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When Actors Prove That It Wasn’t A Fluke

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3 years ago
  • Tom
    Jun 15th, 2011

    Often a lot of discussion criticises actors who win/get nominated for Oscars as being undeserving. I have been thinking about this since the nominations were announced for this years Academy Awards. I love when actors return from a nomination/win and prove that the first time wasn’t a fluke. This thread isn’t saying that they didn’t deserve nominations in between but identifies how the Academy recognised these actors. For example:

    * Marion Cotillard (first nomination after winning in 2008)
    * Laura Dern (first nomination since her one nomination in 1992) 
    * Ethan Hawke (first acting nomination since his one nomination in 2002)
    * Keira Knightley (first nomination since her one nomination in 2006)
    * Reese Witherspoon (first nomination since her win in 2006)   

    * Sandra Bullock (first nomination since her win in 2010) 
    * Bruce Dern (first nomination since his only nomination in 1979)
    * Jonah Hill (first nomination since his only nomination in 2012) 

    * Anne Hathaway (first nomination since her only nomination in 2009)
    * Helen Hunt (first nomination since her win in 1998)
    * Christoph Waltz (first nomination since his win in 2010)
    * Naomi Watts (first nomination since her only nomination in 2004)
    * Jacki Weaver (first nomination since her only nomination in 2011)

    Aug 5th, 2014
    • Marisa Tomei’s controversial first win has not stopped her from receiving two followup nominations from the Academy.
    • Kathy Bates is the most recognized acting winner from 1990. With three nominations. Goldberg and Pesci have two. Irons one.
    • Brenda Blethyn, Emily Watson, and Janet McTeer all received second nominations.
    ReplyCopy URL
    Nov 4th, 2010

    Any actor’s second nomination?

    ReplyCopy URL
    Jan 22nd, 2015

    There’s definitely something to prove for some of the winners, including those that were surprise wins, and for sure any performer that’s ever won for his/her first performance. For whatever reason, Lead Actress winners always seem to be the ones who get pegged. There are a total of eight Lead Actress recipients who won that one time, and weren’t nominated before or after. Four are alive, and four still with us:

    – Mary Pickford (1929, Coquette)
    – Ginger Rogers (1940, Kitty Foyle)
    – Judy Holliday, (1950, Born Yesterday)
    – Shirley Booth (1952, Come Back, Little Sheba)
    – Louise Fletcher (1975, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
    – Marlee Matlin (1986, Children of a Lesser God)
    – Gwyneth Paltrow (1998, Shakespeare In Love)
    – Halle Berry (2001, Monster’s Ball

    In Supporting Actress, there are nearly five times as many winning actresses, 38. I need to do a tally for Lead Actor and Supporting Actor recipients.

    Regarding Paltrow and Berry, they may only have the one win and nom to their name, but they’ve proven it wasn’t a fluke. Paltrow has worthy performances in The Royal Tenenbaums, Sylvia, Proof, Two Lovers, and an Emmy winning guest turn on Glee. For Berry, she already two great performances before winning, Losing Isaiah and Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Post-win she has Things We Lost in the Fire and Cloud Atlas. I’m happy to see her doing television, but I wish she was in a series that better served her talent; Extant just isn’t cutting it, and I’m really surprised it’s getting a second season.

    Some of my favorites that did come back post-win are below, plus some that had already proven themselves before their win.
    – Reese Witherspoon – She gets a lot of flack for her win for Walk the Line, but I liked her performance. Sure, Felicity Huffman gave a better and harder performance, but I wasn’t passionate about seeing her win. It didn’t help that my two favorite performances, Vera Farmiga in Down to the Bone and Joan Allen in The Upside of Anger, weren’t even nominated. Plus, Reese already had Election, which should have made her an Oscar nominee (I would have taken out Meryl Streep/Music of the Heart). She had a terrible post-winning career and has even admitted it. I’m glad that Wild seems to have put her back on track. Honorable mentions to Mud and The Good Lie.

    – Marion Cotillard – No actress has had a better post-winning career than this one. She may not have gotten back in until seven years later, but that’s not because she wasn’t knocking it out of the park. She was worthy of noms for Nine, Contagion, Rust and Bone, and The Immigrant, all to go along with good (but not necessarily nomination-worthy) performances in Public Enemies, Inception, Contagion, and The Dark Knight Rises. Bravo.

    – Julia Roberts – It took her a little bit, but she finally got back in there, thanks to August: Osage County. It’s too bad it was in Supporting Actress. She was so unbelievably Lead, but that category was so stacked that not even poor Emma Thompson could get in for Saving Mr. Banks. The category-confusion doesn’t diminish Roberts’ performance. Honorable mentions to Closer and Charlie Wilson’s War (Mike Nichols really got great performances out of her), and especially The Normal Heart

    – Sandra Bullock – She won for The Blind Side, many saying voters gave it to her because they knew they likely wouldn’t ever have a chance again. Then boom, four years later, and she’s nominated for an even better performance. I honestly think if she had lost for The Blind Side, she would have won everything for Gravity, leaving Cate Blanchett a much less crowded mantle. In fairness, Bullock had two really good supporting performances before her winning role, in Infamous and certainly in Crash.

    – Jennifer Lawrence – Such a special case with me. I am not a fan at all of her winning for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook. I easily have the top three being Naomi Watts/The Impossible, Emmanuelle Riva/Amour, and Jessica Chastain/Zero Dark Thirty. But just two years prior, JLaw knocked it out of the park for Winter’s Bone. No one was stopping Natalie Portman, but it was still a performance that made us all take notice of her. And this was before she was even cast in The Hunger Games. I also didn’t care for American Hustle as a whole, as I felt her role should have been played by an actress who was older than she (Cameron Diaz would have soared, Kate Hudson would have nailed it too). Really looking forward to seeing what Steven Spielberg and she do with It’s What I Do.

    – The best actress that has her name all over this thread is Marisa Tomei. Her narrative was always “the most shocking Oscar win ever,” but when In the Bedroom, The Wrestler, and certainly Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead came along, it was a trifecta of performances that made anyone look like a fool who felt she wasn’t an actress worthy of an Oscar on her mantle. 

    I’ll come back and post more later. But I will also had some wins and maybe a few noms that aren’t flukes, but maybe one-hit wonders. 

    Lead Actor

    – Jean Dujardin (2011, The Artist)
    – Adrien Brody (2002, The Pianist)
    – Roberto Benigni (1998, Life is Beautiful)

    Eddie Redmayne had already proven himself in Les Miserables, and I’m sure will blow us away in The Danish Girl. Nicolas Cage *almost* made the list, but thankfully he had Adaptation to show his Leaving Las Vegas win wasn’t a fluke. And honestly, Leaving Las Vegas contained such a perfect performance from him, that I would be fine if that was his sole great nomination. Forest Whitaker hasn’t had as many high profile roles post-win, but he didn’t beforehand either. He does a nice job of balancing indie (My Own Love Song w/ Renee Zellweger) and popcorn (Taken 3). Jeremy Irons is in a small club of actors with only one nom/win, but he had a few snubbed performances before Reversal of Fortune, and has done some good work since (HBO miniseries Elizabeth I stands out, for which he won an Emmy). 

    Lead Actress

    – [nominee] Ellen Page (2007, Juno)

    I adore her, and I truly thought she would blow up post-Juno (similar to Lawrence post-Winter’s Bone). But… It just didn’t happen. Inception made me think it was time for a “comeback,” but as soon as it was over, she disappeared again. Looking forward to her and Julianne Moore in Freeheld. And I don’t know if it came out before Juno or afterwards, but her performance in An American Crime was so frigging heartbreaking. She should have received an Emmy nomination for it, to go w/ the nominated leading lady, Catherine Keener, who was terrifying and still gives me nightmares. In no way would I say Page’s Juno nom is a fluke, but I do wish she had more great projects. 

    Supporting Actor 
    – Tim Robbins (2003, Mystic River)

    Obviously a great career pre-Oscar win. But what in the world happened post-win? Like, I’m seriously asking… What happened to Tim Robbins? Is/was it a case of “I now have my Oscar, so I’m going to relax and chill for a few years”??

    Supporting Actress

    – [nominee] Jacki Weaver

    She had plenty of precursor support to land her a nomination for Animal Kingdom, but then just two years later she snatched the wide open spot and got in again, this time for Silver Linings Playbook. Good for her!

    – Patricia Arquette (2014, Boyhood)

    I sincerely hope great things come to her post-win for Boyhood. To go from winning an Oscar to work the next day on… CSI: Cyber. Ugh. And I watched the pilot. It was sooo poorly written, way beneath her talent (like Halle Berry with Extant). 

    – Octavia Spencer (2011, The Help)

    She hasn’t received a nom since winning for The Help, but she’s having an awesome post-Oscar career. I mean she has Fruitvale Station, Get On Up, Black or White, Snowpiercer (amazing!), and even great television work, from a guest role on a sitcom in Mom to a good role in a just-okay series that only got one season (Red Band Society). She’s firing on all cylinders. 

    ReplyCopy URL
    Aug 29th, 2011

    My favorite “Im not a fluke” lately is Jonah Hill. He got no precursors for TWOWS, even though it was a better performance than in moneyball. But then he gave the finger to skeptics with an oscar nomination. He deserved to win.

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