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Oscars 2022 Predictions: Who Will Win This Sunday?

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Benedict Cumberbatch looks to ride to Oscar glory in The Power of the Dog.


Netflix

This Sunday, March 27 the 94th Academy Awards will honor the best films of the past year. The Power of The Dog has already cleaned up at other awards ceremonies, earning prestigious gongs for Benedict Cumberbatch, streaming service Netflix and writer-director Jane Campion. Maybe Campion will follow Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland success last year, but the slow-burning Western faces fierce competition from King Richard, West Side Story and Dune — not to mention Steven Spielberg, Kenneth Branagh, Paul Thomas Anderson and even a Marvel movie or two.

Some of 2022’s Academy Awards categories are too close to call and pleasingly open to a shortlist of worthy potential winners. Looking at previous awards usually shows clear favorites to win, but there’s always room for surprises. Drive My Car, Nightmare Alley, Belfast and Licorice Pizza are also among the films gaining multiple nominations, while Ryûsuke Hamaguchi is also up for best director.

The 2022 Oscars ceremony will air live on ABC on March 27 at 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET). These are my predictions — ultimately they’re subjective, but I’ve tempered my personal favorites with the results of other awards, perceived preferences of Academy voters, and, of course, some good old-fashioned guesswork. See if you agree with these Oscars 2022 predictions…

Best picture

I’d love to see inspiring stories King Richard or CODA win big, showing the life-affirming power of cinema. A win for Dune or West Side Story would be a reminder of the visual spectacle only available at movie theaters, which we’ve missed in recent years. But the front-runner has to be The Power of the Dog, the most nominated film of 2022 and a winner of the top gong at the Baftas, Critics’ Choice Awards, Golden Globes and many more. This slow-burning Netflix western deserves the praise. The Western is the quintessential American genre, and it’s fascinating to see this most venerable of big-screen genres refracted by a New Zealand director, British star and an online streaming service to create something so potent.

  • Belfast
  • CODA
  • Don’t Look Up
  • Drive My Car
  • Dune
  • King Richard
  • Licorice Pizza
  • Nightmare Alley
  • The Power of the Dog
  • West Side Story

Best directing

Kenneth Branagh being recognized for a deeply personal retelling of his own life story would be an inspiring story. But the smart money is on Power of the Dog director Jane Campion, who already cleaned up at the Baftas, AACTAs, Golden Globes and more. She’s the first woman to be nominated twice for best director after The Piano in 1993 (which won her the best original screenplay gong).   

  • Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza)
  • Kenneth Branagh (Belfast)
  • Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog)
  • Steven Spielberg (West Side Story)
  • Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car)
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Roger Frappier, Jane Campion, Kirsten Dunst, and Jesse Plemons accept the best picture award for The Power of the Dog at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards on March 13.


Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Actor in a leading role

Is it just me or did you think Benedict Cumberbatch and Will Smith had already won Oscars? But a win this year would be their first, and either deserves it for their towering performances in Power of the Dog and King Richard, respectively. Andrew Garfield deserves kudos for his performances in both the heart-wrenching Tick, Tick… Boom! and multiplex-conquering Spider-Man: No Way Home, demonstrating the range of cinema. His Marvel castmate Cumberbatch will probably edge it, although it’d be great to see Smith take the award in the same year that Black Oscar pioneer Sidney Poitier died.

  • Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos)
  • Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog)
  • Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick … Boom!)
  • Will Smith (King Richard)
  • Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth)

Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis play the parents of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard.


Warner Bros

Actress in a leading role

Kristen Stewart’s snub at the Screen Actors Guild makes her an outside bet, while the others have all won before — except Jessica Chastain, who scooped the SAG gong. This one is wide open, but Chastain could well scoop the award for her transformative turn as an outrageous televangelist.

  • Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye)
  • Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter)
  • Penélope Cruz (Parallel Mothers)
  • Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos)
  • Kristen Stewart (Spencer)

Actor in a supporting role

Kodi Smit-McPhee has been tipped to continue the Power of the Dog sweep, but who can resist the story of Troy Kotsur, the first deaf male actor to win a Bafta, a SAG award and a Critics’ Choice award.

  • Ciarán Hinds (Belfast)
  • Troy Kotsur (CODA)
  • Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog)
  • J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos)
  • Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)

Actress in a supporting role

Another quality category, with old favorites Judi Dench and Kirsten Dunst competing against excellent performances by Jessie Buckley and experienced actor Aunjanue Ellis. But anyone who’s seen the updated West Side Story will know why the all-singing, all-dancing Ariana DeBose is winning award after award for lighting up the screen as the emotional heart of the visually lavish musical.

  • Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter)
  • Ariana DeBose (West Side Story)
  • Judi Dench (Belfast)
  • Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog)
  • Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard)

Writing (adapted screenplay)

Dune writers Eric Roth, Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve deserve recognition for their sparse and enthralling distillation of Frank Herbert’s dense source novel. Coda and The Lost Daughter pack an emotional punch, but Campion is again a strong contender for the pulsing Power of the Dog story.

  • CODA (Sian Heder)
  • Drive My Car (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe)
  • Dune (Eric Roth, Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve)
  • The Lost Daughter (Maggie Gyllenhaal)
  • The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion)

Writing (original screenplay)

If Branagh is shut out for directing, the Academy may see the writing category as the place to honor his heartfelt personal story of growing up in troubled Northern Ireland. However, Paul Thomas Anderson could take it. Licorice Pizza isn’t the writer-director’s weightiest flick (and has drawn criticism for a racist character), but this could be one of those times the Academy bestows a sort of lifetime achievement gong for someone who’s been nominated a bunch of times and never won.

  • Belfast (Kenneth Branagh)
  • Don’t Look Up (Adam McKay and David Sirota)
  • Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson)
  • King Richard (Zach Baylin)
  • The Worst Person in the World (Joachim Trier)

Animated feature film

We don’t talk about Bruno, but there’s a lot of talk about the cultural juggernaut that is Encanto. Disney‘s heartwarming family saga is the likely winner, although Flee is a deeply affecting story while Pixar’s Luca, Netflix’s Mitchells vs. the Machines and Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon are all gorgeous family flicks.

  • Encanto
  • Flee
  • Luca
  • The Mitchells vs. the Machines
  • Raya and the Last Dragon
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Let’s talk about Encanto.


Disney

Costume design

West Side Story’s costumes provide a sumptuous splash of color and life, but come on: Cruella is set in the fashion industry and is a larger-than-life slice of fabulousness.

  • Cruella (Jenny Beavan)
  • Cyrano (Massimo Cantini Parrini)
  • Dune (Jacqueline West)
  • Nightmare Alley (Luis Sequeira)
  • West Side Story (Paul Tazewell)

Music (original score)

Gotta be honest, I’m rooting for Hans Zimmer to win for Dune, just because it’d surely be the first Academy Award to combine bagpipes and throat singing.

  • Don’t Look Up (Nicholas Britell)
  • Dune (Hans Zimmer)
  • Encanto (Germaine Franco)
  • Parallel Mothers (Alberto Iglesias)
  • The Power of the Dog (Jonny Greenwood)

Sound

Silence is a crucial component of The Power of the Dog, ironically. Honestly, I have no idea, but sound is also a huge part of Dune’s technical achievement in conjuring alien worlds and technology.

  • Belfast
  • Dune
  • No Time to Die
  • The Power of the Dog
  • West Side Story

Production design

As much as I loved Dune, it’s all a bit brown, isn’t it? West Side Story is a gloriously colorful re-creation of vintage New York where you feel like you can reach out and touch the bricks of the neighbourhood buildings. But The Tragedy of Macbeth is a real achievement, as designers Stefan Dechant and Nancy Haigh transport you to a dreamlike space somewhere between cinema, theater and deepest nightmare.

  • Dune (Zsuzsanna Sipos and Patrice Vermette)
  • Nightmare Alley (Tamara Deverell and Shane Vieau)
  • The Power of the Dog (Grant Major and Amber Richards)
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth (Stefan Dechant and Nancy Haigh)
  • West Side Story (Rena DeAngelo and Adam Stockhausen)

Cinematography

This is where the visuals of Dune come into their own. There’s something mesmerizing about the way Greig Fraser’s camera buzzes across the desert with the squadrons of fluttering aircraft like a war movie or haunts the palace of intrigue.

  • Dune (Greig Fraser)
  • Nightmare Alley (Dan Lausten)
  • The Power of the Dog (Ari Wegner)
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth (Bruno Delbonnel)
  • West Side Story (Janusz Kaminski)
Dune

Dune harnesses desert power.


Warner Bros

Documentary feature

Documentaries are often associated with harrowing true stories, and films like Flee and Writing With Fire are powerful and thought provoking. But Summer of Soul is a timely and revelatory blast of musical delight.

  • Ascension
  • Attica
  • Flee
  • Summer of Soul
  • Writing With Fire

Film editing

In Tick, Tick… Boom!, Myron Kerstein and Andrew Weisblum deliver suitably show-stopping editing that cuts deftly between musical numbers and flashbacks to the real-life experiences that inspired each song. King Richard also boasts impressive editing from Pamela Martin, who breathes crackle and energy into sports movie tropes like training montages and high-stakes matches. By contrast, Dune and The Power of the Dog have relatively unobtrusive editing that build the rhythm of the movie and draw out the performances. Call me a nerd, but now I want to revisit each film just to study the editing. And my prediction? It’ll be Dune, let’s face it.

  • Don’t Look Up (Hank Corwin)
  • Dune (Joe Walker)
  • King Richard (Pamela Martin)
  • The Power of the Dog (Peter Sciberras)
  • Tick, Tick… Boom! (Myron Kerstein and Andrew Weisblum)

International feature film

It’s unlikely to win Best Picture, but Drive My Car richly deserves to take home an award. Each of these excellent films is worth seeking out, obviously.

  • Drive My Car (Japan)
  • Flee (Denmark)
  • The Hand of God (Italy)
  • Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (Bhutan)
  • The Worst Person in the World (Norway)

Makeup and hairstyling

A fun one, this, as Tammy Faye, House of Gucci and Cruella all try to out do each other with their hairdos. Big hair and wild make-up is the order of the day, but if we had to pick one winner I’d go for The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

  • The Eyes of Tammy Faye
  • House of Gucci
  • Coming 2 America
  • Cruella
  • Dune

Music (original song)

Although Lin-Manuel Miranda is nominated, it’s not for the song you might expect — Disney submitted Encanto’s song Dos Oruguitas for consideration before We Don’t Talk About Bruno became a cultural sensation. It’ll probably be Billie Eilish for her languorous James Bond theme, but let’s hope it’s Down to Joy, just because it’d be great to see Van Morrison hit the stage.

  • Be Alive — Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Darius Scott (King Richard)
  • Dos Oruguitas — Lin-Manuel Miranda (Encanto)
  • Down to Joy — Van Morrison (Belfast)
  • No Time to Die — Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell (No Time to Die)
  • Somehow You Do — Diane Warren (Four Good Days)

Visual effects

A fun thing about a lot of these categories is they show the range of possibility afforded by each discipline. So for example, James Bond adventure No Time to Die is designed to look like it’s entirely real and grounded. But action scenes, like the eye-popping Aston Martin car chase, involve a ton of visual effects that are all the more impressive for being invisible to the casual viewer. At the other end of the scale, movies like Free Guy and Spider-Man conjure reality-defying fantasy worlds thrillingly removed from our own. Dune has to be the front-runner — especially if Shang-Chi and Spider-Man split the Marvel vote — but my personal favorite is Shang-Chi for the way the visual effects entwine with real-world stunt work to conjure a succession of exhilarating fight scenes, each with their own character and story.

  • Dune
  • Free Guy
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  • No Time to Die
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home



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Overwatch 2 Beta Begins Tomorrow: Start Time and What to Expect

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Overwatch 2 starts its second beta on Tuesday, June 28, for PC and console players. The beta begins at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT and runs through Monday, July 18. Sign-ups are still open for a chance to participate, and you can still get guaranteed access if you’re willing to spend some cash.  

The next beta will be our first look at Junker Queen, a new tank hero who first appeared in posters on the Junkertown map that was released in 2017. Fans have been hoping to play her ever since, and five years later, we’re finally getting the chance. The new beta also adds a new hybrid map, Paraiso. The developers have laid out their goals for the beta, which include testing server capacity and hero balance. 

Overwatch 2 is the sequel to Blizzard’s class-based shooter, featuring two teams of five players fighting over objectives. Overwatch devs announced in June that the game will be free to play and will launch in early access on Oct. 4. The first beta injected a frantic pace into the game, which was a welcome change from the slower, more grinding pacing that’s plagued Overwatch in recent years. The free-to-play PvP element will bring the game more in line with other competitive shooters, like Valorant and Apex Legends.

How to sign up for the Overwatch 2 beta

Anyone can sign up for Overwatch 2’s second beta, but it’s not technically an open beta. The game will add people gradually as it ramps up server capacity, and the first big wave of beta access will happen on July 5, according to the beta FAQ page. Even if you were in the previous beta, you’ll need to sign up again. 

Here’s how to sign up:

1. Go to the Overwatch 2 beta site.
2. In the top right corner, log in to your Blizzard Account.
3. At the bottom of the Overwatch 2 beta page, choose your platform (and region for PlayStation players).
4. Then hit Request Beta Access.

If you want guaranteed beta access on June 28, you can purchase the Watchpoint Pack ($40). In addition to beta access on day one, you’ll also get two legendary character skins, a unique player icon and enough digital currency to buy the first two battle passes.

How do I download the Overwatch 2 beta?

Blizzard hasn’t released details on downloading the second beta, but it should follow the same process as the first beta. Here’s how that worked:

1. Log in to your Battle.net account and navigate to Overwatch on the game launcher.

2. In the bottom left, click the Game Version drop-down.

3. Select Overwatch 2 Tech Beta to install.

4. When the download is complete, hit the blue Play button to start.

Junker Queen spinning her axe

Junker Queen’s ultimate ability helps her close distance and end fights quickly.


Blizzard

Junker Queen abilities

The new beta finally gives fans a chance to play as Junker Queen, a hero we’ve all been excited about and/or thirsting over since she was first teased on the Junkertown map. Here’s what we know about Junker Queen’s abilities, from the Overwatch Twitter account:

New Hybrid Map: Paraiso

The beta also adds Paraiso, a new hybrid map that explores Lucio’s home, including the DJ’s Clube Sinestesia. As with all hybrid maps, players will start by attacking or defending a control point, and if the attackers succeed, players will spend the rest of the map attacking or defending a payload. 

An underground club with light-up floor

Clube Sinestesia is where support hero Lucio found fame as a DJ.


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For more Overwatch 2 news, check out everything we learned from the Overwatch 2 reveal event.



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Icebergify: How To Create an Iceberg of Your Most Listened to Spotify Artists

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Been on social media today? Seen those bizarre musical Icebergs floating around in your feed? You’re not alone. Screenshots like this have been doing the rounds today, particularly on Twitter. 

It’s all created via the magic of a website called Icebergify.

Using the data from your Spotify listening habits, Icebergify creates an Iceberg of your most listened to artists ranked by popularity. At the tip of the iceberg? Your favourite “mainstream” artists. Your Taylor Swifts, your Beyonces, your Drakes, etc. The further down you go, the more obscure it becomes. It looks a little like this…

If you want to see your own iceberg, you can head to the website directly. Be warned: it does require your Spotify log-in. 

The Icebergify website was developed by Akshay Raj, a freshman studying Computer & Data Science at Rice University. He says he has no plans to monetize the site or use the data collected — which is limited to your username, Spotify account ID and the top 50 tracks and artists listened to over the past few years. 

How does it work? It’s fairly simple. Icebergify takes your most listened to artists and sorts them according to popularity rankings. Streams, shares, saves, likes, and followers are all taken into account. This is why Beyonce might be at the top of your iceberg, but lesser known artists are at the bottom, beneath the ocean. Also worth noting: It seems like Icebergify is being flooded due to its surprising popularity. Head back later if it doesn’t immediately work.





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Apple’s First Mixed-Reality Headset May Sport New M2 Processor

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Apple’s first mixed-reality headset could come with the company’s flagship M2 processor, just one of the “deluge” of new products the company is expected to unveil in the next year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Sunday.

The M2, unveiled in June, features redesigned central processing units and a significant memory increase, which would provide a significant boost to the much-rumored headset over the previous M1 chip.

The much-rumored headset incorporating both virtual and augmented reality environments is expected to provide a boon to the gaming industry. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier week that the headset — expected to be announced in January 2023 — would be the most complicated product Apple has designed yet.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been vocal about his excitement about AR. Earlier this week, he explained that the tech industry is still in the “very early innings” of this technology’s possibilities.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer,” Cook told China Daily.

Other products Gurman expects to debut in the next 12 months include four iPhone 14 models, three Apple Watch variations, several Macs with M2 and M3 chips, iPads, updated AirPods Pro earbuds, a fresh HomePod, and an upgraded Apple TV. 

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read moreApple AR, VR Headset Rumors: WWDC, Release Rumors, M1 Chip and More



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