Memo to Oscars: Throw out your archaic rule that performers can’t be nominated twice

cate blanchett carol truth oscar best actress 13579086

No, you’re not seeing double. Cate Blanchett stars in two high-profile Oscar contenders this year: “Carol,” in which she plays a married woman who falls in love with a store clerk, and “Truth,” where she portrays a news producer at the center of a scandal. However, because of an old, archaic Oscar rule that states that an actor or actress cannot be nominated twice (or more) in the same category in a given year, Blanchett is not eligible to receive two Best Actress nominations for her work in 2015. Academy members, isn’t it time to update your acting rulebook?

Oscars: Brie Larson (‘Room’) widens lead over Cate Blanchett (‘Carol’) for Best Actress

In other words, if “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump” had both been released in the same year, Tom Hanks would have had to choose between his two Oscar vehicles and he’d only be a one-time winner. Sure, he could have bitten the bullet and declared one of these two performances to be supporting (he’d have been eligible for both films that way), but which one? Can you imagine the outcry if Hanks had declared Forrest to be a supporting character just to win an award?

To be clear, other categories allow the same person to be nominated twice — like Steven Soderbergh as Best Director for both “Traffic” and “Erin Brockovich” in 2000 (winning for “Traffic”), and composer Alexandre Desplat, who competed for his “Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Imitation Game” scores last year (winning for “Grand Budapest”). So why are actors and actresses any different? If someone like Blanchett legitimately has two great lead performances within a calendar year, she shouldn’t have to make a Sophie’s choice between them.

Michael Fassbender is in a similar situation as the male lead of both “Steve Jobs” and “Macbeth.” It seems evident at this point that he’ll go with high-profile “Steve Jobs” and drop “Macbeth,” but again, why are the Oscars forcing him to make this decision in the first place?

It’s not like this at other awards. The BAFTAs allow multiple bids, as when Scarlett Johansson was a double nominee for Best Actress for “Lost in Translation” and “Girl with a Pearl Earring” in 2003 (she won for “Translation”).

Our readers, many of whom are Hollywood insiders, have begun debating this hot topic in our all-new, much faster and easier-to-navigate movie forum. Read some of their comments below and then join the discussion in our forums here.

Bradderz: Absolutely. Oscars should be about awarding the performance, so it’s ridiculous why somebody can’t have multiple performances nominated.

thedemonhog: Yep.

zordon: Fully agree!

ETPhoneHome: I feel like that’s just an oversight that nobody got around to fixing yet. It really should be corrected, because a great performance is a great performance. I feel like it may only change though when Meryl Streep has two lead roles in the same year.

KyleBailey: No one bats an eye when John Williams gets two nominations in one year. Why are composers allowed two in one year but not actors? In terms of work, composers and actors usually have the most credits in one year. Why aren’t they treated as equals?

CanadianFan: 100% agree.

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