Jessica Chastain is one step closer to her first Oscar.
The Eyes of Tammy Faye star has continued her impressive run this awards season, picking up the best-actress trophy at the Critics Choice Awards on the heels of her upset victory at the SAG Awards. The race had been considered wide-open for months, with high-profile Oscar snubs (Lady Gaga) and surging arthouse contenders (Penelope Cruz) keeping things unclear. But clearly, a new favorite has emerged here, over six months after The Eyes of Tammy Faye was released in theaters.
Chastain was not in attendance to pick up the award, but accepted after the announcement via Twitter from Wilmington, North Carolina, where she is in production. “I am out of my mind with happiness,” she said. “I am so moved and honored and touched and I am fucking excited. I’m sorry, I was eating dinner and drinking wine, and now I’m going to drink a lot more wine and celebrate. I wish I could have been there. I’m so happy.”
The actor likely gained steam with voters after her teary, heartfelt SAG speech. Critics Choice has only forecast five of the past 10 lead-actress Oscar winners, notably missing last year’s Frances McDormand in favor of Carey Mulligan. Indeed, this is Chastain’s second win in the category; she triumphed back in 2012 for Zero Dark Thirty before losing the Oscar to Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook).
This time feels a little different, however. The show usually occurs earlier in the season, prior to last-minute momentum swings; following SAG this cycle due to an Omicron-induced delay, and giving Chastain another big win just as voting is set to commence, makes for ideal timing. (Critics Choice membership doesn’t overlap with the Academy, but as a large and diverse body of voters, its preferences often intersect.) The front-runner on the best actor side, King Richard’s Will Smith, continued his dominance in the field as well.
Also nominated at the Critics Choice Awards and Oscars for best actress are Nicole Kidman, Olivia Colman, and Kristen Stewart; Parallel Mothers’ Cruz has yet to be tested at a major ceremony. This was the one film-acting category that didn’t overlap with the BAFTAs, which took place earlier on Sunday. That’s because BAFTA didn’t nominate a single eventual Oscar nominee, and only two Critics Choice contenders (Gaga and Alana Haim). And even then, the British Academy went for one of their own in After Love’s Joanna Scanlan. A reminder, perhaps, that even as this category is starting to look settled, it has roots in chaos—and anything can still happen.
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