Cate Blanchett makes Oscars history with ‘Don’t Look Up’ and ‘Nightmare Alley’ Best Picture nominations

Cate Blanchett failed to land among this year’s nominees in the Best Supporting Actress race, but the two-time Oscar winner made history anyway with the 94th Academy Awards nominations. By starring in two Best Picture nominees, “Don’t Look Up” and “Nightmare Alley,” Blanchett has been credited in nine movies nominated for the Oscars’ top picture prize. That makes her the only actress ever credited in that many Best Picture nominees, surpassing a record previously held by Olivia de Havilland.

Blanchett’s first role in a Best Picture nominee came for “Elizabeth,” the 1998 film that also gave Blanchett her first Best Actress nomination. Her other Best Picture nominees before this year included all three films in the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Aviator” (which gave Blanchett her first Oscar win, in the Best Supporting Actress category), “Babel,” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” The twosome of “Don’t Look Up” and “Nightmare Alley” marks the first time Blanchett has appeared in a Best Picture nominee in 13 years.

With its all-star cast, “Don’t Look Up” helped a number of Blanchett’s costars pad their Best Picture statistics. Thanks to the film, Leonardo DiCaprio has now received a credit in 10 Best Picture nominees, tying him with Jack Nicholson for the second-most in history behind only Robert De Niro, who has a credited appearance in 11 movies nominated for Best Picture. (DiCaprio and De Niro will have a chance to add to their roster with Martin Scorsese’s forthcoming “The Killers of the Flower Moon” from Apple TV+.) Thanks to her supporting role in “Don’t Look Up,” Meryl Streep has now a credit in eight Best Picture nominees, tying her with de Havilland for the second-most all-time among actresses. (Actor Ward Bond appeared in 13 films that were nominated for Best Picture, but he was uncredited as a performer in a number of the projects. His roster of Best Picture nominees, however, included “Arrowsmith” (1931/32), “Lady for a Day” (1933), “It Happened One Night” (1934), “Dead End” (1937), “You Can’t Take It with You” (1938), “Gone with the Wind” (1939), “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940), “The Long Voyage Home” (1940), “The Maltese Falcon” (1941), “Sergeant York” (1941), “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), “The Quiet Man” (1952), and “Mister Roberts” (1955).)

The Adam McKay movie also boosted totals for some of its younger stars. Both Jonah Hill and Jennifer Lawrence have now gotten a screen credit in four Best Picture nominees, while Timothee Chalamet, with “Don’t Look Up” and “Dune” has starred in five Best Picture nominees in his career thus far.

While Blanchett appearing in two Best Picture nominees in a single year is notable, it isn’t an Oscars record. In Oscars history, there have only been six actors who starred in three Best Picture nominees in a single year. The most recent was Michael Stuhlbarg, who starred in “The Shape of Water,” “Call Me By Your Name,” and “The Post” in 2018. That put Stuhblarg in some select company as only five other performers had pulled off the same feat: John C. Reilly, who was in three of the five Best Picture nominees at the 2003 Oscars — Best Picture winner “Chicago,” “The Hours,” and “Gangs of New York”; Claudette Colbert in 1935 for Best Picture winner “It Happened One Night,” “Cleopatra,” and “Imitation of Life”; Charles Laughton in 1936 for Best Picture winner “Mutiny on the Bounty,” “Les Miserables” and “Ruggles of Red Gap”; Adolphe Menjou in 1938 for “One Hundred Men and a Girl,” “Stage Door” and “A Star Is Born”; and Thomas Mitchell in 1940 for Best Picture winner “Gone with the Wind,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and “Stagecoach.” (Of that illustrious group, only Reilly pulled it off during a year with a mere five nominees as opposed to at least five like Stuhlbarg or a set 10 like the others.)

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