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Mo'Nique's and Christoph Waltz's amazing -- and very rare -- awards sweep

February 10, 2010 |  6:16 pm

Lots of stars almost pulled off a full sweep of the key early awards during derby season, then went on to win the Oscar. But only 15 stars, according to my count, actually accomplished a total romp in modern times. Many others were like Robert De Niro ("Raging Bull"). He won most of the major kudos of 1980 except one. At the National Society of Film Critics, he lost best actor to Peter O'Toole ("The Stunt Man"). Or Heath Ledger ("The Dark Knight"), who almost swept the board last year, but also got tripped up by the national society (losing to Eddie Marsden, "Happy-Go-Lucky") plus New York Film Critics Circle (lost to Josh Brolin, "Milk").

Oscars Academy Awards news precursor 2

It sure looks like Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds") and Mo'Nique ("Precious") are juggernauts that can't be stopped this year. They both won all four major critics' awards (National Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., Broadcast Film Critics Assn.) plus the Golden Globe and Screen Actors' Guild Awards. It's important to note that SAG has only been bestowing awards since 1994, BFCA (Critics' Choice Award) since 1995. After that, four actors claimed all six prizes: Nicolas Cage ("Leaving Las Vegas"), Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood"), Helen Mirren ("The Queen") and Forest Whitaker ("Last King of Scotland"). 

In 1994, Martin Landau ("Ed Wood") and Dianne Wiest ("Bullets Over Broadway") pulled off full sweeps of the precursor prizes that included the SAG Award. Before that, a sweep was defined as snagging laurels from the three leading groups of print journos (New York, L.A. and national society) plus the Golden Globe. Actors who accomplished that: Sally Field ("Norma Rae"), Gene Hackman ("Unforgiven"), Dustin Hoffman and Mery Streep ("Kramer vs. Kramer"), Holly Hunter ("The Piano"), Jack Nicholson ("Terms of Endearment"), Michelle Pfeiffer ("The Fabulous Baker Boys"), Sissy Spacek ("Coal Miner's Daughter"), Mary Steenburgen ("Melvin and Howard"), Meryl Streep ("Sophie's Choice") and Emma Thompson ("Howards End"). All of the stars mentioned above went on to win the Oscar with one exception. Pfeiffer was stopped by Jessica Tandy ("Driving Miss Daisy").

The New York Film Critics Circle began doling out trophies in 1935, the national society in 1966. To give our awards analysis in this blog article some context, I'm beginning our scrutiny at 1976, the year the L.A. critics joined the kudos game.

Of the above-named champs, these also won National Board of Review: Cage, Field, Hunter, Mirren, Nicholson, Pfeiffer, Spacek, Streep, Thompson, Whitaker. I don't consider that to be a crucial part of the definition of a full sweep, however, since it's not an industry award – not bestowed by journalists or industry insiders. NBR is really like a People's Choice Award bestowed by sophisticated New Yorkers. Since we don't count the nationwide People's Choice Award, maybe we shouldn't count NBR either.

So, as I count things, 15 stars have pulled off full sweeps of the chief precursor awards plus the Oscar since 1976. One of them did so twice: Meryl Streep. Am I leaving anyone out? (Many thanks to Gold Derby readers (especially Gustavo) for helping me to sort those the confusing lists.

So it sure looks like Mo'Nique and Waltz are locks to follow, eh?

Photos: "Norma Rae" (20th Century Fox), "Ed Wood" (Buena Vista), "The Queen" (Miramax)

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Comments

hi tom, your book 'movie awards' is very informative.could u help please? the 3 major film critics groups are NY, LA and the National Society. but what are the 3 most important (or oldest) MINOR film critics groups? i have an idea one o them is boston but not even sure of this.hope this right place to put this. gaz

What about the BAFTA? Nobody ever thinks that matters, but then look at Tilda Swinton's come-from-behind win or Marion Cotillard's "upset."

Don't forget Bob Hoskins, who won all but one 1986 pre-Oscar Best Actor awards For Mona Lisa before losing to Paul Newman for The Color of Money. The year before Klaus Maria Brandauer had won most of the Supporting Actor awards for Out of Africa before the Don Ameche-Cocoon upset. If Christopher Plummer were American, it wouldn't surprise me if another life achievement award was presented in the Supporting Actor catagory.

GREAT additions, Gustavo! Tx sooo much. I added the info above and gave you and others a shout-our for your kind assistance near the end of the piece.

and we have another one: gene hackman for unforgiven, he won all the awards except NBR...

on the other hand, michelle pfeiffer (the babulous baker boys) is the actress that didn't complete her sweep at the oscars, losing to jessica tandy but having won all the previous awards...

and don't forget: Streep is the only one that achieved the full sweep twice!

Another interesting fact: prior to her full sweep in 1994, Dianne Wiest almost achieved it in 1986, when she won all the critics awards and the Oscar for Hannah and her sisters, but lost the Golden Globe to Maggie Smith...
And Anjelica Huston did the same the year before, also only missing the Golden Globe, which went to Meg Tilly (by the way, what happened to her?)

THANKS for recalling the sweeps of Dustin Hoffman and Mary Steenburgen -- Forgot those!

I added those to the text above plus made mention of Heath Ledger because it's a good example of sweeps that people believe took place but didn't...

Heath didn't win National Society and New York critics awards for Dark knight...
1979 was the year of the big sweeps: besides Field and Streep, Dustin Hoffman also won every award (again, except for NBR) and Melvyn Douglas only lost NBR and National Society...

Heath Ledger (except for NBR, which you're not counting!).

It appears that the HFPA is comprised of "journalists," who interview filmmakers and report in foreign publications, but I don't know that any of them consider themselves "critics." The "dentists, lawyers, teachers, etc." who comprise the NBR seems to me more of a "critical" body (even when they honor a film such as "Quills" lol).

Tom, I think there's a minor mistake here, Day-Lewis didn't win the NBR award for "There will be blood", it went to Clooney's Michael Clayton...
Besides Meryl Streep in Kramer, Mary Steenburgen (Melvin and Howard) also achieved the full sweep for supporting actress (NBR not included) the following year...
I personally think the NBR should count, they have been recognizing movie achievements since before the Oscars began, who else has such a long history? Plus, every season they are the first ones to announce awards...
By the way, Waltz and Mo'Nique lost the NBR awards this year to Harrelson and Kendrick... That's all, hugs from Brazil!

Bryan, NBR is composed of dentists, lawyers, teachers, etc. How is that membership the same as the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.? Do you have any evidence for your claim that HFPA members are not journalists? If so, present it. Members are policed, monitored and credentialed by the MPAA, NBC, etc. -- their editorial output is carefully scrutinized throughout the year. Just because Yankee journalists bash them all the time because they're jealous doesn't make their slander true.

I think Meryl Streep also won all the awards for 'Kramer vs. Kramer' in 1979 - though some of the critics groups gave it to her for a combination of 'Kramer', 'Manhattan' and 'The Seduction of Joe Tynan'.

if you don't count National Board of Review as part of the sweep, then you can't count the Golden Globe award. The Hollywood Foreign Press Ass. is no more a group of journalists than the NBR is a group of journalists/industry insiders. Your logic makes no sense.


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