where community and togetherness are front and center, and everything and everyone gets their own special moment to shine.”  Watch it on your biggest screen to capture the full effect.

The Hosts and Presenters

After two years of no hosts, this year the show will have three: Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes, the first time the Academy has tapped three women.  Joining them will be a broader list of presenters than in previous years, with a who’s who of names from across music, sports, movies, and the latest hit TV and streaming series.

There will be tributes to White Man Can’t Jump’s 30th anniversary, The Godfather ‘s 50th anniversary, and James Bond for his 60th, so expect some legends like Francis Ford Coppola and Al Pacino. Rumors are swirling that iconic movie duos will also be teaming up to present, which might come in the form of Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta …or use your imagination from the names below!  Here’s the announced list of presenters:  Halle Bailey (starring in Disney’s upcoming Little Mermaid), Stephanie Beatriz (In the Heights & Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Josh Brolin, Ruth E. Carter, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Kevin Costner, Jamie Lee Curtis, Robert DeNiro, DJ Khaled, Jacob Elordi, Jennifer Garner, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tiffany Haddish, Woody Harrelson, Tony Hawk, H.E.R., Anthony Hopkins, Samuel L. Jackson, Lily James, Daniel Kaluuya, Zoë Kravitz, Mila Kunis, Lady Gaga, John Leguizamo, Simu Liu, Rami Malek, Shawn Mendes, Jason Momoa, Bill Murray, Lupita Nyong’o, Elliot Page, Rosie Perez, Tyler Perry, Chris Rock, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jill Scott, Naomi Scott, J.K. Simmons, Kelly Slater, Wesley Snipes, Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Shaun White, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Yuh-Jung Youn, and Rachel Zegler.

The Performances

There will also be the usual live performances of songs nominated for Best Original Song, and one that wasn’t. Beyoncé will be on hand to perform “Be Alive” from King Richard. Billie Eilish and Finneas will perform their song “No Time to Die,” from the James Bond movie of the same name. And Reba McEntire will take the stage to sing Diane Warren’s “Somehow You Do” from the film Four Good Days. Sebastián Yatra to sing “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto, but that won’t be the only Encanto number you’ll see. Although it wasn’t submitted for an award (each film is allowed only one entry), “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” will be performed live by the film’s original voice cast. Adding some cachet and dimension to the “score” of the show, the show’s usual orchestra will be accompanied by an in-house band made up of Blink-182’s Travis Barker, Sheila E., Robert Glasper, DJ D-Nice, and The Samples.

Which Categories Were Cut from This Year’s Oscars?

Last month, the Academy announced that it would shorten the list of categories included as part of the live broadcast (and received plenty of criticism for that decision). The eight categories cut from the lineup are Documentary Short, Film Editing, Makeup/Hairstyling, Original Score, Production Design, Animated Short, Live-action Short, and Sound. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get to see the winners receive their Oscars. The presentations will be filmed ahead of time and aired as pre-recorded clips during the show. The remaining 15 categories will be shown live. And for the first time ever, viewers will be invited to have their say in two awards via Twitter using the hashtags #OscarsCheerMoment and #OscarsFanFavorite. The scenes and films receiving the most votes (regardless of Oscar nomination status) will be announced at the end of the ceremony.

The Need-to-Know About this Year’s Most Buzzed About Nominees

If you didn’t get around to watching all of the most buzzed about Oscar nominees, we’ve pulled “the takeaways” from  Watercooler’s reviews.  Read our contributors’ full takes afterward to learn more about why each film was nominated.

The Power of the Dog — There is a distinctiveness to the story and in the acting, thanks to the joint efforts of director Jane Campion and lead Benedict Cumberbatch.  The vistas and performances will be seared in the mind long after viewing. — Jerry Barbash.  His full review.

West Side Story  — Steven Spielberg’s update to West Side Story is alive and relevant, a visual spectacle that manages to be both retro and modern at the same time. Moviegoers will be in awe of the cinematography and larger than life musical numbers, and the added backstory brings new depth to the classic. – Jerry Barmash.  Read the full review.

Belfast  — Belfast benefits from the whole ensembles’ indelible performances and skilled direction in its depiction of a personal story with a fresh perspective on a complicated moment in history.  It threads the needle from light to serious, creating something entertaining while evoking just the right emotions. – Jerry Barmash.  His full review.

King Richard — A deep and nuanced look at the Williams family, King Richard is the rare Oscar caliber film that entertains as it inspires, shedding new light on the lives of two of the most iconic athletes of our time and what they and their parents had to overcome. Generations of girls worldwide can see themselves as Venus and Serena.  Thanks to King Richard, men around the world can imagine themselves as celebrated fathers capable of divine manifestation.” — Kanene Ayo Holder.   Read the full review here.

Licorice Pizza — A love letter to how unapologetic hormones and Los Angeles can be, Licorice Pizza is a collection of engaging moments that will elicit a range of reactions, from laughter to confusion, that will keep you wanting to stay in this world for a little over two hours.  — Erica Bardin.  Her full review.

Searchlight Pictures

Nightmare Alley  — An intriguing noir with rich performances and a fantastic exploration of a mystic world, Nightmare Alley is explored through the vibrant, stylized lens that is Guillermo del Toro’s signature.  The film’s hapless but charismatic hustler (Bradley Cooper) stumbles upon a mysterious carnival in the 1930s that will captivate. — Felipe Patterson.  Here’s the full review.

Tick…Tick…BOOM! — Lin-Manuel Miranda and Andrew Garfield bring RENT creator Jonathan Larson’s life and work to the screen in a way that’s universal, but will have a special resonance for fans of musical theater.  w could have put as much heart, soul, and reverence into it as Miranda has. For lack of a better word, he makes the work sing.  – Cindy White.  The full review.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye — Behind the layers of make-up and over-the-top TV persona, and through the years of secrets, addiction, sex scandal, and financial ruin, Tammy Faye Bakker proved to be a resilient woman with a fascinating story that still resonates.  While the film may seem like a wild time capsule from the 1980s, the story is as timely as ever.  – Sadie Dean    Her full review 

Encanto — A visual delight that centers around the complexities of family dynamics, Encanto delivers an uplifting message that is great for both kids and their parents – and no twisted villains.  The Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature and Original Score also introduces one of  Disney’s most charming heroines, Mirabel, who’s independent, intelligent, dorky, and extremely relatable. She’s also the first Disney heroine to wear glasses!   – Sara Mina Osman.   Read her full review.

The Lost Daughter —   The messiness of motherhood is a cultural taboo, but even more off limits is the subject of ambition and motherhood. Maggie Gyllenhaal has made a film about real, complex people will make you ponder the notion that a mother can love, appreciate, and adore her children and yet want something much more from life. It’s a film that sticks with you.  — Addie Moorfoot.   Her full review.

The Worst Person in the World —  If you’ve ever had a hard time figuring out what you want out of a relationship and, well, life in general, then you will be able to relate to The Worst Person In The World’s curious protagonist Julie. The film elegantly explores the emotional hazard that becoming an adult is, making it a funny yet heartbreaking viewing experience. — Addie Moorfoot.  Read the full review.

FleeNominated in three categories, including Best Documentary, Best International Feature, and Best Animated Film, Flee is perhaps the most relevant nominee as the world faces another refugee crisis. It’s the poignant, revealing life story of Amin, a 36-year-old academic in the U.S. who had to escape both Afghanistan and Russia, and the harrowing journeys, decisions, secrets and lies he’s endured as a refugee…now three times removed from his homeland. The animated film creates a rare form of empathy while making you appreciate your own relative stability, connection to family, and semblances of home. — Melissa Roth.  The full review.

Who is Likely to Win?  

For your Oscar ballot bets, below are Vanity Fair’s predictions for who will win in the top categories – as well as who could win and who should win, in their opinion.  Read their Awards Team’s explanations.

BEST PICTURE

Predicted Winner: CODA
Could Win: The Power of the Dog
Should Win: Drive My Car

BEST DIRECTOR

Predicted Winner: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
Could Win: Steven Spielberg, West Side Story
Should Win: Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

BEST ACTOR

Predicted Winner: Will Smith, King Richard
Could Win: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog
Should Win: Will Smith, King Richard

BEST ACTRESS

Predicted Winner: Penélope Cruz, Parallel Mothers
Could Win: Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Should Win: Penélope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Predicted Winner: Troy Kotsur, CODA
Could Win: Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog
Should Win: Troy Kotsur, CODA

Predicted Winner: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
Could Win: Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard
Should Win: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Predicted Winner: Kenneth Branagh, Belfast
Could Win: Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza
Should Win: Eskil Vogt and Joachim Trier, The Worst Person in the World

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Predicted Winner: Siân Heder, CODA
Could Win: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
Should Win: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe, Drive My Car

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE

Predicted Winner: Drive My Car
Could Win: Flee
Should Win: Drive My Car

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Predicted Winner: Encanto
Could Win: The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Should Win: Flee

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Predicted Winner: Summer of Soul
Could Win: Flee
Should Win: Flee

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