Remember last year when Jessica Chastain was everywhere? It wasn't by design. After being discovered by Al Pacino some years ago during an audition, the actress made her way into the business. She was cast by Pacino (who she called her "acting godfather" at last year's Palm Springs awards gala) in "Wilde Salome" and landed roles in a slew of other films that all just happened to drop at once. So 2011 became her big coming out...to the tune of an Oscar nomination for her work in "The Help" and various precursor wins for her performances in that film, "Take Shelter" and "The Tree of Life"
Well, she arguably deserved to win the Oscar over her "Help" co-star Octavia Spencer last year, but we all figured we'd see her again. A talent like this doesn't just fade away. But who knew it would bubble up again so soon? While Sony has been busy keeping a lid on most of the details of Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty," right down to the specificity of the role Chastain would play in the film, the Best Actress race has been slowly congealing into a big bid for Chastain's fellow young ingenue Jennifer Lawrence in "Silver Linings Playbook." But I'm betting that's all about to change.