Why is it OK to have 2 Supporting Actress Nominees from the same movie, but NOT 2 Lead??

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  • Jason Travis
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    #208027

    Over the past 15 years, we’ve seen dual Best Supporting Actress contenders for the same film happen 8 times. I’m not in any way knocking the women nominated, but I am a bit puzzled why it seems okay to campaign two actresses for supporting- but NOT okay apparently to cite them for lead. The last time two leading female nominees took place was back in 1991 when Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon were recognized for Thelma & Louise.

    But these days, it seems that so many category frauds take place just so “both can get it in”, or “one can prevail”. As you can see below, even when there were two in the same movie nominated, voters still were able to pick one victorious on occassion (Zeta-Jones, Leo, Spencer). So why is it more difficult for that to be the case if studios could campaign Blanchett AND Mara as lead. Why are they worried they might cancel each other out, when cleary two people can still make the cut from the same movie? Or Vikander AS lead for The Danish Girl, when she clearly doesn’t have another woman she’s vying for in the same movie?

    I’d be interested in people’s thoughts on this. I’ve listed the dual contenders below.

    2000
    Kate Hudson & Frances McDormand, Almost Famous

    2001
    Helen Mirren & Maggie Smith, Gosford Park

    2002
    Queen Latifah & Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago

    2006
    Adriana Barraza & Rinko Kikuchi, Babel

    2008
    Amy Adams & Viola Davis, Doubt

    2009
    Vera Farmiga & Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air

    2010
    Amy Adams & Melissa Leo, The Fighter

    2011
    Jessica Chastain & Octavia Spencer, The Help

     

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    Logan
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    #208029

    1) I don’t endorse the fraud, but from a campaign strategist standpoint:

    Some years (the Blanchett/Dench year with Mirren winning) might have been too competitive, but in a weaker year maybe both would have been positioned for a dual lead actress placement. Meanwhile, Julia Roberts is as much or even more of a lead in August: Osage County but Streep had the louder role so Roberts would have had, presumably, a tougher time cracking that field and supporting actress was seen as an easier group to get into. 

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    Anonymous
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    #208030

    I think it’s because the members think it’s a secondary category. Lead nominations are a bigger deal for them, so they don’t give them away so easily to multiple women & men in the same film.

    The way they let Best Score and Costumes and so on having the same people nominated for multiple projects in crative categories. Those categories are third tier categories for them, so they don’t mind.

    1. Picture
    2. Acting / Directing
    3. The rest

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    seabel
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    #208031

    Take ‘Chicago’. Do you think Weinsteins prefered Renée + Latifah in the photos? Or Renée + Zeta-Jones in the photos?

    It’s all about that stuff. Disgusting. Sometimes, if you want to get awards and true objective recognition, you may find out a screenplay that does not relate to any of this kind of stuff, where the characters are pretty clear positioned in terms of leading-supporting. 

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    RobertPius
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    #208032

    I guess they feel Mara has a chance to win supporting so they want to put her there.  

    With August:Osage County they were really both fighting for the 5th spot so splitting them up was the only chance of a nomination. I remember buzz on GD that initially they wanted to put Streep in supporting which she was not happy about.

    It is hard to think of many films in recent years (except The Hours) that had a two female leads with nomination potential.  

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    Jake
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    #208033

    It is hard to think of many films in recent years (except The Hours) that had a two female leads with nomination potential.  

    Actually there was one such film since “The Hours” and coincidentally it also stars Julianne Moore – “The Kids Are All Right”. I remember 5th spot, after Portman, Bening, Lawrence and Kidman, was (or was supposed to be) between Moore, Hailee Steinfeld (who ended up in supporting) and Michelle Williams (who got it over Moore when Steinfeld was dropped down in the end). 

    And not to beat the dead horse here again but there’s no reason inside “The Hours” to take Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep as lead and Julianne Moore as supporting. None. It only makes sense as Moore had “Far From Heaven” that year in the race and Streep had “Adaptation.” in supporting anyway. They were all 3 leads, equally important, no doubt about it.  

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    Joe Burns
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    #208034

    I think a lot of those nominees were rightfully supporting- in fact all of them were. The only people  who I would think would be lead would be Kate Hudson and Spencer.  So, I’d say that for these women, they both gave strong performances that were worthy of Oscar contention and were in popular films that were well liked by the Academy, so that explains their nominations. But yes, supporting is considered a lesser category, so that’s why double nominees are rather rare in both leading categories and since nominations are more competitive now, studios get greedy and campaign them in the wrong categories.  

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    BTN
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    #208035

    You always hear there aren’t enough good roles for women so in the supporting categories if a film is seen as having more than one good role for women they double up in the supporting category. Its true about lead. Voters don’t want one film to get two leading nominations but also frauding plays a role there.

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    WaltEagle
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    #208036

    Well, you can also just take it at face value. Most movies have a clear main character. Lead Actress basically means “the main role” or “the main female role”, so it’s somewhat natural that most female roles smaller than the other female role in the movie end up in supporting. The Oscars don’t adhere to that fully faithfully, but it’s hard to blame them for not ignoring it completely. Are there that many more recent double-noms in Lead Actor? Looking over those supporting nominees, not many of them should have been in Lead.

    Plus, look at the competition sometimes, especially when your film has a really flashy lead role that might overshadow roles that are less featured or showy. Where does Rooney Mara have a better shot? 

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