Oscar Winning Performances That Were In The Wrong Category

Categories: Oscars

Louise Fletcher won Best Actress for 1975's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Next, but she was really supporting. It was a bad year for lead femmes, though (much as I love Ann-Margret in Tommy), and they apparently needed to fill up the category. Besides, Nurse Ratched was by far the film's biggest female role.
It happens, whether because of campaigning or a mistake or a misguided sense that certain perfs should be pushed where they don't belong.

And it seems to pay off because all these people won their categories (with one still pending, but building steam).

Tatum O'Neal dominated 1973's Paper Moon, but back then you automatically put any child performance in supporting. (But not this year! Go, Quvenzhane.)

Jessica Lange was the female lead in '82's Tootsie, but they dressed her up as supporting because, after all, she was bound to get nominated for Best Actress for the same year's "Frances." And she did. Tootsie's real supporting actress, Teri Garr, was pissed.

Nicole Kidman won by a nose for 2002's The Hours. She was named Best Actress, but with an ensemble piece like that, she could have easily been placed in the supporting berth.

Christoph Waltz is the male lead in Django Unlimited, but he was put in the supporting category. And he has a much better chance of winning that one, so it was a very good move.

Also, Geoffrey Rush was one of three actors to play the lead in 1996's Shine and he copped Best Actor anyway. Still, I don't think that many people felt it was much of a miscarriage of justice since his performance dominated the film.

Can you think of any other categorical mixups in Oscar history?

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