The Double Lead Drought

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    #137069

    Getting at least two nominations in one lead acting category has happened 17 times. Mutiny on the Bounty has the most unbreakable Oscar achievement ever when they got triple lead noms in 1935. 

    The last film to do this was Thelma & Louise in 1991, the last to get two lead actors in was Amadeus in 1984. The 22 year drought is by far the longest ever, previous was nine years. How much does the modern campaigning play into this effect? Are studios actively placing leads into supporting so they do not cancel out the other lead (only 5/17 films have won with double noms).

    What were some films since 1991 that deserved the double lead noms? And, does anyone think this drought will end soon. 

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    #137071

    Competitive category placement is the contemporary norm. It won’t go away because it benefits actors who want an Oscar nomination regardless of placement. Sometimes it means their best chance at winning an Oscar and they accept it because winning an Oscar regardless of placement is still winning an Oscar.

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    Beau S.
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    #137072

    The Kids Are All Right is the first that comes to mind. August: Osage County also deserved it imo. I though both Damon and DiCaprio were worthy for The Departed, and the gals from Chicago were co-leads.

    I think many here will cite Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman for The Shawshank Redemption. I would agree though Robbins does not make my personal top 5.

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    Yesmar
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    #137073

    Looks like we have to get that The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay movie into production! That’s one movie where I have doubts they’d be able to category fraud one of the leads into Supporting.

    Oh, who am I kidding of course they would.

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    #137074

    …the gals from Chicago were co-leads

    Since all the musical numbers are in Roxie’s imagination she’s the sole lead of the film version.

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    seabel
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    #137075

    The Kids are all right is the last example.

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    Scottferguson
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    #137076

    The shift in this came when SAG decided about a decade ago to accept whatever BS was handed them by the studios/publicists. Before that they reserved the right to decide appropriate categories.

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    ETPhoneHome
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    #137077

    I think that The King’s Speech should have had it, with Firth and Rush being co-leads. If it was campaigned like that, Rush could have taken Bardem’s or Bridges’ spots.

    it’s also worth noting that Mutiny on the Bounty lost all of the lead nominations to Victor Mclagen. In most cases, the double lead means that neither would win.

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    Scottferguson
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    #137078

    No, historically multiple acting nominations in all four categories have
    led to about 40% of the time one of them winning, which is the same
    ratio as if there were random selection.

    The idea that it is almost always fatal is greatly exaggerated and not based on actual past results.

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    Filmatelist
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    #137079

    When the Tony’s awarded AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, the Streep & Roberts parts competed against each other in the lead category.  The same thing should’ve happened this year, but that would’ve left Roberts out in the cold.

    Washington & Hawke for TRAINING DAY is an example where the part with both the point of view and the larger amount of screen time got relegated to supporting, a dubious proposition at best.   

    I’m glad Scottferguson already brought up the fallacy of “vote-splitting” diminishing a nominee’s chances, though the fear of it clearly is driving this trend to redistribute the parts strategically.  Peter Finch, Shirley MacLaine, Jason Robards, Jessica Lange, Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, F. Murray Abraham, and Timothy Hutton all managed to win Oscars against their co-stars in the late 70s and 80s.  But now, the idea is anathema if a film can help it.

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    KT
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    #137080

    I think there needs to be a committee established that determines category placement and sets precedents.  The way studios and powerplayers have been able to finagle lead performances as supporting and vice versa (like Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York) is completely ridiculous.  Some people think they can get everything they want, but there should be some body that tries to function apart from outside influences to leaven the playing field.

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    Scottferguson
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    #137081

    It can diminish a contender’s chances – if the two are seen as about equal and there was a chance in the particular case the race was winnable (both the Turning Point and Thelma & Louise cases are examples of this). But most of the recent cases have been pure greed.

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    ETPhoneHome
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    #137082

    It can diminish a contender’s chances – if the two are seen as about equal and there was a chance in the particular case the race was winnable (both the Turning Point and Thelma & Louise cases are examples of this). But most of the recent cases have been pure greed.

    This is what I was referring to, when it is a true double lead, and not one that is clearly above the other. The best example that I can think of, was in Sleuth, where Olivier and Caine both being nominated and having almost the same screen time, meaning that neither could be reasonably put in supporting. They both lost to Brando, but Caine might have won without Olivier’s nomination.

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    Scottferguson
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    #137083

    No one was beating Brando. Had Pacino correctly been in lead, Brando still would have won.

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    BenitoDelicias
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    #137084

    Looks like we have to get that The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay movie into production! That’s one movie where I have doubts they’d be able to category fraud one of the leads into Supporting.

    Oh, who am I kidding of course they would.

    I still can’t believe that incredible book isn’t in production somewhere…..You’re right, they would totally do it. Category fraud would of course be a part of this from day one. I read the book and both characters are in it as much as the leads in Brokeback, August, Kids Are All Right and a ton of other films with fraud placements….

    One day another movie will come when both will be equally as good without even a hint of trouble of one or both missing on a nomination. 

    Annette Benning was very overdue, but that movie belongs to Julianne Moore who was just as overdue, if not more. So something had to happen behind the scenes where Moore said, whatever, let her be the sole contender/nominee. Because the way she disappeared and didn’t campaign at all was just crazy. 

    August’s case is easier to “understand” because there are a lot of things going on with this film that were always going to guarantee that a fraud would happen if the movie wasn’t 100% well reviewed and accepted. 

    Not every movie can be Amadeus or The Turning Point in years without crazy campaigns, too many precursors, much more word of mouth than it is now. 

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