Although it is true that this year the competition for the Oscar for Best Actress is going to be very close due to the quality of the nominees and their successful performances, it seems that Variety is betting on what it describes as “a shocking surprise”, with the victory of the Spanish Penélope Cruz for “Parallel Mothers” by Pedro Almodóvar. He will have to overcome Hollywood heavyweights such as Nicole Kidman, Kristen Stewart, Jessica Chastain, and the British Olivia Colman.
It is not very common for the protagonist of a film that has not been nominated in the category of Best Foreign Film to be nominated as the leading actress, but Penelope is already an old acquaintance of the awards and her performance in this drama has nothing to do with envy that of “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, for which she already won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2009. It is the fourth time, moreover, that the Madrilenian has options to get an Academy statuette.
The fact that Almodóvar’s film was not selected by Spain to represent the country this year already happened with “Los Lunes al Sol” and “Talk to her”, when León de Aranoa did not get the nomination and the man from La Mancha was nominated for Best Director and Awarded for Original Screenplay. Coupled with this, as Variety points out, the actress has managed to unseat Lady Gaga with her “La casa Gucci / House of Gucci”, which was one of the favorites, makes Penelope seem to have a good chance of taking her second statuette.
As a factor against, the Spanish have not won any of the awards that are considered “prelude” to the Oscars, such as the Golden Globes, for which she was not nominated and in which her main rival, Nicole Kidman, took the prize. Penélope did not manage to rise as a winner at the SAG and BAFTA either, as has also happened with Kristen Stewart and, in the event that the name of one of the two was heard on Sunday, March 27, it would be the first time that an actress takes the award for Leading Actress without having previously received these two prestigious awards. But it is true that it is being a year with surprises in all categories.
Jessica Chastain opts for the award for “The eyes of Tammy Faye / The Eyes of Tammy Faye”, the story of a televangelist and her husband, who managed to create a religious empire. It is the third time that Chastain has been nominated, the second as a leading lady, although she has not won in either category so far.
“The Dark Daughter / The Lost Daughter” has earned Olivia Colman her third Oscar nomination, an award that she already won in 2019 for “The Favorite / The Favorite”. This time she plays a Cambridge professor who becomes obsessed during her vacation with a woman and her daughter. Kristen Stewart’s performance as Diana Spencer was her first award nomination, but Pedro Larraín’s film hasn’t gotten any other mentions and Stewart already missed out on the Golden Globe this year.
Her last opponent, Nicole Kidman, is tied with Penélope for nominations and Academy Awards, four mentions and the award for Best Leading Actress for “Las hora / The Hours”, in 2002. But the excellent work of Kidman and Javier Barden in ” Ser los Ricardo / Being the Ricardos”, by Aaron Sorkin, with dialogues that pose a challenge for any actor, are going to make it not so easy for the Spanish.
Penelope’s performance as Janis, one of two parallel mothers who give birth on the same day and share a room, may be the best of her career; Of course, she has nothing to envy her opponents and the Spanish has many options to return home with her second statuette this March 27.