Best Actress winners who were unknown when they won

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  • RobertPius
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    #208065

    Seems to me Brie Larson will fall into this category. (She’s known in the business but is pretty much unknown to the general public unless you explain her credits… like she was the daughter on United States of Tara etc.)

    Were anyother women in this state when they won. Hilary Swank and Marlee Matlin come to mind but what about going way far back in Oscar history. What about Audrey Hepburn?  

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    Joe Burns
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    #208067

    Marion Cotillard for sure!

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    Joe Burns
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    #208068

    I think Simone Signoret was fairly unknown when she won for Room At The Top in 1959, same with Anne Bancroft in The Miracle Worker and Glenda Jackson in Women In Love.

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    Baby Clyde
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    #208069

    There are loads…………

    Luise Rainer
    Vivien Leigh
    Jennifer Jones
    Judy Holiday
    Shirley Booth
    Audrey Hepburn
    Joanne Woodward
    Anne Bancroft
    Julie Andrews
    Julie Christie
    Glenda Jackson
    Louise Fletcher
    Marlee Matlin
    Kathy Bates
    Emma Thompson
    Hilary Swank

     

    You could also include Katherine Hepburn as Morning Glory was only her 3rd film and Helen Hayes who was a well known stage actress but Madelon Claudet was her first proper film role. Even Janet Gaynor had only really become a star recently before her win. 

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    Joe Burns
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    #208070

    Andrews may have been unknown in Hollywood, but given how popular My Fair Lady was and the fact that she had an active career before the Oscar win makes me feel like she wasn”t an unknown at the time.

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    babypook
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    #208071

    Vivien Leigh  (and special props to Judy Garland)

    Teresa Wright, Mrs Miniver

    Jennifer Jones, The Song of Bernadette

    I’d endorse Kim Hunter (Streetcar Named Desire) as a relative unknown (supporting)

    Shirley Booth, Come Back Little Sheba

    You’re right about Audrey Hepburn

    Eva Marie Saint, On The Water Front (supporting)

    and Miyoshi Umeki for Western audiences, Sayonara (supporting)

    Patty Duke, The Miracle Worker (supporting)

    Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins

    Julie Christie, Darling

    Sandy Dennis, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (supporting)

    Maggie Smith, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

    Goldie Hawn, Cactus Flower

    Glenda Jackson, Women in Love

    Cloris Leachman, The Last Picture Show (although she did a lot on the small screen previously)

    Tatum O’Neal, Paper Moon

    Ellen Burstyn, Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore

    Louise Fletcher, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

    Meryl Streep….kidding, kidding

    Linda Hunt, The Year of Living Dangerously (supporting)

    Haing S Ngor, The Killing Fields (supporting)

    Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny (supporting)

    Anna Paquin, The Piano (supporting)

    Mira Sorvino, Mighty Aphrodite (supporting, supposedly)

    Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls (supporting)

    Mo’Nique, Precious (supporting)

    Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave (supporting)

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Baby Clyde
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    #208072

    I think Simone Signoret was fairly unknown when she won for Room At The Top in 1959, same with Anne Bancroft in The Miracle Worker and Glenda Jackson in Women In Love.

    Like Anna Magnani, Signoret was an extremely well known European actress who had already starred in a few foreign language classics and won 2 BAFTA’s. She wouldn’t have been well known to the general American public but the industry would have been well aware of her.

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    Baby Clyde
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    #208073

    Ellen Burstyn, Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore

     

    It was Ellen Burstyn’s third nomination and she’s starred in The Exorcist the year before one of the biggest money makers of all time. She was deffo known to the public by the time she won.

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    RobertPius
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    #208074

    A lot of the ones being listed were Broadway stars prior to their Oscar. They were new to films but were well known in NY. (Anne Bancroft, Patty Duke, Julie Andrews, Sandy Dennis,Judy Holliday, Shirley Booth)  plus Goldie Hawn was a big TV star as was Cloris Leachman)

    I was looking for lead actresses and I think I got some good answers though so thanks.  

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    babypook
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    #208075

    A lot of the ones being listed were Broadway stars prior to their Oscar. They were new to films but were well known in NY. (Anne Bancroft, Patty Duke, Julie Andrews, Sandy Dennis,Judy Holliday, Shirley Booth)  plus Goldie Hawn was a big TV star as was Cloris Leachman)

    I was looking for lead actresses and I think I got some good answers though so thanks.  

    It’s subjective to a large degree. Looking at the “masses”, I suppose theatre and especially television stars arent so unknown all the time. So, an esoteric group or individuals see someone as well known already, when I’d guess the majority do not.

    Thanks to you as well for this thread.

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    ankehuber
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    #208076

    Marion Cotillard for sure!

    sorry to tell you that, but i’m french and marion cotillard was pretty famous in france before her win

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    TVFan365
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    #208077

     

    Mo’Nique, Precious (supporting)

     

    Mo’Nique was no where near unknown befor she won her Oscar. She was a very popular television star known for her UPN comedy series The Parkers, she was the host of a highly rated Vh1 reality show, and was a recognizable guest star in many comedy series. 

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    babypook
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    #208078

    [quote=”babypook”]

     

    Mo’Nique, Precious (supporting)

     

    Mo’Nique was no where near unknown befor she won her Oscar. She was a very popular television star known for her UPN comedy series The Parkers, she was the host of a highly rated Vh1 reality show, and was a recognizable guest star in many comedy series. 
    [/quote]

    It’s a parochial world sometimes. Personally, I had no idea who she was until that film.

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    Zooey the Dreamer
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    #208079

    [quote=”SammyPollock”]

    Marion Cotillard for sure!

    sorry to tell you that, but i’m french and marion cotillard was pretty famous in france before her win
    [/quote]

    Yeah, and Maria Bonnevie is extremely famous in Sweden but this isn’t relevant in the context. Nobody knew who Marion Cotillard was in 2008. There was even a funny thing that a journalist took Cotillard for somebody else at some event that year – Critics’ Choice maybe.  

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    babypook
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    #208080

    [quote=”CdricLeria”]

    [quote=”SammyPollock”]

    Marion Cotillard for sure!

    sorry to tell you that, but i’m french and marion cotillard was pretty famous in france before her win
    [/quote]

    Yeah, and Maria Bonnevie is extremely famous in Sweden but this isn’t relevant in the context. Nobody knew who Marion Cotillard was in 2008. There was even a funny thing that a journalist took Cotillard for somebody else at some event that year – Critics’ Choice maybe.  
    [/quote]

     

    Well, some of us did know. She was working steadily and in films which made it to this side of the pond. But yes, the question of “unknown” could apply to her. I left her off my list because she wasnt unknown to me. On the other hand, neither were many of the others. I’m trying to think of general audiences and their awareness. Isnt easy.

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