What does recent Academy Award Winner Jennifer Lawrence have in common with movie greats Jane Wyman and Katherine Hepburn?
Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, back again to discuss some interesting Oscar trivia. (You may be Oscared out by this point so we’ll keep this simple and direct.)
It’s only occurred 14 times — that is, that one film during the year produced nominees in all four acting categories of the Academy Awards. This time it was director David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook that generated acting nominations for Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, and supporting player nominations for Jacki Weaver and Robert DeNiro.
And a few blogs ago we pondered about the chances of all four nominees winning. Nil. But usually at least one of the four walks off with an Award. The chances of that happening were about 85%.
This year Jennifer Lawrence was the lucky winner. And the other three had to be content with being mentioned as someone the winner was proud to be in the same league with.
Jane Wyman, back in 1949 was the first actress who had to face down her also-nominated co-stars when SHE was the only winner of the four nominated for 1948’s Johnny Belinda.
Fellow nominee Lew Ayres lost the best-actor citation to Laurence Olivier in Hamlet. Also nominated for his work in Johnny was Charles Bickford, who lost to Walter Huston in The Treasure of Sierra Madre. And Agnes Moorehead lost to Claire Trevor for her turn as the alcoholic gun moll in Key Largo.
We should interject our opinion here that although we’re not entirely sure about Olivier-Hamlet, the Academy Awards people got it completely right in honoring Huston and Trevor, whose performances in their respective pictures are absolutely among the best in movie history.
Wyman was lucky to win with Johnny Belinda. It had been a close contest between her and Olivia de Havilland in The Snake Pit. Note that Academy voters have always had a soft spot for actors portraying mentally disabled or physically handicapped characters. Wyman plays a young deaf-mute while de Havilland stars as a woman institutionalized with a mental breakdown.
In 1967 Katherine Hepburn won the third of her four Best Actress Oscars for Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. Her 3 co-stars, Spencer Tracy, Beah Richards and Cecil Kellaway were not as fortunate.
Tracy lost to Rod Steiger for In the Heat of the Night, Richards to Estelle Parsons in Bonnie and Clyde, and Kellaway to George Kennedy in Cool Hand Luke. All well deserved. But for our money Hepburn shouldn’t have beaten out Anne Bancroft (The Graduate) OR Audrey Hepburn (Wait Until Dark).
But Katherine Hepburn, Wyman, and now Lawrence share the distinction of being the only three actresses to win when their three fellow co-stars lost.