While Coda won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, it was The Eyes of Tammy Faye which allowed Jessica Chastain to claim her first Oscar
In between stars swinging fists and “smacking the s**t” out of each other, actress Jessica Chastain won the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in the Tammy Faye Bakker biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye.
This is everything you need to know.
Who is Jessica Chastain?
Chastain is an American actress who was born in Sacramento, California, on 24 March 1977 to Jerri Renee Hastey (née Chastain) and Michael Monasterio, who became parents when they were 16 and 17 respectively.
Chastain was raised by her single mother, who would later go on to become a vegan chef, and then eventually by her firefighter stepfather Michael Hastey. Monastery died from bronchitis in 2013.
In the past, Chastain has said that she will not talk about that part of her life and has said that there is “no proof of anything” that Monasterio was even her father, as her birth certificate did not list a father.
Talking about her childhood in an interview with the Irish Times, Chastain said: “I did grow up with a single mother who worked very hard to put food on our table.
“We did not have money. There were many nights when we had to go to sleep without eating. It was a very difficult upbringing. Things weren’t easy for me growing up.”
Chastain discovered a passion for acting at a young age – something which interfered with her high school education, as she would “cut school and sit in my car, reading Shakespeare”.
“I dropped out of high school. I was not a hard worker. I was a terrible student. Eventually, I got my adult diploma, but I did not graduate. And it wasn’t that I just dropped out and never went back – at the end of the year I had too many absences to graduate,” Chastain told Entertainment Weekly in 2015.
From 1996 to 1997, Chastain attended Sacramento City College and in 1998, after finishing her education at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she made her professional stage debut as Juliet in a production of romeo and juliet.
It was that production that led her to audition for the prestigious performing arts school Julliard in New York, where she was granted a scholarship funded by actor Robin Williams (Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting).
The actress is one of five siblings and, in 2003, days before she graduated from Julliard, Chastain lost her younger sister Juliet to suicide, after she had “struggled a long time with drug abuse”.
Speaking about her sister in an interview with Modern Luxury ManhattanChastain said: “She had a lot of attempted suicides, but you never really think this is going to happen, even though, in your mind, you know it can happen.
“And when you get the call, it’s… shocking.”
In 2012, Chastain started dating her future husband, Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo, an Italian count of the Passi de Preposulo noble family. He is also an executive for the fashion brand Moncler.
In 2017, the two married in Italy and have since gone on to have two daughters together.
What has she been in?
Throughout the course of her career, Chastain has starred in a number of high profile roles.
In 2011, the actress appeared in a whopping six film releases – Take Shelter, Coriolanus, The Tree of Life, The Help, Wilde Salomé and Texas Killing Fields.
Some of her biggest roles that you’ll most likely recognize the 45-year-old include Interstellar, The Martian, It Chapter Two, A Most Violent Year, Molly’s Game and Zero Dark Thirty.
She also starred as Eleanor Rigby in the drama The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby in 2013, in which three versions of the film were released with three different perspectives – Him, Her and Them.
as well as The Eyes of Tammy FayeChastain has recently starred in a number of on screen roles, including the 2021 TV mini series Scenes from a Marriagemovies The Forgiven and The 355 and the series George and Tammy.
Outside of acting, Chastain founded the film and TV production company Freckle Films in 2016.
What is The Eyes of Tammy Faye about?
The Eyes of Tammy Faye is based on the true story of the rise, fall and eventual redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker.
Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Faye and her husband Jim Bakker, played by Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick… Boom! Hacksaw Ridge), rose from humble beginnings to create the world’s largest religious broadcasting network and theme park, and were revered for their message of love, acceptance and prosperity.
Faye was legendary for her indelible eyelashes, her idiosyncratic singing, and her eagerness to embrace people from all walks of life.
However, it wasn’t long before financial improprieties, scheming rivals, and scandal toppled their carefully constructed empire.
Where can I watch it?
If you’re keen to watch the film that Chastain picked up Best Actress for at the Academy Awards, then you can stream it on Disney+ right now.
The film enjoyed its world premiere at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival on 12 September 2021 before being released in US cinemas later that month on 24 September.
It was released in UK cinemas on 4 February 2022 before then being dropped on Disney’s streaming platform on 23 March 2022.
Disney+ is available for £7.99 per month or £79.90 per year which gets you 12 months of Disney+ for the price of 10.
The platform used to offer first time users a free trial before signing up to the service, however the week long free trial is no longer offered.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.