Just got an interesting e-mail from my pal Tariq Khan, a journalist at Fox News who is an ace Oscarologist. He's worried that poor, Oscar-overdue Kate Winslet (five losses so far) might end up getting totally shut out this year despite having two strong roles in the running. Or, actually, because she has two roles, which could split her votes.
It's happened often in the past. Think Michael Douglas in 2000 ("Wonder Boys," "Traffic"). Tariq cites a lot more examples. If you want to check out his prowess at Oscar prognostication, read the perfect predix he penned last year for Fox News HERE.
Below, Tariq's e-mail:
Kate Winslet may very well emerge as a double Oscar-nominee this year, for best lead actress in "Revolutionary Road" and best supporting actress in "The Reader." However, there's also a very real possibility that her name could go unannounced on nomination day.
If members of the actors branch decide that she's clearly leading in both films (as they might do), she faces the danger of splitting her high-ranking votes on the nomination ballots. If half of her supporters vote for her for "Road" and the other half for "Reader," she could end up without enough points to score in the top five. And with the best-actress race looking as fiercely competitive as it does now (Meryl Streep in "Doubt," Anne Hathaway in "Rachel Getting Married," Angelina Jolie in "Changeling," Kristin Scott Thomas in "I've Loved You So Long," Sally Hawkins in "Happy- Go-Lucky" and Cate Blanchett in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") Winslet needs every vote that she can get.
If this does happen, Winslet can take consolation in the fact that other actors have suffered the same tragic fate. In 2003, Cate Blanchett had strong lead roles in both "Veronica Guerin" and "The Missing." She received a Golden Globe nod for the former, yet more Oscar campaigning for the latter. She ended up with Oscar nods for neither, being bumped by dark-horse contenders Keisha Castle-Hughes in "Whale Rider" and Samantha Morton in "In America." I firmly believe that if Blanchett had only appeared in one of those films that year, she would have been nominated.
In 2001, Billy Bob Thornton gave acclaimed performances in "Monster's Ball," "The Man Who Wasn't There" and "Bandits." He was named best actor for all three by the National Board of Review, and earned Golden Globe nominations in the dramatic category for "Man" and in the comedy category for "Bandits." He seemed a good bet for an Oscar nod too. But when the honors were announced, Thornton's name was nowhere to be found. I suspect that he probably just missed for "Monster's Ball," losing the slot that went to Will Smith for "Ali." If "Monster's Ball" had been Thornton's only film that year, I think that he would have made the cut.
In 1994, Meg Ryan was cast against type as an alcoholic in "When a Man Loves a Woman," surprising both critics and fans who had never seen her in such a dramatic role. The film was released in May and earned Ryan some well-deserved Oscar buzz. At the end of that year, Ryan appeared in the comedy "I.Q." and somehow generated Oscar buzz again. (1994 was a terrible year for actresses, so it seemed possible that a comedic performance by a popular actress might actually be recognized.) Ryan received a SAG nod for "Woman," but was eventually snubbed at Oscar time. Without a clear Oscar focus and votes spit between two films, she lost out to the less-worthy Winona Ryder in "Little Women" and Susan Sarandon in "The Client."
(Weinstein Co., Paramount, Buena Vista, USA Films)