A five-time Oscar bridesmaid is on the brink of a sixth nomination, and possibly her first win. She’s already scored double nominations at the Golden Globe and SAG Awards. It’s been thirteen years since she first caught the academy’s attention, breaking into the Supporting Actress lineup. She’s since proven herself to be a versatile talent and a box-office draw, headlining acclaimed indies and big blockbusters alike.
Let’s go back in time and review Winslet when she was still winless. After a heavenly debut in Peter Jackson’s “Heavenly Creatures” in 1994, she starred as Emma Thompson‘s younger sister in 1995’s “Sense and Sensibility.” The academy had the good sense to nominate the newcomer, though she wasn’t mighty enough to overcome Mira Sorvino in “Mighty Aphrodite.”
Two years later, Winslet propelled to international stardom as the heroine on board “Titanic.” She made the Best Actress shortlist as her co-star Leonardo DiCaprio was famously lost at sea. Alas, Hollywood was mad about Helen Hunt in “As Good as It Gets,” deciding that she was as good as it got.
Winslet continued to float the academy’s boat, receiving nominations for 2001’s “Iris,” 2004’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and 2006’s “Little Children.”
But then 2008 came along and brought her a little more luck, first in the form of dual Golden Globe and SAG nominations. She went home with both Globes, for Best Supporting Actress in “The Reader” and Best Actress in “Revolutionary Road.” The road then led to SAG supporting honors for “The Reader,” as the leading laurels went to Meryl Streep in “Doubt.” The academy sparked a category revolution, promoting Winslet to lead actress for “The Reader.” The race was without a doubt between her and Streep, with Winslet’s name read when the envelope was opened.
As for Adams, it was 2005’s teensy “Junebug” that first sent her crawling to the Academy Awards. She would end up being squished by Rachel Weisz in “The Constant Gardener.” (Insert your own hoe joke here.) Yet Adams would continue to blossom, harvesting nods for 2008’s “Doubt,” 2010’s “The Fighter,” 2012’s “The Master” and 2013’s “American Hustle.”
Despite being both a fighter and a master, Adams has yet to hustle herself to victory. All that could change with her well-received supporting turn as former Second Lady Lynne Cheney in “Vice.” If Adams continues to retrace Winslet’s path, an Oscar inauguration might be inevitable. (Though she’ll need to dethrone a King named Regina first.)
Believe it or not, there are even more parallels between Winslet and Adams.
Both lost their first races to someone who has yet to be nominated again. (Though Weisz is favored to compete again for “The Favourite.”);
Both have appeared in films with DiCaprio. Winslet in the aforementioned “Titanic” as well as 2008’s “Revolutionary Road.” Adams in 2002’s “Catch Me If You Can.” Both films earned supporting SAG prizes for co-stars: the late Gloria Stuart in “Titanic” (who tied with Kim Basinger in “L.A. Confidential”) and Christopher Walken in “Catch Me If You can.” (Though neither was able to catch the Oscar.);
Both have been parts of a trio of actors nominated for a film shut out in every other category. For Winslet, it was “Iris” – which received bids for Judi Dench as Best Actress plus a win for Jim Broadbent as Best Supporting Actor. For Adams, it was “The Master” – which yielded Best Actor and Supporting Actor bids for Joaquin Phoenix and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, respectively;
Their fifth tries pitted them against both Dench and Streep, though none of them would win. Winslet in “Little Children” faced off against Dench in “Notes on a Scandal” and Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada”; Helen Mirren in “The Queen” was crowned the queen. Adams in “American Hustle” challenged Dench in “Philomena” and Streep in “August: Osage County”; Cate Blanchett took the gold for “Blue Jasmine”;
The fifth time had the British Winslet playing American and the American Adams playing British (at least for most of it.); and
Both have played the onscreen wives of two-time Oscar champ Christoph Waltz. Winslet in 2011’s “Carnage” and Adams in 2014’s “Big Eyes.” Both actresses saw Golden Globe nominations, with Adams winning big.
The year 2008 produced the only clashes between the two. Winslet in “The Reader” overcame Adams in “Doubt” at the Globe and SAG supporting contests. Winslet’s elevation to the lead category avoided a showdown at the Oscars. Still, Winslet had to defeat Adams’s onscreen Sister Streep in order to shine.
You might doubt that any of this means anything. I could be reading too much into things. But if there are indeed derby deities with their eyes on Amy, the sixth time is looking nice for Adams in “Vice.”
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.