Saturday, September 17, 2005

Oscar Myth-Busting: Recurring Nominations

Last time on Oscar Myth-Busting we discussed the prevalence of contemporary nominees (more than you think) in the Best Picture lineup. This time let's talk for a split second on getting nomination #2... Whenever an actor becomes an Oscar nominee or Oscar winner people assume they will see them again in Oscar races. While it may be easier to be nominated if you've already been nominated (due to the vague implication that if they've nominated you once, they like you. they really like you.), it's still pretty difficult.

64% of Oscar-Nominated Actors (Male or Female -same stats surprisingly for both) never see a second nomination.
that's not good news this year for names being tossed around like Ken Watanabe, Charlize Theron, Chris Cooper, Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Toni Collette, Uma Thurman, Bill Murray, etc...


Anonymous said...


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Interesting post!

It's actually kind of funny that Oscar always seems to nominate these "hot young things" whenever they get a good role (Driver, Hudson, etc) yet they never get heard from again in terms of Oscar. And again if they picked you when you were nearing the end of your career (Bacall, etc)

I think the repeat thing works best if you're someone like Theron (just to pick one of the ones you chose) who has worked steadily for a while and then got a plum role. They can see you're actually committed to the profession and if you keep it up they'll reward you thusly.

...or I may be making it all up.


Anonymous said...

Right, so only a 36% chance you'll get a second acting nomination following your first.

I would venture to say that the odds are less than that once you take into account multiple first time nominees either from the good old days of Janet Gaynor joint winning for 3 films back in 1928, or the more recent Jamie Foxx double nomination.

On the plus side many of the one time nominees are by the nature of their performances unlikely to be repeated. Whether it's a jobbing director (John Huston, Erich von Stronheim), foreign languages (Catherine Deneuve, Giancarlo Ginnanni), child stars (Justin Henry, Quinn Cummings) or the studio system (Ruth Hussey, Harey Carey). Some nominations, as Nathaniel has documented, tend to be for the careers rather than performances; often given when the Academy thinks the actor hasn't another good film left in them (step forward Don Ameche and Gloria Stuart) not that death can't take you before you make another good fim only when you're old (River Pheonix, Carole Lombard).

That is not to say the odds are good for a second nomination, but there are a lot better - for the young english speaking career actor - than you might at first think.

The odds really start to improve after that. If you want a 3rd nom after your second then you've got a 51% chance of making it. Then, a 61% likelihood of making your 4th if you've already had 3.

So good news for Renee Zellweger and Russell Crowe! Heaven forbid.

Going the other way there are somewhere between 2000 and 3000 non nominated actors competing each year, with only a maximum 20 noms to fight for. At best there's only a 1% chance of being nominated. Kinda makes the 36% odds look really good. Just ask Paul Giamatti, Hope Davies, Peter Sarsgaard or Dennis Quaid.

Thank you to all who've read on through this blog. Nathaniel - if you read this - keep up the good work.


Anonymous said...

Please, not Charlize Theron again. No more of that horrible shoulder shrugging stiff body acting she did in Monsters. Yeah, yeah, yeah without makeup she might have looked like Aileen Wournos, but I have know idea who she was supposedly portraying.

Another one, Hiliary Swank in Million Dollar Baby....eeeww. Come on, what was the big deal, that she died at the end. Or that she played a women who came from a white trash background. Now, that was a far fetch from a women who was once poor and lived in a trailer.

I'm really starting to think the Oscar voters don't even watch the movies. "Beautiful actress playing ugly women" has become the new trend for winning an Oscar.

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