Something's coming: another Oscar nod for Rita Moreno.
At least, that's what some critics predicted after Steven Spielberg's West Side Story premiered on Monday night. Early reactions on social media were rapturous, with the film being dubbed "amazing" and "top-tier Spielberg." Rachel Zegler, who plays Maria, was widely praised for her performance, as was Rita Moreno. Moreno played Anita in the original 1961 film version of West Side Story, and decades later, she returns for the new one as a different character, Valentina.
In fact, some critics said 89-year-old Moreno was so good, she could earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress and maybe even a win. After the premiere, The Hollywood Reporter's Oscars forecast listed Moreno as a frontrunner alongside her West Side Story co-star Ariana DeBose, who plays Anita this time.
That would be particularly notable because Moreno already won Best Supporting Actress for her role in the original West Side Story, meaning this could be a unique case of an actor earning two Oscars for playing different characters in adaptations of the same material. Moreno's original 1962 win made history, as she became the first Hispanic woman to win an Academy Award. Her acceptance speech was just 11 words long: "I can't believe it! Good Lord. I leave you with that."
At the moment, some of the other performers seen as Best Supporting Actress contenders include Belfast's Caitríona Balfe, The Power of the Dog's Kirsten Dunst, and King Richard's Aunjanue Ellis. West Side Story appears likely to pick up multiple other Oscar nominations, possibly including Best Picture. So is there a chance it could win the top prize? Considering the original West Side Story won Best Picture, it might be a challenge to do so again. But the early raves suggest it's not impossible the film could go all the way — and frontrunner Belfast may have some serious competition.