Jessica Chastain won the Academy Award for best lead actress for her title role as the on-air preaching partner and wife of Christian televangelist Jim Bakker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye.
In her speech, broadcast live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, Chastain drew large applause and thanked her “brilliant” co-star Andrew Garfield.
“So many people out there feel hopelessness and alone and suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States,” she said.
“In times like this I think of Tammy and I’m inspired by her compassion."
After three nominations, Jessica Chastain has finally won for Best Actress #Oscars pic.twitter.com/2RU65W6k2w
— Letterboxd (@letterboxd) March 28, 2022
A first-time winner, 45-year-old Chastain plays former televangelist personality Tammy Faye Messner, who once had a cult following with husband Jim Bakker on their religious broadcasting network before he was jailed for fraud and enveloped in a sex scandal.
Tammy Faye later married and took the last name of developer Roe Messner as she rebuilt her reputation through a documentary and reality show before her cancer death in 2007.
Although the film drew mixed reviews, critics credited Chastain with rendering a nuanced, sympathetic portrayal of a figure much-lampooned in her day for her outlandish makeup and clothing styles and an emotional television persona bordering on histrionic.
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The Eyes of Tammy Faye was directed by in the Michael Showalter.
The Oscar triumph for 45-year-old Chastain, almost unrecognizable in heavy makeup as Tammy Faye Bakker, followed a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance and capped the third Academy Award nomination of her career.
Jessica Chastain was previously nominated for an Oscar for 2012 portrayal of a CIA analyst on the hunt of Osama Bin Laden in "Zero Dark Thirty" and her 2011 supporting role as a Southern socialite in the 1960s racial drama The Help.
(With inputs from Reuters)