This year's slowly escalating Oscar race (prediction updates real soon) which sped up a little this weekend with major contenders like Silver Linings and Lincoln emerging or expanding, contains a number of big deal possibilities in terms of Oscar statistics. Were all Oscar records made to be broken?
That's tough to say but this year seems likely to break (or tie) some records given the cotenders that have already emerged.
Will Daniel Day-Lewis be the first actor to win 3 Lead Acting Oscars?
There are few "ties" in Oscar trivia quite as jam-packed with greatness as this one: Nine of Hollywood's most celebrated movie stars have won two Best Actor statues. Jack Nicholson has three statuettes (and the most nominations for a male actor) which makes him the most celebrated but one of his is in the supporting category. If you're counting any acting Oscar, Jack is tied with Supporting Actor champ Walter Brennan, a fixture of Hollywood's golden age who won all three of his prizes in a six year period.
No actor seems likely to beat Walter Brennan's remarkable achievement but I suppose it's possible that Michael Caine, who has two, might tie him if the right film or role comes around. The other option is Tommy Lee Jones who is arguably the frontrunner in the category this year for Lincoln. If he wins a second time (his first was for The Fugitive nearly 19 years ago) he'll join the following Runners-Up to Brennan's Supporting Actor crown: Anthony Quinn, Melvyn Douglas, Michael Caine, Peter Ustinov, and Jason Robards... all deceased but for Caine.
But the big deal "maybe" in terms of Oscar records this year is Daniel Day-Lewis's bid for his third Best Actor statue. It's not entirely uncommon for movie stars to win two lead Oscars. Twelve women and eight other men besides DDL (Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson, and most recently Sean Penn) have done so. But if Daniel Day-Lewis wins for his lanky thoughtful wonky and very convincing time travelling biographical star turn in Lincoln he'll not only tie the overall three Oscar tally of Nicholson, Brennan, Streep and Bergman (a huge deal in and of itself) but he'll essentially become the most awarded movie star ever who isn't named "Katharine Hepburn", and the only runner up to her lead acting crowns.
Other Less Likely Third Oscar Dreams This Year:
Denzel Washington (Flight), Maggie Smith (Quartet), Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings) and Sally Field (Lincoln). If Sally Field wins -- an admitted extreme longshot but not outside the realm of possibility since the Supporting Actress field is still largely amorphous while we're still waiting for the presumed frontrunner (Hathaway) -- she would have the best Oscar batting average ever winning three for three. Among living actors she's currently tied for "wins every time she's nominated" honors with Hilary Swank, Luise Rainer and Kevin Spacey.
As for ladies and their "all time" records...
Katharine Hepburn's 4 Lead Oscars is a Record that I don't think is made to be broken. Do you? Even Streep is only halfway there post Iron Lady. Kate the Great is safe for now but here's a less often discussed question...
Is any actress going to tie Dianne Wiest & Shelley Winters 2 Supporting wins record?
It took the Academy forty-years to come up with a double winner in this category and it took another 22 years to tie the record. It's been 18 years now since Dianne Weist accomplished it with Bullets Over Broadway. Nobody among this year's contenders could do it but who could do it in the future? The first names that came to my mind were Marisa Tomei and Cate Blanchett, the latter of which gets extra prestige points every time out and the former of which has defied all the odds post a controversial comic win to become an increasingly respected and yet still underappreciated and versatile performer. Doesn't that sound like the perfect status to win a second? Provided she gets another Wrestler-good role in the next few years. Do you have any other suggestions?
Another Acting Record Which Might Be Broken This Year
- Quvenzhane Wallis would become the youngest Best Actress nominee ever if she makes it in for Beasts of the Southern Wild. The record is currently held by Keisha Castle Hughes for Whale Rider (2003).
Acting Records That WON'T Be Broken This Year
- If both Marion Cotillard (Rust & Bone) and Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) are nominated for Best Actress that'll mark the first time two French-language performances compete in the category but it won't be the first time that two foreign language performances have been nominated in a single category. That's happened thrice before and, interestingly, ONLY in the Best Actress category: 1966 (Anouk Aimee and Ida Kaminska), 1975 (Carol Kane in Hester Street and Isabelle Adjani in The Story of Adele H) and 1976 (Marie-Christine Barrault and Liv Ullman)
- If Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) is nominated she'll be, at 22, the youngest to ever achieve two Best Actress nominations beating Joan Fontaine's record of doing it by 24... but that's still not the youngest to win two female acting nominations. Angela Lansbury still holds the latter record having been nominated for Supporting Actress twice by the time she was 20. Kate Winslet is currently in runner up position for "quickest to two noms in any female acting category" -- by 22 she had one supporting and one lead nomination.