Best Actress Bracket Game: Katharine Hepburn Vs. Julie Andrews
If Julie Andrews looks a little concerned in the picture above, she has reason to be. She’s facing off against the only four time Best Actress winner in Oscar history. Going strictly by the numbers, Mary Poppins doesn’t stand a chance against Katharine Hepburn. But she’s been known to have a little magic on her side. Will a spoonful of sugar be enough?
But first, it’s time to check in on the results of yesterday’s match.
With God as her witness, Scarlett O’Hara will never be hungry again. But she’s still done in this bracket game. Swedish beauty Ingrid Bergman pumped Vivien Leigh out of the game with just over 75% of the votes. That makes Bergman the first member of our final four where she will face the winner of today’s contest.
We’ve already established that Katharine Hepburn has twice as many Best Actress wins as anyone else in history. But what’s mildly surprising is when she won the majority of her awards. In the thirties and forties when Hepburn was arguably at her prime, she only took home one statue. From 1942-1951, Hepburn experienced an Oscar drought during which she was not even nominated.
In the 50’s, after a boost from starring in The African Queen, Hepburn started getting nominated again. But she wouldn’t win again until 1967 for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Once the floodgates were opened, Hepburn scored back-to-back wins with The Lion in Winter the following year. Only one other actress can make that claim (Luise Rainer who won in 1936 and 1937).
While Hepburn stayed active through the 1970’s, the bulk of her work was on stage or television. But she still managed to add to her numbers with one final win in 1981 for On Golden Pond.
Every so often, I am reminded of the wisdom of Daffy Stardust. When he ran the Best Actor bracket game, he limited each contestant to a single performance. This even the playing field. I made the decision with this game to open things up, but there’s definitely a downside to doing so. Readers have commented that based on numbers alone, Hepburn and Meryl Streep are very hard to beat.
If you’re basing your vote on stats, Hepburn’s wins and Streep’s nomination count are truly impressive. Poor Julie Andrews has only one win and three nominations. Hepburn wracked up more than that in just one decade. If there’s an argument to be made for Andrews over Hepburn, it’s that her Oscar-winning performance has endured. I suspect many readers here would rather revisit Mary Poppins than any of Hepburn’s four wins. Her nomination for The Sound of Music just adds to her sentimental appeal. And if you don’t like those goody-two-shoes movies, Andrews smashed her wholesome image in Victor Victoria.
Andrews may not have the numbers on her side. But maybe she doesn’t need them. It’s a long shot, but we’ve seen upsets in these games before…