Oscar History

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Entries in Luise Rainer (8)


Double Winners & Chart Updates

No Oscar Trivia today. Unless you count all the stuff that's on the Oscar pages. The major category charts have been updated with our popular "how'd they get nominated?" speculation, chosen preferred Oscar clips, and other sorts of trivia. Every acting chart plus Picture and Director are update! Woooo

Thoughts? Comments? Feelings? Nonsense? Opinions? Do share. (Note: The final predictions full article will go up tomorrow but you can see a sneak peek of the predictions on the chart index.)

Okay fine, fine. You have to have your daily trivia don't you? As if the charts aren't enough! You're so greedy, sometimes, I swear. After the jump the six double winning actors who are two for two in that they won both times they were nominated, never losing an official Oscar race. (Obviously they lost out on nominations over the years but that's a different thing and everyone does. Even Streep)

Click to read more ...


Luise Rainer (1910-2014)

Luise Rainer, Oscar's first back-to-back Acting winner for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937) was, for the past handful of years, perhaps better known for outliving everyone than for her brief movie stardom. She was just two weeks shy of her 105th birthday when she passed away early this morning of pneumonia. She is survived by her daughter and two granddaughters.

She was recently name-checked not so flatteringly in the Hollywood bio Hitchcock (2012) but the actress, still very much alive at the time, could surely roll with it. The outspoken import lived through tumultuous times, beginning her acting career on the German stage and screen before fleeing as Hitler consolidated power (she was Jewish) and then being sold to the American public as "The Viennesse Teardrop" because German wouldn't do back then. She quickly becoming a star while briefly marrying (unhappily) the playwright Cliff Odets who had several tumultuous affairs with famous actresses (as portrayed in Frances, 1982).

The outspoken diva was very vocal about what she thought of Hollywood, her unsatisfying career, and "The Oscar Curse" which she doesn't believe in though she admits that the back-to-back Oscars weren't at all helpful. The adulation prompted Hollywood to just throw her into anything, with no worries of miscasting or her own creative satisfaction.

Her career ended as swiftly as it began as she fought with the powers that be for more choice in her films. Soon she left Hollywood for New York and then London where she settled for good. 

I had a seven-year contract that I broke and went away. I was a machine, practically, a tool in a big, big factory, and I could not do anything. I wanted to film Madame Curie, but Mayer forbade me. I wanted to do For Whom the Bell Tolls, but Selznick took Ingrid Bergman and brought her to Hemingway and I didn't know Hemingway. And so I left. I just went away. I fled; yes, I fled."

She flew away to, by all reports, a happier life outside the spotlight. Her remarkable longevity and semi-regular all smiles appearances over the years suggests that she enjoyed it. 



Luise Rainer is now on Spotify with numbers from The Great Ziegfeld. And she's still alive to see it!
Vox this is why (well, one of the reasons) Emmy nominations are always so disappointing/strange: behold the labyrinthine nomination process
Overland Glenn looks back at Twin Peaks' influence on television's corpse littered playground 

Mash-Ups To Go
Have you binge-watched "Frozen is the New Black" yet? By which I mean watched it three times in a row like I just did. 

Oh i know you're not reading one of my books, bitch.

I love Belle's cameo so much.

APEHOOD trailer (Boyhood & Dawn of the Planet of the Apes mashup) from Nelson Carvajal on Vimeo.


And in other mashup news, this trailer for "Richard Linklater's Apehood" is making the rounds, a cute fusion of two great movies that happened to share this very same opening weekend so I hope you're seeing both this year. Oh, and Land Ho!, too. It's a really really good movie weekend y'all.


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?


Emmanuelle Riva's Oscar Birthday And The 100 Oldest Living Oscar Nominees

Emmanuelle Riva at the NYFCC Awards earlier this weekGuess who has a birthday on Oscar night this year? Emmanuelle Riva! What fortuitous timing.

The legendary French actress of Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) fame, was Oscar-nominated just a few days ago for her haunting downward spiral in Michael Haneke's Amour (2012) and on her 86th birthday she could become the oldest winner of any competitive acting Oscar. Christopher Plummer, who turned 83 last month, currently holds that record for his win last year for Beginners. Riva's abundantly well deserved nomination makes her, at this writing, the 64th oldest living Oscar nominee or winner, just a few days younger than American screen legend Sidney Poitier.

So, as we gear up for Oscar night, I thought it was time to look back with gratitude on our elders. Let's pay homage to the Oscar nominees and winners that are still with us. Investigate these talents with your DVD queues and perhaps they'll feel the vibes of new fans "discovering" their cinematic contributions. That would have to be a sweet (and deserved) sensation. 

I'm posting today, not just due to the discovery that next month's Emmanuelle Riva Birthday Celebration will involve all the biggest stars in the world, but because it's January 12th, on which we always say happy birthday to #1 on this list. I hope you enjoy!

to clarify: I included Honorary Oscars even if the person was never up for a competitive statue

Luise Rainer and Luise Rainer1-10

01 Luise Rainer (1/12/10)
Recently name-checked not so flatteringly in Hitchcock, she was once known as the "Viennese Teardrop" and sits in the record books as the first back-to-back Oscar winning actor for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937). She's been very vocal about what she thought of Hollywood and "The Oscar Curse" which she doesn't believe in. Her career ended for more complicated reasons. Other key works: Not really. Not films she liked at any rate. Her career was over almost as soon as it began.

99 More Greats After the Jump 

Click to read more ...


Happy 102nd Luise Rainer! Celebrate The Oldest Living Oscar Nominees!

The double Oscar winner (The Great Ziegfeld and The Good Earth) turns 102 today!  She's the oldest living Oscar nominee or winner! Her most recent appearance was just four short months ago when she showed up for her star ceremony in Berlin. They now have a "Boulevard des Stars" much like Hollywood's walk of fame and as the only German Best Actress winner (Hollywood and the media who nicknamed her "The Viennese Teardrop" promoted her as Austrian for obvious reasons in the 1930s), she was a natural for inclusion.

happy birthday to you
happy birthday dear Luise,
happy birthday to you
.......and many more ♫

Odets and Rainer in Hollywood. Odets also romanced actress Frances Farmer (as seen in the Jessica Lange picture "Frances")Luise is on record as saying that she doesn't believe in the Oscar curse and her short-lived Hollywood career was her own doing.

"The Oscar jinx! There is no Oscar jinx. I couldn't carry the burden of being the middle of the universe. I had to withdraw and find myself".

My favorite anecdote about Luise is that her husband during those heady Oscar years activist / screenwriter / playwright Clifford Odets (Luise was not his only actress romance) was so furious with her for flirting with Albert Einstein at a party that he took a photo of Einstein and chopped off Einstein's head with a pair of scissors. Hee! But also: flirting with Albert Einstein at a party???. What storied lives those Golden Age movie stars lived. You can read a lot more about Luise's life at this comprehensive unofficial fan site

My friend Nick is also discussing Luise's odd legacy and one of her lesser known films today on this historic occassion. As per usual he puts her efforts in brilliant context.

I previously published a list of the oldest living Best Actress nominees which is over here. But the following list casts a wider net. Celebrate these folks while they're still with us by renting their signature films.


  1. Luise Rainer (2 time Best Actress winner) is now 102
  2. Douglas Slocombe (3 time nominee) cinematographer of Raiders of the Lost Ark is 99 next month.
  3. Elmo Williams, also about to turn 99, won his Oscar for editing High Noon(1952) one of the earliest movies (though not the earliest) to be told in "real time."
  4. Oswald Morris recently 96. He received all of his nominations for Best Cinematography for musicals (The Wiz, Oliver!, Fiddler on the Roof) but he also worked frequently with legendary director John Huston. Puppet classic The Dark Crystal (1982) was his last job.
  5. Eli Wallach (Honorary) the enduring character actor is recently 96. 
  6. Olivia de Havilland (2 time winner The Heiress & To Each His Own) is 95.
  7. Kirk Douglas (Honorary Oscar and 3 time nominee), Spartacus himself just turned 95.
  8. Ernest Borgnine (Actor winner Marty) turns 95 in two weeks. His next role is a leading one (!) in The Man Who Shook The Hand of Vicente Hernandez.
  9. Celeste Holm (Supporting Actress winner Gentleman's Agreement) is 94.
  10. Joan Fontaine (Actress winner Suspicion) recently turned 94. 
  11. Joyce Redman (2 time nominee most famous for Tom Jones) just turned 93. [Trivia note: Tom Jones is the only film to have ever won three nominations in Supporting Actress. Pity that Robert Altman's Nashville didn't repeat that trick because it was deserving.]
  12. Michael Anderson (nominee, directed Around the World in 80 Days) turns 92 later this month.
  13. Ravi Shankar (nominee, the co-composer for Gandhi) is 91.
  14. Ray Harryhausen (Gordon Sawyer Award recipient), the f/x legend, is 91.
  15. Mickey Rooney (Honorary Oscar and 4 time nominee) is 91.
  16. Carol Channing (nominee Thoroughly Modern Millie) turns 91 later this month. "Razzzzzbbberrries!"

    This new documentary on Carol Channing opens in theaters in a week. It's really fun if you like yourself some Channing.
  17. Ken Adam is almost 91. He's a two time winner for Art Direction and his nominations stretch across 4 decades of cinema.
  18. Hal David (winner "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" fromButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) is 90.
  19. Deanna Durbin (Juvenile Award winner) just turned 90. She was only 18 when she won her Juvenile statue (shared with Mickey Rooney) but she retired from the screen just nine years later.
  20. Eleanor Parker (3 time nominee Caged) in 89. She's best remembered today as the (not totally) wicked would be stepmother in The Sound of Music but that doesn't paint the whole picture at all. Isn't it time for renewed interest in her career?
  21. Norman Lear (television giant who was Oscar nominated for writing Divorce, American Style) is 89.
  22. Juanita Moore (nominee Imitation of Life *see it* It's a beauty) is 89.
  23. Valentina Cortese (nominee Day for Night) turned 89 a week ago. She holds the extremely rare honor of a supporting acting nomination from a foreign language film. Those are so very infrequent.
  24. Franco Zeffirelli (2 time nominee, director of Romeo and Juliet), another Italian (!), turns 89 next month.
  25. Charles Durning (2 time nominee, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) turns 89 next month.
  26. Richard Attenborough (2 time winner, director of Gandhi) is 88.
  27. Glynis Johns (nominee The Sundowners) is 88. Well done, Sister Suffragrette ♪ ! 
  28. Arthur Hiller (Hersholt Huminatarian winner, Director nominee for Love Story) is 88.
  29. Ron Moody (Actor nominee "Fagin" from Oliver!) turned 88 this week! For a previous article on this underappreciated sixties musical, click here.
  30. Doris Day (Actress nominee Pillow Talk) is 87. Some people say 89. There is much dispute but we'll go with IMDb's birthdate.
  31. Stanley Donen (Honorary Oscar) is 87. He's one of the best musicals director of all time, most famous for that thrilling barn sequence in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and the entirety of Singin' in the Rain.
  32. Theodore Bikel (The Defiant Ones) is 87. 
  33. Eva Marie Saint (winner On the Waterfront) is 87.
  34. Martha Hyer (nominee Some Came Running) is 87.
  35. Lauren Bacall Recently won an honorary Oscar and is 87 and going strong. She recently completed Carmel with Josh Hutcherson.
  36. Ruby Dee (Supporting actress nominee American Gangster) is 87.
  37. Dorothy Malone (Supporting Actress winner Written on the Wind) turns 87 later this month. Can she still do a mean mambo?
  38. Hal Holbrook (Supporting Actor nominee Into the Wild) turns 87 next month.
  39. George Kennedy (Supporting Actor winner Cool Hand Luke) turns 87 next month. Bonus Trivia! Funnily enough the oldest living Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actor (that'd be Kennedy) is just one day younger than the oldest Supporting Actor Nominee ever (living or otherwise) which would be Hal Holbrook who was nearly 83 when he was nominated for Into the Wild.
  40. Colette Marchand (Moulin Rouge) is 86.
  41. John Briley (Oscar winner for writing Gandhi) is 86.
  42. Cara Williams (supporting actress nominee The Defiant Ones) is 86.
  43. D.A. Pennebaker (The War Room) is a documentarian. He's 86.
  44. Angela Lansbury (3 time Supporting Actress nominee) is 86 and still a big name to multiple generations. Most people know her as a TV and stage star (she's won 5 Tony Awards) but she had quite an ascendance on the big screen. How many people have won two Oscar nominations within their first three movies? Not too damn many.

    Angela Lansbury is still quite active on Broadway
  45. Julie Harris (Actress nominee Member of the Wedding) just turned 86. 
  46. Haskell Wexler (two time winner) the Cinematographer turns 86 next month.
  47. Andrzej Wazda (Honorary) This 85 year old legendary Polish director who is still working has four Foreign Language Film nominees to his credit including the recent Katyn (2007). 
  48. Jerry Lewis (Jean Hersholt Huminatarian Award) this 85 year old showbiz legend and King of Comedy star rarely won competitive prizes but lots of career honors now.
  49. Roger Corman (Honorary) is 85 and the subject of the new documentary Corman's World. Like many celebrities (and me!!!) he is from Detroit Michigan.
  50. Joan Lorring (Supporting Actress nominee The  Corn is Green) is 85

Cloris Leachman as "Maw Maw" on Raising Hope. Are you watching?Just outside the list: Cloris Leachman (Supporting Actress winner The Last Picture Show

We're super glad they're still with us but they were never Oscar nominated: Manoel de Oliveira (103!!! and still directing feature films in Portugal) Danielle Darieux (94), Zsa Zsa Gabor (94), Maureen O'Hara (91), Louis Jordan (90), Esther Williams (90), Betty White (turns 90 next week!), Christopher Lee (89), Elaine Stritch (almost 87) and Harry Dean Stanton (85).

A smidgeon too young for this list though they are Oscar nominees or winners: Mel Brooks, Norman Jewison, Samuel Goldwyn Jr, Albert Maysles (of Grey Gardens fame), Shirley Temple Black, Sidney Poitier, Rosemary Harris, Lee Grant, and Estelle Parsons.