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365 Days of Oscar: Sigourney Weaver’s Double Loss

Thirty-five years ago, Sigourney Weaver became the first double nominee to lose both awards at the Oscars — a historic feat, if an ignomonious one.

She was nominated for Best Actress for the Dian Fossey biopic Gorillas in the Mist and Best Supporting Actress for Working Girl. History had it that a double nominee would always win in one of their categories, usually the supporting one, so this was a real shock. Compounding things, Weaver had been a double winner at the year’s Golden Globe ceremony (albeit, as part of a rare three-way tie with The Accused‘s Jodie Foster and Madame Sousatzka‘s Shirley MacLaine).

In an upset, Geena Davis won Best Supporting Actress for The Accidental Tourist at the top of the evening — the category Weaver had ultimately been favored to prevail in according to almost all pundits. So many (Weaver likely included) assumed she would end up winning Best Actress. But Foster, the favorite going in, did win. And so Weaver went home empty-handed, never to be nominated again. (She had one previous nomination for another rare genre picture, 1986’s Aliens.)

It’s a shame. A win for Working Girl would have been a truly great win for a comedy. And because she never won, history forgets that Weaver is as pivotal a player in a great generation of actresses as Close, Field, Keaton, Lange, Spacek, and Streep.

This article is part of a special year-long series of anecdotes, reflections and thoughts about the Academy Awards.