Best supporting actress, Gentlemen's Agreement (1947)
Her screen test for the anti-Semitism-themed film was so powerful that Elia Kazan used the footage in the film. She won the Oscar the next year, the first of her three nominations.
Says Holm: "I wore a gray taffeta dress I had sewed. Why not? It only took me two days -- I knew I wasn't going to win. But [actor] Ronald Colman told me he was sure I would. Then I did! As I was leaving, he said, 'Told ya.' I celebrated with George Cukor and Gloria Swanson."
Photo by: Art Streiber
Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Akiva Goldsman
Best picture, A Beautiful Mind (2002) for Howard, Grazer; best director, Howard; best screenplay, Goldsman
Howard insists winning Oscars for directing and producing A Beautiful Mind didn’t change things professionally. “You still have to make your case for each and every movie,” he says. But it did have an impact on how he was perceived. “Somehow, it took me standing at a podium with a golden boy for it to really land that I actually was making movies more than anything else.”
Photo by: Fabrizio Maltese
Joel & Ethan Coen
Best screenplay, Fargo (1997); best directors, screenplay and picture, No Country For Old Men (2007)
Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1997 oscar for writing Fargo catapulted them from the fringe to the mainstream, but their post-Oscar films were just as artfully eccentric: They simply grossed six to 16 times more. “It’s been shocking,” Joel says. Ethan adds, “Although not that shocking because everybody knows it’s a weird, fluke-y business.”
Right after Bridges won his oscar for Crazy Heart, he didn’t focus on how the best actor statuette would impact his movies -- he thought about how it would help his music. “That’s gonna bloom for me,” he said at the time. He was right: Since then, he’s not only teamed up with old friends to perform at venues across the nation; he’s also been working with his Crazy Heart collaborator T Bone Burnett on a new album of songs.
While Sarandon openly laments the politicized nature of contemporary Oscar races — “The first time I was nominated [for Atlantic City in 1982], the studio didn’t even know how it happened,” she says — the actress says the power of a gold statuette is undeniable. “It’s an amazing honor to be in the club; there’s nobody who wouldn’t want one."
Photo by: Lorernzo Agius
Ben Kingsley & Kevin Spacey
Kingsley: Best actor, Ghandi (1982)
Spacey: Best supporting actor, The Usual Suspects (1995), best actor, American Beauty (1999)
Kingsley says Oscar has brought “profound recognition by my peers,” and Spacey acknowledges “having been picked out twice was beyond my wildest imaginings and remains the highest honor as an actor that I could hope to achieve.” For Kingsley’s part, the recognition keeps him grounded. “The changes are still happening,” he says. “I’m a better actor and, I hope, a better person.”
Photo by: Wesley Mann
Best actor, Good Will Hunting (1997)
Williams earned his first Academy Award nomination for 1987’s career-making Good Morning, Vietnam; three nominations later, the comedian took home the best supporting actor Oscar for 1997’s Good Will Hunting. Says Williams: “I was backstage, and Jack Nicholson” -- who had just won for As Good as It Gets -- “said, ‘Well Robbo, now I have one for every decade.’”
Photo by: Wesley Mann
Robert Benton & Geoffrey Fletcher
Benton: Best director and adapted screenplay, Kramer vs. Kramer (1979); best original screenplay, Places in the Heart (1984)
Fletcher: Best adapted screenplay, Precious (2009)
“The real thing is to be nominated; after that it’s luck,” Benton says. “I’m not going to say I don’t want to win another Oscar. But to be nominated with your peers, to be in that group, that feels better than anything.”
Neither has enshrined his Oscars. “I’m thrilled to have them,” Benton says. “But I don’t want to see them. It’s better to ride the train forward. Otherwise, you become a prisoner of your past.”
Photo by: Bob D'Amico/ABC
Issue 08 Cover Oscar Issue
How two of Hollywood's biggest stars -- James Franco and Anne Hathaway -- plan to host the 82nd Academy Awards.