Saturday, October 16, 2010

Angela Lansbury and Other Oscar Record Holders

Slow and steady tortoises may win races but sometimes we have to stop to celebrate the hares that sprint. In the case of Angela Lansbury, who celebrates her 85th birthday today, we can do both.

<--- Angela in her Tony nominated role from A Little Night Music last season on Broadway. She's won 6 Golden Globes and 5 Tony Awards. Emmy (18 nominations) and Oscar (3 nominations) have eluded her. 

Slow and Steady.
She's been acting for 66 years and her longterm success is such that she means different things to different generations and may even mean different things to you at different times in your life. For example, when I was a wee lad I thought exclusively of Bedknobs and Broomsticks and as an adult, say "Lansbury" to me and it's like a switch has been flipped and I'll start talking about how great she is as Mrs. Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate. Other people will think of Murder She Wrote or her stage work or something else entirely.

Sprint. Lansbury wasn't always 85 and she was no late bloomer either. She actually holds the acting record of Youngest Actor (either sex) to become a Two-Time Oscar nominee. To make that record yet more impressive and an example of "sprinting" she had achieved that within her first three movies!

 Gaslight (1944) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

We've been in a trivia / statistical mood for days now so here's some more "got there first!" Oscar sprinters. We're limiting it to the Actresses today. But more stat posts are coming. Wheeeee

"Youngest" Actress to Become...

  • a winner: Tatum O'Neal for Paper Moon when she was 10.
    runner up: Anna Paquin, The Piano at 11.
  • a 2 time Oscar winner: OOPS. I said it was Jodie Foster who won her second for Silence of the Lambs at 29. But Luise Rainer actually still holds this record. She won her two Oscars back to back at the ages of 27 (The Great Ziegfeld) and 28 (The Good Earth). Jodie, then, is runner up.
  • a 3 time Oscar winner: Ingrid Bergman won her third for Murder on the Orient Express at 60.
    runner up: Katharine Hepburn won her third for Lion in Winter at 61.
  • a 4 time Oscar winner: Katherine Hepburn won her last for On Golden Pond at 74.
    runner up: aint no such thing.

  • youngest winner & the second youngest double winner
  • a nominee: Tatum O'Neal for Paper Moon by the time she was 10.
    runner up: Mary Badham for To Kill a Mockingbird was also 10 but a month older.
  • a 2 time nominee: Angela Lansbury for Gaslight and The Picture of Dorian Gray by 20.
    runner up: Kate Winslet for Sense & Sensibility and Titanic by 22.
  • a 3 time nominee: Teresa Wright for Little Foxes, Pride of Yankees and Mrs Miniver by 24. runner up: Natalie Wood for Rebel Without a Cause, Splendor in the Grass and Love with the Proper Stranger by 25. Neither Teresa nor Natalie were ever nominated again. Too much too soon?
  • a 4 time nominee: Jennifer Jones hit #4 with Duel in the Sun by 27.
    runner up: Elizabeth Taylor for Butterfield 8 when she was just turning 29. (Kate Winslet also won her 4th nomination at 29)
  • a 5 time nominee: Kate Winslet for Little Children at 31.
    runner up: Olivia DeHavilland for The Heiress at 33.
  • a 6 time nominee: Kate Winslet for The Reader at 33.
    runner up: Meryl Streep for Out of Africa at 36

    from this number on...
    It's all about Oscar's three all-time favorite women. There are a few other women with 7 nods or more but aside from Streep only Jane Fonda is still with us.

  • a 7 time nominee: Bette Davis for Mrs Skeffington at 36.
    runner up: Meryl Streep for Ironweed at 38.
  • a 8 time nominee: Meryl Streep for A Cry in the Dark at 39.
    runner up: Bette Davis for All About Eve at 42.
  • a 9 time nominee: Meryl Streep for Postcards from the Edge at 41.
    runner up: Bette Davis for The Star at 44.
  • a 10 time nominee: Meryl Streep for The Bridges of Madison County at 46.
    runner up: Bette Davis for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? at 54. This Letter to Daddy was the last she wrote with Oscar.
  • an 11 time nominee: Meryl Streep for One True Thing at 49
    runner up: Katharine Hepburn for The Lion in Winter at  61.
  • a 12 time nominee: Meryl Streep for Music of the Heart at 50
    runner up: Katharine Hepburn for On Golden Pond at 74.
  • a 13,14,15 and then 16 time nominee?
    It's only MERYL STREEP from there on out.
<--- Saoirse Ronan is 16. She's already been nominated once for Atonement. She'll need a second nomination by January 2014 to beat Angela's record. Can she do it?

All of this is a long way of saying... Winslet better get back to feature work if she wants to truly challenge Meryl Streep. And Saoirse Ronan, Dakota Fanning and the other teen drama queens of Hollywood had better work fast if they want to steal Angela Lansbury's "fastest to two noms!" crown away from her. She's held that record for an incredible 65 years.

So, um, happy birthday Angela Lansbury!?
I get distracted, I do.


--- said...

I definitely think Ronan will beat Lansbury's record, maybe even this Oscar season?


well after The Way Back -- i'm not certain how much traction that can get with a qualifier release only. it's not like she's an overdue giant like Ed Harris -- she only has 3 more years of cinema in which to find the right role. Tricky for someone her age. BUT... she's definitely got the best shot at breaking that record since Natalie Portman (who didn't end up nominated until Closer but people were very excited about her as an actress when she was only 14... so it seemed theoretically possible at the time.)

Francesco F. said...

loved this post!
Much respect for these actresses!

Jorge Rodrigues said...

Hmm I have some doubts that Ronan will get her second nom before her late twenties.

She totally seems like a college gal. I can see her returning to the movies with 26/27 and then take a step above in her career, like Jodie Foster. Or Meryl Streep.

Nevertheless, I'm hoping that happens. Last year's The Lovely Bones was a dud, sure, but she was lovely in it. But I was kind of convinced that The Way Back would bring her the second nomination. However, with all those problems... I dunno. I'm still predicting her (especially because I can't buy that Hailee Stenfield prediction) but I highly doubt it'll happen.

And since her next couple of years have some 'outre' films like Hannah and Violet and Daisy and no prestige or buzzed-about flicks...

I guess she has the best shot at breaking the record and I'd love it if she did it... But I wouldn't hold my breath.

Jorge Rodrigues said...

But alas, happy birthday to Ms. Lansbury!

Why oh why do people like Hilary Swank and Jodie Foster have 2 Oscars and people like Angela Lansbury don't even get one?

It's not fair.

Sean said...

I'm not too worried about TWB's release date...yet. Even though they're being distributed by a newly formed company...they've got top notch people running their awards push with campaign ace Cynthia Swartz & Ex-Miramax Chief Daniel Battsek.

She could definitely get in if voters take to the movie, but we've only got a smattering of reviews so far. But i'm just pleased that she's getting good work. Cant wait for her stuff next year....a Joe Wright film and a Geoffrey Fletcher film.

Alison Flynn said...

This woman is the original HBIC. She blew me away the first time I watched Gaslight, and her performances in The Manchurian Candidate and The Picture of Dorian Gray go without saying.

And I haven't even mentioned her stage musicals.

Happy birthday, Ms. Lansbury!

Mony said...

Hmm, I think she has a good chance of beating the record. However, I am not sure she will get it for TWB because her role is small. Her other two films are action films, which I can't wait to see, but she wouldn't be nominated for those.

Therefore she will have two years 2013-2014 to try and break the record. Anything can happen, esp if she gets the right roles. Then again if she films a movie in 2011 and it's really good she might get nominated in 2012.

As someone else said, I am just happy she is getting good roles. The future is bright for her.

Anonymous said...

Ronan definitely has what it takes. Even in a film as overbearing and unsubtle as The Lovely Bones she was believable and engaging. So far, she hasn't really been singled out in the reviews for TWB. Even with the Supporting Actress category being this weak, she may have to sit this one out.

But I think she will be back in the race one day. Pretty soon, too.

Anonymous said...

Sure she's not being called thee standout of the film...but i've heard nothing but good notices for her performance, which isnt surprising. Perhaps giving a very good performance in an actual major contender film(we'll see of course.) is enough to make it in this weak category.

John T said...

With all due respect to Ronan (I would certainly have included her as a nominee for Atonement), I sort of hope that Lansbury gets to keep this. Some records are more fun if they are long-standing.

James T said...

Why do I find Oscar actress-related stats so yammy?

I do think Saoirse has a chance. Perhaps "Hanna" will be too genre but "Violet & Daisy" might do the job. And even if these (and The Way Back) fail, she still has time.

Dakota? No way.

No one is talking about whether Hepburn's record will be broken. And that kinda makes sense but I still hope Meryl will at least tie her.

Will said...

Happy Birthday to one of the greatest actresses of all time! Many healthy and happy years to come and please come back to the big (or small) screen!

Anonymous said...

Ronan's chance will be after Hanna when Joe Wright does his adaptation of Hans Andersen's original and dark tale of The Little Mermaid. (You know she's gettin that role)

/3rtfu11 said...

It frustrates me to no end these bitches (Field, Foster, Swank) have two – for Lead. I’m no Meryl Streep fan and I certainly wouldn’t want her hold Kathy Bates’ statuette (1990) 9th nomination but that bitch deserves to at least have two leads and all this waiting for the perfect moment is garbage. The additional nominations these days feel like a long cruel joke. I think someone should spread a rumor that MS has a terminal illness. The awards for flood her way and once she gets Oscar number 5 – she can tell the audience Prank!

Nathaniel – I’ve come to the conclusion why Hollywood allows children to win Oscars in the Supporting Actress category. Hollywood truly detests women. No boy has ever taken a statuette from a grown man but the Academy has no issues punishing their women by denying them a legitimate win and before anyone tells me those little girls deserved their awards – think about it this way – the Oscar has never helped a child’s career. Hollywood turns these kids into examples of peaking too early in life – no matter what Anna does post-The Piano her Oscar is tied to the 11 year old version of herself.

MRRIPLEY said...

I keep wondering now kate w has won will she be nommed or win again?

Anonymous said...

I think Luise Rainer is the record holder for the youngest actress to win two Oscars. She won for "The Good Earth" when she was 28, I think.

The film for which Bette Davis received her seventh nomination is called "Mr. Skeffington", not "Mrs. Skeffington".

@MRRIPLEY: Kate Winslet just worked with Haynes, and will soon work with Soderbergh and Polanski, the last of which will be a film adaptation of "God of Carnage". If she keeps this up, I think more nominations and/or wins are on the way.

SR said...


"Bitches"? Yeah, clearly Hollywood is the one who has a problem with women.

Carlos said...

Hi Nathaniel... Awesome post, I am also a very fan of trivias at awards. Just wanted to tell you that is not Jodie Foster the youngest actress to win two oscars, it is Luise Rainer. See ya

Bryan said...

I fully expect for Kate Winslet to be nominated (and win) again. Over the past 15 years she has been nominated at (almost) Streepian frequencies, and I imagine that within ten years or so she'll have become the kind of actress who is an awards contender every time she's in a film.

In short, she has plenty of time to keep breaking records.

Taylor said...

Not to mention that now that Winslet's won, she doesn't quite have the same awards fever, and that really will only help her performances.

PS Is it wrong that my favorite part of this post was the blip about Natalie Wood and my favorite performance by her (yes, even including the lovely work in Splendor in the Grass): Love with a Proper Stranger? Criminally underrated. Love her, love it.

Ryan T. said...

Not really confident about Ronan beating Lansbury's record, but I wouldn't be totally upset if she did I guess.

As for Winslet, even if for some crazy odd reason she never gets nominated again (haha, yeah right), I think she'll live. I'm not against her taking some time and rebooting. Maybe focus on those "elusive" Emmy and Tony awards to become an EGOT.

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, you should add "trivia" as a lavel!


Taylor -- i'm a huge Natalie fan so i appreciate the backup. One of the most criminally underrated movie stars. Yes, she was uneven but who isn't :) ?

Bryan -- it could go that way but i suppose it could also be like a Jodie Foster or Susan Sarandon situation where they jjust were suddenly done with the person. That happens sometimes.

Carlos -- thanks for the catch. i fixed it.

flock said...

great article. can you write a similar one for actors :) tnx

Mirko said...

I wonder why Oscar and Emmy eluded a great talent such as Lansbury? I can't understand it, expecially when someone like Hilary Swank (sorry if I mentioned her!) scored twice

her two nominated perfs in GASLIGHT and THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE deserved the winning, expecially the second one!

JP said...

I understand people's frustrations with someone like Swank, Field, or Foster having two Oscars when others have none, but isn't that what happens when the Oscars are actually about the work and not the person? Would we rather they say that they shouldn't get that second, even if they were the best that year, because it was someone else's turn?

I think that the odds of someone winning a second Oscar are definitely much steeper than if they haven't won one, so, when they do, there's usually a pretty compelling reason for it. Jodie Foster and Hillary Swank both won their second Oscars for very strong performances in Best Picture winning films. When you look at their years, did they not deserve to win? I realize you could easily make a case for someone else, but, take Swank's second, for example: Moreno and Staunton were relative unknowns, who probably had no chance of winning; everyone loves Winslet and Eternal Sunshine, but it was a quirky role in a quirky movie, and, at the time, I don't think anyone thought she could win. It really came down to Swank vs. Bening. Bening's movie was unheralded, and the performance wasn't universally loved (by any means). Would those who complain about Swank having two Oscars have preferred if they gave it to Bening, just because she was "due" and Swank had already won one? To me, the deck was stacked against Swank, but she won anyway - and the system worked. (BTW - you could make a very similar argument for Hanks's back-to-backs; "nobody" wanted him to be rewarded again so soon, but the performance and movie were too big to be ignored).

In retrospect, it might look silly that someone like Hillary Swank has two Oscars, but, if you look at the two years she won, I think she probably "deserved" both of them. They were great performances. Isn't that what the awards should be about - not making sure that everyone is covered, whether, in that year, they deserved to win or not?

I'm not trying to make the argument that every Oscar that Swank or Foster or Field, etc. was a no-brainer, or that you couldn't have picked someone else those years. I just think it's easy to look at them in hindsight and criticize the fact that they have two when others have none. You have to look at the individual years in which they won. Also, the better roles usually start coming to you when you've won an Oscar (if you choose to take them). Hillary Swank, for all of her faults, could easily fit the bill for another great role (think what Amelia could have been), and, if hers is the best performance that year, win a THIRD Oscar. It might look ridiculous when we look back on it (and it's one of the reasons why it's so hard to win that second and third), but should it be? If Hillary Swank gives another Oscar-worthy performance (in a year when she's clearly the best - whatever that means), should she be denied a third Oscar, just because we don't think of her as a great actress or because some of our favorites haven't won even one? That, to me, would be unfortunate.

(Wow, this was WAY too long - sorry about that).

Mirko said...

it just because the oscars is about the work and not the person that I'm pissed about Field's second winning or Swank's winning twice and that ubertalented Lansbury never won


JP -- i agree with you in concept. If you make it about the work itself, it will probably play out better in history than if you're always trying to "make it up" to people for reasons unrelated to the work.

BUT i don't see this this theory supports Hilary Swank's second win. To me hers was easily the weakest performance in the shortlist that year. But the character was deeply sympathetic and it was carrying a Best Picture. I believe that what really handed her the win was the combination of being in the Best Picture and the vote splitting between people who wanted BENING to win (the 'overdue/make it up to them'crowd) and the people who were voting mostly based on performance -- and that year STAUNTON had a lot of backing performance wise and some pundits even suggested had she come to HOllywood to campaign a little sooner, she might have won.

Though years later most people seem to talk about Winslet as the should have won, she wasn't in the conversation that much as a "potential win" back then the way the two older women were opposite the Swankster.

The thing is I agree that you shouldn't penalize people just because they've already won but most of the double winners didn't deserve both statues. Vivien Leigh excluded of course. Totally deserving both times.


all that said -- 2004 was a pretty smashingly good lineup. so i don't really want to argue about it again (sorry to all of those who will scream "NOT 2004 AGAIN") because in how many years does Hollywood only nominated memorable performances for Best Actress?

Anonymous said...

We get it. Meryl Streep has been nominated a lot. Let's stop talking about it ad nauseum.

/3rtfu11 said...

"Bitches"? Yeah, clearly Hollywood is the one who has a problem with women.

Clearly I think it’s funny.


anon 1:03 -- methinks someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

Renae said...

Thanks for a great post! Two of my favorite movies are Gaslight and TMC. Loved how insidious both of her characters were in those movies. Hard to equate the Murder, She Wrote character with those so much more interesting characters, imo.
Um, your graphic shows Streep as being born in 1948 ...

Anonymous said...

Uhm, Meryl Streep was born in 1949 and not in 1948 as printed on her pic... :)




i fixed.

Michael said...

Wouldn't Bette Davis be the runner up for a 6 time time nominee at 34 for Now, Voyager?


Michael -- i debated on how to count bette davis's nominations. Usually she's listed as having 10 nominations. but IMDb lists 11.

i think OFFICIALLY from the academy Of Human Bondage is not an official nomination? that would seem to be the discrepancy point in terms of her tallies.

billybil said...

I sincerely think it's a real shame that Lansbury doesn't have at least a couple of Emmys and an Oscar. It's true, she hasn't really had very many Oscar bait roles since those very early years but she is a genuine talent. I guess I am guilty of leaning a little toward acknowledging longevity and consistently fine work over one particularly shining performance in one year. I know that gets really tricky and I think I'd feel differently if this isn't the way so many of the wins have been dolled out over the years. If the Oscars or the Emmys, for that matter, had always been strictly, fanatically awarded to the performances that were truly considered the BEST then I would be more content with the choices made. But I can't help but believe, looking back, that so many were based on other things. So, since that's the case, by God Lansbury is right up there deserving an Oscar as well as an Emmy. I know I've written about this before and that Nate is oh so familiar with this discussion, but I'm struck everytime I go on any Oscar site, how many new voices are heard and I realize, this discussion will go on forever. And THAT's really why I wish certain people (like Streep) had the number of awards to accurately represent her place in film history. There will come a time when Meryl will no longer be working and many people, who say they definitely care about movies and actresses in movies, will look back and assume to a certain degree that Hepburn was a "better" actress than Streep - that Hepburn must have been THE motion picture actress of all time. Sure, they may take the time to note Streep's many nomiations and consider she had something very special too - but, especially in America, everybody loves a winner. So Streep needs to have 5, Winslet at least 4, and Lansbury at least 1.