This year’s Best Actress Oscar lineup has zero overlap with the films nominated in Best Picture, despite the top category expanding back to 10 slots. This, combined with no strong frontrunner, makes for an exciting race, with Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”) and Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”) hoping for their first Oscar, and Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”), Penelope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”) and Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”) vying for their second. For Colman and Kidman, it would be their second time winning Best Actress, but how often do we see someone win this category again without enough broad support to make it into Best Picture?
In the history of the Academy Awards, 14 women have won Best Actress more than once, but only two of them have won their second Best Actress award without a corresponding Best Picture nomination: Ingrid Bergman for 1956’s “Anastasia” and Meryl Streep for 2011’s “The Iron Lady.” Streep is the only person to have both of her Best Actress wins come from non-Best Picture nominees, the other for 1982’s “Sophie’s Choice.” Colman and Kidman both won Best Actress for Best Picture nominees films that were heavily embraced by the academy, having prevailed for “The Favourite” (2018) and “The Hours” (2002), respectively.
SEE None of the Best Actress Oscar nominees are in Best Picture contenders for the first time in the preferential era
The rarity of this occurrence suggests that when Oscar voters have already given you the top actress prize, they typically want the project to be good enough to reward you again. For Colman, “The Lost Daughter” did land a surprise nomination in Best Supporting Actress for Jessie Buckley, who plays the younger version of Colman’s character in the film, on top of an expected bid in Best Adapted Screenplay. Meanwhile, “Being the Ricardos” only landed with the acting branch, with Kidman’s co-stars Javier Bardem and J.K. Simmons earning bids in Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively. Both films were thought to be on the bubble to possibly sneak into Best Picture but the support simply wasn’t there.
What still gives them a fighting chance, however, is that the films of their three competitors probably fared worse in Best Picture nominations voting. “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” never became a contender outside of Best Actress and Best Makeup and Hairstyling, though Chastain is now in the driver’s seat for the win with Screen Actors Guild and Critics Choice Awards victories under her belt. “Parallel Mothers” wasn’t even selected by Spain as its representative film in Best International Feature and never really found itself in the Best Picture conversation. “Spencer” has struggled to replicate its critics’ support with the industry and only landed in Best Actress. When none of the films are beloved enough, it is possible that beloved actresses like Colman or Kidman could benefit even if their films only landed two other nominations apiece.
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