Break out the brooms because Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”), Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”) and Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards”) just completed the first acting sweep. With their Oscar triumphs on Sunday, they became the first foursome to win all five major televised awards in the same season: the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, SAG, BAFTA and Oscar.
Since the BAFTA became an Oscar precursor 17 years ago, no quartet of Oscar winners had run the table of all 20 awards until now. While there have been years of one or multiple individual sweepers, one person was always derailed, whether by a snub, an upset or eligibility issues. Three years ago, Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”), Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”), J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”) and Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”) won 19 of the 20, with Michael Keaton (“Birdman”) crashing the party by beating Redmayne at Critics’ Choice.
Twice has a foursome gone 18 out of 20. Eight years ago, lead Oscar winners Jeff Bridges (“Crazy Heart”) and Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side”) missed at BAFTA — Bridges lost to the homegrown Colin Firth (“A Single Man”) and Bullock was ineligible because her film hadn’t opened in the U.K. yet. The next year, BAFTA disrupted the sweep in the supporting categories. “The King’s Speech” stars Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter claimed BAFTAs while Oscar went with frontrunners and “The Fighter” co-stars Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, the latter of whom wasn’t nominated at BAFTA.
What’s interesting about McDormand, Oldman, Janney and Rockwell’s domination is that all four weren’t heavy frontrunners early in the season. Their rivals — Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water”), Timothee Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name”), Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird”) and Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”) — were the critical favorites, but the script completely flipped once the televised awards started at the Globes. Another factor in the rubber-stamping: voting for the Critics’ Choice winners opened the day after the Globes.
By the time the SAGs were over, the sweep felt inevitable since SAG has one of the best track records with Oscar, missing only five times in Best Actor, six times in Best Actress, nine times in Best Supporting Actor and seven times in Best Supporting Actress.
Only one person has lost the Oscar after winning the Globe, Critics’ Choice, SAG and BAFTA: Russell Crowe (“A Beautiful Mind” ), who torpedoed his momentum after he attacked a BAFTA producer for editing his speech. That year, the eventual Oscar winners — Denzel Washington (“Training Day”), Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball”), Jim Broadbent (“Iris”) and Jennifer Connelly (“A Beautiful Mind”) — only won nine of the 20 awards.