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Who won their Oscar for exactly the right film?

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  • Daniel Montgomery
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    #198667

    At the Oscars, there’s often talk about how the right actors often win awards for the wrong movie, often when the academy is playing catch-up with an overdue filmmaker they’ve snubbed before (“The Departed” < “Raging Bull” & “Goodfellas”). But there are times when the Oscars reward an actor or filmmaker at exactly the right moment, so years later looking back you can see they won for their definitive work.

    Meryl Streep is the most obvious example. “Sophie’s Choice” is definitive not just for Streep but has become shorthand for great acting. Then again, the academy later gave her another Oscar for a totally wrong movie (“The Iron Lady”), but nobody’s perfect.

    Steven Spielberg is another. The academy made him wait for years even though he probably should have won before, like for “E.T.,” but looking at the breadth of his career, “Schindler’s List” was absolutely the right film for him to win for.

    When else did the Oscars reward someone at the exact right moment? 

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    FilmGuy619
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    #198669

    Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine.

    Daniel Day-Lewis for My Left Foot and/or There Will Be Blood.

    J.K. Simmons for Whiplash.

     

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    Cheshire
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    #198670

    Natalie Portman- Black Swan (Best Actress)
    Heath Ledger- The Dark Knight (Best Supporting Actor)
    Jodie Foster- The Silence of the Lambs (Best Actress)
    Anthony Hopkins- The Silence of the Lambs (Best Actor)
    Anne Hathaway- Les Miserable (Best Supporting Actress)
    Quentin Tarantino- Pulp Fiction (Original Screenplay)
    Jonathan Demme- The Silence of the Lambs (Best Director)

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    Asgaroth
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    #198671

    Julia Roberts (yes)
    Catherine Zeta Jones
    Charlize Theron
    Helen Mirren
    Marion Cotillard
    Javier Bardem
    Jeff Bridges
    Christoph Waltz (for IB)
    Natalie Portman
    Colin Firth
     

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    DominicCobb
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    #198672

    First and best that comes to mind is Robert De Niro for Raging Bull.

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    Bradley Weir
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    #198673

    Gregory Peck for “To Kill A Mockingbird”. 4 Nominations without a win beforehand, then produces one of the greatest performances ever.

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    OnTheAisle
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    #198674

    Best Actor

    1962  Gregory Peck for To Kill a Mockingbird

    Best Actress

    1939  Vivien Leigh for Gone With The Wind

    1953  Audrey Hepburn for Roman Holiday

    1977  Diane Keaton for Annie Hall

    Best Director

    1946  William Wyler for The Best Years of Our Lives

     

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    Larry Young
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    #198675

    Elizabeth Taylor & Sandy Dennis – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
    Maggie Smith – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
    Dustin Hoffman & Meryl Streep – Kramer vs. Kramer
    Meryl Streep – Sophie’s Choice
    Vivien Leigh – Streetcar Named Desire
    Jack Nicholson – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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    Anonymous
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    #198676

    Marion Cotillard in Piaf
    Cate Blanchett in The Aviator and Blue Jasmine
    Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables

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    Aunt Peg
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    #198677

    Glenda Jackson in Women in Love
    Liza Minnelli in Cabaret
    Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    Diane Keaton in Annie Hall
    Vanessa Redgrave in Julia
    Jon Voight & Jane Fonda in Coming Home 
    Sally Field in Norma Rae
    Rober De Niro in Raging Bull
    Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner’s Daughter
    Mary Steenburgen in Melvin & Howard 

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    babypook
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    #198678

    Well, there are worthy perfs in questionable or divisive films. That isnt the same thing imo. TIL isnt the greatest film around, but there was nothing ‘wrong’ with Streep’s win…

    Peter Finch comes to mind.

    Agree with all of the above mentions.

    The timing would have to be ‘right’ for them to win, right? On the other hand, whether it’s for their best work or best film etc, that’s pretty subjective.

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    Jalal Haddad
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    #198679

    I tried to think of roles that defined an actor’s career especially when they have been nominated multiple times so I am not including recent winnners (although if I did JK Simmons and Monique would be at the top of the list) or actors who appeared once and then never had another giant significant role again( Rita Moreno, Joel Grey).

    Kathy Bates for Misery – she has had mutliple noms since but no role in film or television has been able to overshadow her performance as Annie Wilkes. In fact her performance in the Stephen King classic has made her a horror icon and even shaped how she is perceived in Hollywood even getting her cast in American Horror Story. 

    Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins for The Silence of the Lambs – Foster has won two Oscars but everyone immediately thinks of this film when the they talk about Oscars and Foster. Similar to Bates this has shaped Foster’s post Oscar career as well (Flightplan, Brave One, Panic Room). Hopkins is now known as an iconic actor for creating one of the most memorable villains in cinematic history.

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    Jalal Haddad
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    #198680

    I definitely agree with the example of Streep. Her first two wins are for some of the most iconic performances in Oscar history (Sophie’s Choice and Kramer vs Kramer). Her third win (which always causes such a debate in these forums) was brought on by the growing narrative that one of the most beloved actresses of all time has not won since the 80s. The most iconic perofmances of this era though are films like The Devil Wears Prada Doubt, and Julie and Julia.

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    Jason Travis
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    #198681

    Off the top of my head. This in terms of the individual, not the year per say (at least, not always):

    BEST ACTOR
    Clark Gable (It Happened One Night, 1934)
    Spencer Tracy (Boys Town, 1938)
    Marlon Brando (On the Waterfront, 1954)
    Gregory Peck (To Kill A Mockingbird, 1962)
    George C. Scott (Patton, 1970)
    Gene Hackman (The French Connection, 1971)
    Marlon Brando (The Godfather, 1972)
    Jack Nicholson (One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975)
    Richard Dreyfuss (The Goodbye Girl, 1977- he is Funny & Brilliant in this!!)
    Robert De Niro (Raging Bull, 1980)
    Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, 1982)
    Daniel Day-Lewis (My Left Foot, 1989)
    Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune, 1990)
    Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, 1991)
    Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, 1994)
    Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, 1995)
    Jamie Foxx (Ray, 2004)
    Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote, 2005)
    Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, 2006)
    Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood, 2007)
    Sean Penn (Milk, 2008)
    Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, 2010)
    Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln, 2012)
    Matthew McConaghey (Dallas Buyers Club, 2013)

    BEST ACTRESS
    Claudette Colbert (It Happened One Night, 1934)
    Vivien Leigh (Gone With the Wind, 1939)
    Greer Garson (Mrs. Miniver, 1942)
    Joan Crawford (Mildred Pierce, 1945)

    Judy Holliday (Born Yesterday, 1950- in terms of who she beat- Davis in All About Eve, Swanson in Sunset Boul, yes it was an upset; in terms of the performance and her overall caliber with THAT role, it was dynamite)

    Vivien Leigh (A Streetcar Named Desire, 1951)
    Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins, 1964- no one else could have played her. No one)
    Elizabeth Taylor (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, 1966)

    Katharine Hepburn (The Lion in Winter, 1968) & Barbra Streisand (Funny Girl, 1968) – An actual tie, with two notable and legendary performances

    Maggie Smith (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1969)
    Jane Fonda (Klute, 1971)
    Liza Minnelli (Cabaret, 1972)

    Louise Fletcher (One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975; what is still deemed one of the weakest Best Actress lineups in history holds one of the finest, naunced performances in cinema. Fletcher owned this role)

    Faye Dunaway (Network, 1976; I’m on the fence with listing her. In terms of Dunaway, MY all time favorite is Mommie Dearest, but of course that’s critically panned and deemed ‘cult’. But in regards of her exuded strength and the character, yup she deserved this)

    Meryl Streep (Sophie’s Choice, 1982)
    Shirley MacLaine (Terms of Endearment, 1983)
    Kathy Bates (Misery, 1991)

    Holly Hunter (The Piano, 1993; though I prefer Angela Bassett in What’s Love Got to Do with It, in terms of signature role this is Hunter’s. No one was beating her. She won everything from Cannes, Critics and Oscar gold)

    Frances McDormand (Fargo, 1996)

    Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets, 1997- Yes I listed her. You can roll your eyes or shame me. Anyone truly shaming hasn’t seen this movie or her performance enough. She has so many money scenes, SO much chemistry with Nicholson, and if we’re going based on the film career of Hunt, this is the role she rightfully prevailed for. And yes, I’ve seen Mrs. Brown many times, and Judi Dench is fabulous. Hunt was still my pick.)

    Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry, 1999)
    Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich, 2000)
    Charlize Theron (Monster, 2003)

    I bet you notice Helen Mirren missing for The Queen (2006). I have defended this omission on past occassions. She was fine in the movie, but she’s been better (The Last Station) and the picture was a bland bore. Dench in Notes on a Scandal and Streep in Prada were miles ahead of her.

    Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose, 2007)

    Natalie Portman (Black Swan, 2010)

    Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady, 2011- after all her losses, this was a strong choice- deemed by Time Magazine as the best peformance of the year. She finally had the right role, at the right time, with the right momentum. It was perfect)

    Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine, 2013)

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    Tom O’Neil
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    #198682

    Meryl Streep is the most obvious example. “Sophie’s Choice” is definitive not just for Streep but has become shorthand for great acting. Then again, the academy later gave her another Oscar for a totally wrong movie (“The Iron Lady”), but nobody’s perfect.
     

    Heresy! Meryl DESERVED that Iron Lady Oscar.

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