The 2022 Oscar nominees for Best Actress are Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”), Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”), Penélope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”), Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”), and Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”). Our current odds indicate that Chastain (17/5) will take the prize, followed in order of probability by Colman (39/10), Kidman (4/1), Stewart (9/2), and Cruz (9/2).
Stewart is the only first-time nominee among the five, as each of her competitors has been involved in at least two past acting contests. Kidman’s resume is the longest, consisting of three previous lead bids for “Moulin Rouge!” (2002), “The Hours” (2003), and “Rabbit Hole” (2011) and a supporting one for “Lion” (2017). She triumphed on her second outing and is now looking to become the 15th woman to win a bookend Best Actress trophy.
Colman also has a shot at achieving a second lead victory, having prevailed here three years ago for “The Favourite.” Her second career nomination came just last year for her supporting turn in “The Father.” Chastain has also previously been included in one supporting (“The Help,” 2012) and one lead (“Zero Dark Thirty,” 2013) lineup.
Cruz is the third past winner in this bunch, having bagged a supporting trophy in 2009 for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” This is the first Best Actress group since 2014 to include three former acting champs. If Cruz wins this time, she will be the eighth woman to conquer both female categories. After Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange, Cate Blanchett, and Renée Zellweger, she would be the fifth to triumph as a lead after first winning as a supporting player.
Cruz’s current bid and her previous lead one for “Volver” (2007) make her the fifth actress to be recognized for two non-English language performances, as she primarily speaks Spanish in both films. Those who preceded her in this regard were Sophia Loren (Italian; “Two Women,” 1962 and “Marriage Italian Style,” 1965), Liv Ullmann (Swedish; “The Emigrants,” 1973 and “Face to Face,” 1977), Isabelle Adjani (French; “The Story of Adele H.,” 1976 and “Camille Claudel,” 1990), and Marion Cotillard (French; “La Vie en Rose,” 2008 and “Two Days, One Night,” 2015). Cruz also has one more past supporting nomination to her name for “Nine” (2010).
The average age of this year’s leading ladies is 44, which is the ninth highest ever. The category record is held by the 2014 contenders, whose ages ranged from 39 to 79 and averaged out to 55. This is the second consecutive lineup to be entirely made up of women over 30, as Stewart (31) is the youngest in the current group and Vanessa Kirby (32, “Pieces of a Woman”) was the youngest in 2021. This distinction has only applied to 29% of all Best Actress rosters.
The most recent victors in this category are Frances McDormand (“Nomadland,” 2021 and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” 2018), Zellweger (“Judy,” 2020), and Colman (“The Favourite,” 2019). This year’s winner will be revealed during the 94th Academy Awards ceremony, airing March 27 on ABC.
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