Kristen Stewart has delivered what many are saying is her best performance yet in Spencer, and she’s even already getting some Oscar buzz. Written by Steven Knight and directed by Pablo Larra&ín, Spencer serves as a biopic for Princess Di, chronicling the destruction of her marriage to Prince Charles. It recently held its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival where it received a three-minute standing ovation with additional screenings at the Telluride Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival.
Many of those in attendance to watch Spencer have been walking away impressed, particularly satisfied with Kristen Stewart in the lead role. Forbes’ Scott Mendelson says that the movie “thrusts the perpetually underrated actress into the Oscar race.” Variety also reports that “there’s already been plenty of talk in Venice that the role will likely land Stewart her first Oscar nomination.” The outlet also compares Stewart’s performance to that of Helen Mirren’s Oscar-winning role as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen.
Spencer focuses on one particular three-day period during Princess Di’s life during the Christmas holiday season in 1991, delving into her decision to end her marriage to Prince Charles. Along with Stewart in the lead, Spencer also stars Jack Farthing as Charles with other cast including Sally Hawkins, Jack Nielen, Freddie Spry, Timothy Spall, Sean Harris, Olga Hellsing, and Thomas Douglas. Larra&ín produced with Juan de Dios Larra&ín, Jonas Dornbach, Paul Webster, Janine Jackowski, and Maren Ade.
“There are some people that are endowed with undeniable energy,” Stewart said at a press conference ahead of the premiere, per The Hollywood Reporter. “But as well as being so normal and disarming, she also felt so isolated and so lonely. She needed everyone else to feel accompanied and bolstered by this beautiful light, and all she wanted was to have it back.”
“She wore her heart on her sleeve,” the former Twilight star added. “When you know when the story on the street is just wrong and there’s nowhere to correct it. But that was what life was like for her, and at some point you’re going to bare your teeth, because we’re animals and it’s natural. I think everyone feels like they knew here, which is what’s beautiful about her-you think you’re friends with her-but ironically she was the most unknown person.”
The official synopsis for Spencer reads: “The marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumors of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game. But this year, things will be profoundly different. Spencer is an imagining of what might have happened during those few fateful days.”
Stewart is very well known for her breakout role as Bella Swan in The Twilight Saga, though she’s been working hard to shed that image in recent years. Her recent credits include Elizabeth Banks’ Charlie’s Angels reboot, the horror movie Underwater, and the romantic dramedy Happiest Season. She can next be seen in David Cronenberg’s upcoming horror Crimes of the Future with Viggo Mortensen and L&éa Seydoux.
Spencer will premiere in U.S. theaters on Nov. 5, 2021. Time will tell if the role puts Stewart up for a Best Actress nomination at the Academy Awards, but the consensus with many critics already is that she deserves it. You can watch the official trailer below courtesy of NEON on YouTube.