The Oscar front-runner for Best Picture, “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” got a massive boost on nominations morning when it reaped a leading 11 bids. Among those many citations was one for lead actress contender Michelle Yeoh, her first ever after working in the business for decades. Should “Everything Everywhere” go on to win Best Picture and Best Actress, it would become the 13th film in Oscar history to achieve such a feat.
Yeoh takes on the role of laundromat owner Evelyn Quan Wang in the multi-dimensional adventure flick directed by The Daniels (aka Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert). Her competitors in the Best Actress category are Cate Blanchett (“Tár”), Ana de Armas (“Blonde”), Andrea Riseborough (“To Leslie”) and Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”). So far this awards season, Yeoh has claimed the Comedy Golden Globe while Blanchett has taken home the Drama Golden Globe and the Critics Choice Award. Next up will be the SAG Awards and BAFTA.
To be accurate, there are actually three possible ways the combination of Best Picture + Best Actress can occur this year. “EEAAO” + Yeoh is obviously the strongest likelihood, while “Tár” + Blanchett would have to overcome the odds in Best Picture, and “The Fabelmans” + Williams would mean the Best Actress race went against the grain.
This one-two punch has only happened twice since the turn of the century: “Nomadland” (2020) + Frances McDormand, and “Million Dollar Baby” (2004) + Hilary Swank. In the most recent example, McDormand was not expected to prevail as she was competing against category heavyweights including Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) and Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”). In the latter race, Swank was the overwhelming favorite after scoring several precursor awards prizes.
In the 1990s, both of these categories lined up exactly twice: “Shakespeare in Love” (1998) + Gwyneth Paltrow, and “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991) + Jodie Foster. The same is true for the 1980s: “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989) + Jessica Tandy, and “Terms of Endearment” (1983) + Shirley MacLaine. And it happened twice again in the 1970s: “Annie Hall” (1977) + Diane Keaton, and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975) + Louise Fletcher.
Here is the complete list of all dozen times the Best Picture and Best Actress races synced up, in order of movie release. Will “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and Michelle Yeoh make it lucky #13 this year?
1934: “It Happened One Night” + Claudette Colbert as Ellie Andrews
1936: “The Great Ziegfeld” + Luise Rainer as Anna Held
1939: “Gone with the Wind” + Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara
1942: “Mrs. Miniver” + Greer Garson as Kay Miniver
1975: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” + Louise Fletcher as Nurse Mildred Ratched
1977: “Annie Hall” + Diane Keaton as Annie Hall
1983: “Terms of Endearment” + Shirley MacLaine as Aurora Greenway
1989: “Driving Miss Daisy” + Jessica Tandy as Daisy Werthan
1991: “The Silence of the Lambs” + Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling
1998: “Shakespeare in Love” + Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola de Lesseps / Thomas Kent
2004: “Million Dollar Baby” + Hilary Swank as Maggie Fitzgerald
2020: “Nomadland” + Frances McDormand as Fern
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