Jennifer Lawrence, last year’s winner for Best Actress, could get nominated for her supporting role in “American Hustle”. How often does this happen? Usually actors who reach such a milestone in their careers don’t accept supporting parts for a few years or have trouble gaining recognition for achievements that could be perceived by the Academy as “smaller”.
Jennifer Jones won Best Actress in 1943 for “The Song of Bernadette” and the following year, she was nominated in the supporting category for “Since You Went Away”. Are there any other instances?
Emma Thompson almost qualified, but she followed her win for “Howards End” with nominations in lead and supporting for “The Remains of the Day” and “In the Name of the Father”. Jessica Tandy and Philip Seymour Hoffman almost did it but their supporting nominations came two years after their lead wins.
How about performers with no wins? Jeremy Renner was nominated in lead for “The Hurt Locker” in 2009 and in supporting in 2010 for “The Town”.
Do you think it’s easy to “downgrade” when you’ve reached a certain point of acclaim and success? It’s probably easier for character actors like Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jessica Tandy than big stars like Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts. It also must be easier today compared to the ’40s when studios controlled everything and Hollywood had a stricter system of castes and classes. That nomination for Jennifer Jones seems so bizarre when you take into account the time it happened.
I don’t really consider it a downgrade. If the role is that good, it doesn’t matter if its supporting or lead. For example, look at Jeremy Renner. He had a great leading role in The Hurt Locker and had two killer supporting roles in The Town and The Avengers.
Judi Dench was nominated in lead actress for Mrs. Brown in 1997 and finally won supporting for Shakespeare in Love in 1998.
Renee Zellweger was nominated in lead actress for Bridget Jones’s Diary and Chicago in 2001 and 2002 before winning supporting for Cold Mountain in 2003.
These two are different from the case you’re looking for. They downgraded and had an easier time winning, helped by a sentiment that they had been on a roll and/or they should have won or were close to winning the year before.
Jennifer Jones was back in the lead actress race with Love Letters and Duel in the Sun in 1945 and 1946, so she was still on top of her game.
Sometimes An actor can have a huge breakthrough role but already have made a movie in which they were supporting. Or they are just campaigned as supporting because the Category may be easier to get into.