Glenn Close (“The Wife”) has once again come close to winning an Oscar, and yet, it was not to be. Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”) pulled off a shocking upset at this year’s Academy Awards over Close, the odds-on favorite after key wins at the Golden Globes, Critic’s Choice, and SAG Awards. (See the full list of Oscar winners.) Plenty are expressing their sadness and outrage at Close now losing her seventh Oscar, but there is still hope left. Two actors have been through this very situation before and went on to win with their eighth nomination.
Al Pacino could certainly tell you about the long wait to win his Oscar. First nominated for “The Godfather” (1972), he would continuously lose throughout the ’70s, once in the ’80s, and again in the ’90s, only to finally be rewarded for 1992’s “Scent of a Woman.” That year he was also nominated for “Glengarry Glen Ross,” which technically made it his seventh Oscar ceremony as a nominee, but he was an eight-time nominee heading into the ceremony. Many had acknowledged Pacino’s legendary run in the ’70s and considered “Scent of a Woman” more of a makeup win compared to what he had done in the past.
Sound familiar? Close had a huge string of Oscar success in the ’80s, nominated five times in seven years, including one for her most iconic role in “Fatal Attraction.” Now, decades later, Close pulled off a strong performance in “The Wife,” while some have observed it isn’t necessarily her most noteworthy work, and like “Scent of a Woman,” would have categorized her win as partly for career achievement. Then there’s Paul Newman, who had to wait until his eighth Oscar nomination to finally win for “The Color of Money” (1986), though he had gotten so used to losing that he didn’t show up to collect his overdue trophy.
On the actress side, there’s Geraldine Page, who earned her first Oscar nomination for 1953’s “Hondo.” The actress continued to lose year after year in the decades to come, racking up seven losses before finally prevailing on her eighth try for 1985’s “The Trip to Bountiful.” That’s a 32-year span, and if Close had won for “The Wife” it would have been 36 years after her first nomination, for “The World According to Garp” (1982). Unfortunately, Close will have to wait a little longer as she now joins Richard Burton at seven losses without a win. Should Close earn an eighth nomination and lose again, she would tie Peter O’Toole, who was not able to take it home for his final nomination, for 2006’s “Venus.”
Luckily, Close has a very juicy role on the horizon — she is expected to reprise her role as Norma Desmond in the film adaptation of the “Sunset Boulevard” musical. She originally won a Tony Award for the role back in 1995 and recently came back to perform as Norma on the Broadway stage again in the 2017 revival. Close revealed to Gold Derby in her recent chat with us that she was getting ready to sit down with the director and writer of the movie adaptation that week. It is not known when the “Sunset Boulevard” movie will be released, but it is such a meaty part that she will surely be in the awards conversation as soon as we see the first stills from the film. Close also said on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” that despite her wealth of experience as an actress, she felt like she was “just reaching her prime.” It is possible that this resurgence of appreciation may just inspire filmmakers to give Close the kinds of roles she is worthy of, the roles typically reserved for Meryl Streep and others from her generation.