Ariana DeBose is widely considered to be the Oscar frontrunner for Best Supporting Actress. If she wins this weekend at the BAFTAs, her lead will be considerable. But it’s by no means a foregone conclusion since, as we’ve seen, this year has been so unpredictable and King Richard is definitely making a charge. Don’t sleep on Aunjanue Ellis. 


Still, the West Side Story team and Ariana are not oblivious to her position in the race. As we often observe during Oscar season, the ones who are expected to win are the ones who seem to be having the least amount of fun. And the ones who are actually just enjoying the invitation with no expectations are having the most fun. 

This, however, is not Ariana. Ariana is having a GREAT time. It’s her first time – last year she was co-hosting an Oscar pre-show red carpet and this year she’s returning as a nominee. She was at the Oscar Nominees’ Luncheon yesterday, with her best friend and co-star Paloma Garcia-Lee and the two of them also hit the Hollywood Reporter’s party afterwards too. Ariana wore a pink suit in the afternoon, changed into a bombshell orange dress for the evening, and is clearly allowing herself to do the most and have the most… which also happens to be a great look for her campaign. 


And then there’s Kristen Stewart. Ariana and Kristen made history together on nomination day as the first two openly queer performers to be contending for acting Oscars in the same year. Kristen’s had a full weekend of events from Santa Barbara to the Spirit Awards to the luncheon yesterday and she too hit up THR’s party. This, of course, is part of the campaign circuit but there doesn’t seem to be a sense of obligation about her attendance. She, like Ariana, is having a blast. She’s hanging out with other nominees, like the CODA team, at the luncheon. She’s making the rounds with her peers – like literally just enjoying the moment. 

My mind goes to Dan Levy here and Schitt’s Creek and how he made it a priority on the show to depict queer life and queer stories with joy. And this is exactly the mood that Ariana and Kristen have been serving since the nominations were announced – pure joy. Not that it’s their responsibility, obviously, to represent an entire community but it’s also delightful to see this kind of energy on the award circuit for everyone involved, even just as an antidote to the Why So Serious-ness of the Joaquin Phoenixes who show up year after year.