Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Entries in Best Actress (511)


The 25 Youngest Women Ever Nominated for Best Actress

by Nathaniel R

Saoirse Ronan hosting SNLTimothée Chalamet (about to turn 22) and Saoirse Ronan (23) are only a year apart in age and both are looking like major Oscar contenders in Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively. In other words, it MIGHT be a really young Oscar year. Despite their close ages they're miles apart in terms of Oscar statistics. If Timothée is nominated he'll be a first time nominee and become the 3rd youngest man ever up for Best Actor while Saoirse, if nominated, would be on nomination #3 and would just barely crack the youngest 20 contenders in her category. 

So, who are the youngest female leads ever nominated?  We're about to tell you but one thing is for sure: this list is MUCH younger than the corresponding leading man list.

DISCLAIMER: The male list was comparatively easier to order as there were significant gaps in ages. With so many women roughly the same age on this list it's possible the order is not entirely accurate (given that Oscar dates are not the same each year) but we did the best we could.

I'm just a human girl person and I ain't always perfect."

JUST MISSED THE LIST: Laura Dern was 24 when Rambling Rose came out but by the time Oscar season hit she had just turned 25. When Audrey Hepburn won on her first nomination Roman Holiday (1953) and Shirley Maclaine lost for her first nomination for Some Came Running (1958) they were both about to turn 25. Jeanne Crain was another 24 year old who just missed this list with Pinky (1949). They were the closest all rans...

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The Oscar Week: Greta, Jake, and Timothée

Murtada is back with his weekly Oscars feature for a new season, following Oscar contenders and examining how their many interviews and appearances impact their chances.

Gerwig at the Gotham Awards

Are you ready for another season of Oscar campaign shenanigans? Frankly I wasn’t. In the year in which Hollywood revealed its ugly hidden true self of rampant sexual harassment, maybe they shouldn’t spend so much time patting themselves on the back. Cancel the Oscars, I cried to one in particular.

But then Greta Gerwig took me out of my dark despair...

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Which actresses are we underestimating in the nomination hunt?

by Nathaniel R

Are we underestimating them: Winslet, Bening, Chastain, Haddish, Vega, Dench, Williams, Stone, Chau, Blige, Scott Thomas, Gadot

If you look around the web you'd suspect we are closer to Oscar nominations than we actually are. Two months remain before we have our Oscar nominations (57 days to be exact) so there's a month of campaigning left before the Academy even starts filling out their nomination ballots! Despite the plentiful time remaining and few precursors yet announcing (NBR is first tomorrow), the internet seems convinced that we're narrowed down to about 6 or 7 players for 5 slots in virtually all the acting categories. But is it this cut and dry?

It's likely not.

We know the general field at this point but there's still a lot of wiggle room, some films/people are always underestimated and the reverse at this point. But even if none of the 12 women we've including in the image above end up with a difficult to snag Oscar nomination, I'm curious if any of them will be cited anywhere this season from precursors to the Globes to SAG to regional critics groups. What do you suspect?

RELATED: Updated charts for Best Actress and Supporting Actress. Thoughts?


The 2017 Actress Roundtable Lineup

Chris here. There may already Gotham noms and film festivals, but Oscar season doesn't really start until The Hollywood Reporter's Actress Roundtable - at least in our hearts. This year's lineup includes returning folks Jennifer Lawrence (mother!), Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes), and Jessica Chastain (Molly's Game), while the newbies are Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Mary J. Blige (Mudbound - finally arriving on Netflix today!), and Allison Janney (I, Tonya).

The reliance on returning guests is still irksome, and that is particularly felt this year with a smaller lineup. The ongoing reckoning with sexual predators in the industry looms large over the conversation, but we also get the usual soundbites on creative risk, career advice, and dream collaborators. Who who you like to add to this lineup? Or what film would you recast with these ladies? (I'll offer Tiffany Haddish, and a Steel Magnolias where Lawrence plays Ouiser) Tell us your thoughts in the comments!


123 days until Oscar... we've got Bette Davis eyes

by Nathaniel R

It's time for your morning dose of highly unneccessary Oscar-mad trivia.

Did you know that Bette Davis, Oscar's third favorite actress of all time (after Hepburn & Streep), had exactly 123 screen credits to her name?! Her debut film The Bad Sister (1931) was released a week before her 23rd birthday and her 123rd and final project, Wicked Stepmother (1989), was released eight months before her death of breast cancer at 81. That's 58 years of big-eyed, inimitably voiced, ferocious performances.  

Two Bette-inspired questions for the day...

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Joan Fontaine Centennial: Jane Eyre (1943)

Part two of our Joan Fontaine celebration. Here's Tim Brayton...

Joan Fontaine's reign at the top of the Hollywood pyramid was short and intense: three out of four movies made in three out of four years netted her Oscar nominations, with a win for the second, Suspicion. We come now to the film made immediately after this golden run: the second talkie adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's 1847 classic Jane Eyre, released in the United Kingdom at the very end of 1943, but held back from the U.S. until February, 1944.

By the time the film arrived at 20th Century Fox, it had already passed through the hands of super-producer David O. Selznick, who had assembled all of the main components in an apparent bid to replicate his Oscar-winning Rebecca. Fontaine appears once again as a delicate, innocent ingénue dropped into a rambling Gothic mansion where a bullying man falls in love with her, in a story whose horror-film atmosphere (courtesy, in both cases, of cinematographer George Barnes) could be given the gloss of prestige and class thanks to the material's literary origins. I will commit an act of grave apostasy by suggesting that Fontaine is better here than she was in that 1940 film; there's a certain toughness in her posture and facial expressions that hadn't much appeared in her screen acting prior to this, and which considerably deepens the "meek virgin" trope she's once again saddled with.

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Fontaine Centennial: Mrs de Winter in "Rebecca"

For the next few days we'll be celebrating Joan Fontaine's Centennial. Here's Eric on her most famous picture...

David O. Selznick, Joan Fontaine, and Alfred Hitchcock at the Oscars for Rebecca. The film won... but Fontaine and Hitch didn't.

One of the best things about writing for The Film Experience is the chance to open up windows of your film history you haven’t explored before.  For some reason, throughout all the years, I had never seen a movie with Joan Fontaine.  Just one of those black holes.  And because she stopped acting before I was born, I have zero frame of reference for her (unlike, say, sister Olivia de Havilland)... 

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"I, Tonya" I, Teaser

Chris here. 2017 is a banner year for divisive movies, and prepare yourself for I, Tonya to be added to the heap. It was greeted with mostly warm response when it debuted at TIFF, eventually being runner-up for the People's Choice prize. While Nathaniel is one of the film's growing number of detractors, I find myself somewhere on the middle on its wild tonal shifts and competing, disparate narrative points of view.

The film opens in just over a month and there's finally this (very brief) teaser to go along with a few scant production photos. Aside from one of its wittier shots at the onset, this first enticement for audiences relies mostly on its truly ghastly figure skating sequences - trust me, there's even worse CGI to be seen. In many ways the film is a rumination on tackiness but even if there's something honest in the film's garishness, this is maybe not the best way to announce a coming film fast-tracked for awards season release.

And its awards prospects will be a question mark on the season, but it did rack up some Gotham noms. Can Margot Robbie compete with a very wide Best Actress field? She crushes the third act, but the film oddly ignores her for long stretches. How far can newbie distributor Neon take this? It's a crowdpleaser, but its flippancy with domestic abuse will be a major talking point. One thing you can count on: a genius and cruel Allison Janney in Best Supporting Actress for a performance that nails all sides of the films many tones.