Jessica Chastain’s nod as Tammy Faye Bakker in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” marks her Oscar third nomination — yet she says this awards season is a bit of a refreshing experience. That’s because the award is no longer overshadowed by some of the ugly campaign tactics employed by the likes of Harvey Weinstein — the disgraced studio head convicted in 2020 of multiple counts of rape and sexual assault (whom Chastain doesn’t reference by name).
On this episode of Variety’s award-winning Awards Circuit Podcast, we talk to Chastain about “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” and her approach to portraying the controversial televangelist. She reveals what lies ahead via upcoming film roles including playing Tammy Wynette in the forthcoming “George and Tammy” limited series, Tobias Lindholm’s “The Good Nurse” and Rawson Marshall Thurber’s “The Division.” The actor also discusses her friendship with fellow Julliard classmate Oscar Isaac, whom she’s worked with on several films and tv projects.
Chastain received an best actress Oscar nomination for 2012’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” along with the film’s nomination for best picture. Recalling the smear campaign and controversy surrounding the Kathryn Bigelow film, Chastain sees more positive techniques being utilized this time around.
“Listen, he-who-shall-not-be-named really changed awards season,” she says. “I don’t see it nowadays like I saw it when I first came onto the scene. If a film had a lot of attention, there’d be all these negative articles about it, all of a sudden. I believe he-who-shall-not-be-named is the instigator of that kind of campaigning. Thank goodness our industry is moving to a more healthy environment, and we’re now more celebratory of everyone. We’re not trying to knock someone down because they’re competition. We have now moved to a much happier place.”
Following a world bow at the Toronto International Film Festival, Searchlight Pictures’ dramedy “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” directed by Michael Showalter, has brought Chastain back to the Oscar ceremony. The film, which echoes previous Oscar embraces such as “I, Tonya,” has made a bonafide contender out of the 44-year-old actress and producer.
Chastain’s previous Oscar noms came in supporting actress for “The Help” (2011) and that lead actress nod for “Zero Dark Thirty” (2012). She also serves as one of the producers for “Tammy Faye,” along with Kelly Carmichael, Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane. While “Tammy Faye” could prove to be more divisive with critics and awards voters, her campy, fun-loving turn could appeal to those Academy members who tend to fall for bombastic and transformative performances, no matter the critical reception.
Oscars voters have always loved seeing actors whose startling physical transformations come after countless hours in the makeup chair. The film is also nominated for best makeup and hairstyling.
Variety Awards Circuit podcast is hosted by Clayton Davis, Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay and Jenelle Riley and is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in movies. Michael Schneider is the producer and Drew Griffith edits. Each week, “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every week.