Among this year’s 20 actors to earn Oscar nominations are Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep and Octavia Spencer, up for their turns in “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”; “The Post”; and “The Shape of Water,” respectively. Washington, Streep and Spencer mark the trio of actors to this year earn consecutive Oscar nominations, having last year been up for “Fences,” “Florence Foster Jenkins,” and “Hidden Figures.” Their achievement marks the 14th occasion in Oscar history in which three or more actors have returned as nominees the following ceremony.
In the early days of the Oscars, consecutive acting nominations were commonplace. From 1936 to 1947, there were eight occasions of this nature. Let’s take a look back at those years:
1936 and 1937 (Paul Muni, Spencer Tracy, Luise Rainer, Irene Dunne and Alice Brady)
1939 and 1940 (Laurence Olivier, James Stewart and Bette Davis)
1940 and 1941 (Bette Davis, Joan Fontaine and Walter Brennan)
1941 and 1942 (Gary Cooper, Bette Davis, Greer Garson and Teresa Wright)
1942 and 1943 (Gary Cooper, Walter Pidgeon, Greer Garson and Gladys Cooper)
1943 and 1944 (Ingrid Bergman, Greer Garson and Claude Rains)
1944 and 1945 (Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman and Greer Garson)
1946 and 1947 (Gregory Peck, Rosalind Russell and Ethel Barrymore)
Garson and Davis were particular Oscar favorites during this era, each scoring five consecutive Best Actress nominations.
By the 1950s, however, this trend of returning nominees began to dwindle. There were two occasions in this decade in which a trio of actors returned: 1952 and 1953 (Marlon Brando, Jack Palance and Thelma Ritter); 1957 and 1958 (Deborah Kerr, Elizabeth Taylor and Arthur Kennedy).
In the 1960s, not a single trio of actors earned consecutive Oscar nominations. The following decade, one quartet scored back-to-back nominations: Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Ellen Burstyn and Madeline Kahn in 1973 and 1974.
In 1982 and 1983, one quintet of actors were returning nominees – Meryl Streep, Debra Winger, Charles Durning, John Lithgow and Glenn Close. The 1990s, however, saw no trio or more of actors garner back-to-back nominations. Most recently, prior to this year in 2009 and 2010, Jeff Bridges, Colin Firth and Jeremy Renner were nominees.
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