Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) is a few weeks away from becoming one of 14 women who’ve won more than one Best Actress Oscar. McDormand, who took home the prize for “Fargo” (1996), would join 12 other women as two-time winners, two shy of Katharine Hepburn’s all-time record of four. Before McDormand joins this elite club, which of the first lucky 13 champs is your favorite?
Luise Rainer was the first actress to win two and the first performer to win back-to-back Oscars, triumphing for “The Great Ziegfeld” (1936) and “The Good Earth” (1937). Bette Davis (1935’s “Dangerous” and 1938’s “Jezebel”) joined her the following year. Eleven years later, Davis’ pal Olivia de Havilland won her second Oscar for 1949’s “The Heiress,” three years after her “To Each His Own” victory.
Two years after that, Vivien Leigh, who first took home the award for “Gone with the Wind” (1939), won for “A Streetcar Named Desire” — arguably one of the best twin wins in Oscar history. Ingrid Bergman, who would later win for her supporting performance in “Murder on the Orient Express” (1974), followed with a statuette for “Anastasia” (1956) to go with the one she picked up for “Gaslight” (1944).
The ‘60s produced two polarizing victories for Elizabeth Taylor, who won her first for “BUtterfield 8” (1960) after she nearly died of pneumonia while filming “Cleopatra” (1963), prompting this immortal line from nominee Shirley MacLaine (“The Apartment”): “I lost to a tracheotomy.” Six years later, she grabbed her second Oscar for her seminal turn in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
The following year, Hepburn, who won her first Oscar 34 years earlier for “Morning Glory” (1932/33), garnered her second for “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” — the longest span between Best Actress wins. She won her third the next year for “The Lion in Winter” in a tie with Barbra Streisand (“Funny Girl”) and her fourth for “On Golden Pond” (1981).
The ‘70s saw two women double up: Glenda Jackson for “Women in Love” (1970) and “A Touch of Class” (1973), and Jane Fonda for “Klute” (1971) and “Coming Home” (1978). Sally Field won her first Oscar for 1979’s “Norma Rae” and her second five years later for “Places in the Heart,” when she couldn’t deny that the academy, right then, liked her.
Jodie Foster next won her Oscars three years apart for “The Accused” (1988) and “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991). Thirteen years later, Hilary Swank, who had won for “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999), got a bookend Oscar for “Million Dollar Baby,” which was also the last time Best Picture and Best Actress went to the same film.
Our most recent two-time Best Actress champ is, of course, Meryl Streep, who prevailed for “The Iron Lady” (2011), 29 years after her “Sophie’s Choice” win and 32 years after her supporting win for “Kramer vs. Kramer.” Streep’s 29-year gap is the second longest between Best Actress victories. If McDormand, who’s competing against Streep (“The Post”) does win, she’ll have the third longest gap at 21 years.
Which two-time (or more) Best Actress champ is your favorite? Vote below!
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