Aside from its big wins Sunday night, “The King’s Speech” offers a couple of footnotes to Oscar history: Colin Firth enters the record books as starring in three best-pic winners, while Guy Pearce has appeared in back-to-back winners.
Firth was also in “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love,” while Pearce was in “The Hurt Locker.”
Firth joins a select circle that includes Clark Gable, John Gielgud, Dustin Hoffman, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, Shirley MacLaine, Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. In the old days of studio contract players, there were some thesps who also scored the triple crown, such as Ward Bond, Donald Crisp and Ian Wolfe. To put it in perspective, some of Hollywood’s greatest stars never performed in a best-film Oscar winner, including James Cagney, Henry Fonda, Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and John Wayne.
Russell Crowe starred in back-to-back “Gladiator” and “A Beautiful Mind,” while Streep had back-to-backs with “The Deer Hunter” and “Kramer vs. Kramer.”
The only director with three best pic wins was William Wyler (“Mrs. Miniver,” “The Best Years of Our Lives,” “Ben-Hur”). Among the directors with two best-film winners: Frank Capra, Billy Wilder, Fred Zinnemann, David Lean, Robert Wise, Francis Coppola and Clint Eastwood. None of them had back-to-back wins.
Paul Haggis was a scripter on the back-to-back “Crash” and “Million Dollar Baby.”