The Case for Kristen Stewart Winning the Oscar

This article originally appeared on The Film Experience

We still have over four weeks to go until the 2021 Oscars ceremony takes place, but the intrigue is beginning to ramp up. When Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of Princess Diana in Spencer was among the nominees, I immediately thought to myself…she could still win the Oscar.

The Race is Wide-Open

No awards consensus has solidified around one particular nominee. Lady Gaga was the only actress to land nominations at every televised precursor, but she was left out on nomination morning. Every other nominee has missed somewhere, so there is a question of who the Oscars actually want. Upcoming awards might solidify a consensus, but there certainly isn’t one right now.

Side note: isn’t it great to have a category where you could see any of the five nominees potentially walking away with the statue? We thought it was great when four of the five Best Actress nominees from 2020 had a shot, but it’s even better for this year. This is what the Oscar categories should shoot for: a wide-open category.

The Performance

Paul Thomas Anderson spoke for many critics about Spencer‘s reaction. “Obviously not enough people saw Spencer, because there’s no way you could pay attention to what we do and not give that film more recognition. Not just for Kristen Stewart’s performance, which is astonishing, but just across the board it’s an incredibly well-done film. But it’s not unlike all the other categories.”

Anderson is on his own campaign tour, but he said what a lot of critics already think. She has already walked away with 23 critics awards for Best Actress, plus five runners-up citations to go along with 16 other nominations. 40+ critics citations aren’t an accident.

She Might Want It

Stewart was nonchalant about her Oscar chances back in November, telling Variety’s Clayton Davis, “I don’t give a shit.” Many pundits counted her out, but maybe she was fooling herself. She seemed downright ecstatic on nomination morning.

Though not on the Gaga-levels of press, she is still out there putting in the effort. The Academy wants performers to want the award, but not too much. She definitely isn’t overdoing it, but she is still putting in the work. You can find her in Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Issue, People Magazine, and told Stephen Colbert she might even get married at any moment.

The Oscars Like to Share the Wealth

This race reminds me a lot of the 2002 Best Actor lineup. Four previous Oscar winners (Jack Nicholson, Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine, and Daniel Day-Lewis) were up against a first-time nominee (Adrien Brody). In the lead-up to the ceremony, many pundits saw it as a race between Nicholson and Day-Lewis. But on Oscar night, Adrien Brody was able to walk away with the statue.

Plenty of pundits are already doing the same thing. With Gaga no longer in the mix, predictions are mostly split on giving a second Best Actress Oscar to either Olivia Colman or Nicole Kidman. The Oscars always lean towards their favorites, but Kidman and Colman don’t feel like they are at that level yet. That leaves the door wide-open for Stewart.

Lady Gaga’s exclusion left a gap for some actress to fill. Stewart benefited on nomination morning and it could find her gracing the Oscar stage.

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