The 63-year-old actor has received raves for her performance in “Nomadland” from Chloé Zhao, landing her in contention for her sixth acting nomination after winning two best actress Oscars (1996’s “Fargo” and 2018’s “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”). McDormand is also one of the credited producers on the film and is poised to be a double nominee this year as a producer and an acting nominee, which would be the first for a woman in Academy Awards history.
“Nomadland” tells the story of Fern (McDormand), a woman who, during the Great Recession, decides to live as a modern-day nomad.
In the midst of another competitive best actress race, McDormand could join a list of just five performers who have won three acting Oscars: Ingrid Bergman, Walter Brennan, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. Katharine Hepburn has won the most acting Oscars of all time with four.
What’s interesting McDormand’s potential nominations as a producer and acting nominee in the same year is how many men have achieved this feat on multiple occasions. Oscar-winner Warren Beatty has done it four times (1968’s “Bonnie and Clyde,” 1978’s “Heaven Can Wait,” 1981’s “Reds” and 1991’s “Bugsy”). Clint Eastwood accomplished this with 1992’s “Unforgiven” and 2004’s “Million Dollar Baby.” Both times, he was also nominated as a director, for which he won both times, along with best picture. Eight-time nominee Bradley Cooper also achieved this twice with 2014’s “American Sniper” and 2018’s “A Star is Born.”
While this would be a milestone, two female acting nominees have been nominated as producers in the best picture category in the 92 years of the Academy, though for different films than their acting nods: Barbra Streisand (won for 1968’s “Funny Girl” in lead actress and nominated for 1991’s “The Prince of Tides” as a producer) and Oprah Winfrey (nominated for 1986’s “The Color Purple” in supporting actress and 2014’s “Selma” as a producer). Margot Robbie, who nearly achieved the distinction with 2017’s “I, Tonya” after being nominated for best actress but missed out on the best picture nomination, could also join Babs and Oprah if her film “Promising Young Woman” makes the cut in the top category. Robbie is a producer on the Emerald Fennell film, which also stars Oscar hopeful Carey Mulligan.
Other recent actors-turned-producers include Kevin Costner (1990’s “Dances with Wolves”), Leonardo DiCaprio (2013’s “The Wolf of Wall Street”), Brad Pitt (2011’s “Moneyball”) and Denzel Washington (2016’s “Fences”). Washington could also become the most nominated Black producer in history this year with “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” with only two total nominations in the category. If nominated for best actress, Viola Davis, who stars in “Ma Rainey,” could be the most nominated Black woman in Academy history with four total nominations.
Director Chloé Zhao could also make history as the most nominated woman in a single ceremony if she garners Oscar attention for producing, directing, writing and editing. Only 14 films nominated for best picture have been directed by women beginning with 1986’s “Children of a Lesser God” from Randa Haines and most recently, 2019’s “Little Women” from Greta Gerwig.
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2021 Academy Awards Predictions