the eyes of tammy faye tiff 2021 Jessica Chastain Michael Showalter oscar predictions actress

Oscar Predictions: Who should win Best Actress & Best Supporting Actress Oscars

These are two strong acting categories where anyone could take it.

Oscar Predictions: Best Actress

This year’s Best Actress race is far more compelling than the Best Actor category. Penélope Cruz is radiant as always in Parallel Mothers. In Being the Ricardos, Nicole Kidman nails a difficult performance. However, I’d argue she’s let down by attempts to make her look more like Lucille Ball, sending her into the uncanny valley. The always fantastic Olivia Colman sells a challenging role of an angry mother in The Lost Daughter. Kirsten Stewart is ethereal in her fairy-tale-like interpretation of Lady Diana in Spencer. Jessica Chastain, though, steals the show as Tammy Faye Bakker.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye is a mid-film at best. It’s generally less interesting than just reading Tammy Faye’s Wikipedia or watching some of her YouTube videos. But Jessica Chastain not only transforms into Tammy Faye through makeup and mannerisms, she captures a tone that, if it had been consistent across the board, would have elevated The Eyes of Tammy Faye to something special. Without losing sight of character, she camps it up and ultimately wins over this cynical critic. It’s a shame her performance was not as supported by the filmmaking — in one scene, she (very comedically) tries to eat a hotdog modestly, but rather than let her play it up, they cut away. I said it on Twitter, and I’ll repeat it here: Put her in a Danny McBride film or series ASAP. Chastain has a natural sense of comedy and rhythm, and she’s being absolutely wasted on overtly serious garbage.

Who will probably win? Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actress

The Oscars rarely knock out a category where I would be more or less happy if everyone won. It’s as tricky to pick a weak point as an obvious winner. In terms of favourites, it’s a tough call between Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog and Ariane DeBose in West Side Story. Frankly, it comes down to whoever has the better awards narrative. On the one hand, you have Dunst; a child actress turned teen idol turned transgressive star getting her first-ever nomination. On the other hand, you have Ariana DeBose, a newcomer from reality TV (she was a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance?) and Broadway (funny enough, her Broadway debut was in Bring It On! The Musical) in one of her first major film roles. 

As much as I’d love to see Dunst win (she’s been a favourite of mine since elementary school), I think that DeBose might slightly edge her out. She’s the lifeblood of West Side Story, commanding life and pathos. Every second she’s not on screen, you want her back. Her presence is magnetic, her talent outsized.

Even though I’m hardly the biggest Oscar fan, I’m not immune to its charms either. Part of the Oscars magic is discovering new talents as much as rewarding the old guard. DeBose could have also easily paled compared to Rita Morena’s equally transcendent performance from the 1961 adaptation. Instead, she not only holds her own, but she also creates a new and fresh interpretation of the role.

Who will probably win? Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

To read our Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor Oscar predictions, please click here.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye, directed by Michael Showalter

The Academy Awards airs on ABC and CTV on Sunday, March 27, 8 p.m. For more, please visit the Oscars website.

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