The Who2 Blog

Coens vs. Clint: Multi-Oscar Showdown!

“Fill your hands with Oscar nominations, you #[email protected]%!!”

The Coen Brothers are thrice-nominated for True Grit in the Academy Awards this year: for best picture, director, and adapted screenplay. 

It’s the fourth time they’ve been multi-nominees. In fact, they’re almost always multi-nominees.

  • True Grit (2011 Oscars): Best picture, director, screenplay
  • A Serious Man (2010 Oscars): Best picture, screenplay
  • No Country for Old Men (2008 Oscars): Best picture, director, screenplay, editing
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2001 Oscars): Best screenplay
  • Fargo (1997 Oscars): Best picture, screenplay, editing

Five years nominated, 13 nominations: that’s an impressive 2.6 nominations per nominated year.

But the Coens have competition!  Enter Clint Eastwood:

  • Letters from Iwo Jima (2007 Oscars): Best picture, director
  • Million Dollar Baby (2005 Oscars): Best picture, director, actor
  • Mystic River (2004 Oscars): Best picture, director
  • Unforgiven (1993 Oscars): Best picture, director, actor

Four years, 10 nominations, for a 2.5 nomination average.  He trails the Coen Brothers by a hair.  But Clint has been a multiple nominee every time, so he’s one up there.

The Coen Brothers have won four Oscars out of their 10 previous nominations, so they’re batting .400.

But Clint Eastwood has also won four Oscars out of 10 nominations, so he’s batting .400, too.  It’s neck and neck! 

In truth, both Clint and the Coens are doing terrific. Take a look back at some of the old boys, like Alfred Hitchcock: nominated singly in five different years, all as best director. (And never won.)  

John Ford was also nominated in five different years and twice-nominated only once: best director and film for The Quiet Man at the 1953 Oscars.

Martin Scorsese, nominated in seven years but twice-nominated only once: best director and screenplay for Goodfellas at the 1991 Oscars.

Woody Allen was nominated in an impressive 14 different years from 1978 to 2006. He was thrice-nominated only once: best picture, director, and screenplay for Annie Hall in 1978.  He won two Oscars that year, but has won only one in his 13 years nominated years since:  he claimed best screenplay in 1987 for Hannah and Her Sisters.

And so on. Surely I’m forgetting someone else — who is it?  (Edith Head doesn’t count.)

The bottom line, to go all Oscar Sabremetrics, is that the Coen Brothers are now leading Clint Eastwood in NONY (nominations per nominated year), 2.6 to 2.5. But they’re tied with Clint at .400 in WIN (wins per nomination). So they need to win two out of their three Oscar categories this year to keep bragging rights. 

Not that anybody in Hollywood counts Oscars.

(Photos: Paramount Pictures; Alex Jackson/WENN. Thanks to the IMDB for the Oscar stats.)

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