2018 Oscars: Frances McDormand (‘Three Billboards’) would set third longest gap between Best Actress wins

After victories at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice and Screen Actors Guild Awards, Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) is the odds-on favorite to join a select group of women: performers who’ve won at least two Best Actress Oscars. McDormand would be the 14th to do so and perhaps most impressively, her double would be the third longest timespan between first and second wins.

McDormand won her first Oscar for “Fargo” a whoppin’ 21 years ago — that’s a whole person who can drink! She’d be behind only Meryl Streep (“Sophie’s Choice,” “The Iron Lady”), who waited 29 years, and Katharine Hepburn (“Morning Glory,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”), who holds the record at 34 years.

Most two-time Best Actress winners garner their second statuette within a decade of their first, usually within the first five years in that “honeymoon period” when, to paraphrase one double champ, they like you, right now, they like you. That jibes with Oscar’s well-documented history of rewarding actresses early in their careers who, sadly, typically field fewer offers — or at least fewer offers of juicy roles — as they get older.

SEE 2018 Best Actress Oscar race is one for the ages

There are exceptions, of course, like esteemed grand dames in the vein of Hepburn and Streep. Hepburn won three of her record four Best Actress Oscars after she turned 60 — hilariously, after waiting 34 years for her second, she only had to wait one year for her third, for “The Lion in Winter” (1968), and her fourth, for “On Golden Pond” (1981), followed 13 years after that. The long-awaited second Best Actress trophy for Streep, who also won in supporting for “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979), was built on a campaign that was literally “Can you believe Meryl Streep hasn’t won an Oscar in almost 30 years?!?!”

There is no such campaign narrative for McDormand, who’s shot to the front of the pack primarily on the strength of her biting, fiery performance as Mildred Hayes, a mother fed up with the lack of progress in the investigation into her daughter’s rape and murder. And while not quite a “grand dame,” McDormand, who’d be the ninth oldest Best Actress winner at 60 years and 254 days old, fits the bill of a highly revered, well-liked actress with a storied, enviable career to whom voters will have no problem awarding two Oscars — even if she’s urging them to give the “young ones coming up” some “doorstops.” She already became the first person to win the SAG lead actress category twice, so why can’t she be No. 14 at the Oscars?

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Here’s the list of Best Actress champs in order of the gap between their first and second wins.

1. Luise Rainer, “The Great Ziegfeld” (1936) and “The Good Earth” (1937): 1 year
2. Bette Davis, “Dangerous” (1935) and “Jezebel” (1938): 3 years
3. Olivia de Havilland, “To Each His Own” (1946) and “The Heiress” (1949): 3 years
4. Glenda Jackson, “Women in Love” (1970) and “A Touch of Class” (1973): 3 years
5. Jodie Foster, “The Accused” (1988) and “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991): 3 years
6. Sally Field, “Norma Rae” (1979) and “Places of the Heart” (1984): 5 years
7. Hilary Swank, “Boys Don’t Cry” (1999) and “Million Dollar Baby” (2004): 5 yers
8. Elizabeth Taylor, “BUtterfield 8” (1960) and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966): 6 years
9. Jane Fonda, “Klute” (1971) and “Coming Home” (1978): 7 years
10. Vivien Leigh, “Gone with the Wind” (1939) and “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951): 12 years
11. Ingrid Bergman, “Gaslight” (1944) and “Anastasia” (1956): 12 years
12. Meryl Streep, “Sophie’s Choice” (1982) and “The Iron Lady” (2011): 29 years
13. Katharine Hepburn, “Morning Glory” (1932/33) and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967): 34 years

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Be sure to check out how our experts rank Oscar contenders in this and the other top races. Use the drop-down menus at the top of each page to see the other categories. Then take a look at the most up-to-date odds before you make make your Oscar nomination predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.

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