Breaking into show business is a tough feat; it is the reason Sunset Boulevard has been dubbed “The Boulevard of Broken Dreams” many times over. For an actor or actress to land a role in a good movie early in their career is tough, but for them to pull off the role and win an Oscar for it is amazing. It does not happen often, but when it does those names are often remembered. Over the years a few have been lucky enough to grab a great first time role along with grabbing the golden prize awarded for their effort.
In the best actress category the honor of winning an Oscar as a first time actress has happened on four different occasions. Children of a Lesser God was Marlee Matlin’s first role and she was great as Sarah Norman. We all loved Mary Poppins and so did the voters as Julie Andrews took home the best actress in 1964. Barbara Streisand laughed all the way to the podium as she accepted the award for best actress in 1968’s Funny Girl. Shirley Booth took it home in 1952 for her role as Lola Delaney, in Come Back, Little Sheba. These were extraordinary feats for first timers and have not been duplicated in some time.
Making his debut as a supporting actor in the film Ordinary People, Timothy Hutton took home the Oscar for Best Supporting actor. It was in The Killing Fields that Haing S. Ngor would find himself an Oscar wining in 1984 for Best Supporting Actor.
There have been a slew of actresses that have burst on to the scene as supporting actress and grabbing an Oscar. American Idol runner up Jennifer Hudson captured the gold with her role as Effie White in DreamGirls.
Mercedes McCambridge would seize an Oscar with her role in All the King’s Men, as would Katrina Paxinou in For Whom the Bell Tolls. Anthony Adverse, produced a debut Oscar winner as Gale Sondergaard took it home in 1936. It would be Tatum O’Neal’s role as Addie Loggins, in the 1973 film, Paper Moon. The young and loveable Anna Paquin won Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Piano. East of Eden produced a great performance by Jo Van Fleet and she won in 1955, working along the great James Dean. Who can forget the fabulous job Eva Marie Saint did on her way to an Oscar in On the Waterfront?
Many have come close to pulling it off and we as viewers are always looking for that next great performer to capture us and capture the golden staff. It seems that the males have garnered a tough time winning the best actor award for a first timer, perhaps with all the great movies out now and in the future we could see this come to fruition soon. Until it happens keep watching Hollywood’s magic and see if you can spot the next break out performer.