Judi Dench has two scenes in “Pride & Prejudice,” and she’s being touted as a supporting actress nominee this year. Apparently, Midas has nothing over some women in the movies. These are the ones who are always in the running when Oscar calls, even with only a moment in a movie. From Bette Davis to Dench, it’s a grand tradition that goes back almost to the beginning of these awards.
Davis got her first nomination in 1936, won then for “Dangerous” and again in 1939 for “Jezebel,” and was nominated seven more times, including a five-year stretch of consecutive nods in the late 1930s, early 1940s. Katharine Hepburn, the winningest performer in Academy history, took home four statues and was nominated 12 times in the span of 48 years.
So it’s no surprise that Dench may even get two nods this year, for those two scenes in “Pride & Prejudice,” as well as for her leading turn in “Mrs. Henderson Presents,” considering she has four nominations (and one win) already. Meryl Streep (13 nominations, the most of anyone, and two wins) might also squeak in with another thesp nomination, for her role as a Jewish mother-psychiatrist in “Prime,” but she’ll have competition from other favorites like previous winner Gwyneth Paltrow, for her role in “Proof.”
Even Charlize Theron, who like Paltrow is just one for one, having triumphed for “Monster” her first time out, might be up again for her work in “North Country.” Again, the actress deglamorized herself, which represents another long tradition of female Oscar winners, from Sophia Loren in “Two Women” to Elizabeth Taylor in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
As it turns out, Theron signed on for her role as the miner-activist in “North Country” before she won the Oscar for her serial-killer in “Monster.”
“I took the role a week before I won the Oscar,” Theron recalls. “I would be stupid to say that it wasn’t because of the noise; I’m sure it had a lot to do with that, too. But it was before I actually won the Oscar. I also did that with ‘Aeon Flux.’ Since I won the award I’ve never even entertained any other offers; I never read any other scripts. I haven’t read a script since ‘Aeon Flux’ and ‘North Country’ in the last two years, since I won it.”
To win again, she’ll have to beat some other perennial favorites to get there, since Diane Keaton (four nominations, one win) may also on score a nomination with her role as the matriarch of “The Family Stone.”
Renee Zellweger may also nab a nom for “Cinderella Man”; this actress’ three nominations (and one win) have all come in as many years. And there’s even a long shot among the female crowd, with two-time winner Jodie Foster hoping that voters will overlook the inherent silliness of “Flightplan” and focus on her performance, delivering the actress a fifth nomination.
Then again, voters could choose to honor first-timers: Claire Danes (“Shopgirl”), Felicity Huffman (“Transamerica”), Keira Knightley (“Pride & Prejudice”), Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line”) and Ziyi Zhang (“Memoirs of a Geisha”) might possibly shifting the paradigm to a brand-new place.