We end our Katharine Hepburn theme week on The Great Kate's birthday, today! Katharine Hepburn made 43 motion pictures in her 62 years on the big screen. How many have you seen? I've collected the posters here of only her Oscar nominated roles, 12 of them in total, because 43 is too many for an episode of posterized. Let's get all the Hepburn/Oscar talk out of our systems. Starting now...
Two things are thrown into sharp focus when looking at that sprawling Oscar track record stretching from 1932 to 1981. First, that though only Meryl Streep has ever bested her for Most Lead Actress nomination (14 versus 12) at least a couple of Hepburn's nominated roles would probably have been considered "Supporting" by today's much looser non-definition of the category (i.e. anything goes). Second, though four Oscars is still the record for any actor, male or female, her reputation as an Oscar magnet is arguably over stated since AMPAS weirdly didn't become OBSESSED until after she'd passed the age by which they usually start ignoring great actresses! A full 2/3rds of her nominations came after she turned 40 and 75% of her wins were after the age of 60! This is rather shocking considering that only 8 Best Actress Oscars have been handed out to women over the age of 60. Three of those eight times the name being read out was "Katharine Hepburn".
10 more films and mucho Oscar history after the jump
1. Morning Glory (1933)
- Diana Wynward, Cavalcade
- Katharine Hepburn, Morning Glory *winner*
- May Robson, Lady for a Day
2. Alice Adams (1935)
- Bette Davis, Dangerous *winner*
- Claudette Colbert, Private Worlds
- Elisabeth Bergner, Escape Me Never
- Katharine Hepburn, Alice Adams
- Merle Oberon, Dark Angel
- Miriam Hopkins, Becky Sharp
3. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
- Bette Davis, The Letter
- Ginger Rogers, Kitty Foyle *winner*
- Joan Fontaine, Rebecca
- Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story (JUST DISCUSSED)
- Martha Scott, Our Town
4. Woman of the Year (1942)
- Bette Davis, Now Voyager
- Greer Garson, Mrs Miniver *winner*
- Katharine Hepburn, Woman of the Year
- Rosalind Russell, My Sister Eileen
- Teresa Wright, Pride of the Yankees
5. The African Queen (1951)
- Eleanor Parker, Detective Story
- Jane Wyman, The Blue Veil
- Katharine Hepburn, The African Queen
- Shelley Winters, A Place in the Sun
- Vivien Leigh, A Streetcar Named Desire *winner*
6. Summertime (1955) JUST DISCUSSED
- Anna Magnani, The Rose Tattoo *winner*
- Eleanor Parker, Interrupted Melody
- Jennifer Jones, Love is a Many Splendored Thing
- Katharine Hepburn, Summertime
- Susan Hayward, I'll Cry Tomorrow
7. The Rainmaker (1956)
- Carroll Baker, Baby Doll
- Deborah Kerr, The King and I
- Ingrid Bergman, Anastasia *winner*
- Katharine Hepburn, The Rainmaker
- Nancy Kelly, The Bad Seed
8. Suddenly Last Summer (1959)
For sure this one would be considered "supporting" today since Elizabeth Taylor would not have been stepping down in "Lead". Back then stars would never cheat to essentially demote themselves from Star to Humble Ensemble Player. The nominees were...
- Audrey Hepburn, The Nun's Story
- Doris Day, Pillow Talk
- Elizabeth Taylor, Suddenly Last Summer
- Katharine Hepburn, Suddenly Last Summer
- Simone Signoret, Room at the Top *winner*
9 Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962)
This is the last of four times that Bette Davis, Hepburn's only true Oscar rival until the Streep rolled around, were pitted against each other. The nominees were...
- Anne Bancroft, The Miracle Worker *winner*
- Bette Davis, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
- Geraldine Page, Sweet Bird of Youth
- Katharine Hepburn, Long Day's Journey Into Night
- Lee Remick, Days of Wine and Roses
10 Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967)
This one might have gone supporting. But then again maybe not since Katharine Houghton was being "introduced". The nominees...
- Anne Bancroft, The Graduate
- Audrey Hepburn, Wait Until Dark
- Edith Evans, The Whisperers
- Faye Dunaway, Bonnie & Clyde
- Katharine Hepburn, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner *winner*
11 The Lion in Winter (1968)
the nominees... and the only Best Actress tie in the history of the Oscars
- Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl *winner*
- Katharine Hepburn, Lion in Winter *winner* JUST DISCUSSED
- Joanne Woodward, Rachel Rachel
- Patricia Neal, The Subject Was Roses
- Vanessa Redgrave, Isadora
12 On Golden Pond (1981)
It's fascinating to me that Hepburn's last Best Actress winning year was also Meryl Streep's first nomination in the category (though she'd already won Supporting). Like a mystical magical miraculous passing of the torch since Meryl would win her first Best Actress the following year.
- Diane Keaton, Reds
- Katharine Hepburn, On Golden Pond *winner*
- Marsha Mason, Only When I Laugh
- Meryl Streep, The French Lieutenant's Woman
- Susan Sarandon, Atlantic City
What do you make of Katharine Hepburn's storied Oscar history?
Overvalued? Undervalued? Right number of wins but wrong films?
Which of those 12 contests would you have declared her the winner of?
And would you prefer her to keep the "most wins" record since Meryl Streep has taken all of her other ones?