For months now, prognosticators have been buzzing about a showdown between two powerhouses in the best actress race: Kristen Stewart vs. Lady Gaga. But in actuality, the lead actress race is much more competitive than that, with several excellent performances in the mix, both from previous Oscar winners and total newcomers.

Variety’s experts break down where the best actress race stands for 2022 with awards editor Clayton Davis and deputy awards and features editor Jenelle Riley.

Stewart has earned universal raves for her turn as Princess Diana in “Spencer,” but Lady Gaga is picking up major steam as the murderous Patrizia Reggiani in “House of Gucci” — she was just named best actress by the New York Film Critics Circle.

But this isn’t a two-person race. Oscar winner Nicole Kidman has silenced naysayers with her portrayal of Lucille Ball in “Being the Ricardos,” while previous winner Olivia Colman and Penelope Cruz dazzle as complicated mothers in “The Lost Daughter” and “Parallel Mothers,” respectively. Also be on the lookout for previous winners like Halle Berry, directing herself as an MMA fighter in “Bruised,” Jennifer Hudson channeling Aretha Franklin in “Respect,” and Jennifer Lawrence as an astronomer trying to warn the world of impending doom in “Don’t Look Up.” And one should never underestimate three-time best actress winner Frances McDormand, starring opposite Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”

On the flip side, two actors making their film debuts could shake up this race significantly. “Licorice Pizza” star Alana Haim and “West Side Story” lead Rachel Zegler are both newcomers who were handpicked by acclaimed directors to lead their films. Haim has nabbed several breakthrough performance awards for her role, while Zegler was just named best actress by the National Board of Review.

Other actors who could break through include previous nominees Jessica Chastain, for her transformative performance in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” and Rooney Mara, for her noir turn in “Nightmare Alley.”