When Oscar season started in September 2021, it felt like this would be the moment for academy voters to finally bestow an Academy Award on beloved indie actress and former “Twilight” lead Kristen Stewart. But then the Screen Actors Guild Awards snubbed Stewart in the Best Actress race, leaving the “Spencer” star perhaps on the fringe of the Oscars race altogether.
Stewart’s performance in the Pablo Larrain film was hailed as a revelation by critics following the “Spencer” premiere at the Venice Film Festival and its subsequent screening at the Telluride Film Festival. But Stewart’s film is more polarizing than many of her fellow contenders, and while she did eventually land that Best Actress Oscar nomination at the 2022 Academy Awards, it’s likely the crowded race will leave her edged out in the end by another industry veteran looking for her first Oscar.
That would be Jessica Chastain, who stars as Tammy Faye Bakker in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” The veteran actress has proved surprisingly sturdy as a front-runner this year, winning Best Actress at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and Critics Choice Awards. The drama sputtered after its theatrical bow in September, but the Searchlight release generated very positive reviews for Chastain, who underwent hours of intense makeup and hairstyling to affect the iconic look of the evangelical icon. Chastain’s Best Actress push this year also pays off her introduction to mainstream audiences a decade earlier. In her breakout 2011, when she starred or co-starred in five movies, including Best Picture nominees “The Help” and “The Tree of Life,” Chastain also received her first Oscar nomination. She followed up that honor (a supporting actress nod for “The Help”) with a Best Actress nomination for “Zero Dark Thirty.” But despite several worthy performances in the years since, Chastain had not returned to the Best Actress race until now.
If Chastain fails to win, however, there are other veterans who come emerge victoriously, including Nicole Kidman. The “Being the Ricardos” star plays Lucille Ball in the Aaron Sorkin drama. Or maybe another former Best Actress winner is ready to surprise on Sunday: Olivia Colman, like Stewart, entered awards season with a critically acclaimed indie film that debuted during the festivals last summer. But “The Lost Daughter” is perhaps less divisive because of its genre trappings — the Maggie Gyllenhaal film plays, at times, like a thriller — and Colman is beloved in the industry, having won Best Actress for “The Favourite” at the 2019 Oscars and receiving a nomination last year for “The Father” in the Best Supporting Actress race.
The other nominee in this category is former Best Supporting Actress winner Penelope Cruz, who won acclaim for Pedro Almodovar‘s “Parallel Mothers,” which Sony Pictures Classics slowly released, a la last year’s “The Father.” That film and the SPC campaign eventually won Anthony Hopkins an Oscar for Best Actor.
Christopher Rosen final Oscars 2022 Best Actress winner predictions as of Monday, March 21 (updated weekly)
- Jessica Chastain, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”
- Penelope Cruz, “Parallel Mothers”
- Olivia Colman, “The Lost Daughter”
- Kristen Stewart, “Spencer”
- Nicole Kidman, “Being the Ricardos”
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