Oscar-winner Faye Dunaway recently revealed that she and her “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967) co-star Warren Beatty will present the Best Picture prize on Oscar night. While the occasion will mark Dunaway’s first time ever presenting the award, it is not the first time this unimpeachable legend of the big screen has graced the Oscar stage. In fact, Dunaway has had quite an incredible awards season history herself.
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The year was 1967 and Dunaway, having turned in critically acclaimed work in both Arthur Penn’s “Bonnie and Clyde” and Otto Preminger’s “Hurry Sundown,” emerged one of the hottest new actresses in Hollywood. At that year’s Golden Globes, Dunaway garnered two bids: one for Best Drama Actress for the Penn film and one for Most Promising Female Newcomer for the Preminger picture. Dunaway did not win either prize: Edith Evans won in the former category for “The Whisperers” while Katharine Ross scored the Globe in the latter for “The Graduate.” Nor did Dunaway emerge victorious on her first Oscar nomination (for “Bonnie & Clyde”), as the Academy opted to give Katharine Hepburn her second career Oscar, for “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” Dunaway did, however, score the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer.
Jerry Schatzberg’s melodrama “Puzzle of a Downfall Child” (1970) proved Dunaway’s second awards bid, delivering her another Golden Globe nomination in Best Drama Actress. She was defeated there by Ali MacGraw’s turn in the commercial smash “Love Story” and ultimately was not recognized on Oscar nominations morning.
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Dunaway was more of a force to be reckoned with during the 1974 awards season, as her turn as Evelyn Mulwray in Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown” (1974) caught the attention of critics and audiences alike. She was again nominated at the Golden Globes, losing that prize to Gena Rowlands’ much-praised performance in “A Woman Under the Influence.” Dunaway did garner an Oscar nomination this time, though it was Ellen Burstyn who claimed victory on the big night, for “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” Dunaway’s first Best Actress bid at the BAFTAs also proved unsuccessful, as she fell to Joanne Woodward’s turn in “Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams.”
Another Best Drama Actress Globe nomination came along in 1975, as Dunaway was nominated for Sydney Pollack’s CIA thriller “Three Days of the Condor.” Yet again, the actress came up short on awards night, losing to Louise Fletcher’s memorable turn as Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
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At last, in 1976, Dunaway’s losing streak came to an end. Sidney Lumet’s “Network” proved one of the year’s hottest pictures and Dunaway’s performance as power-hungry TV executive Diana Christensen was cited by countless critics as her finest turn to date. Finally, she took home the Golden Globe for Best Drama Actress. And, for the first time, Dunaway scored attention from critics’ awards – she was named Best Actress by the Kansas City Film Critics Circle and finished runner-up at the National Society of Film Critics Awards and New York Film Critics Circle Awards.
On Oscar night, Dunaway prevailed in Best Actress, and the film also took home prizes in Best Actor (the late Peter Finch), Best Supporting Actress (the scene-stealing Beatrice Straight) and Best Original Screenplay (Paddy Chayefsky). With “Network” receiving a 1977 release in the U.K., however, Dunaway lost the Best Actress prize at BAFTA to Diane Keaton’s turn in “Annie Hall.
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Dunaway has not received another Oscar or BAFTA nomination to date. She has, however, garnered a plethora of recognition from other awards, some positive and some negative.
In 1980, Dunaway garnered the first of what would eventually prove a career eight nominations from the Golden Raspberry (Razzie) Awards. The film was “The First Deadly Sin” and Dunaway portrayed the dying wife of a police inspector, portrayed by Frank Sinatra in his first big screen appearance in a decade. Dunaway lost that prize to Brooke Shields’ turn in the much-panned drama “The Blue Lagoon.”
With the following year came one of Dunaway’s most memorable, yet polarizing career performances. Her turn as legendary Oscar-winner Joan Crawford in “Mommie Dearest” (1981), adapted from Christina Crawford’s notorious best-seller, won her raves from the likes of critics Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert but just as much scrutiny from others who panned the performance for its scenery-chewing. That awards season proved divided, too, in recognizing Dunaway’s work. While both the National Society of Film Critics and New York Film Critics Circle named Dunaway their runners-up for Best Actress, the Razzie Awards bestowed upon Dunaway their prize for Worst Actress, a prize she shared with Bo Derek (“Tarzan, the Ape Man”).
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Dunaway again graced the Worst Actress category at the Razzies in 1983 and 1984, for her turns as the seductive Lady Barbara Skelton in “The Wicked Lady” and power-hungry witch Selena in “Supergirl.” She did not, however, claim victory on either of these nominations, losing to Pia Zadora (“The Lonely Lady”) and Bo Derek (“Bolero”), respectively.
At the end of the decade, Dunaway was up for the Razzie Award as Worst Actress of the Decade, a prize she lost to Derek.
On a more positive note, the 1980s also saw Dunaway back at the Golden Globes. She won her first Globe in honor of television work for her turn in the CBS miniseries “Ellis Island” (1984) and also returned to the Best Drama Actress category for her big screen comeback opposite Mickey Rourke in Barbet Schroeder’s “Barfly” (1987). She was not able to repeat the success of “Network” this time around, losing the award to Sally Kirkland’s work in “Anna.”
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In 1993, Dunaway garnered her first (and to date, only) Primetime Emmy Award nomination for her appearance opposite Peter Falk in “Columbo: It’s All in the Game.” Dunaway prevailed at that year’s Creative Arts Emmys ceremony and also received a Golden Globe nomination, ultimately losing that award to Bette Midler’s turn as Mama Rose in the CBS production of “Gypsy.”
That year also, however, marked Dunaway’s second Razzie Award victory, as she took home the Worst Supporting Actress prize for her turn as a flamboyant boss in “The Temp.” Additional Worst Supporting Actress nominations came for “The Chamber” and “Dunston Checks In” (both 1996) and “Albino Alligator” (1997). Dunaway did not prevail on either occasion, as Melanie Griffith (“Mulholland Falls”) and Alicia Silverstone (“Batman & Robin”) achieved Razzie glory. “Albino Alligator” marked the final time to date that Dunaway made a Razzie appearance.
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In 1997, Dunaway made her first (and to date, only) appearance at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, as she received a Best Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries nomination for Showtime’s adaptation of the play “The Twilight of the Golds.” She was defeated by Alfre Woodard’s turn in “Miss Evers’ Boys.”
The following year, Dunaway took home her third career Golden Globe, this time for portraying agent and former fashion model Wilhelmina Cooper in HBO’s “Gia” (1998). She tied with Camryn Manheim (“The Practice”) for this prize.
Dunaway again graced the category of Best Supporting Actress in a TV Program for portraying a D.C. socialite in the TNT television movie “Running Mates” (2000). This time, she was not successful, losing to Vanessa Redgrave’s Emmy/SAG-winning performance in “If These Walls Could Talk 2.” “Running Mates” marks Dunaway’s final Golden Globe appearance to date.
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