Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”) is a shoo-in for a nomination for Best Actress next week, but she could end up making Oscars history in another category as well as was recently reported by one of our Experts, Sasha Stone (Awards Daily). Robbie is also a producer of the film, so if “I, Tonya” also receives a Best Picture nomination she would be the first actress to receive acting and producing nominations for the same film. After a year that saw actresses Nicole Kidman (“Big Little Lies”), Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”) all win Emmys as both actors and producers of TV programs, it would be fitting for Robbie’s passion project to go the distance with a pair of historic Oscar nominations.
It has been an incredible year for female stories, both real and fictional. The “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements have shined a light on sexual harassment and assault, making front-page news and causing a paradigm shift that has never been seen before. And many of the contenders for this year’s Oscars are female-led films, including “Lady Bird,” “The Shape of Water,” and of course “I, Tonya,” in which Robbie plays disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding.
To put Robbie’s potential historic nomination into perspective, there have been only 10 actors who pulled off the feat of earning acting and producing nominations for the same film: Warren Beatty (“Bonnie and Clyde,” “Heaven Can Wait,” “Reds,” “Bugsy”), Charlie Chaplin (“The Great Dictator”), Bradley Cooper (“American Sniper”), Kevin Costner (“Dances with Wolves”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), Clint Eastwood (“Unforgiven,” “Million Dollar Baby”), Laurence Olivier (“Henry V” and “Hamlet”), Brad Pitt (“Moneyball”), Denzel Washington (“Fences”), and Orson Welles (“Citizen Kane”). Three of them — Costner, Eastwood, and Olivier — won as producers, and Eastwood managed to win twice for producing.
It wasn’t until 1974 that a woman would be nominated for and win Best Picture. The late Julia Phillips prevailed for “The Sting” alongside her husband at the time, Michael Phillips, and Tony Bill. Since Phillips shattered the glass ceiling almost 100 Best Picture nominations have gone to female producers.
Among those have been a number of milestones. Tamara Asseyev and Alex Rose became the first female duo nominated for Best Picture, in 1980 for “Norma Rae.” Arlene Donovan became the first female producer to be her film’s the sole nominee for Best Picture, for “Places in the Heart” in 1985. Megan Ellison became the first woman to receive two Best Picture nominations in the same year, in 2014 for “American Hustle” and “Her.”
Kathleen Kennedy is the most nominated woman for Best Picture with eight bids to date; half of those are shared with producing partner Steven Spielberg, including her most recent nom for “Lincoln” in 2013. The woman with the most wins is Dede Gardner, who is the only female producer with two Best Picture trophies, for “12 Years a Slave” in 2014 and “Moonlight” in 2017.
Kimberly Steward and Oprah Winfrey are the only African-American women to have been nominated for Best Picture to date. Steward was one of the producers nominated for “Manchester By The Sea” in 2017 and Winfrey was one of the producers nominated for “Selma” in 2015.
Winfrey and Barbra Streisand are the only women to have been nominated for acting and producing, though for different films. Streisand won Best Actress for “Funny Girl” in 1969 and earned another bid in that category for “The Way We Were” in 1974; then she was nominated for Best Picture as one of the producers for “The Prince of Tides” in 1992. Winfrey’s acting bid came in the supporting race for “The Color Purple” in 1986 before her Best Picture bid for “Selma.”
Robbie’s chances of joining this esteemed group of ground-breakers are strong. “I, Tonya” has been a consistent contender, scoring nominations where it needed to at various guilds, including the Producers Guild. Last year all nine Oscar nominees for Best Picture were first nominated by the PGA. And based on the nominees there, Robbie could find herself in the company of other female producers if nominated at the Oscars. Emma Thomas is a strong bet for her second nomination for the WWII epic “Dunkirk.” Evelyn O’Neill (“Lady Bird”), former Sony studio head-turned-producer Amy Pascal (“Molly’s Game” and “The Post”), Kristie Macosko Krieger (“The Post”), Emilie Georges (“Call Me by Your Name”), and Deborah Snyder (“Wonder Woman”) could also carry over from the PGA to the Oscars.
Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives and top name stars can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.