OSCARS: Is George Clooney Now King Of The Academy Awards?

When George Clooney received his eighth Oscar nomination as a producer of Argo – he shared producing credits on the Best Picture nominee with Ben Affleck and Grant Heslov — he marched into the Academy Award record books in a very unique way. It was the sixth different category in which he was nominated, an unprecedented feat for the 24 categories currently handed out each year. It’s also a nearly-unprecedented feat in all 85 years of the Oscars  — but that’s with an asterisk and we’ll get to that.

Clooney knocked off three of those categories in 2005, the first year he was nominated for anything, with Directing and Original Screenplay (with Heslov) nominations for Good Night And Good Luck and winning Best Supporting Actor for Syriana. Then there were those Best Actor nominations he seems to get every other year: Michael Clayton (2007), Up In The Air (2009) and The Descendants (2011). That’s four different categories, to which he added a fifth in 2011, when he also was nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay race for The Ides Of March (with Heslov and Beau Willimon). This feat with five ties him with Warren Beatty, Stanley Kubrick, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen and Kenneth Branagh — however, only Clooney’s and Beatty’s noms all came in Oscar’s marquee top eight races (Picture, Writing, Acting, Directing). For the record, in addition to their writing, producing, directing and/or acting nods, Kubrick won in Special Effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); Branagh was nominated for a Live Action Short, Swan Song (1992); and the Coens have shared Film Editing nominations twice under their pseudonym Roderick Jaynes.

With Best Picture frontrunner Argo, the versatile Clooney has now passed them all in this particular — and particularly impressive — Oscar statistic. Although some could say acting, directing, writing and picture are just four categories, I would argue they are very specific disciplines which is why the Academy separates out lead and supporting acting as well as Adapted and Original Screenplays. I would also point out Beatty’s feat of earning Picture, Actor, Directing and Screenplay nominations in the same year — not once but twice (Heaven Can Wait, Reds) — is a Herculean feat in itself. He won the Directing Oscar for Reds as well as the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award and has 14 nominations in all, but none of them were in the Supporting Actor category and that’s where Clooney topped him. In fact, Beatty has yet to play a supporting role in any film.

So in terms of sheer numbers of categories nominated, is George Clooney now the King of the Oscars?

Well, Walt Disney is the only other person to be named in six categories (most in Shorts), but as head of the studio he just basically stuck his name on a majority of them, something that wouldn’t make him a nominee now. Disney racked up 59 nominations and 22 wins (not counting  his four Honorary Awards including the Thalberg) in Best Picture (just once for Mary Poppins), Documentary Short, Documentary Feature, Cartoon Short, Two-Reel Short and Live Action Short. Of course he didn’t actually personally really produce the majority of those, so it would be difficult to compare this unique achievement to Clooney’s.

So in the Academy record books it is now Clooney and Disney*. But if George wants this record all to himself with no question whatsoever ,he might consider taking on one more job like Editing, Costume Design, Songwriting or maybe even Sound Mixing to get that seventh category on his Oscar resume.

  1. If only Beatty made more movies….. The world needs more cinema from him. Oh yeah, Clooney is awesome.

  2. Clooney’s pretty great. AUGUST : OSAGE COUNTY, at the end of the year, will no doubt add to this. (Hard to imagine that that’s not going to get knocked out of the park — )

  3. George is The Man. The real deal! Glad that there are filmmakers like him and Affleck working today…Clearly a few of the most intelligent and accomplished filmmakers of their generation. Look forward to many more years and films from these guys.

  4. There might be more for this “is Clooney the new Oscar king” when his obvious future wins are considered.

    He could actually end up winning some of these categories too. He’ll probably be a BP winner by sunday, weird for actors, is Michael Douglas the only one to have those two Oscars? (Olivier wasn’t a producer for Hamlet). He might end up winning director screenplay and picture (his possible second) for the same movie one of these days, or at least one of those, and with nominations every other year for Lead Actos (what’s that movie he’s doing with Bullock? That looks like a cool contender) he might win that one two.

    So it’s not only the nominations but also the future wins that one has to imagine will come his way at the rate he’s going. Eight nominations in six categories in JUST! 7 years? Which is impressive too.

  5. George Clooney is one of only a handful of people who successfully creates and participates in films for adults. I thought about this a while back and there are only a few out there.

    I applaud his work, effort and most importantly his taste.

  6. George Clooney apparently is more concerned about the quality of his movies than the omnipotent dollar. I am not saying he does not care about money it is just that it is not the most important. He makes films that have a strong foundation and have a sense of superiority in the work. You can also see reflections of his father in preparation. The reporter does the groundwork and gets all the details whether he needs them or not. He appears to be a planner in life in general down to the last element. Yet I don’t think that he gets unnerved if the plans do not always work out, think that he recalculates and goes on. Which means that he is not afraid to change strategy if necessary.

    I would have to think that his partner Grant Heslov would have a similar work ethic and complementary talents. What strikes you is that they do not use a lot of the hoopla and macabre scenes that are in so much of the drivel that is produced today. Their work appears to be essentially what I would call story oriented. I think that we will be seeing better, & better work from them in the future if that is possible.

  7. If anything, I hope this wonderful article simply inspires everyone to revisit “Good Night And Good Luck”. An incredible poetic piece of cinema. Unfairly underrated and its the greatest thing that came outta Section Eight…

  8. “Is George Clooney Now King Of The Academy Awards?”

    Not yet, but he could be next year when he is up for 6 (!) Oscars in 5 categories, four for The Monuments Men (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor), one for Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity (Best Supporting Actor) and one for August : Osage County (Picture). I made lists in the 8 main categories for the 2013/2014 Oscar season (the articles are on Awardscorner), and I was surprised to see how many times his name came up.

  9. I love George as much as the next guy, but I’m not sure I’d stamp this as “producing” any more than Disney! He optioned the material for himself but then handed it to Ben when he realized he wasn’t going to star/direct himself. I hear he visited set for, like, 2 days.
    Under normal circumstances, sounds like he’d be more of an EP. But since he’s George…

  10. Whatever. How does he keep getting funds to make movies when most of his movies don’t really make a lot? Has he hired any minorities to direct his films? I just don’t get it. He seems to be firmly in the Old Boys Club. His movies don’t really have any affect on society. Or do they? Most of the country seems to hate him. I just don’t get it and I’m a liberal.

  11. Peggy, in answer to your puzzlement. George is ‘revered’ by there’s in the elite power circles in ‘moneywood’ because he speaks what they want to hear, he causes for what they want to appear, and most importantly in this corrupt den of inequity he s*x and f*x whoever and whenever they want, IMHO. So even a smart one like you can see this overt hypocrisy oozing out of the pores and ground of the rich and super rich capitalists in ‘moneywod’ who want the rest of us to do as they say but not as they do themselves. After all, has even one of them downsized from their mansions and expensive car(s), private jet travel, etc. how many have written checks to the fed bucket to help the economy? Or even the poor and disenfranchised in their own state? With their super wealth they could eliminate poverty in the entire state or reaps several states if not the entire country. Do they sacrifice for those in need? Not a penny, IMHO. That is why all the rest of us need to stop enabling their very bad behavior by speaking out and also by stop paying to watch their ‘films’.

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