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Oscars 2022: Best Actress predictions and the state of the race

GoldDerby
GoldDerby
 1 day ago
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Is this the year academy voters finally bow to beloved indie actress and former “Twilight” lead Kristen Stewart ? The Oscars 2022 Best Actress race already feels as strong as last year’s knock-down, drag-out battle, but Stewart is the overwhelming pick among Gold Derby experts and user predictions for her performance as Princess Diana in “Spencer.”

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. The actress has already gotten some great advanced press as well, appearing on the cover of Entertainment Weekly in October, which wondered if she could be “crowned” queen of awards season.

But Stewart isn’t the only contender at the moment and, if recent history is any judge, the 2022 Oscars Best Actress race is certain to have many ebbs and flows before a winner is announced at the Academy Awards next year. In fact, it is very possible the winner here comes from one of the high-profile December releases, such as “Being the Ricardos,” where Nicole Kidman embodies Lucille Ball for the Aaron Sorkin drama, or “West Side Story,” where newcomer Rachel Zegler has won raves from critics and pundits for playing Maria in the Steven Spielberg remake. (Zegler was awarded Best Actress by the National Board of Review in early December.)

But there are many other contenders as well. The final month of 2021 also brings the debut of “Don’t Look Up,” with Jennifer Lawrence in a leading role as a scientist trying to tell people about the end of the world. (Director Adam McKay wrote the role specifically for Lawrence, a former Best Actress winner.) On New Year’s Eve, Netflix drops “The Lost Daughter,” writer-director Maggie Gyllenhaal ‘s debut film which gives former Best Actress winner Olivia Colman one of her juiciest and most contemporary roles to date. December also brings with it the premieres of “Parallel Mothers” with former Oscar winner Penelope Cruz in an acclaimed lead part, and “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” with reigning Best Actress winner Frances McDormand playing Lady Macbeth.

Those six actresses, however, only scratch the surface of contenders. November brought Lady Gaga into the race for “House of Gucci,” and the former Best Actress nominee has already cashed in on one major precursor: Best Actress from the New York Film Critics Circle. There is also continued buzz for Alana Haim in “Licorice Pizza,” the Paul Thomas Anderson film that has won over critics and industry experts alike.

And if none of those performances pop, there are plenty from earlier in the calendar still worth considering. Jessica Chastain , who stars as Tammy Faye Bakker in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” remains a strong contender. 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 has not returned to the Best Actress race. Most pundits expect that to change in 2022. Former Best Supporting Actress winner Jennifer Hudson has also remained a popular pick for her work as Aretha Franklin in “Respect.” Other notable underdogs include Emilia Jones for “CODA” and Tessa Thompson for “Passing.”

Christopher Rosen Oscars 2022 Best Actress predictions as of Monday, December 6 (updated weekly)

  1. Nicole Kidman, “Being the Ricardos”
  2. Kristen Stewart, “Spencer”
  3. Olivia Colman, “The Lost Daughter”
  4. Rachel Zegler, “West Side Story”
  5. Lady Gaga, “House of Gucci”
PREDICT the 2022 Oscar nominees through February 8

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