Since the motion picture academy introduced the supporting categories at the ninth Oscars, 11 people have contended in both acting categories in the same year, with seven of them winning one of these races. This year, seven more performers — including past Oscar champs Judi Dench and Nicole Kidman — are hoping to make Academy Awards history and join this roster of double nominees detailed below.
First, in 1938, there was Fay Bainter, nominated in Best Actress for her turn as a homeless woman taken in as a housekeeper in “White Banners.” While Bette Davis (“Jezebel”) triumphed in that category, Bainter scored the Best Supporting Actress prize for her portrayal of the leading lady’s aunt in the Davis picture.
Four years later, Teresa Wright also garnered a pair of nominations, losing in Best Actress and prevailing in Best Supporting Actress. Her portrayal of Eleanor, wife of beloved New York Yankee Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper), in “The Pride of the Yankees” (1942), came up short to Greer Garson (“Mrs. Miniver”). Down in Supporting, however, Wright scored the trophy for her turn as the doomed Carol Beldon in the Garson film.
In 1944, Barry Fitzgerald made Oscar history as both the first male actor to garner two Oscar nominations in the same year and the only performer to ever receive multiple nominations for the same performance. His portrayal of elder pastor Father Fitzgibbon in “Going My Way” may have lost to Bing Crosby (for the same picture) in Best Actor but victory was achieved in Best Supporting Actor.
Remarkably, not a single actor garnered two Oscar nominations in the same year over the rest of the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
At last, in 1982, there was Jessica Lange, nominated in Best Actress for her portrayal of the tragic silver screen star Frances Farmer in “Frances.” While Lange came up short to Meryl Streep (“Sophie’s Choice”) in that category, she was triumphant in Best Supporting Actress for her turn as soap opera star Julie Nichols in “Tootsie.”
In 1988, for the first time in Oscar history, a performer garnered two Oscar nominations, only to be shut out on the big night. While Sigourney Weaver won a pair of Golden Globes for her turns as primatologist Dian Fossey in “Gorillas in the Mist” and self-absorbed boss Katharine Parker in “Working Girl,” she was not successful in either category at the Oscars. Jodie Foster (“The Accused”) triumphed in Best Actress, while Geena Davis (“The Accidental Tourist”) went home with the Best Supporting Actress trophy.
After six consecutive nominations and losses at the Oscars, Al Pacino at last prevailed in 1992, winning the Best Actor prize for his portrayal of the blind Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in “Scent of a Woman.” He was also nominated in Best Supporting Actor, his turn as deceptive salesman Ricky Roma in “Glengarry Glen Ross” recognized there. Gene Hackman (“Unforgiven”) would ultimately prevail in that category.
The following year, for the first (and to date, only) time, two performers were the recipients of a pair of nominations in a single year.
In 1993, there was Holly Hunter, who won the Best Actress prize for her portrayal of the mute pianist Ada McGrath in “The Piano.” She was also up in Best Supporting Actress for her turn as a colorful secretary in “The Firm,” though this trophy would instead go to Hunter’s “The Piano” co-star Anna Paquin. Double nominee Emma Thompson was not successful in either category that evening, losing for her work as a pre-World War II era housekeeper in “The Remains of the Day” in Best Actress and as attorney Gareth Peirce in “In the Name of the Father” in Best Supporting Actress.
Over the next decade, three actors would join this select group of Oscar favorites, though only one would walk away with a trophy on the big night.
More than a decade before she scored the Best Actress Oscar for “Still Alice,” Julianne Moore was a double nominee, up in that category for her portrayal of a 1950s-era housewife whose world is turned upside down in “Far from Heaven” (2002). In Best Supporting Actress, she was a nominee for her turn as another struggling housewife in “The Hours.” Alas, Moore would not prevail in either category, as her “The Hours” co-star Nicole Kidman won in Lead and Catherine Zeta-Jones (“Chicago”) was victorious in Supporting.
More successful was Jamie Foxx, who in 2004 barnstormed the awards season with his acclaimed portrayal of music legend Ray Charles in “Ray.” He won the Best Actor Oscar and was also a nominee for his turn as an L.A. taxi driver taken hostage in “Collateral.” In the latter category, Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”) was triumphant.
Most recently, Cate Blanchett received a pair of Oscar nominations, one for her reprisal of the title role in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” and the other for her portrayal of the Bob Dylan-inspired Jude Quinn in “I’m Not There.” On Oscar night, Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”) scored the Best Actress prize, with Tilda Swinton (“Michael Clayton”) winning in Best Supporting Actress.
Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.