Going into Venice and the fall film season, Pablo Larraín’s Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, was on almost everyone’s list. It’s a triple threat situation: Princess Diana forever and ever will bring the intrigue and fascination; Pablo Larraín is an acclaimed filmmaker who brings the cinephiles; and Kristen Stewart is one of the best actors of her generation who can do big box office pictures and small, independent character studies. And the fact that Bella Swan decided to play one of the most famous women in history?
The expectations were always going to be high. So the question is… do Spencer and Kristen Stewart meet those expectations?
Critics are near unanimous in their praise for her performance. Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Scott Feinberg declared that Kristen’s work in the film is “truly the fulfillment of her tremendous promise and will almost certainly bring her the first Oscar nomination of her career”. And he’s not the only one. Again, almost everyone else is echoing those sentiments, with perhaps the only exception being the reviewers from outlets who may be predisposed to maintaining favour with the courtiers at Buckingham Palace, ahem.
So now, for Kristen and the team behind Spencer, it’s about calibrating the momentum. It’s important to make some noise in Venice and establish yourself as an early contender. That’s the path many previous Oscar winners have taken. Like Joaquin Phoenix a couple of years ago. And Nomadland last year. But award season is LONG. There are often momentum shifts. And this year, the Best Actress Oscar race might be as competitive as we’ve ever seen. In addition to Kristen, Kirsten Dunst might be going for it. And Jessica Chastain. And Jennifer Hudson. And Penelope Cruz. And their films are the ones we’re talking about now. Some films, featuring other actors, won’t kick off their campaigns for another few weeks.
Like… Lady Gaga in House of Gucci, who may be going for her second acting nomination in four years. Also Jodie Comer in The Last Duel. And Nicole Kidman might make a play. And Jennifer Lawrence.
My point is, of course it’s early. But it’s also critical for Kristen to declare her candidacy – and in Venice she has…
With a new look to go with what could be an Oscar-contending performance?
I wrote last week in my post about Kristen that she’s wearing her hair a little longer than we’ve seen in a long time. At the Venice gala, she wore it loose and wavy and strawberry blonde, a style that’s rather conventionally “pretty” in comparison to the style energy we’ve been accustomed to where she’s concerned.
It may be that she’s grown her hair like this for a role. It may be that it also works on the campaign trail – a softer vibe that doesn’t compromise her fashion identity. Because the pants on the carpet is still very Kristen Stewart. And the Chanel playsuit that she wore to the photo call, with the short shorts, is also very Kristen Stewart – a classic, timeless look from the most famous luxury brand, but tailored for her sensibilities, and still very much in the lane of occasion and in the spirit of the person she’s playing.
Kristen Stewart is making her case for Oscar. We love to see it.