Could Spirits win for Natalie Portman mean Oscars loss?

As the saying goes, “Win on Saturday, lose on Sunday.” This axiom refers to the less-than-impressive track record of Indie Spirit winners repeating at the Academy Awards. Of the 48 Indie Spirit acting champs to contend the following day at the Oscars, only 10 of them have won there as well.

Last year, two of the four acting champs celebrated double victories — Best Actor Jeff Bridges (“Crazy Heart”) and Supporting Actress Mo’Nique (“Precious”). Spirit winner Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”) lost the Best Actress Oscar to Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side”) while Woody Harrelson was defeated by Christoph Waltz (“Inglorious Basterds”). Two years ago, just one of the three Spirit winners in the running at the Oscars prevailed — Supporting Actress champ Penelope Cruz (“Vicky Christina Barcelona”). Mickey Rourke (“The Wrestler”) was edged out of Best Actor by Sean Penn (“Milk”) while Melissa Leo (“Frozen River”) lost Best Actress to Kate Winslet (“The Reader”). Spirits supporting actor winner James Franco (“Milk”) was not nominated at the Oscars.

The trend of the Spirits winner also contending at the Oscars dates back to the first Indies in 1985 when Geraldine Page (“The Trip to Bountiful”) won Best Actress with both groups. Since then, Frances McDormand (“Fargo,” 1996), Hilary Swank (“Boys Don’t Cry,” 1999), and Charlize Theron (“Monster,” 2003) have repeated in this race. The 11 Spirit Best Actress winners who lost at the Oscars were:

1987: Sally Kirkland (“Anna”) lost to Cher (“Moonstruck”);
1990: Angelica Huston (“The Grifters”) lost to Kathy Bates (“Misery”);
1995: Elisabeth Shue (“Leaving Las Vegas”) lost to Susan Sarandon (“Dead Man Walking”);
1997: Julie Christie (“Afterglow”) lost to Helen Hunt (“As Good As It Gets”);
2000: Ellen Burstyn (“Requiem for a Dream”) lost to Julia Roberts (“Erin Brockovich”);
2001: Sissy Spacek (“In the Bedroom”) lost to Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball”);
2002: Julianne Moore (“Far From Heaven”) lost to Nicole Kidman (“The Hours”);
2004: Catalina Sandino Moreno (“Maria Full of Grace”) lost to Hilary Swank (“Million Dollar Baby”);
2005: Felicity Huffman (“Transamerica”) lost to Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line”);
2007: Ellen Page (“Juno”) lost to Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”); and
2009: Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”) lost to Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side”).

Of the 15 Spirit Best Actor champs to compete at the Oscars only two — Bridges and Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Capote,” 2005) — prevailed there as well. The Spirit winners who were Oscar losers were:

1986: James Woods (“Salvador”) lost to Paul Newman (“The Color of Money”)
1988: Edward James Olmos (“Stand and Deliver”) lost to Dustin Hoffman (“Rain Man”);
1994: Samuel L. Jackson (“Pulp Fiction”) lost supporting Oscar to Martin Landau (“Ed Wood”);
1995: Sean Penn (“Dead Man Walking”) lost to Nicolas Cage (“Leaving Las Vegas”);
1996: William H. Macy (“Fargo”) lost supporting Oscar to Cuba Gooding, Jr. (“Jerry Maguire”);
1997: Robert Duvall (“The Apostle”) lost to Jack Nicholson (“As Good As It Gets”);
1998: Ian McKellen (“Gods and Monsters”) lost to Robert Benigni (“Life is Beautiful”);
1999: Richard Farnsworth (“The Straight Story”) lost to Kevin Spacey (“American Beauty”);
2000: Javier Bardem (“Before Night Falls”) lost to Russell Crowe (Gladiator”);
2001: Tom Wilkinson (“In the Bedroom”) lost to Denzel Washington (“Training Day”);
2003: Bill Murray (“Lost in Translation”) lost to Sean Penn (“Mystic River”);
2006: Ryan Gosling (“Half Nelson”) lost to Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland”)
2008: Mickey Rourke (“The Wrestler”) lost to Sean Penn (“Milk”).

Of the Supporting Actress winners at the Spirits, three — Dianne Wiest (“Bullets Over Broadway,” 1994), Cruz and Mo’Nique  — went on to win an Oscar. The eight Spirit winners who went down to defeat at the Oscars were:

1991: Dianne Ladd (“Rambling Rose”) to Mercedes Ruehl (“The Fisher King”);
1995: Mare Winningham (“Georgia”) to Mira Sorvino (“Mighty Aphrodite”);
1998: Lynn Redgrave (“Gods and Monsters”) to Judi Dench (“Shakespeare in Love”);
1999: Chloe Sevigny (“Boys Don’t Cry”) to Angelina Jolie (“Girl, Interrupted”);
2003: Shohreh Aghdashloo (“House of Sand and Fog”) to Renee Zellweger (“Cold Mountain”);
2004: Virginia Madsen (“Sideways”) to Cate Blanchett (“The Aviator”);
2005: Amy Adams (“Junebug”) to Rachel Weisz (“The Constant Gardener”); and
2007: Cate Blanchett (“I’m Not There”) to Tilda Swinton (“Michael Clayton”).

The only Supporting Actor to win both awards was Alan Arkin for “Little Miss Sunshine” in 2006. The six Spirit winners who were beaten at the Oscars were:

1987: Morgan Freeman (“Street Smart”) lost to Sean Connery (“The Untouchables”);
1990: Bruce Davison (“Longtime Companion”) lost to Joe Pesci (“Goodfellas”);
1994: Chazz Palminteri (“Bullets Over Broadway”) lost to Martin Landau (“Ed Wood”);
2003: Djimon Hounsou (“In America”) lost to Tim Robbins (“Mystic River”); and
2005: Matt Dillon (“Crash”) lost to George Clooney (“Syriana”).
2009: Woody Harrelson (“The Messenger”) lost to Christoph Waltz (“Inglorious Basterds”).

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