LocateTV Blog

TV has been very, very good to Oscar -- Part 2

by on February 25th 2011 at 12:14 am

It's been tougher on women in the battle to upgrade from  well-known TV star to Best Actress Oscar winner.

As shown in a recent post, seven men have achieved this  feat, with former Bosom Buddies headliner Tom Hanks doing it twice for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. But only three women have ever taken home the trophy after first achieving fame in a TV series.

Sally Field climbed the highest mountain among either men or women, as you can see from the accompanying illustration. And like Hanks, she's a two-time winner.

Otherwise it's a sparse field, so much so that only five other TV-turned-movie stars have ever even been nominated for Oscar's top female prize. Here's an alphabetical closer look at the winners and nominees, one of whom will try for the first time in the Best Actress category when the Oscars air Sunday night on ABC. (Note: the years listed are those in which the films were released.)

1. SALLY FIELD (won in 1979 for the title role in Norma Rae and again in 1984 as Edna Spalding in Places in the Heart) -- Her amazing journey has taken her from a mid-1960s role as Francine "Gidget" Lawrence on ABC's Gidget to that indelible portrayal of perky Sister Bertrille for three seasons on ABC's The Flying Nun (1967-'70). Field also, of course, made one of Oscar's most famous acceptance speeches, saying as much in disbelief as appreciation, "I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!" after winning her second trophy.

2. GOLDIE HAWN (nominated in 1980 for the title role in Private Benjamin) -- Regularly seen in a bikini, she played her effervescent, giggly, goofy self from 1968-'70 on NBC's Laugh-In. Before her only Best Actress nomination, she won a Supporting Actress Oscar in 1969 for Cactus Flower.

3. FELICITY HUFFMAN (nominated in 2005 for the role of Bree in Transamerica) -- She came to TV stardom a year earlier on ABC's Desperate Housewives, as weary "supermom" Lynette Scavo. Before DH, which is still going, she prepped on ABC's much less successful Sports Night, playing producer Dana Whitaker.

4. HELEN HUNT (won in 1997 as Carol Connelly in As Good As It Gets -- It's been pretty quiet in the years since for Hunt, who came to fame as Jamie Buchman on NBC's Mad About You. The series was still part of the network's prime-time lineup when Hunt won her Oscar. It ran from 1992-'99.

5. MELISSA LEO (nominated in 2008 for the role of Ray Eddy in Frozen River) -- Homicide: Life on the Street wasn't a huge hit, but it endured for six seasons on NBC, with Leo co-starring as Det./Sgt. Kay Howard from 1993-'97. She's up for a supporting actress Oscar Sunday night as Alice Ward in The Fighter and currently is co-starring in the HBO series Treme.

6. HELEN MIRREN (won in 2006 as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen) -- She's still best known to most as dogged detective superintendent Jane Tennison in PBS' much-lauded Prime Suspect series, of which there have been seven installments dating to 1991. Mirren also received a best actress Oscar nomination for 2009's The Last Station.

7. MARY TYLER MOORE (nominated in 1980 for the role of Beth Jarrett in Ordinary People) -- She already had achieved TV stardom twice, first as Laura Petrie on CBS' The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-'66) and then under her own power as Mary Richards on CBS' The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-'77).

8. MICHELLE WILLIAMS (in the running Sunday night for the role of Cindy Periera in Blue Valentine) -- She came to stardom as Jen Lindley on Dawson's Creek, which ran from 1998 to 2003 on the now defunct WB network. Williams earlier received a supporting actress nomination for 2005's Brokeback Mountain.

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