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Will Daniel Day-Lewis make Oscar history as first three-time Best Actor champ?

By Chris Beachum
By Chris Beachum
Jan 16 2013 17:40 pm

When Meryl Streep earned her third Oscar last February, she joined an exclusive club. Only four other people have won at least three Academy Awards for acting in the 84-year history of these kudos. 

It had been 14 years since Jack Nicholson picked up his third trophy when Streep received hers. This year, a quartet of two-time champs are in the hunt for a third Oscar: Daniel Day-Lewis ("Lincoln"), Robert De Niro ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Sally Field ("Lincoln"), and Denzel Washington ("Flight").

Day-Lewis is the likeliest of these to win for his role as President Abraham Lincoln in the Steven Spielberg biopic. He has odds of 27/20 to claim his record third Best Actor prize on just his fifth nomination. All our Experts, eight of nine Editors, and almost half our Users predict him to prevail. He picked up trophies this past week at the Critics' Choice Awards and Golden Globe Awards. He won Oscars for "My Left Foot" (1989) and "There Will Be Blood" (2007).

In "Flight," Washington plays Whip Whitaker, an airline pilot who saves a plane from crashing despite being intoxicated. Of six nominations, he earned trophies in supporting for "Glory" (1989) and in lead for "Training Day" (2001). He is currently in third place against Day-Lewis with 6/1 odds.

De Niro has not contended at the Oscars since 1991 when he lost a Best Actor bid for "Cape Fear." He won supporting actor for "The Godfather, Part II" (1974) and in lead for ("Raging Bull," 1980). He has solid 10/3 odds to win Best Supporting Actor this year for his performance as Pat Peoples, the father of a man just returned home from a mental institution. DeNiro is second behind Tommy Lee Jones ("Lincoln"), with the support of three of 16 Experts, three of nine Editors, and 19% of Users.

Field prevailed the only two times she contended at the Oscars for her lead roles in "Norma Rae" (1979) and "Places in the Heart" (1984). She is also in "Lincoln" as President's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. Field is in second place for Best Supporting Actress but at 3/1 trails far behind Anne Hathaway ("Les Miserables"). She has support from one of 16 Experts and 22% of Users.

Katharine Hepburn is the all-time leader among performers with four Best Actress Oscars: "Morning Glory" (1933), "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967), "The Lion in Winter" (1968), and "On Golden Pond" (1981). She reaped an even dozen bids in that race. 

Walter Brennan won three supporting Oscars for "Come and Get It" (1936), "Kentucky" (1938), and "The Westerner" (1940); he lost his fourth bid in 1941 for "Sergeant York." 

Ingrid Bergman won as a leading actress in both "Gaslight" (1944) and "Anastasia" (1956) and then for supporting in "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974). She had seven nominations in all. 

Nicholson prevailed as a lead in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975), then in supporting for "Terms of Endearment" (1983), and again in lead for "As Good As It Gets" (1997). He leads among men with 12 nominations to date. 

Streep won her first Academy Award in supporting for "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979) and then lead trophies for "Sophie's Choice" (1982) and "The Iron Lady" (2011). In all, she has amassed a record 17 nominations.

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