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Barry Fitzgerald 'Going My Way': Oscar Quiz Answer

Barry Fitzgerald Going My WayBarry Fitzgerald in Going My Way: Oscar Quiz Answer No. 6

[See previous posts: Oscar Quiz and Oscar Quiz Answers: Katharine Hepburn, Steven Soderbergh.] Barry Fitzgerald received Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nominations for his role as the cranky but golden-hearted elderly priest in Leo McCarey's 1944 Best Picture Academy Award winner Going My Way. Fitzgerald lost the Best Actor Oscar to Bing Crosby, the official star of Going My Way, but won the Best Supporting Actor statuette – which he accidentally decapitated shortly thereafter.

Academy rules were then changed to prevent any more double nominations for the same role. As for Fitzgerald's headless Oscar, it was replaced by another statuette with a golden head on its shoulders.

Double Oscar nominees in the acting categories

Besides Barry Fitzgerald, ten other performers have been nominated for acting Academy Awards in the same year – but for different films. They are:

  • Fay Bainter in 1938 (Best Actress for White Banners, Best Supporting Actress for Jezebel);
  • Teresa Wright in 1942 (Best Actress for The Pride of the Yankees, Best Supporting Actress for Mrs. Miniver);
  • Jessica Lange in 1982 (Best Actress for Frances, Best Supporting Actress for Tootsie);
  • Sigourney Weaver in 1988 (Best Actress for Gorillas in the Mist, Best Supporting Actress for Working Girl);
  • Al Pacino in 1992 (Best Actor for Scent of a Woman, Best Supporting Actor for Glengarry Glen Ross);
  • Holly Hunter in 1993 (Best Actress for The Piano, Best Supporting Actress for The Firm);
  • Emma Thompson also in 1993 (Best Actress for The Remains of the Day, Best Supporting Actress for In the Name of the Father);
  • Julianne Moore in 2002 (Best Actress for Far from Heaven, Best Supporting Actress for The Hours);
  • Jamie Foxx in 2004 (Best Actor for Ray, Best Supporting Actor for Collateral);
  • Cate Blanchett in 2007 (Best Actress for Elizabeth: The Golden Age; Best Supporting Actress for I'm Not There)

Like Barry Fitzgerald, Fay Bainter, Teresa Wright, and Jessica Lange won in the supporting category. (Also like Fitzgerald, Bainter and Wright lost the “lead” Oscar to another performer in the same film, respectively, Bette Davis in Jezebel and Greer Garson in Mrs. Miniver.) Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, and Jamie Foxx won as leads. Sigourney Weaver, Emma Thompson, Julianne Moore, and Cate Blanchett lost in both categories.

Important Academy Award rule in the Acting categories

Actors can't be nominated in the same category for different performances in the same year. For example, let's say that in 2006 Meryl Streep delivered two Oscar-caliber performances in leading roles: The Devil Wears Prada and God Wears Donatella. No matter how superb Streep is in both films, she can be nominated in the Best Actress category for only one of them.

Here are four possible scenarios:

  1. After sifting through a zillion “For Your Consideration: Meryl Streep for Best Actress” ads, Academy voters pick only one Streep performance among their top five.
  2. After sifting through a zillion “For Your Consideration: Meryl Streep for Best Actress” ads, Academy voters pick both Streep performances among their top five. In that case, only Streep's top-voted performance will be nominated. In place of the bottom-voted Streep, actress #6 in the balloting will be added to the Academy's official shortlist of five Best Actress nominees of 2006.
  3. With the studios' publicity machines begging for Best Actress votes for Meryl Streep Film #1 and Meryl Streep Film #2, her votes are split in two – in case Academy members opt not to include the same actress twice in their ballots and/or if voters aren't necessarily placing their favorite Streep performance at or near the top of their ballots. As a result, Streep ends up nominationless.
  4. Oscar-savvy Meryl Streep tells one studio to push her in the Best Actress category, and the other studio to push her in the Best Supporting Actress category. The fact that she's the lead in both films doesn't really matter; Academy members tend to vote as they're told. Thus, Streep quite likely ends up with two nominations, one in each female acting category.

Barry Fitzgerald Going My Way photo: Paramount Pictures.

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