The awards season 2022 officially begins! Hollywood is abuzz with praise for some of the most outstanding performances of the year, following this week’s announcements of the Screen Actors Guild Awards winners and nominees.
Biopics are big in 2022. Nicole Kidman is the frontrunner to portray Lucille Ball, comedy legend. Being the RicardosWill Smith, who is Venus and Serena Williams’ headstrong father on the tennis court. King Richard,Andrew Garfield is a surprising musical talent. RentJonathan Larson is the mastermind tick, tick…Boom! and Kristen Stewart, who channels Diana, Princess of Wales, in the twisty, psychological Spencer.
COVID-related precautions have so far forced some of this year’s ceremonies to delay — keep track of all your awards season schedules with ET’s handy guide — but from here, it’s a straight shot towards the 94th Academy Awards on March 27, where Hollywood’s biggest honors will be celebrated with that coveted golden statuette.
ET had exclusive access the many 2022 frontrunners who were honored at this year’s Palm Springs International Film Awards. Listen to the stars speak out about their performances and the awards they received this season.
Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos
Nicole Kidman, who is expected to win Best Actress for this season’s Golden Globes wins, was presented with the Career Achievement Award by the Palm Springs International Film Awards. Kidman marveled at the award and said that it showed her determination to keep going.
“I still have incredible passion about what I do,” said the actress. She turns in a breathtaking performance as Lucille, comedy legend.Being the Ricardos. “I’m still completely enamored with the work. It’s so simple.
Kidman got her start with acting as a teenager in Australia, before breaking through on the international stage in the late ’80s, and she is magnanimous as ever when it comes to reflecting on her nearly 40-year career.
She said, “It’s been slow since I was 14, but it’s had its ups as well as downs.” “I have worked with some of the most talented directors, actors, and writers in the world. As any actor will tell you we’re only as good as the people around us… but the one thing I’ve been dedicated to with this is actually trying to always not get pigeonholed and find different avenues to to express what I have inside and find those people that are willing to mine that from me.”
In RicardosAaron Sorkin, a writer and director, was the one Kidman credits for convincing her to accept the challenging role.
“I’m just so grateful that Aaron Sorkin went, ‘No, I think you can do it,’ because there was a major part of me that was like, ‘I don’t think I can do this,'” she recalled. “That’s been a lot of what I have done in my career. It was people believing that I could do it and then supporting me with incredible support.”
“To have the opportunity to play Lucille B at this stage of life, with this style of writing, against Javier [Bardem], with all of these actors who are top of the top, I’m still going, ‘Wow is this actually my life and is this my career and do I have the chance to go and do this? OK I better not let anybody down,'” she continued. “Show up, be thankful, and then hopefully come in with a lot of preparation and passion.
READ MORE Nicole Kidman shares the message she’s teaching her daughters about work ethics (Exclusive).
Will Smith – King Richard
Will Smith gives a riveting performance King RichardRichard Williams, the real-life father to tennis legends Venus Williams and Serena Williams. The impactful performances in Reinaldo Marcus Green’s film tell the story of a father who was determined to give his daughters the success and life he never had. This surprised even Oscar winner.
“I secretly believed that I couldn’t make any better than what I had.” The pursuit of happiness, and I never said that out loud, but I felt like I would never make anything better than The pursuit of happiness and then I saw King Richard,ET spoke to Smith, referring to his 2006 biographical drama.
The actor shared this information as well. King Richard felt like a sea change for his career, from movie star to a performer focused on telling stories about “the triumph of the human spirit.”
“I want to make stories that make me smile, I want to tell stories that make me cry and I want to tell stories about the triumph of the human spirit and the women of the movement, and King Richard fit in with that. He said that the amount of time spent on the set and on these items, I don’t want anyone to ever do anything they won’t be proud of for the rest their lives.” “So, for me, that’s where I am right now, when I call, and I say to people, ‘Hey, come with me on this journey,’ I want it to be something that is fun. And I want it to contribute to the evolution, and the growth of the consciousness and loving connection between human beings.”
Smith and his co-stars accepted the Ensemble Performance Award from the PSIFA, and he marveled at the way the cast “fell into the roles of family and friends” as they navigated filming in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to tell a story that honored the real-life bond of the Williams family.
“The value and importance of the story and to have Venus, Serena, and the Williams family on-set with us, it felt that we were doing an act that had true value,” he said. “It was things that we all agreed with, just as human beings, that we wanted to say, and we wanted to put into the world. It was one the most rewarding experiences of my career.
READ MORE Will Smith Never Thought He’d Make Anything Better Than ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ Until ‘King Richard’
Kristen Stewart – Spencer
Kristen Stewart, who played the role of Diana, Princess Of Wales in the dramatic dramatized version, was another performer who braved a real-life challenge. Spencer provided an insightful look at who the late royal may have been, while also showcasing the actress in a impressive new light.
“So many associations that we have with her are sad, because of how much we loved her,” Stewart told ET of playing Diana. “I think that what really resonated with me are actually the more joyful times that we had making this movie. It was so joyful, and that is what she left behind. It was amazing to be able to see that light, which I have never experienced before, and it was a wonderful experience.
Stewart credited director Pablo Larrain’s “kinda wild and unique vision” with allowing her to have fun in performing the character, even though Spencer showcases a fictionalized look at some of Diana’s darkest days.
“The best thing about making this movie was how small and big I felt.” She recalled that she’s never felt so small and big at the same moment. “There are certain impactful and touching people that exist, and they’re sort of lightning in a bottle, one-in-a million-special, but their inner lives are maybe not sometimes what it feels like for everyone outside.”
Stewart, though shockingly excluded from the SAG Awards nominations is still a frontrunner in Best Actress at Academy Awards. This concept is something she finds difficult to comprehend. “I can’t even imagine it, to be honest,” the actress said, admitting that she’s unsure whether or not she’s an “Oscar person.”
She said, “You want to connect to as many people as possible through doing movies, that’s what we do.” “I have been working for so many years, and I love what my job is. It’s a wonderful, amazing, surreal, incredible opportunity to do something that is true to you, so at the moment, and reflective of something in your history. Then, just kind of blast it out, everywhere. It’s been a wild ride.
READ MORE Kristen Stewart: Princess Diana, Twilight’s New Popularity & Upcoming Wedding (Exclusive).
Andrew Garfield – tick, tick…BOOM!
It’s hard for us to choose which of Andrew Garfield’s career surprises was bigger this year: His return as Peter Parker or his retirement. Spider-Man: There is no way home, or his tour de force portrayal of Jonathan Larson in tick, tick… BOOM! He displayed his musical talents even though he was not sure of them when he was cast.
Garfield however, tells the story of Larson’s life in New York City as a struggling artist, leading to a breakthrough with RentEven though he didn’t see it, his story was a “universal” emotional journey for all who have ever attempted to make art their life.
“I still vividly remember the first time that we showed the film to an SAG audience. I remember being in the hallway before we were gonna do the Q&A after, and I was with Lin and the rest of the company, and I turned to Lin and said, ‘I have a feeling this is gonna be a special night,'” he recalled when speaking to ET. “Because everyone in that audience, this is their story. Everybody who ever held a SAG Card, every person who ever had the courage to pursue their own dreams — artistic or not — this is their story.
Garfield said that he’s loved receiving messages from friends and fans about how they were inspired by his portrayal of Larson — “the quintessential, devoted artist who could not let go of this very particular, unique thread that pulled him into life, and knew he needed to leave behind all of his giftedness,” he calls him. The film was also a very emotional moment for Garfield, as he lost his mother Lynn to pancreatic cancer shortly before production started.
“I was able to put my mother’s song, my mother’s unfinished, half-finished song right next to Jonathan’s unfinished, half-finished songs,” he said of filming in a wake of such personal tragedy. “That personal connection, I think, again, it’s what makes all stories, all art, so universal. The fact that what Jonathan has to allow for, what he has to understand and be initiated to in the course of this story, is this acceptance that life has to include loss. It has to include loss and awareness and a knowledge of the finite nature of the amount of breaths that we get to have here, the amount of love that we get to share here, the amount of tender, finite moments that we get to live.”
Garfield’s Press Tour tick, tick…BOOM! has been loaded with a similar amount of raw, emotional veracity, and it’s impossible not to see it onscreen as well, as Larson leaves his heart on the stage of the New York Theatre Workshop.
“The thing that’s chasing all of us, that actually is what makes life as meaningful as it can be, if we allow ourselves the privilege of our grief, the privilege to remember that this is temporary… and that there is no way of living a life of meaning without that,” Garfield marveled, sharing how he channeled the intense emotion throughout the course of Larson’s story, which, of course, also ends in tragedy.
“For me, simple the fact that I got to sing for my mother, that I got to sing her across the river, that I got to keep singing — that I wish she could be here herself to sing, but in lieu of that, I will do my best to sing it for her — and to have her song kind of sung on the river of Jonathan Larson songs, I feel that’s quite beautiful and quite moving,” he added. “And I’m just so grateful.”
READ MORE Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire Talk Sneaking Into “Spider-Man” Screenings (Exclusive).
Lady Gaga – House of Gucci
Everyone already knew Lady Gaga was an icon, but for the performer, receiving PSIFA’s Icon Award for her work in film means something totally different.
“I think about all the awards I’ve won over the years, and the way I’ve always wanted to be an actress, and I’m here now receiving this award and keep thinking to myself how grateful I am that it’s for a character. While accepting the award, she spoke to ET about her experience as an actor and how it was a reflection of her.
Gaga makes an iconic turn inHouse of Gucci portraying real-life Italian socialite Patrizia Reggiani, who infamously was convicted of hiring a hitman to kill her husband, fashion heir Maurizio Gucci.
“Patrizia was a famous role in Italy, and she is well-known all over the world for her portrayal of the antihero,” she stated. “There was a way to tell the story that this was a woman using her body manipulation to get what it wanted. This was a woman who was greedy and gave herself to scandal and murder to get money.
“But when I read about her and I researched her,” she continued, “I realized inside Patrizia was the story of many women, and to receive an Icon Award for that is extremely meaningful to me.”
Gaga, who was an Icon Award recipient, is in rarefied territory, joining other honorees such as Glenn Close, Meryl Sterep, Tom Hanks, Tom Hanks, etc. If she receives another Best Actress nomination for her House of GucciRole, she will also be joining them in multiple Oscar nominations, something she is not comfortable with.
“I feel very fortunate to be in this organization, and I also feel validated as a performer.” It is a great privilege to be with these actors,” she said. “But, I would like again to emphasize that everyone [honored with this award] also was birthed by a community of artists… It’s the camera people, and the grips, and our directors. It’s the scripts, it’s the screenplay writers, it’s wardrobe, it’s hair, it’s makeup, it’s the family and the community that’s all there for one purpose, and that’s to make the public smile.”
Gaga teased ET about plans for her next album, but the note she really wanted to send was her appreciation and solidarity for her friends, family and fans around the world. Noting that it is a difficult time for many, her moment of celebration arrives at an extremely challenging time.
“This was an absolutely amazing experience, and I just wish I could hug the whole world right now for what everybody’s going through,” she shared. “I just feel really blessed that I get to make what I love during a time that is so difficult… People watch TV at home, I think, and think that we don’t live in the same world, but I live in the same world as you if you’re watching, and I see what’s happening, and I love you.”
READ MORELady Gaga Reveals Oscar Winner she Wants to Work with Next, Recalls Moments She Knew She Had Made It (Exclusive).
Denzel Washington – MacBeth’s Tragic Enduring Tragedy
This is an anecdote that’s now famous, but it’s still remarkable to note that Denzel Washington hadn’t seen a performance by him. MacbethBefore agreeing to play the role of Shakespeare in Joel Coen’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s plays, The Tragedy of Macbeth.
He did it because he wanted to. “Because Joel Coen wanted me,” Washington said to ET. He noted that the chance to direct his first solo film with the highly acclaimed “Coen brother” was too good to pass on. “Because it is Joel Coen, Frances McDormand, and William Shakespeare. That’s why.”
It is a sure-fire formula for success. Washington, McDormand, and Coen have nine Oscar wins each. It was an easy decision for Washington, who is the best when it comes to projects.
“You can be at the top of the heap, but you can sometimes be there by yourself,” he noted. “So to be asked from a director who’s on top of the heap, and an actress who’s on top of the heap, if they wanna collaborate then that was, you know, they made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse.”
Oscar nomination and win Macbeth could be historic for Washington — he is already the Black actor with the most nominations of all time, by far, and could become the first Black actor ever to win three times — but, ever the pragmatist, he declined to comment on the possibility just yet: “Well, let’s let it happen first.”
READ MORE Denzel Washington recalls how Sidney Poitier encouraged him to continue acting (Exclusive).
Jennifer Hudson Respect
Jennifer Hudson said to ET that portraying Aretha Franklin was like receiving an award. Respect.
This is not exaggerated. Hudson wasn’t just cast in the film, she was hand-selected by the Queen of Soul herself, just before her death in 2018, to take on her complicated and triumphant story. The actress and singer said that receiving an award for it was “like the cherry on top.” She was honored by the PSIFA with the Chairman’s Award. “It is something that I don’t take lightly. I feel like we all put our hearts, every bit of our energy, into this project to pay homage to her legacy, and so this is just a reminder of that, that I get to look at and cherish with that in mind.”
Hudson acknowledged that the role was difficult and overwhelming, but she felt it was important to pay tribute Franklin, a strong woman who is a powerful artist.
“I can still breathe, it’s exciting to have the chance to do it, but what happens when it’s actually time? Whew, it can be very scary,” she recalled. “You think of the icon and the legacy that she has just bestowed upon all of us. It’s something that we all cherish and treasure, that we want to maintain and respect and upkeep and all of that, so this [award]it’s like getting a breath of fresh, clean air… It’s something that you know to honor her memory.”
Hudson’s casting might even have been destiny. The finalist for season 3 of the TV series, Hudson became an actress and singer. American IdolShe was born in 2004. And which song was she able to sing during her auditions? “Share Your Love With Me,” by… Aretha Franklin.
Hudson was astonished to see that no one can imagine as big as they do. Hudson said, “No one can see your potential as well as you. You know what I mean. I had always had my own visions, my dreams, and my goals. As long as I stayed with that, and I stayed on that track, I couldn’t be concerned with what other people thought I wasn’t gonna do.”
“That’s why my saying is, You will always see that I try.'” she said. “It’s all in doing what I love to do, and I’ve just been blessed to be able to do that and to be here almost 20 years [after American Idol]… is a blessing, and to receive an award, no, the Chairman’s award, from a film society is like, come on, incredible.”
READ MORE Jennifer Hudson on Acclaim for ‘Respect’ and the Possibility of Getting Her Own Talk Show (Exclusive)
Jessica Chastain – The Eyes Of Tammy Faye
For Jessica Chastain, The Eyes Of Tammy Faye This was much more than just another role. This year, the two-time Oscar nominee took on a new role and produced both her movie about female action team up. The 355,Here is her biopic of the Christian televangelist Jim Bakker.
Chastain shared his feelings about Tammy Faye’s story with ET. He also described how he helped shepherd the project and purchased Tammy Faye’s life rights. It’s been so meaningful for me to see it out and have it be accepted the way it was. Not only in terms of acting, because I learned so much in playing her, but in terms of like, righting the wrong.”
The Bakkers, prominent televangelists of the 1970s and 1980s, founded The PTL Club, a Christian news channel that made big money through boisterous ministry. In recent years, however, they have been relegated to a joke. Jim was jailed on fraud and conspiracy charges stemming from PTL’s questionable finances in 1989, and Tammy Faye became best known for her TV appearances, gaudy lifestyle and heavy makeup, a caricature of the woman Chastain learned she really was.
“I think that we had done this injustice to Tammy, like, how she had been remembered,” Chastain said, noting that for her, the film was about “really acknowledging the incredible things she did, but also the beginning of my career as someone as who creates projects as a producer and what I am putting out into the world. It’s very important to me and it is very meaningful.”
Tammy Faye was, in truth, a controversial figure because of her deviations from traditional Evangelical values. She refused to denounce homosexuals and publicly urged support for HIV/AIDS patients in the ’80s — a time when the disease was decimating the LGBTQ community but still a taboo topic for many Americans, particularly conservatives.
Chastain found it difficult but rewarding to incorporate all the contradictions of Chastain into her screen persona. Chastain admitted, “I grew-up being afraid of religion.” “I grew-up being afraid of an institution that might tell some people they are worthy and some that they aren’t.” And she really went against that, and actually, in some sense, studying her brought me closer to grace.”
“I feared it, but I also… I love playing characters that are very complex, that have a lot of flaws,” the actress admitted. “So I was really looking for like the seediest stuff I could find, and then in reality of the seven years that I had to study her before we ended up on set, it really became clear to me that she was someone who believed that everyone was deserving of love and everyone should be acknowledged and valued and seen as equal for that.”
She added, “That was really inspiring for me.” “And it stuck with me too, how our traumas of the past shape who we are and stick with us and how hard it is to kind of break a chain of what we know. And the fact that she had just been seeking love and validation her whole life, and for Tammy, to be seen was to be loved, and to be loved was to be close to God. She saw grace and love as one thing.
READ MORE Inside Jessica Chastain’s 7-Hour Transformation for ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ (Exclusive)