Will third time be Oscars charm for Bradley Cooper (‘American Sniper’)?

Bradley Cooper just became the 10th actor in Oscar history to reap three nominations in a row. He contends for Best Actor for his performance in the smash hit “American Sniper.” In 2012, he lost his bid in that race for “Silver Linings Playbook” to Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln”).  Last year, he vied in supporting for “American Hustle” but was bested by Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”). Surely, he must be hoping that Oscar history is on his side this time around. Indeed, of the nine previous men to pull off this triple play, five of them won at least one of these three races (as detailed below). 

Among this quintet of champs, only Jack Nicholson had to sit in the wings until the third year before taking to the stage to claim his first Oscar. He had his revenge by then racking up another nine nominations to set the record among men at 12 bids in all; he won two of those as well. 

However, Marlon Brando had to wait till his fourth consecutive nomination before triumphing. And his “Godfather” co-star Al Pacino had to bide his time for almost two decades after losing four in a row before finally winning on his eighth nomination. And then there is poor Richard Burton who lost all seven of his Oscar races, including these three. 

After surveying this list of Oscar greats and also-rans, be sure to cast your ballot for Best Actor using our easy drag-and-drop menu at the bottom of this post. 

NEW: Experts’ Oscars predictions in 24 categories


Spencer Tracy
(nominations 1, 2, 3 of 9)

1936: “San Francisco”
lost to Paul Muni (“The Story of Louis Pasteur”) 

1937: “Captains Courageous”

1938: “Boys Town”

Gary Cooper
(nominations 2, 3, 4 of 5;
also won #5: “High Noon,” 1952)

1941: “Sergeant York”

1942: “Pride of the Yankees”
lost to James Cagney (“Yankee Doodle Dandy”)

1943: “For Whom the Bell Tolls”
lost to Paul Lukas (“Watch on the Rhine”)

Marlon Brando
(nominations 1, 2, 3, 4 of 8;
also won #6: “The Godfather,” 1972)

1951: “A Streetcar Named Desire”
lost to Humphrey Bogart (“The African Queen”)

1952: “Viva Zapata!”
lost to Gary Cooper (“High Noon”)

1953: “Julius Caesar”
lost to William Holden (“Stalag 17”)

1954: “On the Watefront”

Jack Nicholson
(nominations 3, 4, 5 of 12;
also won #7: “Terms of Endearment,” 1983; #11: “As Good As It Gets,” 1997)

1973: “The Last Detail”
lost to Jack Lemmon (“Save the Tiger”)

1974: “Chinatown”
lost to Art Carney (“Harry and Tonto”)

1975: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

William Hurt
(nominations 1, 2, 3 of 4)
1985: “Kiss of the Spider Woman”

1986: “Children of a Lesser God”
lost to Paul Newman (“The Color of Money”)

1987: “Broadcast News”
lost to Michael Douglas (“Wall Street”)

Russell Crowe
(nominations 1, 2, 3)
1999: “The Insider”
lost to Kevin Spacey (“American Beauty”)

2000: “Gladiator”

2001: “A Beautiful Mind”
lost to Denzel Washington (“Training Day”) 

RELATED: American Sniper’ takes aim at Oscars


Gregory Peck 
(nominations 1, 2, 3 of 5;
won #5: “To Kill a Mockingbird,” 1962)

1945: “The Keys of the Kingdom”
lost to Ray Milland (“The Lost Weekend”)

1946: “The Yearling”
lost to Fredric March (“The Best Years of Our Lives”)

1947: “Gentleman’s Agreement”
lost to Ronald Colman (“A Double Life”)

Richard Burton 
(nominations 3, 4, 5 of 7; never won)

1964: “Becket”
lost to Rex Harrison (“My Fair Lady”)

1965: “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”
lost to Lee Marvin (“Cat Ballou”)

1966: “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
lost to Paul Scofield (“A Man for All Seasons”)

Al Pacino
(nominations 1, 2, 3, 4 of 8;
won #8: “Scent of a Woman,” 1993)

1972: “The Godfather”
lost Supporting Actor to Joel Grey (“Cabaret”)

1973: “Serpico”
lost to Jack Lemmon (“Save the Tiger”)

1974: “The Godfather: Part II”
lost to Art Carney (“Harry and Tonto”)

1975: “Dog Day Afternoon”
lost to Jack Nicholson (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”)

See early Oscar rankings when Experts’ predictions are combined

What are your Oscar predictions? Make your picks now — click here — or scroll down to predict the Best Actor champ using our easy drag-and-drop menu. Best predictions will win $1,000 prize. And the 24 Users with the best scores advance to a team to compete against our Experts and Editors next year. See who’s in our current Top 24 and their early Oscar predictions. Meet the guy who won our contest to predict Oscar nominations last year — and learn how he did it and how you can be our next Gold Derby superstar. Register/log in to your account so you can also compete to predict the BAFTAs, Grammys, “The Walking Dead,” “AHS: Freak Show” and more.

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