Academy members received a letter Monday from Castle Rock president Martin Shafer requesting that they consider Whoopi Goldberg for a best actress Oscar nom for her role in “Ghosts of Mississippi” – rather than a supporting actress award, as the video screener suggests.
According to Shafer, Castle Rock had not consulted with the actress before sending out the videos. Goldberg was unaware that her performance was part of the Oscar campaign for the pic until a recent Gotham screening. At that point, she was asked which category she’d like to be considered for. “After seeing the final cut, she felt it was a substantial enough role to warrant best-actress consideration,” said Shafer.
Goldberg already has received a supporting actress award for the 1990 film “Ghost.”
Blurred lines are nothing new in the world of Oscar voting. For example, Marlon Brando and Anthony Hopkins won Oscars as leading actors in “The Godfather” and “Silence of the Lambs,” respectively, despite very brief screen time. Timothy Hutton (“Ordinary People”) and Tommy Lee Jones (“The Fugitive”) won supporting Oscars in what could be considered leading roles.
An Academy member can nominate one performance in both leading and supporting races. According to Academy rules, ballots for both categories are counted simultaneously; if a player receives nominations in more than one category, he or she is nominated to the one in which they first receive the required number of votes.