Amy Adams stars in two in two high-profile Oscar contenders this year: the sci-fi flick “Arrival” and the film noir “Nocturnal Animals.” But she can only be nominated as Best Actress for one of these roles. She will be forced to pick one of these ponies to ride during campaign season. Conversely, she can try to convince voters that one role is lead while the other is supporting.
Kate Winslet opted for that latter strategy, albeit unsuccessfully back in 2008, touting her lead performance in then-husband Sam Mendes‘ “Revolutionary Road” and her supporting work in “The Reader.” The acting branch ended up nominating her in Best Actress for “The Reader” where she won after five losses (the same number that Adams has racked up over the years.)
Why should those that give two acclaimed performances in a year have to choose one over the other when it comes to the Oscars? After all, the BAFTAs allow multiple bids, as when Scarlett Johansson was a double nominee for Best Actress in 2003 for “Lost in Translation” and “Girl with a Pearl Earring”; she won for the former.
And in its earliest days, the academy cited multiple films in both acting categories. At the first Oscars in 1928, Emil Jannings won Best Actor for two movies (“The Last Command” and “The Way of All Flesh”) over just one other nominee, Richard Barthelmess who was also cited for two films, (“The Noose” and “The Patent Leather Kid”). Best Actress went to Janet Gaynor for her work in three films: “7th Heaven,” “Street Angel” and “Sunrise.” Her two rival nominees appeared in just one picture apiece: Louise Dresser (“A Ship Comes In”) and Gloria Swanson (“Sadie Thompson”).
At the third Oscars in 1930, each of the winners had another nomination as well: George Arliss prevailed with “Disraeli” and also contended for “The Green Goddess” while Norma Shearer was honored for “The Divorcee” and had another bid for “Their Own Desire.” And several of their rival nominees contended with two pictures apiece. In Best Actor, Maurice Chevalier was up for both “The Big Pond” and “The Love Parade” while Ronald Colman was nominated for “Bulldog Drummond” and “Condemned.” Over in Best Actress, Greta Garbo was cited for both “Anna Christie” and “Romance.”
While the academy ended this double dipping in the acting categories, it has continued in the other races. Indeed, Steven Soderbergh won Best Director in 2000 for “Traffic” against, among others, his helming of “Erin Brockovich” in 2000. And in 2014, Alexandre Desplat claimed Best Score for “The Grand Budapest Hotel” having doubled his chances of finally prevailing after six losses as he also reaped a bid that year for his work on “The Imitation Game.”
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. How do you think Amy Adams will fare with academy voters? Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how this film is faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.
It’s not like this at other awards.