Jessica Chastain is now Academy Award winner Jessica Chastain, claiming this year’s Best Actress Oscar for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” (See the complete Oscars winners list.) The actress earned raves for her portrayal of eccentric televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker, transforming her face with prosthetics and several layers of makeup to recreate her iconic appearance. Chastain finally triumphs on her third Oscar bid, having lost for her previous two nominations, for “The Help” (2011) and “Zero Dark Thirty” (2012).
Speaking to that first nomination, Chastain is now the seventh actress from “The Help” to win an Oscar, after Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Allison Janney, Mary Steenburgen and Sissy Spacek. Coincidentally, this year, Aunjanue Ellis became the ninth actress from “The Help” to earn an Oscar nomination, slotting into the Best Supporting Actress category for “King Richard.”
SEE 2022 Oscar winners list in all 23 categories: Who won at 94th Academy Awards?
Chastain’s path to an Oscar was not an easy one, and her competition was fierce, beating Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”), Penelope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”), Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”) and Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”). Stewart emerged as the early favorite when “Spencer” premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Kidman became a possibility after winning the Golden Globe, though the awards were not televised due to ongoing turmoil involving the HFPA. Colman and Cruz were critics’ favorites, and despite not winning any major precursors, the quality of their performances made them into possibilities.
But it was Chastain who ultimately seized momentum, winning the Screen Actors Guild Award and the Critics Choice Award in the leadup to the Oscars. The winds shifted in her favor right in time for Oscar voting to begin and she emerged victorious in the end. While Chastain wins her Oscar for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” it is possible that some voters also factored in her body of work since bursting onto the scene in 2011. The actress has taken on a slew of complicated roles over the past decade, in such films as “The Tree of Life,” “A Most Violent Year,” “Miss Sloane,” “Molly’s Game,” and the miniseries “Scenes from a Marriage,” outside of her three Oscar-nominated performances.