Oscar futility haunts Streep

Meryl Streep has a record 16 Academy Awards acting nominations, yet her batting average is minor league when it comes to winning.

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep

LOS ANGELES — Meryl Streep has a record 16 Academy Awards acting nominations, yet her batting average is minor league when it comes to winning.

Streep has two Oscars but also has by far the worst winning percentage among acting recipients who have earned two or more awards.

From her 15 previous nominations, Streep’s batting average is .133. If she loses this time with her best-actress nomination for Julie & Julia — Sandra Bullock is the favourite for The Blind Side — Streep’s average will drop to .125.

If Bullock wins, she’ll have a perfect batting average — one-for one, since this is her first nomination.

Katharine Hepburn had 12 nominations and won best actress four times, for 1933’s Morning Glory, 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, 1968’s The Lion in Winter and 1981’s On Golden Pond. That’s a .333 batting average.

Jack Nicholson also has 12 nominations but three wins (a .250 average), best actor for 1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and 1997’s As Good as It Gets and supporting actor for 1983’s Terms of Endearment.

Also with three wins are Ingrid Bergman (best actress for 1944’s Gaslight and 1956’s Anastasia and supporting actress for 1974’s Murder on the Orient Express ) and Walter Brennan (supporting actor for 1936’s Come and Get It, 1938’s Kentucky and 1940’s The Westerner).

Bergman’s three wins came from seven nominations, a .429 average. Brennan’s came for just four nominations, a .750 average.

Six performers have been nominated twice and won both times: Sally Field, best actress for 1979’s Norma Rae and 1984’s Places in the Heart; Helen Hayes, best actress for 1931’s The Sin of Madelon Claudet and supporting actress for 1970’s Airport; Vivien Leigh, best actress for 1939’s Gone With the Wind and 1951’s A Streetcar Named Desire; Luise Rainer, best actress for 1936’s The Great Ziegfeld and 1937’s The Good Earth; Kevin Spacey, best actor for 1999’s American Beauty and supporting actor for 1995’s The Usual Suspects; and Hilary Swank, best actress for 1999’s Boys Don’t Cry and 2004’s Million Dollar Baby.

Streep does not have the worst batting average among actors with multiple nominations.

Laurence Olivier had 10 nominations, winning just once (best actor for 1948’s Hamlet), for a .100 average. Paul Newman was nominated nine times and won once (best actor for 1986’s The Color of Money), for a .111 average.

With eight nominations and one win, a .125 average, are Al Pacino (best-actor winner for 1992’s Scent of a Woman) and Geraldine Page (best-actress winner for 1985’s The Trip to Bountiful).

The record for Oscar futility among actors belongs to Peter O’Toole — eight nominations, no wins (O’Toole did receive an honorary Oscar in 2003). He’s followed by Richard Burton with seven nominations and no wins — sharing a losing cause with O’Toole on 1964’s Becket, which earned best-actor nominations for both men.