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The Quick 10: 10 Pairs of Actors Oscar-Nominated for the Same Role

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There's no shortage of Oscar trivia, so I thought we'd prepare for Sunday's awards by finishing out the week with a couple of posts on the topic. Stay tuned for tomorrow's installment.

Some roles just seem destined to win an Oscar, don't they? For example, a Best Supporting Actress Oscar has been handed out to women who have played prostitutes a staggering eight times (that would be Anne Baxter, Claire Trevor , Donna Reed, Jo Van Fleet, Dorothy Malone, Shirley Jones, Mira Sorvino and Kim Basinger). And in 1984, three of the five Best Actress nominees were nominated for playing farmers desperately trying to keep the farm going under in the face of hardships (Sally Field in Places of the Heart, Jessica Lange in Country and Sissy Spacek in The River).

Likewise, playing a certain character seems to increase your chance of taking home the statuette as well. Here are 20 people who were nominated for playing the very same role.

henryv1. Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh were both nominated for their roles as Henry V in adaptations of Shakespeare's Henry V (the 1944 and 1989 versions, respectively). Coincidentally, they both also directed. And here's another bit of random trivia for you: both Laurence Olivier and the real Henry V are buried at Westminster Abbey.

2. Anthony Hopkins and Frank Langella were both nominated for playing Richard Nixon "“ Hopkins in 1995 and Langella just last year. Hopkins lost to Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas) and Langella lost to Sean Penn (Harvey Milk).

3. It's not restricted to actors playing real people, though "“ fictional characters make the list, too. Leslie Howard and Rex Harrison both received Oscar nods for portraying Professor Henry Higgins "“ Howard in Pygmalion (1938) and Harrison in the version with Audrey Hepburn that most people know, My Fair Lady (1964). Harrison won the Oscar; Howard didn't.

4. If you ever get an offer to play Vito Corleone, you'd better not refuse. (Feel free to groan at my horrible pun. I won't be offended.) Marlon Brando won for playing Don Vito in the first Godfather in 1972; Robert DeNiro won Best Supporting Actor for playing the younger version of him in The Godfather Part II just two years later.

elizabeths5. 1999 was a pretty unique year "“ it's the only time two actresses have been nominated for playing the same person in the same year, but in different movies. Cate Blanchett was nominated for Best Actress for her title role in Elizabeth, but Judi Dench also portrayed Henry VIII's daughter in Shakespeare in Love. Blanchett lost to Gwyneth Paltrow, of course, but Judi Dench took home the trophy. She later said she felt weird about taking Oscar home because she just deserved a little sliver of him since she was only onscreen for eight minutes of the entire movie.

6. And, speaking of Cate Blanchett, she has the special distinction of being the only actress to be nominated twice for playing the same person. She was again nominated for playing the Queen in Elizabeth: The Golden Age nine years after the first movie.

7. There's another trend: playing a member of the royal family seems to give you an Oscar edge, because Charles Laughton and Richard Burton were both nominated for playing the gluttonous Henry VIII. Laughton stepped into Henry's breeches in 1933 "“ in fact, it made him the first British actor to win an Oscar (granted, it was only the sixth Academy Awards ever). Burton didn't have the same success "“ he lost to John Wayne (True Grit).

8. A Star is Born is one of those movies destined for Oscars. The original 1937 version earned Janet Gaynor a nomination and the 1954 remake starring Judy Garland got her one as well. Barbra Streisand didn't get a nomination when she played the role of the young ingénue in the 1974 remake, but that may have not counted for this list anyway "“ whereas the first two movies had the lead actresses portraying thespian Vicki Lester, Streisand played a singer named Esther Hoffman. And while Babs didn't get an Oscar nom for lead actress, she did win an Academy Award for Best Original Song for this movie.

9. Kate Winslet and Gloria Stuart were nominated for playing the same person in the same movie in the same year. I bet you know what I'm talking about "“ Winslet played young Rose DeWitt in the 1997 blockbuster Titanic and Stuart portrayed the, shall we say, mature version of Rose. They were both nominated "“ Winslet for Best Actress and Stuart for Best Supporting Actress. Both lost.

10. Strangely, Winslet experienced the exact same thing at the 2001 Academy Awards, when both she and Judi Dench were nominated for playing Iris Murdoch in different time frames in the movie Iris. Again, they both lost. But we all know Winslet has an Oscar now (and apparently keeps it in her bathroom).

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IFC Films
10 Surprising Facts About The Babadook
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IFC Films

In 2014, The Babadook came out of nowhere and scared audiences across the globe. Written and directed by Aussie Jennifer Kent, and based on her short film Monster, The Babadook is about a widow named Amelia (played by Kent’s drama schoolmate Essie Davis) who has trouble controlling her young son Samuel (Noah Wiseman), who thinks there’s a monster living in their house. Amelia reads Samuel a pop-up book, Mister Babadook, and Samuel manifests the creature into a real-life monster. The Babadook may be the villain, but the film explores the pitfalls of parenting and grief in an emotional way. 

“I never approached this as a straight horror film,” Kent told Complex. “I always was drawn to the idea of grief, and the suppression of that grief, and the question of, how would that affect a person? ... But at the core of it, it’s about the mother and child, and their relationship.”

Shot on a $2 million budget, the film grossed more than $10.3 million worldwide and gained an even wider audience via streaming networks. Instead of creating Babadook out of CGI, a team generated the images in-camera, inspired by the silent films of Georges Méliès and Lon Chaney. Here are 10 things you might not have known about The Babadook (dook, dook).


Jennifer Kent told Complex that some people thought the creature’s name sounded “silly,” which she agreed with. “I wanted it to be like something a child could make up, like ‘jabberwocky’ or some other nonsensical name,” she explained. “I wanted to create a new myth that was just solely of this film and didn’t exist anywhere else.”


Amelia isn’t the best mother in the world—but that’s the point. “I’m not a parent,” Kent told Rolling Stone, “but I’m surrounded by friends and family who are, and I see it from the outside … how parenting seems hard and never-ending.” She thought Amelia would receive “a lot of flak” for her flawed parenting, but the opposite happened. “I think it’s given a lot of women a sense of reassurance to see a real human being up there,” Kent said. “We don’t get to see characters like her that often.”


Noah Wiseman was six years old when he played Samuel. Kent and Davis made sure he wasn’t present for the more horrific scenes, like when Amelia tells Samuel she wishes he was the one who died, not her husband. “During the reverse shots, where Amelia was abusing Sam verbally, we had Essie yell at an adult stand-in on his knees,” Kent told Film Journal. “I didn’t want to destroy a childhood to make this film—that wouldn’t be fair.”

Kent explained a “kiddie version” of the plot to Wiseman. “I said, ‘Basically, Sam is trying to save his mother and it’s a film about the power of love.’”


IFC Films

Kent told Film Journal that “The Babadook is a film about a woman waking up from a long, metaphorical sleep and finding that she has the power to protect herself and her son.” She noted that everybody has darkness to face. “Beyond genre and beyond being scary, that’s the most important thing in the film—facing our shadow side.”


In an interview with Uproxx, William Friedkin—director of The Exorcist—said The Babadook was one of the best and scariest horror films he’d ever seen. He especially liked the emotional aspect of the film. “It’s not only the simplicity of the filmmaking and the excellence of the acting not only by the two leads, but it’s the way the film works slowly but inevitably on your emotions,” he said.


Tim Purcell worked in the film’s art department but then got talked into playing the titular character after he acted as the creature for some camera tests. “They realized they could save some money, and have me just be the Babadook, and hence I became the Babadook,” Purcell told New York Magazine. “In terms of direction, it was ‘be still a lot,’” he said.


Even though Kent shot the film in Adelaide, Australians didn’t flock to the theaters; it grossed just $258,000 in its native country. “Australians have this [built-in] aversion to seeing Australian films,” Kent told The Cut. “They hardly ever get excited about their own stuff. We only tend to love things once everyone else confirms they’re good … Australian creatives have always had to go overseas to get recognition. I hope one day we can make a film or work of art and Australians can think it’s good regardless of what the rest of the world thinks.”


IFC Films

In 2015, Insight Editions published 6200 pop-up books of Mister Babadook. Kent worked with the film’s illustrator, Alexander Juhasz, who created the book for the movie. He and paper engineer Simon Arizpe brought the pages to life for the published version. All copies sold out but you can find some Kent-signed ones on eBay, going for as much as $500.


It started at the end of 2016, when a Tumblr user started a jokey thread about how he thought the Babadook was gay. “It started picking up steam within a few weeks,” Ian, the Tumblr user, told New York Magazine, “because individuals who I presume are heterosexual kind of freaked out over the assertion that a horror movie villain would identify as queer—which I think was the actual humor of the post, as opposed to just the outright statement that the Babadook is gay.” In June, the Babadook became a symbol for Gay Pride month. Images of the character appeared everywhere at this year's Gay Pride Parade in Los Angeles.


Kent, who owns the rights to The Babadook, told IGN that, despite the original film's popularity, she's not planning on making any sequels. “The reason for that is I will never allow any sequel to be made, because it’s not that kind of film,” she said. “I don’t care how much I’m offered, it’s just not going to happen.”

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Bruce Weaver / Stringer / Getty Images
NASA Is Posting Hundreds of Retro Flight Research Videos on YouTube
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Bruce Weaver / Stringer / Getty Images

If you’re interested in taking a tour through NASA history, head over to the YouTube page of the Armstrong Flight Research Center, located at Edwards Air Force Base, in southern California. According to Motherboard, the agency is in the middle of posting hundreds of rare aircraft videos dating back to the 1940s.

In an effort to open more of its archives to the public, NASA plans to upload 500 historic films to YouTube over the next few months. More than 300 videos have been published so far, and they range from footage of a D-558 Skystreak jet being assembled in 1947 to a clip of the first test flight of an inflatable-winged plane in 2001. Other highlights include the Space Shuttle Endeavour's final flight over Los Angeles and a controlled crash of a Boeing 720 jet.

The research footage was available to the public prior to the mass upload, but viewers had to go through the Dryden Aircraft Movie Collection on the research center’s website to see them. The current catalogue on YouTube is much easier to browse through, with clear playlist categories like supersonic aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles. You can get a taste of what to expect from the page in the sample videos below.

[h/t Motherboard]


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