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He earned nods for best actor in Silver Linings Playbook in 2012 and best supporting actor in American Hustle in 2013, both directed by David O. Russell. He didn’t win for either film, but his performance as the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in Clint Eastwood‘s war drama has earned him significant awards buzz this year.
The nomination places him in the company of some of Hollywood’s greatest thespians. The first actor to earn three acting nominations in consecutive years was Spencer Tracy, who won for leading roles in Captains Courageous in 1937 and Boys Town in 1938 after a 1936 nomination for San Francisco. (He went on to score six more acting nominations between 1950 and 1967).
Others to earn three-peat nominations are Gary Cooper (1941-1943), Gregory Peck (1945-1947) Marlon Brando (1951-1954) and Richard Burton (1964-1966). In later decades, Al Pacino scored nominations in 1972-1975 for films including The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II , Jack Nicholson was nominated in 1973 and 1974 and won for 1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and William Hurt won for 1985’s Kiss of the Spider Woman and was nominated the following two years.
Most recently, Russell Crowe attained the distinction in 2002 with a nomination for his performance as schizophrenic mathematician John Nash in Ron Howard‘s best picture winner A Beautiful Mind. Crowe was nominated in 2000 for The Insider and won in 2001 for best picture winner Gladiator.
Cooper is also nominated for best picture this year for producing American Sniper, which earned six nominations total — picture, actor in a leading role, adapted screenplay (Jason Hall), editing (Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach), sound editing (Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman) and sound mixing (John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin). However, Eastwood’s exclusion from the best director category was one of the year’s biggest snubs.
The Warner Bros. film looks like a box-office favorite heading into the weekend and expects a boost from its awards attention.
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