Double Supporting Actress Oscar nominations for ‘The Favourite’: Will Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone vote-split?

While it is a common complaint that there aren’t enough good roles for women in films nowadays, “The Favourite” had the reverse problem in that it had almost too many good roles for actresses. The film offers Oscar caliber roles for three performers as it tells the tale of Queen Anne and two women who compete to be her “favourite.” The film inspired a lot of debate in the early days of the Oscar derby as to what categories the film would campaign its three actresses. Ultimately it was decided to place Olivia Colman in Best Actress and Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz in Best Supporting Actress. All three were nominated, thus placing Stone and Weisz in direct competition with each other. In taking a look back on Oscar history since the supporting categories were introduced at the 9th ceremony, are Stone and Weisz in danger of splitting the vote?

There have been only five films to receive two Best Actress nominations, 12 films that have received two Best Actor nominations, and 16 with double Best Supporting Actor nominations. In Best Supporting Actress though there have been a whopping 32 times when a film got two nominations or more. (In these statistics I’m also including the three times that three men from “On the Waterfront,” “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II” were all nominated for Supporting Actor, the one time when three women from “Tom Jones” were all nominated for Best Supporting Actress, and one time three lead actors from “Mutiny On the Bounty” were nominated. (This paragraph was edited with additional information.)

Of the five double Best Actress nominees only Shirley MacLaine was able to prevail over her “turbulently brilliant” costar Debra Winger for “Terms of Endearment.” In Best Actor four winners have beat their costars (Bing Crosby over Barry Fitzgerald in “Going My Way,” Maximillian Schell over Spencer Tracy in “Judgement at Nuremberg,” Peter Finch over William Holden for “Network,” and F. Murray Abraham over Tom Hulce for “Amadeus”). Best Supporting Actor has also seen only five times where an actor has triumphed over his co-star (Ben Johnson over Jeff Bridges for “The Last Picture Show,” Robert De Niro over both Michael V. Gazzo and Lee Stasberg for “The Godfather Part II,” Jason Robards over Schell for “Julia” and Timothy Hutton over Judd Hirsch for “Ordinary People” and Sam Rockwell over Woody Harrelson in “Three Bilboards Outside Ebbing Missouri.” (This paragraph was edited with additional information.)

However, Best Supporting Actress has seen 11 women take home an Oscar while their co-star cheered from the audience: Hattie McDaniel over Olivia de Haviland for “Gone with the Wind,” Teresa Wright over May Whitty for “Mrs. Miniver,” Celeste Holm over Anne Revere for “Gentlemen’s Agreement,” Helen Hayes over Maureen Stapleton for “Airport,” Cloris Leachman over Ellen Burstyn for “The Last Picture Show,” Meryl Streep over Jane Alexander for “Kramer Versus Kramer,” Jessica Lange over Teri Garr for “Tootsie,” Diane Wiest over Jennifer Tilly for “Bullets Over Broadway,” Catherine Zeta-Jones over Queen Latifah for “Chicago,” Melissa Leo over Amy Adams for “The Fighter” and Octavia Spencer over Jessica Chastain for “The Help.”

Awards pundits talk a lot about vote-splitting when there are double nominees. Despite that it looks like roughly a third or so of the double nominees have managed to have one person pull ahead in the race. As for “The Favourite,” so far neither Stone nor Weisz have managed to win any precursor awards, though Weisz is currently leading in Gold Derby’s odds for the BAFTA Awards. Whether a win there will propel her to the Oscar podium is unknown, but it wouldn’t be the first time a “favourite” was chosen when a film has multiple nominees in the same category.

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