Friday, January 24, 2014

"American Hustle" and Oscar History

David O. Russell's American Hustle earned an extremely rare feat: four acting Oscar nominations, one for each acting category.  Russell accomplished the same thing last year for Silver Linings Playbook, which collected a win for Jennifer Lawrence in the Best Actress category.  In doing some research, this marked the first time in history that a filmmaker had successfully gotten a nomination in each of the four acting categories twice, in two consecutive years no less.  At this point, surely every agent and actor in the industry will be clamoring to work on Russell's follow-up films.  To date, only fifteen films in the history of the Academy Awards have earned acting nominations in all four categories.  Interestingly, none of the films to have accomplished this have ended up winning Best Picture.  American Hustle detractors can take note of that I suppose.  And they are:

Lombard and Powell in My Man Godfrey

MY MAN GODFREY (1936)- directed by Gregory La Cava
Actor: William Powell
Actress: Carole Lombard
Supporting Actor: Mischa Auer
Supporting Actress: Alice Brady

No winners in the group, and it's the only case in Academy history when a film earned the magic four acting nods without a coinciding Best Picture nomination.

MRS. MINIVER (1942)- directed by William Wyler
Actor: Walter Pidgeon
Actress: Greer Garson
Supporting Actor: Henry Travers
Supporting Actress: Teresa Wright; Dame May Whitty

Garson and Wright won Oscars in Wyler's WWII drama which also won the Best Picture prize.  Mrs. Miniver went a step even further, get a mention in not only all four acting categories, but two in  Supporting Actress  William Wyler has directed more Oscar-nominated performances than any other filmmaker.  He directed 36 performances to a nomination and 14 to a win; Elia Kazan (also a director with a credit on this list) is his closet competitor with 24 nominated performances and Martin Scorsese (not listed) is the closet living director with a chance of defeating said record with 22 nominated performances.

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS (1943)- directed by Sam Wood
Actor: Gary Cooper
Actress: Ingrid Bergman
Supporting Actor: Akim Tamiroff
Supporting Actress: Katina Paxinou

Paxinou won Supporting Actress for the Hemingway adaptation.

JOHNNY BELINDA (1948)- directed by Jean Negulesco
Actor: Lew Ayres
Actress: Jane Wyman
Supporting Actor: Charles Bickford
Supporting Actress: Agnes Moorehead

Wyman won the Best Actress Oscar.

SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950)- directed by Billy Wilder
Actor: William Holden
Actress: Gloria Swanson
Supporting Actor: Erich von Stroheim
Supporting Actress: Nancy Olson

No acting winners for this Wilder classic.  Interestingly, the Best Picture champ of 1950, All About Eve actually earned 5 acting nominations versus Sunset Boulevard's four, but missed out on Best Actor (as it would.)  It's the only other film on the list (aside from My Man Godfrey) to not win a single acting prize.

Leigh and Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951)- directed by Elia Kazan
Actor: Marlon Brando
Actress: Vivien Leigh
Supporting Actor: Karl Malden
Supporting Actress: Kim Hunter

Brando was the only nominated member of the Streetcar cast not to win the Oscar-- he'd have to wait another three years for On the Waterfront in order for that to happen.  It remains one of only two films to win three acting Oscars, the second one is also on this list as well.

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953)- directed by Fred Zinnermann
Actor: Montgomery Clift; Burt Lancaster
Actress: Deborah Kerr
Supporting Actor: Frank Sinatra
Supporting Actress: Donna Reed

Sinatra and Reed both won Oscars for the Best Picture winner; while From Here to Eternity earned a ultra-rare two nods for Best Actor.

WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? (1966)- directed by Mike Nichols
Actor: Richard Burton
Actress: Elizabeth Taylor
Supporting Actor: George Segal
Supporting Actress: Sandy Dennis

Taylor won her second Academy Award for her iconic Martha in Mike Nichols' adaptation of the Edward Albee play.  Dennis also won Supporting Actress.

Dunaway and Beatty in Bonnie & Clyde

BONNIE & CLYDE (1967)- directed by Arthur Penn
Actor: Warren Beatty
Actress: Faye Dunaway
Supporting Actor: Gene Hackman; Michael J. Polland
Supporting Actress: Estelle Parsons

Bonnie & Clyde robbed banks, and Parsons won the Supporting Actress Oscar for the landmark crime drama which earned 5 acting nominations in total.  1967 is rare for having two films earned nominations in all four acting categories.

GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER? (1967)- directed by Stanley Kramer
Actor: Spencer Tracy
Actress: Katharine Hepburn
Supporting Actor: Cecil Kellaway
Supporting Actress: Beah Richards

Hepburn won her second (of four) Oscars for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

NETWORK (1976)- directed by Sidney Lumet
Actor: Peter Finch; William Holden
Actress: Faye Dunaway
Supporting Actor: Ned Beatty
Supporting Actress: Beatrice Straight

Network is one of two films (Streetcar being the other) to win three out of four acting categories as Finch (who won posthumously), Dunaway and Straight (for essentially one scene) all won Oscars for Sidney Lumet's gonzo satire.  The film earned 5 acting nods in total.

Fonda and Dern in Coming Home

COMING HOME (1978)- directed by Hal Ashby
Actor: Jon Voight
Actress: Jane Fonda
Supporting Actor: Bruce Dern
Supporting Actress: Penelope Milford

Voight and Fonda both took home statues while current Nebraska nominee Bruce Dern earned his first (and only prior) nomination.

REDS (1981)- directed by Warren Beatty
Actor: Warren Beatty
Actress: Diane Keaton
Supporting Actor: Jack Nicholson
Supporting Actress: Maureen Stapleton

Stapleton won the Oscar for her performance as Emma Goldman.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012)- directed by David O. Russell
Actor: Bradley Cooper
Actress: Jennifer Lawrence
Supporting Actor: Robert De Niro
Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver

Lawrence won the Best Actress prize.

AMERICAN HUSTLE (2013)- directed by David O. Russell
Actor: Christian Bale
Actress: Amy Adams
Supporting Actor: Bradley Cooper
Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence

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