Among the many battles depicted in FX’s “Feud: Bette and Joan” is the legendary rivalry the two stars had in regards to earning a Best Actress Oscar nomination for the horror film “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” (1962). Bette Davis (played by Susan Sarandon) ended up receiving a bid and Joan Crawford (played by Jessica Lange) did not. Crawford’s being overlooked only increased the tension between the two actresses and her campaign to prevent Davis from winning was a source of hurt to Davis for the rest of her life. Click through our photo gallery above where we look at all 24 of the Oscar-nominated performances by these four great actresses.
That the two would battle so desperately in that Oscar year comes as a surprise since both had had their own moments in the Oscar spotlight, as have the women who are currently playing them. In fact, if you add up all the nominations that the four received throughout their careers you come up with a whopping total of 23 Best Actress nominations plus one supporting bid for Lange (“Tootsie”). Crawford and Sarandon each won an Oscar for Best Actress for “Mildred Pierce” and “Dead Man Walking,” respectively, while Davis won two Best Actress trophies for “Dangerous” and “Jezebel.” Lange won a lead actress award for “Blue Sky” and the supporting award for “Tootsie.”
Lange and Sarandon are both likely to be major contenders in this fall’s Emmy race and in that way their careers are playing out parallel to Davis’. The “Feud” television series documents the difficulty older actresses have maintaining film careers. Television though is kinder, and just as Davis turned to TV movies late in her career earning an Emmy for “Strangers: The Story of a Mother and Daughter,” Lange and Sarandon have both also turned to television. It has been over 20 years since either Lange or Sarandon have been Oscar nominated but they have received seven and four Emmy nominations, respectively, with Lange winning three of those bids for her popular turns in “American Horror Story” and “Grey Gardens.”
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