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Oscars fate: The lone Yankee doesn't always win

September 29, 2007 |  8:43 pm


Some Oscar smackdowns will never end! Example: Did "Shakespeare in Love" or "Saving Private Ryan" deserve to win best pic of 1998? Go 'head and pitch your tomatoes at me — I say Oscar voters got it right with "Shakespeare"! Take that! Ha!

I don't feel so strongly about voters picking Marisa Tomei ("My Counsin Vinny") as best supporting actress of 1992, old news that's triggering another fight in our forums today.

Tomei's victory was a surprise for two reasons: it honored an outrageously comedic role and an outrageously crass and foul-mouthed role.

Some Oscarologists credit her win to outrageous patriotism. Tomei was the only Yankee in the category that also included Miranda Richardson ("Damage"), Joan Plowright ("Enchanted April"), Vanessa Redgrave ("Howards End") and Judy Davis ("Husbands and Wives").

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There are other examples of sole Yanks prevailing against foreign invaders — like Helen Hunt ("As Good As It Gets") slaying a boatload of Brits to reign as best actress of 1997 over Helena Bonham Carter ("The Wings of the Dove"), Julie Christie ("Afterglow"), Judi Dench ("Mrs. Brown") and Kate Winslet ("Titanic").

But as SeanFlynn points out in our forums, that pattern doesn't always win out, as Meryl Streep ("The Devil Wears Prada") discovered last year when she got beat by a Brit, Helen Mirren as Elizabeth II in "The Queen." Diane Keaton ("Something's Gotta Give") lost best actress of 2003 to South African Theron ("Monster") and Kathy Bates ("Primary Colors") lost the crown as best supporting actress of 1998 by Britain's Judi Dench as Elizabeth I in "Shakespeare in Love." Hmmmm. Are you spotting the same trend here that I am? Why do actresses playing queens named Elizabeth end up reigning?

(Photo: AMPAS / ABC)