Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga are aiming to be the eighth onscreen duo to win Best Actor and Best Actress Oscars. But they could join even more rarefied air if “A Star Is Born” also wins Best Picture, as only three films ever have swept those three categories.
All three films that have accomplished this just so happened to be the only three films to claim the Big Five awards as well: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and a screenplay award (coincidentally, all three were adaptations). The first film to do so was “It Happened One Night” (1934), which picked up statuettes for leads Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, director Frank Capra and screenwriter Robert Riskin.
It’d be 41 years before it occurred again, achieved by “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), with victories for helmer Milos Forman, stars Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher, and screenwriters Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman.
Sixteen years later, “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991) became the last film to pull this off. Director Jonathan Demme, stars Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, and screenwriter Ted Tally all claimed Oscars before the thriller took home the top prize.
Chances are “A Star Is Born” won’t be the fourth film to sweep the Big Five. Cooper is in second place in our Best Director odds behind Alfonso Cuaron, whose black-and-white “Roma” is more of a technical achievement, which is what voters have been rewarding the last few years. “A Star Is Born” is in third place in Best Adapted Screenplay, but its script is considered one of the weaker aspects of the film. Only the original “A Star Is Born” (1937) received a writing nomination, for adapted screenplay, and a win in the now defunct category of Best Story.
But “A Star Is Born” is well ahead in the other three categories. A worldwide hit, it has 13/2 odds to prevail in Best Picture and its closest competitor, “Roma,” is back with 15/2. Cooper is still holding his ground in Best Actor, with 37/10 odds, despite Christian Bale‘s strong notices for his transformation into Dick Cheney in “Vice.” And Gaga maintains her Best Actress lead, with 19/5 odds, while Glenn Close (“The Wife”) and Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”) keep going back and forth for the second spot.
If only Cooper and Gaga win, they’d join four his-and-hers lead winners whose films didn’t snag Best Picture:
1. Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway for “Network” (1976), which lost to “Rocky”
2. Jon Voight and Jane Fonda for “Coming Home” (1978), which lost to “The Deer Hunter”
3. Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn for “On Golden Pond” (1981), which lost to “Chariots of Fire”
4. Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt for “As Good as It Gets” (1997), which lost to “Titanic”
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.