Oscars 2022: Best Supporting Actress Is Likely Down to 2 First-Time Nominees

The Academy Awards might not be as mainstream as they once were. But for hardcore cinephiles and industry insiders alike, Hollywood’s biggest night is still the culmination of months of speculation. Most expect Netflix Western The Power of the Dog to take home Best Picture. However, many of the Oscar races are still very much in flux. One that is continually clearing up, however, is the Best Supporting Actress race. By the looks of it, two first-time Oscar nominees will be squaring off for the award.

Kirsten Dunst wears a dress and poses with ‘The Power of the Dog’ logo in the background
Kirsten Dunst | Araya Doheny/FilmMagic

Most of the acting races at the 2022 Oscars are closing fast

For those that follow the Academy Awards season, some of the races are becoming sharper the closer they get to the finish line. This is particularly true in the acting categories this time around. Nicole Kidman is closing in on her second Best Actress trophy. She has already won the Golden Globe and is favored to win the Screen Actors Guild Award for playing Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos.

In Best Actor, Will Smith’s King Richard performance is the current frontrunner. Meanwhile, Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Garfield are in the dark horse slots for The Power of the Dog and Tick, Tick… Boom!, respectively. And Best Supporting Actor looks like it’s all sown up for The Power of the Dog‘s Kodi Smit-McPhee. But the Best Supporting Actress race isn’t quite as conclusive just yet.

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The Best Supporting Actress category brings 2 new faces to the show

All throughout awards season, two names have come to dominate the Best Supporting Actress conversation. And indeed, Ariana DeBose and Kirsten Dunst are currently neck and neck, according to Gold Derby. The site tracks awards season odds and predictions. And as of now, DeBose’s West Side Story performance leads Dunst’s The Power of the Dog turn with 18-to-5 to 19-to-5 odds, respectively.

Of course, the category has five slots. So DeBose and Dunst will likely contend with King Richard‘s Aunjanue Ellis, Belfast‘s Caitriona Balfe, and Passing‘s Ruth Negga. But as the 2022 Oscars draws near, it does seem like the Best Supporting Actress race has honed in on two prime contenders. And several ways, the DeBose versus Dunst match-up could be indicative of a larger trend at this year’s Academy Awards.

‘The Power of the Dog’ and ‘West Side Story’ will face off throughout

Going into Oscars 2022, most pundits expect Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story and Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog to lead the nominated films. Both films received praise for their performances, direction, and various technical aspects of their productions. So there’s an excellent chance they will face off in a variety of categories during Oscar night.

Ironically, Campion and Spielberg have faced off at the Oscars before. Campion’s The Piano and Spielberg’s Schindler’s List were both nominated in 1994 for a variety of awards. But Spielberg’s movie took home both Best Director and Best Picture. This time around, the results could be very different, with Campion’s film favored in both categories. But it’s unclear right now if that Oscar love will translate to a win for Dunst for her very first nomination.

The 94th Academy Awards nominations will be announced on February 8, 2022.

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