Oscars: 22 Actors Who've Appeared in Two Best Picture Nominees in the Same Year

12:00 PM 2/19/2018

by Lindsay Weinberg

Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali have each pulled off performances in two acclaimed films within a single year.

WIE 2017 Power 100 - Viola Davis  - Getty -H 2017
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

This year’s Oscar-nominated films feature some familiar faces popping up over and over again. A few actors appear in multiple 2018 best picture nominees, whether it’s Timothee Chalamet in both Lady Bird and Call Me by Your Name or Michael Stuhlbarg in a whopping three nominees (Call Me by Your Name, The Post and The Shape of Water).

Though the beginning of the decade didn’t see this kind of cast overlap, the Oscar nominees of the past six years have shared several castmembers. Here’s a look at the actors who appeared in two best picture nominees in recent history.

  • 2017: Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monáe, Stephen Henderson and Saniyya Sidney

    Hidden Figures shared three actors with other Oscar-nominated films in 2017. First, there’s Janelle Monáe, who plays Mary Jackson, the first black female engineer at NASA. In the film, she encourages Taraji P. Henson’s character to romantically pursue Army officer Colonel Jim Johnson (Mahershala Ali). Eventually Katherine Johnson (Henson) invites Johnson into her family to meet her kids, including Constance, played by Saniyya Sidney. 

    For best picture winner Moonlight, Ali won best supporting actor for portraying Juan, a father figure who teaches young Chiron to swim. Juan’s girlfriend Teresa is played by none other than Monáe

    As for Sidney, she appears again in Fences as Raynell, Troy’s daughter who is raised with Rose’s help. Her co-star Stephen Henderson acts as Troy’s friend, Jim Bono, who works as a waste collector in Fences. Henderson performs again in Manchester by the Sea as Mr. Emery, the manager of a Boston apartment complex who handles Casey Affleck’s handyman character. 

  • 2016: Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Billy Magnussen and Zarrin Darnell-Martin

    This year he plays Royal Air Force pilot Farrier in Dunkirk, but in 2016 Tom Hardy starred in two best picture nominees. In the apocalyptic Mad Max: Fury Road, Hardy embodies Max Rockatansky, who is captured by the War Boys and becomes a rebel. He then starred in The Revenant as the villainous John Fitzgerald, earning Hardy his first Oscar nomination. 
    Domhnall Gleeson joined the Western frontier in The Revenant as Captain Andrew Henry, who abandons Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) and causes Glass’ vindictive attitude. Gleeson swaps out his gun for a girl in Brooklyn, portraying Jim Farrell, the Irish love interest of Saoirse Ronan’s Eilis
    Actor Billy Magnussen also popped up in two films — Bridge of Spies and The Big Short. In the former, Magnussen plays a young law associate to James Donovan (Tom Hanks) and a mortgage broker in the latter film.
    Finally, Zarrin Darnell-Martin made appearances as a doctor in Room and an intern in Spotlight.
  • 2015: Henry G. Sanders, Tom Wilkinson and Edward Norton

    In 2015, Henry G. Sanders got to work with two big-name directors as Red Henderson in Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash and Cager Lee in Ava DuVernay’s Selma
    Selma also featured Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson during the Civil Rights-era film. Wilkinson doubled down as the character The Author as an Old Man in The Grand Budapest Hotel the same year. His co-star, Edward Norton as Inspector Albert Henckels, also appeared in another Academy acclaimed film by portraying Birdman’s Mike Shiner, a difficult-to-work-with Broadway star who drinks real gin on stage. 
  • 2014: Matthew McConaughey, Amy Adams and Ensemble Actors

    The year 2014 was a big one for the seven — yes, seven — actors cast in more than one best picture nominee. 
    Dallas Buyers Club included five of the actors. In the 1980s, bull rider Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) loves to indulge in cocaine and sex. After he becomes HIV-positive, he begins to sell drugs from Mexico that treat AIDS but faces pushback from the authorities. 
    McConaughey also did "alright, alright, alright" in The Wolf of Wall Street as martini-loving Mark Hanna, who mentors Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) and kick-starts Jordan’s journey toward becoming a shady stockbroker. But it was McConaughey’s performance in Dallas Buyers Club that won him the best actor Oscar in 2014.
    Amy Adams earned a best actress nomination that year for portraying Sydney Prosser in American Hustle. Prosser strikes up a business partnership with con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) involving loan scams before they’re forced to work with an FBI agent. Adams then appeared in Her as Theodore’s (Joaquin Phoenix) former college girlfriend, Amy, who becomes his confidante when he admits he’s dating his operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. 
    Dallas Buyers Club and 12 Years a Slave both featured Douglas M. Griffin, J.D. Evermore, Tony Bentley and Deneen Tyler in the ensemble, whereas The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle shared actors Armen Garo and Shea Whigham, all in minor roles.  
  • 2013: Walton Goggins, Jeremy Strong, Christopher Stanley and Michael Parks

    The year's government-themed films highlighted many ensemble actors as authority figures. 
    Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained included Walton Goggins as Billy Crash. The character trains Mandingo fighters at the Candyland plantation, treating Django (Jamie Foxx) cruelly. You can also spot Goggins in Lincoln as an Ohio Congressman alongside actor Jeremy Strong as John George Nicolay, Lincoln’s private secretary. 
    Strong turned up working in government again in Zero Dark Thirty as CIA agent. Another actor from the action-thriller, Christopher Stanley, scored a minor role in Argo as well. And finally, the late Michael Parks appeared in both Argo and Django Unchained
  • 2012: Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Brad Pitt, John Goodman and Tom Hiddleston

    Jessica Chastain stars as the poker ringleader in Molly’s Game, but 2012 was another busy year for the actress. She had her big breaks with The Help and The Tree of Life.
    In The Help, a 1960s period drama set in Jackson, Mississippi, Viola Davis plays maid Aibileen, who speaks with young writer Skeeter about her life experiences. They’re both trying to come to terms with their place in a racist and sexist society. Chastain plays Celia Foote, another outcast in Skeeter’s social circle, further burdened by her miscarriages.
    Chastain starred opposite Brad Pitt in The Tree of Life as Mrs. and Mr. O’Brien, respectively. The film focuses on son Jack (Sean Penn) reflecting on growing up in 1950s Texas with a strained family dynamic. 
    Pitt also doubled up by embodying Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane in Moneyball the same year. Co-written by Aaron Sorkin (Molly’s Game), Moneyball is based on the real story of building a baseball team using computer generation.  
    Another best picture nominee in 2012, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close tells the story of young Oskar Schell missing his father, who died in the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11. Among his father’s belongings, Oskar finds a key in an envelope labeled “Black” and sets out to find the correct Black. Davis portrays Abby Black, one woman that Oskar contacts along the way.
    John Goodman pops up as Oskar’s doorman, and again as studio executive Al Zimmer in The Artist (he’s the cigar-smoking boss of Kinograph Studios). 
    Tom Hiddleston showed off his range by bringing F. Scott Fitzgerald to life in Midnight in Paris, followed by Captain Nicholls in War Horse