Thursday, July 31, 2014

Losing the EGOT

Occasionally I find myself sorting through particularly random trivia, and one of my favorite bits of trivia surrounds the younger of the acting Redgrave sisters.  While Vanessa was the great actor of her generation, Lynn had something else special about her.  Lynn managed to be the only person in the history of entertainment to receive nominations for an Emmy, Oscar, Grammy, and Tony award...and not win any.

This is of course both a huge compliment and an enormous disappointment.  Redgrave managed to get nominated for three Tonys, two Emmys, two Oscars, and a Grammy in her career, something almost every actor would kill for, but you have to assume that she wishes she could have taken the stage just once to accept one of those major awards (to her credit, she did pick up a pair of Golden Globe Awards).

I'm always struggling a bit here to get commenters, so I'm hoping some of you will see the chance for awards trivia and jump on it, as this list is likely not comprehensive despite my exhaustive Wikipedia efforts.  What I am trying to do is predict who would be the next person to pull off the feat of losing all four of the EGOT trophies will be.  As far as my research has discovered I have found five people who have been nominated for and lost three of these awards and are still kicking so they could go on to lose the fourth.  I am sure, though, that there must be more-if you know of one, share in the comments and I'll be happy to give you credit.  Until then, here are the five people who could follow in Ms. Redgrave's footsteps if they can make it to the top (almost).

Gabriel Byrne

Nomination He's Missing:
Emmys Lost: 2008 and 2009-Lead Actor in a Drama (In Treatment)
Grammys Lost: 1998-Spoken Word Album (The Nightingale and the Rose)
Tonys Lost: 2000-Lead Actor in a Play (A Moon for the Misbegotten)
He Shouldn't Feel Too Sad: He did win a Golden Globe for his work on In Treatment

Can He Seal the Deal?: The trick to "pulling a Lynn Redgrave" (patent-pending) is to be able to make positions second through fifth, but not manage to grab first.  I think that Byrne could well nab an Oscar nomination, considering he is a multi-hyphenate entertainer (he not only acts, but also writes, directs, and produces), and doesn't seem too likely to win any of the other awards anytime soon.  He rarely does Broadway and his television show isn't on anymore-this seems like one of the more likely of the five (I did the list alphabetically, so there was no leading toward the victor here).

Ed Harris

Nomination He's Missing:
Emmys Lost: 2005-Lead Actor in a Miniseries (Empire Falls), 2012-Supporting Actor in a Miniseries (Game Change)
Oscars Lost: 1995-Supporting Actor (Apollo 13), 1998-Supporting Actor (The Truman Show), 2000-Lead Actor (Pollock), 2002-Supporting Actor (The Hours)
Tonys Lost: 1986-Actor in a Play (Precious Sons)
He Shouldn't Feel Too Sad: He has two Golden Globe awards, for The Truman Show and Game Change

Can He Seal the Deal?: For a long time there, it seemed like Ed Harris would surely win an Oscar.  He received a staggering four nominations in the span of seven years, and one could make a pretty convincing argument that he was in second in two, if not three of those years (Amy Adams-take note).  Harris has since fallen on hard times with the Academy and has had no more luck with Emmy.  This of course could happen, as the Spoken Word Album category can slip someone in at almost any time, and Harris is famous enough that he could make it for some reading of Shakespeare or Arthur Miller.  However, he's never been a particularly "awards-seeking" performer (otherwise he would have beaten James Coburn in 1998), and I don't see this happening.  Picking up an Emmy at some point is probably more likely.

Kate Nelligan

Nomination She's Missing:
Emmys Lost: 1989-Actress in a Drama Series (Road to Avonlea)
Oscars Lost: 1991-Supporting Actress (The Prince of Tides)
Tonys Lost: 1983-Actress in a Play (Plenty), 1984-Actress in a Play (A Moon for the Misbegotten), 1988-Featured Actress in a Play (Serious Money), 1989-Actress in a Play (Spoils of War)
She Shouldn't Feel Too Sad: She did win a BAFTA for Frankie and Johnny

Can She Seal the Deal?: The longtime Canadian stage actress enjoyed most of her awards-success at the Tonys, where in the 1980's she was a frequent contender but always missed (it can't feel too bad losing to the likes of Jessica Tandy and Glenn Close, though).  Her one-and-done nomination in 1991 at the Oscars makes her the person who has been on this list the longest, and as a whole she rarely acts anymore (on the stage or otherwise), so unless she has a particular penchant to get involved with an album and score a truly random nomination, this seems like the least likely of the five to happen.  It is interesting, though, how such a comparatively obscure (certainly the least well-known of these five) actress could so quickly score 3/4 of an EGOT loss.

Kathleen Turner

Nomination She's Missing:
Grammys Lost: 2001-Spoken Word Album (The Complete Shakespeare Sonnets)
Oscars Lost: 1986-Lead Actress (Peggy Sue Got Married)
Tonys Lost: 1990-Actress in a Play (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), 2005-Actress in a Play (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)
She Shouldn't Feel Too Sad: She has two Golden Globes for Romancing the Stone and Prizzi's Honor.

Can She Seal the Deal?: Of the five, I think this is probably the most shocking person on the list, considering that she almost certainly was close to getting nominated at the Emmys for playing Chandler's mother on Friends.  I would suspect, therefore, that she's also the most likely person to pull the Lynn Redgrave of these five.  She just needs a solid guest spot on a cable television series (probably not too hard considering their penchant for going for former headliners of a certain age for guest roles), and to not win the Tony Award (she probably would have won in 2005, but no one was going to take out Cherry Jones in Doubt).  I think that's manageable, and that she's probably going to make it thanks to the bizarre dozens-of-people-nominated Shakespeare Sonnets nomination she got in 2001.

Vanessa Williams

Nominations She's Missing:
Emmys Lost: 2007, 2008, and 2009-Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Ugly Betty), 2009-Performer in an Animated Program (Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies)
Grammys Lost: 1989-New Artist and Female R and B Performance ("The Right Stuff"), 1990-Female R and B Performance ("Dreamin"), 1992-Female R and B Performance ("Runnin' Back to You"), 1993-Record of the Year ("Save the Best for Last"), Female Pop Vocal Performance ("Save the Best for Last"), Female R and B Vocal Performance ("The Comfort Zone"), and Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals ("Love Is"), 1995-Female Pop Vocal Performance ("Colors of the Wind") and Female R and B Performance ("The Way That You Love"), 1997-Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album (Star Bright)
Tonys Lost: 2002-Actress in a Musical (Into the Woods)
She Shouldn't Feel Too Sad: She was Miss America, but umm, yeah, maybe she should get a little pity here.

Can She Seal the Deal?: Yeah, that list of Grammy losses is massive.  Williams is one of the most nominated women in the Recording Academy to never win.  Despite her seventeen year absence, I think her best shot would be to pick up one of the below-the-line Grammy Awards rather than take an Oscar nomination.  Williams did sing an Oscar-winning song, of course (1995's "Color of the Wind"), but she's not very much of a songwriter, and the movies have oddly never taken to her like music, television, and the theater.  So my gut says no, she can't quite get there (prove me wrong, casting directors), but may well win one of the other three awards before all is said and done.

Whoops, I missed two (if you know of more, I read literally every comment on this blog, so mention them below and I'll be overjoyed):

James Franco

Nomination He's Mising: Tony
Emmys Lost: 2002-Lead Actor in a Miniseries (James Dean), 2011-Outstanding Special Class Programs (The 83rd Academy Awards...yes, James Franco was nominated for an Emmy for his comically bad hosting of the Oscars...let that sink in for a second)
Oscars Lost: 2010-Best Actor (127 Hours)
Grammys Lost: 2014-Spoken Word Album (Actors Anonymous)
He Shouldn't Feel Too Sad: Franco missed the Emmy but picked up the Golden Globe for his work in James Dean.

Can He Seal the Deal? Yes, I think he can.  Franco recently did a turn on Broadway in Of Mice and Men and while he missed out on a nomination there (instead the citation went to his co-lead Chris O'Dowd), he's the sort of person who probably saw the "Losing the EGOT" title (come on-James Franco is the sort of celebrity who googles himself) and thought it was a solid quirk to add to his To Do list, so I suspect that he'll be back relatively soon.  The question is whether or not he'll get a win in the meantime, and I have a feeling he won't.  His cinematic output is impressive, but it's usually staid adaptations of books you read in AP Lit, and he's never hosting anything ever again, so absent a Guest Actor win (which he couldn't even score for 30 Rock...and everyone scored those for 30 Rock), I think he's probably in the market for this title.

Marsha Mason

Nomination She's Missing: Tony
Emmys Lost: 1997-Guest Actress in a Comedy (Frasier)
Oscars Lost: 1973-Best Actress (Cinderella Liberty), 1977-Best Actress (The Goodbye Girl), 1979-Best Actress (Cinderella Liberty), and 1981-Best Actress (Only When I Laugh)
Grammys Lost: 2000-Best Comedy Album (The Prisoner of Second Avenue)
She Shouldn't Feel Too Sad: Mason won Golden Globes for both Cinderella Liberty and The Goodbye Girl

Can She Seal the Deal? The better question has to be how has she not?  Marsha Mason is one of my minor obsessions (she's been nominated for four Oscars, is still living, and yet somehow she disappeared off the face of the public sphere after her divorce to Neil Simon), and the real question was how was she ever going to get a Grammy nomination considering how minor her celebrity is.  With the Comedy Album citation, though, she's actually most well-known these days for her work on Broadway, as she's done six different productions in her career and is constantly working in the New York stage.  Make it happen Marcie!

And those are the seven!  Like I said, I researched pretty thoroughly, but if you trivia sleuths have a sixth person let me know!  And of course, if you don't, please discuss-which of these performers is most likely to score the fourth nomination and "pull a Lynn Redgrave?"  Share in the comments!

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