Oscars: Jeff Bridges Only Bested By Two People in Terms of Academy Awards Career Length
By: Carson Blackwelder
With yet another opportunity to win this year, Jeff Bridges expands his Academy Awards career to 45 years — with the chance to add to it. This is quite an accomplishment as there are very few actors and actresses with a span of that long between their last or most recent nomination. Let’s take a look at some of these other legends with Oscar stretches almost as long as or even longer than that of Bridges.
This year Bridges is nominated for best supporting actor for Hell or High Water and is up against Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), Dev Patel (Lion), and Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals). Hell or High Water — a Western crime thriller directed by David Mackenzie and written by Taylor Sheridan — is also nominated for best picture, best original screenplay, and best film editing. For the best supporting actor race, The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg considers Ali to be the frontrunner while Bridges is the runner-up.
Whether or not Bridges wins this year, he’s already had an impressive run that stretches back 45 years and garnered seven nominations including this one. The 67-year-old talent was first nominated for 1971’s The Last Picture Show and — leading up to being recognized for 2016’s Hell or High Water — also snagged nominations for 1974’s Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, 1984’s Starman, 2000’s The Contender, 2009’s Crazy Heart, and 2010’s True Grit. Out of those nominations, it was only Crazy Heart that earned Bridges his one and only Oscar — at least thus far.
There are only two other thespians to have longer Academy Awards careers than Bridges: Alan Arkin and Katharine Hepburn. Arkin has 46 years between his first nomination and his most recent nomination, having first been nominated for 1966’s The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming and most recently for 2012’s Argo. Hepburn, on the other hand, has 48 years between her first nomination and her final nomination, having first been nominated for 1933’s Morning Glory and most recently for 1981’s On Golden Pond. Arkin ended up winning one of his four nominations while Hepburn won four of her 12 nominations.
When it comes to those who have come close to Bridges, there are five who have come close by having a timespan between their first and most recent or final nominations of at least 40 years: Julie Christie, Robert Duvall, Paul Newman, Peter O’Toole, and Mickey Rooney. Christie, who won once out of four chances in a 42-year span, was first nominated for 1965’s Darling and most recently with 2007’s Away From Her. Duvall, who won once out of seven chances in a 42-year span, was first nominated for 1972’s The Godfather and most recently for 2014’s The Judge. Newman, who won once out of 10 chances in a 44-year span, was first nominated for 1958’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and lastly for 2002’s Road to Perdition. O’Toole, who didn’t win any out of eight chances in a 44-year span, was first nominated for 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia and lastly for 2006’s Venus. Rooney, who didn’t win any out of four chances — unless you count a Juvenile Award — in a 40-year span, was first nominated for 1939’s Babes in Arms and lastly for 1979’s The Black Stallion.
Bridges fits between these two groups of very talented actors and actresses. One thing they mostly all have in common is that, despite having long careers in relationship to the Academy Awards, they didn’t win all that much — except for Hepburn. While they may have been nominated numerous times, much like Bridges, there were mostly just one or no wins to their names. Interestingly enough, Hepburn has both the most nominations and most wins out of this collection of talents.
Now, when it comes to those who might be able to continue winning Oscars with this relatively small list, there are only a few who are still alive and able to continue widening their Academy Awards career. Bridges, of course, is still very much in the acting game but is joined by Arkin — whose gap is already wider — as well as Christie and Duvall — whose gaps measure in a little shorter. Christie’s latest film was in 2012, Duvall’s latest film was in 2016, and Arkin’s latest film will hit the big screen later in 2017.
Whether or not Bridges is able to take home the gold at the upcoming Academy Awards, it doesn’t detract from the fact that he’s had a long relationship with the Oscars — one of the longest, in fact. And better yet, Bridges already has three films lined up for 2017 with The Only Living Boy in New York, Granite Mountain, and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. We expect a lot more from this legendary actor for hopefully many years to come.
Tags: Alan Arkin, Crazy Heart, Hell or High Water, Jeff Bridges, Julie Christie, Katharine Hepburn, Mickey Rooney, Oscars 2017, Paul Newman, Peter O'Toole, Robert Duvall, Starman, The Contender, The Last Picture Show, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, True Grit