Oscar presenters Penélope Cruz, Kate Winslet and Sean Penn
Heath Ledger won a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as the Joker in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. Ledger had been previously nominated in the Best Actor category for Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain. That year, he lost to Philip Seymour Hoffman in Bennett Miller's Capote.
Cruz had been previously nominated in the Best Actress category for her Anna Magnani-esque star turn in Pedro Almodóvar's Volver (2006), and she is up for an Oscar this year for her (non-Anna Magnani-esque) supporting performance in Rob Marshall's musical Nine, starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the old (non-singing, non-dancing) Marcello Mastroianni role (8½).
Kate Winslet was last year's Best Actress Oscar winner for Stephen Daldry's The Reader, in which she plays a woman – sort of – coming to terms with her Nazi-acquiescent past.
Winslet has been nominated for five other Academy Awards:
- Best Supporting Actress for Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility (1995).
Winner: Mira Sorvino for Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite.
- Best Actress for James Cameron's Titanic (1997).
Winner: Helen Hunt for James L. Brooks' As Good As It Gets.
- Best Supporting Actress for Richard Eyre's Iris (2001).
Winner: Jennifer Connelly for Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind.
- Best Actress for Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004).
Winner: Hilary Swank for Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby.
- Best Actress for Todd Field's Little Children (2006).
Winner: Helen Mirren for Stephen Frears' The Queen.
Academy voters, however, rightfully felt she was the female lead in The Reader. Since only one performance per actor/actress is allowed in any one of the acting categories, Winslet's Revolutionary Road work was left unnominated.
Sean Penn has been nominated five times for the Best Actor Oscar; he won twice, for the following:
- Clint Eastwood's Mystic River (2003).
- Gus Van Sant's Milk (2008), in which he plays gay San Francisco politician Harvey Milk.
Penn's other nominations were for:
- Tim Robbins' Dead Man Walking (1995).
- Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown (1999).
- Jessie Nelson's I Am Sam (2001).
The 2010 Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 7, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles. In the U.S., the Oscar show will be televised live by ABC.
Sean Penn, Kate Winslet, and Penélope Cruz photos: Michael Yada / © A.M.P.A.S.
The Academy Awards' Unglamorous Side: No Red Carpet as Oscar ballots mailed
All sensationalism aside, final ballots for the 2010 Academy Awards were mailed yesterday (Feb. 11) to the 5,777 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In the pictures you see representatives of PricewaterhouseCoopers as they check the final Oscar ballots just prior to mailing them.
Okay, so this Oscar 2010 segment, though crucial to the proceedings, isn't nearly as glitzy and glamorous as the awards ceremony itself. But at the very least people do get to dress up for the job. They can also get to check out the groovy vintage posters currently on display in the Academy's lobby.
As per the Academy's press release, completed ballots must be returned to PricewaterhouseCoopers by 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 2. Ballots received after the deadline will not be counted. Listed on the ballots are nominees in 19 awards categories.
Separate ballots for five categories (Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Foreign Language Film, Animated Short Film, and Live Action Short Film) will be distributed after verification of mandatory member attendance at the screenings.
Following the tabulation of the votes, the winners' names will be placed in sealed envelopes to be opened at the Oscar ceremony.
2010 Oscar ballots and PricewaterhouseCoopers personnel photos: Greg Harbaugh / © A.M.P.A.S.
Besides Stephen Daldry's The Reader, in which Winslet plays opposite Ralph Fiennes and Bruno Ganz, the other movie for which Winslet could have received a nomination was Sam Mendes' Revolutionary Road, co-starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Best Supporting Actor nominee Michael Shannon.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (A.M.P.A.S.) website.