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« Golden Globes Celebrity Flooding | Main | Little Miss Cat Lady, Avatar Land, and Other Links »
Sunday
Jan122014

Sing Out, Luise. You're 104 !

We usually take time each January 12th to count down the oldest living Oscar honorees on Luise Rainer's birthday (January 12th, 1910) but since we recently did a significantly long post on oldest living actors of note and we've had so many sad goodbyes in the past month (Joan, Peter, Martha & Juanita), we're just going to focus on Luise Rainer & her other records.

This gorgeous photo was taken four years ago when Luise had the big "100". I think you have to admit that "The Viennese Teardrop" aged really well! Quitting Hollywood so early seemed to be good for her. Four years later she's still alive and kicking and currently living in the UK.

I had hoped to do something more focused on The Good Earth (1937) -- which we've never discussed here at TFE -- but I ran out of time. Maybe next year for Luise's 105th since she's clearly not going anywhere. Luise currently holds not just one Oscar record but four of them, the last two she'll be able to keep forever since "first to ____" cannot be unbroken with time but the second record will be swiped if Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle prevails on March 2nd, 2014 (but more on that this Thursday) 

Rainer in The Great Ziegfeld (1936... a role which would surely be demoted to supporting in today's Oscars) and The Good Earth (1937)

  1. She's the oldest living Oscar winner
  2. She's the youngest performer to ever win two Oscars. She was 28 when she won the second, so Jodie Foster just failed to top her record with that Silence of the Lambs win at the age of 29)
  3. She the first actor to win two Oscars (Spencer Tracy & Bette Davis both won their second Oscars in 1938, the year after Rainer's double)
  4. She's the first actor to win back-to-back Oscars (36/37 both in Best Actress). Only four other performers have ever won back-to-back Oscars though surely Russell Crowe came close at the turn of the millenium:

    • Spencer Tracy (37/38 both in Best Actor)
    • Katharine Hepburn (67/68 both in Best Actress)
    • Jason Robards (76/77 both in Best Supporting Actor)
    • Tom Hanks (93/94 both in Best Actor) 

 

Which of Luise's winning roles is your favorite? And which back-to-back Oscar wins are you most satisfied with/horrified by?

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Reader Comments (13)

Horrified by Tom Hanks' back to back. How anyone found "great" in Forrest Gump I will never know. *shudder*

January 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJames

it is VERY telling of you that your computer autocorrect Juanita for Julianne.

January 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVictor S

victor -- oh god. i'm so sorry.

james -- right? but i feel the same way about jason robards. I think that Julia win is GROSS

January 12, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

LIKE

January 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjimmy

Katherine Hepburn in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner should not have happened when you consider La Faye in Bonnie & Clyde and Mrs Robinson. and "On Golden Pond" was a pretty not good choice either.

January 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjimmy

jimmy: 'a pretty not good choice'?!

January 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoe (uk)

The Good Earth is the better of the two performances. Her work in Ziegfeld, while fine, is so clearly supporting it's a joke that it even competed in lead actress let alone won. The killer is that nowadays lead performances, I'm looking at you Julia Roberts, are routinely falsely placed in supporting so hungry are the actors for a prize cheating worthy supporting players of their due.

All the back to back wins are for one strong performance and one weak except for Tom Hanks' two wins which are for work that wasn't his best.

Jason Robards was so great in All the President's Men and enjoyable in Julia but the part wasn't worthy of a win. Kate's win in Lion in Winter is the only one of her winning roles that I think was deserving of the gold and one of the best winning performances ever but Guess Who's Coming to Dinner suffers from the same circumstances as Robards win, she was good but the role didn't merit any sort of prize, not even a nomination really. Even the great Tracy, so good in Boy's Town is near unwatchable in Captains Courageous, I've read that he was uncomfortable with his accent and brother does it show!!

January 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Agree with Jimmy and Joel about Hepburn's win for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, a not very interesting role in an unimportant film (that thought itself a groundbreaking statement on racial justice but was just a sitcom with pretensions).
I wouldn't have given her the Oscar for Golden Pond, either. The late career Oscars always seemed to me to be making up for past losses for better performances in Bringing Up Baby, Holiday, The Philadelphia Story, The African Queen, Suddenly Last Summer, etc.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrotherfrancis

The saddest part of this niche is that Jennifer Lawrence will soon join this consecutive-win list for two undeserving performances.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Marsha Mason should have taken it in 81. Anne Bancroft deserved it in 67.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Rainer's performances are the back-to-back Oscar wins I'm most satisfied with, but I prefer O-Lan to Anna Held mostly because I think that The Good Earth is an all around great film whereas Luise has to act as the sole life raft in The Great Ziegfeld. Which is all the more difficult for her since joel is right of course: she is supporting in Ziegfeld. He's also right that Spencer Tracy had some trouble with his accent in Captains Courageous. Nevertheless, Tracy later called it his favorite film and favorite role. And I too loved him as Manuel with the shaky accent.
I'm most "horrified" - a word that's overstating the case - by the Robards and Hanks wins. Four decent but not award-worthy performances I think.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

As much as I like Tom Hanks, in no way he deserved to win in 94 with such an easy role, over Travolta's renaissance in Pulp Fiction. And I do love Forrest Gump and admire how the unfilmable book was adapted to a great film.

I'm not fan of back to back, but can't really complain about Hepburn, I mean, she's the greatest, along Meryl.

Be ready 'cause Jennifer Lawrence is about to steal Rainer's record of precocity in two wins. She has the momentum and Hustle has taken the lead. It'll be interesting if the heat is enough so Adams wins on her 5th nom, finally, in this case over BOTH $$$ machine Bullock and longtime frontrunner Blanchett.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

I have no problem with these five people being the back-to-back winners since they are all great actors. I don't think these are their best performances, but so often it comes down to timing and the competition.

I think if Hanks had won for Forrest Gump first, he wouldn't have won for Philadelphia. In fact, I think only Jason Robards and maybe Spencer Tracy are examples of where the second win is for a "lesser" performance than the first.

I'm probably happiest with Luise's wins, both great even if one is supporting, and Tom's wins.

I'm happy enough that Kate has four Oscars but Guess Who is not much of a role, and The Lion In Winter is a bit hammy (yes, I said it).

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

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