The Oscar Nominations nominees are always full of surprises and excitement. I particularly love the records of the Academy Awards. The Hollywood Reporter lists a number of the landmarks this year, which are as fascinating as baseball stats to many. However, I love baseball stats.
Note: Stats are not a statement of quality of the film. I just like the quirkiness.
A few that stand out:
- We have the youngest and oldest Best Actress nominees in Quvenzhane Wallis from Beasts of the Southern Wild at age 8 (6 when filmed) and Emmanuelle Riva from Amour at 85 although they aren’t the youngest/oldest in all acting categories.
- Pity (?) poor Greg Russell of Skyfall – his 16th nominating as a sound mixer with no wins yet. But he isn’t the worst either – Kevin O’Connell, also a sound mixer, has 20 nominations with no wins.
- The surprise Best Directors category didn’t include 3 of the 5 people nominated by the Director Guild of America (DGA) which usually matches up perfectly. They both had Spielberg (Lincoln) and Ang Lee (Life of Pi). But the DGA had Ben Affleck (Argo), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), and Tom Hooper (Les Misérables). The Academy substituted Michael Haneke (Amour), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), and Benh Zeitlin (Beast of the Southern Wild). This puts a serious dent in both Argo and Zero Dark Thirty’s Best Picture chances. See details in Erik Lundegaard’s blog post.
But I think there is a much bigger deal…
“Sweeping” the Awards
One of the areas love is “Sweeping” the Awards: Being nominated or winning across categories.
So Life of Pi received nominations in all the technical categories – Cinematography, Direction, Editing, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects. How does that bode for its chances at winning? Three other films matched a technical nomination sweep. Ultimately, Titanic (1997) won all 7, Hugo (2011) won 5, and Master and Commander (2003) won only 2.
The Big 5? The Big 4? No the Big 7!
The most notable sweep is winning the big 5: Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Writing. 41 films have actually been nominated for all 5 awards. 7 didn’t win a single one. But a good piece of bar trivia is that 3 of them swept the major awards: It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Silence of the Lambs. An odd trio.
This year Silver Lining’s Playbook is situated to compete in all 5. What is not really being reported on yet is that the film is in more rarified nomination situations. With the surprise nomination of the wonderful Jacki Weaver as Best Supporting Actress, it joins 13 other films for having nominations for actor, actress, supporting actor, and supporting actress. None have swept all 4 acting awards although A Streetcar Named Desire and Network each won 3. There were 2 films with this nomination distinction in 1967 – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Bonnie and Clyde.
More unusual is that Silver Lining’s Playbook is only the 12th film to sweep the 7 major nominations: Picture, Director, 4 different Acting, and Writing.
The others are:
- Reds (1981) – won supporting actress and directing
- Coming Home (1978) – won actor, actress, screenplay
- Network (1976) – won actor, actress, supporting actress, writing
- Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) – won actress and screenplay
- Bonnie and Clyde (1967) – won supporting actress
- Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) – won actress and supporting actress
- From Here to Eternity (1953) – won picture, directing, writing, supporting actors supporting actress
- A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) – won actor, supporting actor, supporting actress
- Sunset Boulevard (1950) – won writing
- Johnny Belinda (1948) – won writing
- Mrs. Miniver (1942) – won picture, directing, writing, actress, supporting actress
In other words, it’ll win something (Best Actress seems most likely, Best Actor is completely impossible), but strong acting doesn’t mean a best picture win.
Much more common is nominations in 6 of 7 the categories, including Lincoln this year missing a best actress nom. This list of 44 others is likely missing a film or two:
- The King’s Speech (2010) – no actress
- Michael Clayton (2007) – no actress
- Brokeback Mountain (2005) – no actress
- Million Dollar Baby (2004) – no supporting actress
- The Aviator (2004) – no actress
- Chicago (2003) – no actor
- Mystic Rive r(2003) – no actress
- The Hours (2002) – no actor
- Good Will Hunting (1997) – no actress
- The English Patient (1996) – no supporting actor
- Dances with Wolves (1990) – no actress
- Driving Miss Daisy (1989) – no supporting actress
- On Golden Pond (1981) – no supporting actress
- Raging Bull (1980) – no actress
- Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) – no actress
- Heaven Can Wait (1978) – no actress
- The Deer Hunter (1978) – no actress
- Julia (1977) – no actor
- Rocky (1976) – no supporting actress
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) – no supporting actress
- The Godfather Part II (1974) – no actress
- The Exorcist (1973) – no actor
- The Shoot Horses Don’t They (1969) – no actor
- Anne of The Thousand Days (1969) – no supporting actress
- The Graduate (1967) – no supporting actor
- A Man for All Seasons (1966) – no actress
- Ship of Fools (1965) – no supporting actress
- My Fair Lady (1964) – no actress
- Tom Jones (1963) – no actress
- Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) – no actress
- The Hustler (1961) – no supporting actress
- The Apartment (1960) – no supporting actress
- The Defiant Ones (1958) – no actress
- Sayonara (1957) – no actress
- Marty (1955) – no actress
- On the Waterfront (1954) – no supporting actress
- All the King’s Men (1949) – no actress
- Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) – no supporting actor
- For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) – no writing
- The Song of Bernadette (1943) – no actor
- Sergeant York (1941) – no supporting actress
- Rebecca (1940) – no supporting actor
- Gone with the Wind (1939) – no supporting actor
- My Man Godfrey (1936) – no picture
Note: Of the 45 times, 20 missed best actress, 11 missed supporting actress – or 69% of the time it was the lack of a nominated female role.
Go watch some movies!