Which 12 actresses won Oscars for the wrong lead roles? Will Glenn Close join this group?

Glenn Close is inching ever closer to finally getting her long-overdue Oscar on her seventh try. So far, her lead performance in “The Wife”  has lined her shelves with such trophies as a Golden Globe, a Critics’ Choice honor (although she shared the prize in a rare tie with Lady Gaga in“A  Star Is Born”) and a Screen Actors Guild prize. Pending is the Independent  Spirit Awards. Save for the BAFTAs, where her British rival, Olivia Colman of “The Favourite” ruled, Close’s trajectory this season has yet to hit a speed bump.

But let’s be honest. Will anyone 10 years from now be able to summon the film that finally gave her the gold? True, Close is marvelously nuanced in a slow-burn performance as an undervalued spouse of a preening, narcissistic Nobel Prize-winning author (Jonathan Pryce). But while “The Wife” has a relatively glowing 84% positive ranking on Rotten Tomatoes, it has barely made an impression on everyday moviegoers. As a longtime fan of Close’s, I would have much preferred that she had won for her electrifying turn as a rejected fling who would not be ignored in 1987’s “Fatal Attraction,” a landmark thriller that cineastes  and cheating husbands still discuss to this day.  But she had the bad luck to be up against Cher in “Moonstruck,” whose snap-out-of-it win was one of those that seem predestined by the movie gods. 

“The right actors win Oscars, but for the wrong roles,” Katharine Hepburn once said. She should know. Her first of four still-record acting wins was in her third feature, 1933’s “Morning Glory,” when she played an aspiring actress — not exactly a stretch for her back then. Me, I like the Great Kate best when she is matched with a male sparring partner who is at her level, such as Humphrey Bogart in 1951’s “The African Queen” or Spencer Tracy in 1942’s “Woman of the Year.”  But I can’t grouch too much over her later-life wins for 1967’s “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” 1968’s “The Lion in Winter” or 1981’s “On Golden Pond,” given that her co-stars were Tracy, Peter O’Toole and Henry Fonda.

Which 12 actresses won Oscars for the wrong roles? Will Close join this group? Our “right actress, wrong role” for leads photo gallery above features Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet and more. Who mostly deserves to be the source of raucous outrage and polite debate. Share your own example that you feel strongly about in the comments section below or make a case for the wins below.

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