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11 Days Until Oscar -- Big Double-Honors Trivia!

11 is the magic number today and 11 comes with big and appropriately twinned A list Oscar trivia.

the great Fay Bainter was the first actor double-nominated in a single year

11 is the number of actors who have been double nominated for lead & supporting within the same year! Pretty cool, right? Details and adjacent trivia starring Lange, Bergman, Blanchett, De Niro, SigWeavie, and more after the jump...


1938 Fay Bainter (Lead: White Banners; Supporting: Jezebel)
1942 Teresa Wright (Lead: The Pride of the Yankees; Supporting: Mrs. Miniver)
Curious how the "types" for supporting actress win settled in so early in Oscar history, right?

1944 Barry Fitzgerald (Lead: Going My Way; Supporting: Going My Way*)
After this fiasco double nomination rules were changed to where you could not be nominated in multiple categories for the same role. Now if you have enough votes to qualify for the shortlist in both lead & supporting for the same performance, you will only be nominated in the category in which you qualified for that distinction first.

You might also say that this event way back in 1944 primed the pump for Hollywood to figure out some 50 years later that they could get more nominations and possibly both acting Oscars for the same film (Going My Way took both Oscars with Bing Crosby winning in lead), merely by cheating with the same sex leads and pretending one of them is supporting! (The examples are too numerous to mention post Thelma & Louise, the last film to score double leading nods 26 years ago, though it was fairly common before that.)

1982 Jessica Lange (Lead: Frances; Supporting: Tootsie*)
To get a sense of how much the "Category Fraud" conversation has changed over the years it's worth noting that there was concern in 1982 that Lange was doing it with the supporting win for Tootsie -- which highly displeased her co-star Terri Garr who lost to her). Nowadays of course with egregious fraud occurring every year no one cares about cases like this one, a role which is technically the female lead within the story but mostly supporting in other definable ways.

Curiously this is the only case of a win whilst double-nominated that felt like a "sorry you couldn't win in the other category!" style award. (Not that she isn't great in Tootsie, she's luminous, but people were gonzo about her work in Frances which would surely have won in any year without a Sophie's Choice level steamroller as its competition)

1988 Sigourney Weaver (Lead: Gorillas in the Mist; Supporting: Working Girl)
Poor Sigweavie! She was the first (but not the last) performer double-nominated to lose both categories. Then, to add insult to injury, she became the only performer in Oscar's 89 year history to have never won either of the categories before, during, or after the twin nomination achievement.

1992 Al Pacino (Lead: Scent of a Woman*; Supporting: Glengarry Glen Ross)
The textbook case of a storied legendary actor winning for one of their weakest performance under the Career Honors Playbook

1993 Holly Hunter (Lead: The Piano*; Supporting: The Firm)
        Emma Thompson (Lead: The Remains of the Day; Supporting: In the Name of the Father)
This is the only year in which two actors received double nominations which means there were only 8 actresses being  fêted everywhere that year instead of the usual 10  -- a rough year for fans of Gong Li (Farewell My Concubine) who couldn't turn her critical honors into an Oscar nomination and fans of Michelle Pfeiffer (The Age of Innocence), Juliette Binoche (Blue), and Penelope Ann Miller (Carlito's Way) none of whom were able to transfer their Globe nods to Oscar glory.

Additional note of interest: Emma Thompson (who had just won for Howards End) is the only actor to be double-nominated during their victory lap year.

2002 Julianne Moore (Lead: Far From Heaven; Supporting: The Hours)
She lost both but she'd finally triumph with Still Alice a dozen years later after a strange Oscar drought

2004 Jamie Foxx (Lead: Ray*; Supporting: Collateral)
One of the ugliest cases of category fraud and the only double nominated version of it. Foxx was already the frontrunner for the leading Oscar for Ray when he was successfully campaigned supporting for his other leading man gig that year in Collateral. There was then and remains no way to explain or justify or argue that he's anything but the lead in Collateral for which he would have never been nominated in the lead category*. This is why Category Fraud must be stopped. It just robs other worthy actors of honors, in most cases only to give unecessary extra honors to movie stars who are already drowning in adoration.

* yes he's excellent in Collateral -- arguably better than he is in Ray -- but that is not remotely the point. 

2007 Cate Blanchett (Lead: Elizabeth The Golden Age; Supporting: I'm Not There)
Though she lost both of these nominations, she was already an Oscar winner for The Aviator


• No performer who has been double-nominated in a single year has won both of those categories on Oscar night though they have at other awards shows -- recent examples include Kate Winslet at the Golden Globes for Revolutionary Road (lead) and fraudulent supporting campaign for The Reader (supporting) and the Spanish actress Emma Suarez who took both lead & suppporting wins at this year's Goya awards. 

• Sigourney Weaver is a curious "page break" in these statistics. Before Sigourney all double nominees won in supporting. After Sigourney all double nominees either lost both categories or won in the lead category.

• There was nearly a 40 year break with no double nominations (1945-1981) but we've entered another short break (2008-2016). Will it turn into a long one? Stay tuned!

• It is more common for female actors to be double-nominated than male actors

• The number of performers who have won both the lead & supporting Oscars during their careers (always in separate years) is a different statistic altogether . There are 12 of them and its entirely different names than the double-nominated set except for two highly worshipped divas: Jessica Lange and Cate Blanchett.

So on that note, that particular list:

Maggie Smith hasn't been nominated for an Oscar in 17 years. Do you think she has one more in her?

in the order in which they achieved this.... 

1970 Helen Hayes, Lead: Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931); Supporting: Airport (1970)
1973 Jack Lemmon, Supporting: Mister Roberts (1955); Lead: Save the Tiger (1973)
1974 Ingrid Bergman, Lead: Gaslight (1944); Supporting: Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
1978 Maggie Smith, Lead: Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969); Supporting: California Suite (1978)
1980 Robert De Niro, Supporting: Godfather, Part 2 (1974); Lead: Raging Bull (1980)
1982 Meryl Streep, Supporting: Kramer vs. Kramer (1979); Lead: (Sophie's Choice (1982)
1983 Jack Nicholson, Lead: One Flew Over... (1975); Supporting: Terms of Endearment (1983)

1992 Gene Hackman, Lead: French Connection (1971); Supporting: Unforgiven (1992)
1994 Jessica Lange, Supporting: Tootsie (1982); Lead: Blue Sky (1994)
1999 Kevin Spacey, Supporting: The Usual Suspects (1995); Lead: American Beauty (1999)
2001 Denzel Washington, Supporting: Glory (1989); Lead: Training Day (2001)
2013 Cate Blanchett, Supporting: The Aviator (2004); Lead: Blue Jasmine (2013)  

Interesting that over half of these were between 1970 and 1983, right? 25% of these performers also won a third Oscar: that'd be Bergman, Nicholson, and Streep who each have won the leading acting Oscar twice in addition to their one supporting statue.

Being promoted from supporting wins to lead wins is slightly more common than the other direction with 7 of the 12 winning supporting first.

Other three or three plus time winners: Walter Brennan, Katharine Hepburn, and Daniel-Day Lewis. In those cases each statue was for the same category -- all supporting for Brennan, all leads for Hepburn & Day-Lewis.


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Reader Comments (34)

Fascinating! Another reason that Sigourney Weaver needs to be given a spotlight role and be given her due. Justice For Siggy!!!

So glad Fay Bainter won for her work in Jezebel, she's perfect in the role. White Banners where she was nominated for lead is such a strange little film.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Joel - it really is -- that animated interlude! But i think Bainter is terrific in both films.

February 15, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Great post and on-point trivia. I thank thee.

I genuinely lost sleep in the 2014 Oscar season when there was the danger Jlaw might have joined that 'actors who have won in Lead and Supporting' list :sss Thank god common sense prevailed come Oscar time.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEmma

No one explains the harms of category fraud like you do.

Verónica Forqué also won 2 Goyas back in 1987 and they both were for comedic roles, which is kind of a miracle.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Yeah I like Lange in Tootsie, but prefer Garr or Lesley Ann Warren. Especially considering Lange won for leading later.

I also wish Weaver (or Pfeiffer) won for 1988.

That nomination for Elizabeth 2: Electric Boogaloo continues to haunt me

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterArlo

This is why I said that Sigourney Weaver is one of the Oscar overdue old-timer trifecta, along side Glenn Close and Annette Bening. Give them meaty roles now!!!
Siggy should have won for Working Girl. Period.
Lange is just out of the world stunning in Tootsie and I love her supporting win. How many times can you see someone win for comedy right?
I still think that Maggie Smith still has another one in her, and her wins are for weird little movies, which she elevates beyond measure.
LOL J-Law will eventually join this group imo. Definitely win worthy for AH.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCraver

Sigweavie, as it were (LOL), should've won BSA for Working Girl. That would've been such a welcome course correction, but then 1988 was full of dubious winners (hello, Jodie Foster) who robbed worthy actors (bye, Glenn Close) of their rightful places in the Oscar pantheon.

Mister Roberts (the movie) was 1955, I think.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

What is especially galling about Al Pacino's disgraceful win in the disgraceful Scent of a Woman is that it was also unnecessary. He's brilliant in Glengarry Glen Ross, and soulf and should have won for that. The fact that it's really a lead role is yet another pretext for hair-pulling and teeth-gnashing. And for those interested, track down the original Scent of a Woman with Vittorio Gassman (nominated for Foreign Film AND Adapted Screenplay in 1975). It's no masterpiece, but it may seem like one compared to this American botch.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

Great trivia! Thanks for compiling this list.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Gr8 post I prefer Lange winning Lead in 82 and Kim Stanely in Supporting then Meryl winning Lead in 83 as Silkwood is her best performance ever in my eyes.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMARKGORDONUK

Oscar does not grant Lead trophies to double supporting winners. Three timers broken up between categories must win Lead twice: Bergman, Nicholson, Streep, and potentially Washington.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Moore's "Oscar drought" is definitely odd. She deserved nominations for "Blindness" and "A Single Man" as well in my opinion.

And Weaver's double loss should've been remedied in 1997 with a win for her marvelous, criminally un-nominated work in "The Ice Storm", sigh.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEric

Weaver had four nomination worthy projects in the 90s.
1993 Supporting Actress: Dave
1994 Best Actress: Death and the Maiden
1997 Supporting Actress: The Ice Storm
1999 Best Actress: A Map of the World

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

We know.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordon

Nathaniel: Yes, great trivia, even by your standards. Thanks!

ken s.: Agreed. The Italian original is well worth seeing. Also, check out the moment at the 1992 Oscars when Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman presented the Screenplay Oscars, and Bancroft does the Italian pronunciations for Scent of a Woman. The whole clip, with her and Hoffman's banter, is just lovely.

I would have been the party pooper who gave the 1988 Supporting Actress Oscar to Joan Cusack rather than to Weaver. Thought I'd have loved it if Weaver had won for either of her nominated leading performances.

Arlo: I too would have gone for Garr over Lange in 1982.

Craver: Lange is fine in Tootsie - but stunning? I rewatched the film a few weeks ago and just couldn't quite see why her very good work warranted an Oscar, much as I like her in general.

MARKGORDONUK: Streep is indeed excellent in Silkwood - possibly my favourite performance of hers too - but MacLaine that year was unstoppable - and deservedly so, I think. But what a strong category Best Actress was that year.

/3rtful: Yes, good observation re: the three-time winners. But I'm guessing Michael Caine is hoping he can break that trend!

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

I love this website!

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Lewis

Wonderful trivia post. Thanks!

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

Nathaniel--I bow to your trivia mastery. Sublime.

Edward L.--I was hoping Caine would achieve this last year because he should have won Best Actor for Youth. Robbed.

I will always have a special place in my heart for Bergman's controversial win for MOTOE, because it was the first Oscars I watched and I was cheering for her, as I was obsessed with this book and film. Finney also should have won.

Lange is sublime in Tootsie and a worthy victor. But I would have given her the Oscar for Frances. For me, she is better than Streep. JMO.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Lange was excellent in Frances, but Streep was ethereal and had a much more complex role. I do not think should have won for Tootsie.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMax

Off-topic sidebar to brookesboy: Have you seen Split yet? ;-)

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

brookesboy: I share your Bergman love for Murder on the Orient Express. And your love of the book and the film. I'm a big fan of Finney's performance too, but I think he's a joint second for me with Pacino (after Nicholson) in a desperately tight Best Actor race. (Carney is my fourth and he's a worthy winner! Hoffman is my fifth and he's no less than excellent! etc.)

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Glenn Close was robbed in 1982.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

Brookes & Edward: I want to join your MOTOE fan club.

I watched it recently and love it all over again. Though it must be said that La Bergman is hardly the best in show. Finney, Bacall, Connery, Wendy Hiller, all so good.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

Lange's Oscar win for "Tootsie" was a curious case of category fraud as it was instigated by the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics who both considered Lange for Best Actress in Tootsie & Frances and then, we she lost the main prize, gave her their Best Supporting Actress accolades for Tootsie giving Columbia the idea of listing her in the secondary category at the Oscars ... for anyone interested in reading more details about this and other instances of category fraud, our new book, "Category Fraud" by Brian Lindsay, is now available.

February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTranter Ward Books

Yes, Weaver shld totally win BSA for Working Gurl!! Davis win is sooo odd

N yes, Lange's win for Tootsie is totally a make up win for her loss for Frances. Terri Garr or Glenn Close shld've got it.

Meryl is ethereal n extraordinary in Sophie's choice no doubt, but i wld rather Lange wins for Tootsie while she wins for Silkwood the following year. MacLaine shld've won much earlier for The Apartment. And all will b happy! 😊

Sidenote: White Banners is a long forgotten 3-hankies 30s melodrama n Fay Bainter is gonna win for Jezebel anyway w or wo this extra nod, so I rather they had given her spot to Jean Arthur or K Hepburn.

And imo, Bainter shld've won for her juicy villainous turn in The Shining Hour released the same yr

February 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

I adore Barry "no paddy fingers in the Holy water" Fitzgerald. But those nominations were so bizarre.

and agree with everything Claran said, though I think Meryl's Sophie was unbeatable. I think she should have won two years in a row.

February 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Paul--I haven't, is it good? I just about gave up on Shamylan.

Edward and SF--Express is such a visual feast. Tony Walton should have won the Oscar that year for his glorious costumes. Just for Bacall's hat alone. That music. And it's pretty damn hilarious. Besides who you mentioned, I also really like Balsam, Gielgud, Bisset and Colouris. That Best Actor lineup is unbelievable. One of the best ever.

And this is only slightly related--shoutout to Jennifer Jones, who should have been in the race that year for supporting actress for The Towering Inferno. Queen slayed.

February 16, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

ken s., Close also was robbed in 1988.

February 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Troy H. Agreed

February 16, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

I would've nominated Julianne Moore for Magnolia in supporting actress in 1999, giving her another double nod year :)

February 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterParanoid Android

@ brookesboy

All I'm gonna say is that if you were a fan of One Life to Live, you must see Split. (Okay, it's also a good popcorn flick.)

February 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I commend this site for it's excellent award trivia, critiques & classic photos in Everything Oscar.
Keep up the good work!

February 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTOM

Paul--in that case, I'm sold. THANKS!

February 16, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Edward L: Agreed with you on just about everything!

Does anybody know how to get a copy of "White Banners"?

February 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

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