Final Oscars Predictions: Best Actress — Will Penélope Cruz Become the New Marcia Gay Harden for the Academy?

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2022 OSCARS PREDICTIONS:
BEST ACTRESS

UPDATED: March 24, 2022

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY:

For the second year in a row, the best actress race will be a nail-biter.

Despite a wide-open race, only Jessica Chastain’s work in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” has won more than one statuette at a televised ceremony – Critics Choice and SAG – so any of the five women (in theory) can win this award.

AMPAS houses nearly 10,000 industry professionals worldwide, and it’s almost impossible to reach them all and gauge their tastes or know who they ultimately voted for. But based on a small sampling of voters, this awards race isn’t “easy” to predict.

Based on that small sampling, the race has narrowed down to Chastain and, believe it or not, Penélope Cruz for “Parallel Mothers.” This does not entirely dismiss an outcome in which Olivia Colman for “The Lost Daughter,” Nicole Kidman for “Being the Ricardos” or Kristen Stewart for “Spencer” can win. However, all of the women have varying levels of support.

Stewart’s hurdle is being the only nomination for her movie. However, if enough voters gave it the time to watch, especially in the artisan categories, she could have the support of more than 60% of the Academy.

Kidman, a previous Oscar winner for “The Hours” (2002), is walking into the ceremony with a Golden Globe win for lead actress drama. But despite “Being the Ricardos” landing an impressive three acting noms (without any others, the first since “The Master” to achieve this feat) – the buzz has subsided. There doesn’t seem to be a rallying cry to give her another statuette at this time.

When it comes to Colman and Cruz, they appeal greatly to the international demographic of the Academy. Colman hasn’t been on the campaign trail, but that doesn’t necessarily hurt her winning chances since she did the same thing with “The Favourite” (2018) and managed to upset the presumptive locked-up best actress winner Glenn Close for “The Wife.” And that also came with Colman’s film losing nine of its 10 nominations.

With “The Lost Daughter,” it’s a bit more challenging. The film has respect for its debut direction by Maggie Gyllenhaal, and it even managed to pull in an additional nom for Jessie Buckley in supporting actress. However, it leaves many people feeling “cold” by the end, as opposed to other competitors whose films have “happier” demeanors.

Cruz, who won the Oscar for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (2008), is walking into the ceremony without a single nomination from any televised awards ceremonies. In 27 years of the four awards shows existing, only Marcia Gay Harden for “Pollock” (2000) has been able to win without a mention at any of them. Harden’s run that year for Ed Harris’ directorial debut (coincidentally Colman’s co-star in “The Lost Daughter”) only included a win at the New York Film Critics Circle.

“Parallel Mothers” from Oscar winner Pedro Almodóvar seemed to be a movie that voters watched late in the game, which could explain its poor showing on the BAFTA longlist, where it only was shortlisted for original screenplay and international feature. Nevertheless, Cruz has two prestigious prizes from Los Angeles Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics in the pocket. A win for her would be unprecedented for a leading actor — but this year, where stats continue to crash and burn, it makes perfect sense.

Will win: Penélope Cruz, “Parallel Mothers” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Could win: Jessica Chastain, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” (Searchlight Pictures)

Should win: Olivia Colman, “The Lost Daughter” (Netflix)

Should have been here: Tessa Thompson, “Passing” (Netflix)

Precursor Awards Leader: Kristen Stewart, “Spencer” (Neon/Topic Studios)
Awards Season Calendar

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

  1. Penélope Cruz
    "Parallel Mothers" (Sony Pictures Classics)

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    THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "My darling...I love you so much" - Janis (Cruz)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Three nominations, one win: "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008) for supporting actress

    PRODUCERS: Agustín Almodóvar, Esther García
    DIRECTOR: Pedro Almodóvar
    SYNOPSIS: The story of two mothers who give birth the same day.
    STARRING: Penélope Cruz, Milena Smit, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Israel Elejalde, Rossy de Palma

  2. Jessica Chastain
    "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" (Searchlight Pictures)

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    THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "I want to put my arm around you." - Tammy Faye Bakker (Chastain)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Two nominations

    PRODUCERS: Kelly Carmichael, Jessica Chastain, Gigi Pritzker, Rachel Shane
    DIRECTOR: Michael Showalter
    SYNOPSIS: An intimate look at the extraordinary rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker.
    STARRING: Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones, Vincent D'Onofrio

  3. Olivia Colman
    "The Lost Daughter" (Netflix)

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    THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "I'm an unnatural mother" - Leda (Colman)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Two nominations, one win: "The Favourite" (2018) for best actress

    PRODUCERS: Charles Dorfman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Osnat Handelsman-Keren, Talia Kleinhendler
    DIRECTOR: Maggie Gyllenhaal
    SYNOPSIS: A woman's beach vacation takes a dark turn when she begins to confront the troubles of her past.
    STARRING: Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson, Ed Harris, Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Mescal, Dagmara Diminczyk, Jack Farthing

  4. Kristen Stewart
    "Spencer" (Neon/Topic Studios)

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    THE SCENE THAT PROVES IT:
    "Attention! I'll be the major, you be the soldiers..." - Diana Spencer (Stewart)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    PRODUCERS: Maren Ade, Jonas Dornbach, Juan de Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín, Paul Webster
    DIRECTOR: Pablo Larraín
    SYNOPSIS: During her Christmas holidays with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England, Diana Spencer, struggling with mental health problems, decides to end her decade-long marriage to Prince Charles.
    STARRING: Kristen Stewart, Timothy Spall, Jack Farthing, Sally Hawkins, Jack Nielen, Freddie Spry

  5. Nicole Kidman
    "Being the Ricardos" (Amazon Studios)

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    THE "OSCAR SCENE"
    "I am the biggest asset in the portfolio of the Columbia Broadcasting System. The biggest asset in the portfolio of Philip Morris Tobacco, Westinghouse. I get paid a fortune to do exactly what I love doing. I work side by side with my husband, who's genuinely impressed by me. And all I have to do to keep it is kill every week for thirty-six weeks in a row. And then do it again the next year." - Lucille Ball (Kidman)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Four nominations, one win: "The Hours" (2002) for best actress

    PRODUCERS: Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch
    DIRECTOR: Aaron Sorkin
    SYNOPSIS: Follows Lucy and Desi as they face a crisis that could end their careers and another that could end their marriage.
    STARRING: Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Tony HAle, Alia Shawkat, Jake Lacy

AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Best Actress)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The most awarded films in Oscar history are “Ben-Hur,” “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at 11 statuettes. The most nominated films in Academy history are “All About Eve,” “Titanic” and “La La Land” at 14. “La La Land” is the only film of the three to have lost best picture. The most prominent Oscar “losers,” meaning most nominated and walk away with zero awards, are 1977’s “The Turning Point” and 1985’s “The Color Purple” at 11 each. Katharine Hepburn has the most awards in this category with four.

In contrast, 13 women have won two each – Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Jodie Foster, Olivia de Havilland, Glenda Jackson, Vivien Leigh, Frances McDormand, Luise Rainer, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank and Elizabeth Taylor. Streep has the most nominations in this category with 17, Hepburn has 12, and Davis has 10. The oldest winner is Jessica Tandy at 80 for “Driving Miss Daisy,” The oldest nominee is Emmanuelle Riva at 85 for “Amour.” The youngest winner at 21 is Marlee Matlin (“Children of a Lesser God”), and the youngest nominee at 9 is Quvenzhané Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”).

2022 Academy Awards Predictions

2021 Oscars predictions are here.

About the Academy Awards (Oscars)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners have been selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Seventeen branches are represented within the near 10,000 person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.

  • The date for the 94th Oscars will be held on Sunday, Mar. 27, 2022

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