Scarlett Johansson scored her first and second Academy Awards nominations in one fell swoop in 2020. And whether she wins or loses at this year's awards, Johansson’s double Oscar nominations — Best Actress for Marriage Story and Best Supporting Actress for Jojo Rabbit — are still quite a feat. It’s the first time in 12 years that a performer has earned more than one acting nomination in the same year, which means it really is an honor just to be nominated twice. Even if ScarJo goes home without a little gold man, she can at least count herself in step with the Hollywood legends in this elite double nominations club.
In the Oscars' 92-year history, only 12 people including Johansson — nine women and three men — have been nominated twice in one year for acting. And somehow not one of those people is Meryl Streep.
The list includes Teresa Wright (1943), Al Pacino (1993), Sigourney Weaver (1989), Jessica Lange (1983), and Fay Bainter, who, in 1939, was the first person to ever be nominated in both acting categories. She won for her supporting role in Jezebel, but lost for her lead role in White Banners to her Jezebel costar Bette Davis.
In 1945, Barry Fitzgerald became the first man to be nominated for both acting categories. He was also the first person to be a double nominee for the same role. The role was Father Fitzgibbon in the film Going My Way, which won him Best Supporting Actor. The Academy would later change its rules to prevent actors from receiving multiple nominations for the same role in the same year.
Emma Thompson and Holly Hunter were both double nominees in 1994. Hunter took home Best Actress for The Piano, but both lost the supporting prize to Hunter’s co-star Anna Paquin. In 2003, Julianne Moore lost both Best Actress (Far From Heaven) and Supporting Actress (The Hours). Two years later, Jamie Foxx won Best Actor for the biopic Ray, but lost for his supporting role in Collateral.
The most recent double nominee was Cate Blanchett, who in 2008 was nominated for Best Actress for Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Best Supporting Actress for I’m Not There. She lost both, but did become the first woman to earn two Oscar nominations for the same role: Queen Elizabeth I, which she previously played in 1998’s Elizabeth.
Historically, double nominees have fared reasonably well on Oscar night. Foxx, Pacino, Lange, Fitzgerald, and Bainter all won for their supporting roles, while Hunter is the first double nominee to take home the lead prize. However, Johansson might suffer the same 0 for 2 fate that befell others in the rare two times, one year club.
Right now, the acting awards seem to be very much a lock. Seriously, get ready to start saying “Best Supporting Actor winner Brad Pitt.” Johansson’s Marriage Story co-star Laura Dern is primed to pick up Best Supporting Actress, while Judy star Renée Zellweger is basically a shoo-in for Best Actress. Yet, some critics predict that Johansson could pull off an upset not unlike Olivia Colman did last year when she bested Best Actress fave Glenn Close, who had dominated the 2019 awards season.
Johansson's two nominated roles definitely share some DNA: moms fighting for their kids. However, both of the highest paid actress in Hollywood’s characters do so in different ways. In Marriage Story, Johansson’s Nicole is using the legal system to help her keep her son in L.A. with her as she attempts to start her life and acting career over without her theater director husband Charlie, played by fellow nominee and surprisingly good singer Adam Driver.
While in Jojo Rabbit, Johansson’s Frau Rosie Betzler has to fight outside the Nazi system, keeping her protests a secret even from her son because she knows speaking out could be deadly. It’s this role where Johansson gets to show more of her range, striking a tone of humor, sweetness, and sadness sometimes all in the same scene. It's why some have predicted she could pull off an upset in the supporting category and stop the Dernassaince from reaching its zenith.
With this awards season being a little shorter than usual, Oscar night could be full of surprises. Who knows, Johansson could manage to pull off a truly historic win by taking home both acting prizes and becoming the first person to ever do such a thing. Nothing more legendary than that.