Oscar Best Actress Predictions, Odds: Jessica Chastain Favored Over Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman in Wide-Open Race, Plus Picks For All 2022 Nominees

Oscar Best Actress Predictions, Odds: Jessica Chastain Favored Over Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman in Wide-Open Race, Plus Picks For All 2022 Nominees article feature image

Amy Sussman/Getty Images. Pictured: Best Actress nominee Kristen Stewart (Spencer)

  • Jessica Chastain is the Best Actress Oscar favorite for The Eyes of Tammy Faye.
  • It's a wide-open race, however, with Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Stewart and Olivia Colman behind her.
  • Who will take home the Academy Award? Our experts provide their analysis below.

Best Actress Nominees & Odds

NomineeOddsImplied Probability
Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye)-16061.54%
Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers)+33023.26%
Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos)+47017.54%
Kristen Stewart (Spencer)+85010.53%
Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter)+11008.33%
Oscar odds for Best Actress nominees via FanDuel and as of March 26.

Best Actress Predictions

Chris Raybon: This category is wide open: Kidman won the Globe, Chastain won the Critics Choice and SAF, and Joanna Scanlan — who wasn't even nominated — won the BAFTA. The Academy also loves it some Colman,  who might win for making regretful facial expressions on a beach chair for a couple of hours.

Personally, I'm pulling for Chastain, who I managed to snag at +550 back on Feb. 9. All rooting biases aside, though, Chastain is the best value on the board, with support from 76.9% of editors and 71.4% of experts on Gold Derby, suggesting her odds should be closer to -285.

Cruz also is getting some late buzz, with 23.1% of editors and 21.4% of experts projecting her to take home her second Oscar after winning Best Supporting Actress for Vicky Cristina Barcelona in 2008. Cruz is a slight value on DraftKings at +350, but a much bigger one at FanDuel at +500.

If you bet both Chastain and Cruz, you can use our Hedging Calculator to split your amounts wagered in a way that guarantees a profit if either of them wins.

Pick: Jessica Chastain -140 (to -180), Penelope Cruz +350 (to +345)

Collin Whitchurch: The odds for this category have truly been all over the place for the past couple weeks. Nicole Kidman had been the favorite for a majority of the time, but was leapfrogged by Jessica Chastain after the former took home the top prize at the SAG Awards.

The BAFTAs are actually the best predictor of Best Actress wins historically, having matched the Academy in each of the last eight years and 16 times total since 2000. However, their prize went to Joanna Scanlan for After Love … and Scanlan isn't even nominated here.

Next up are the SAG Awards, which have been correct 15 times since 2000, and that's the sole reason Chastain has moved into the pole position. However, the SAGs have been incorrect in two of the last three years, as have the Golden Globes (Drama), which went to Kidman.

All of this has an "anything can happen" aura to it, and that seems really true, with four of the five nominees seeming legitimately in the running to walk out of the theater with the trophy. (Sorry, Penelope Cruz, although you were fantastic in Parallel Mothers.)

The other things to consider here are both the roles these women played and their ages. Frances McDormand's win a year ago skirted the "playing a historical figure" principle, but added another tally to the idea that Best Actress awards usually go to women either under 35 or over 60 (she was 63).

This year, we have three women who played historical figures: Chastain, Kidman and Kristen Stewart. However, four of the five nominees fall into that middle ground age-wise: Chastain (44), Kidman (54), Colman (48) and Cruz (47). That leaves Stewart (31) as the only nominee who fits into both the historical figure and age model, as championed by Ben Zauzmer's Oscarmetrics.

I've long wondered why Stewart wasn't getting more love for her performance as Princess Diana, and think at least from a critical and media standpoint, it has more to do with her Twilight history than anything else.

In any case, we're getting tremendous value here at +500 for a nominee who has a legitimate shot to take home the award. There's a reason she is an underdog — she didn't win the top prize at any of the lead-up awards — but this category screams unpredictability, so we're going with an unpredictable winner.

Pick: Kristen Stewart (Spencer) +500
Deserves to win: Stewart

Collin Wilson: The rules for winning Best Actress have been clear, play a historical character and do not fall between the ages of 35 to 60 years old.

There are plenty of historical characters in this years list of nominees from Kristen Stewart playing Princess Diana, Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball and Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye. Both Chastain and Kidman fall into age range where winners are often left out, but Renee Zellweger did win this award at the age of 52 recently.

Stewart falls into the age category to win this award at 31, but there has been zero buzz around the role. The actress was not included as a nominee at the Screen Actors Guild or BAFTAs, as outrage continues that Lady Gaga did not receive a nomination for House of Gucci. Chastain took steam on the number after winning the Critics Choice Award, surpassing Kidman as the favorite in this category.

None of these performers were nominated at the BAFTAs making this the most wide-open race on the board. Chastain is listed at the top of plenty of Gold Derby critics ballots, giving her value on the number up through -400.

If there is one other competitor to watch for, its Olivia Colman at +500. The actress won this category in 2018 and was nominated an additional time for The Father last year. Colman is a powerhouse in the Best Actress division and was marked as first or second on plenty of ballots per Gold Derby.

Splitting a unit bet on Chastain and Colman may present a risk-free bet on the long shot winning the category.

Pick: Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter) +500; Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye) -175

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