The movie musical is firmly back on Oscar’s radar this year. Bradley Cooper has been hailed for his directorial debut “A Star is Born” while Rob Marshall, who helmed the Best Picture winner “Chicago,” returns with the much-anticipated “Mary Poppins Returns,” This much-loved genre is on a roll of late, with the like of “Les Miserables,” “Into the Woods” and, of course, “La La Land.”
“A Star is Born,” although not strictly a musical like the these other titles, looks like it could make as big an impact as “La La Land.” Cooper is in line for a Best Director nomination and a very deserved Best Actor bid. His is the sort of performance where you forget entirely about the actor playing the part and are just consumed with the character. He is the one to beat and will probably remain the way through this awards season. The way Cooper’s Jackson Maine looks at Lady Gaga‘s Ally makes you realize how besotted he is with her. It’s those sorts of moments and acting nuances that help make this romance soar and make us believe in their love story.
Lady Gaga, too, is pretty damn good. We’ve seen her unleash all of her fantastic creative weirdness in “American Horror Story,” but here she shows what a natural actress she is delivering a restrained, charismatic performance as the rising star. She should secure her first ever Oscar nomination.
But who should feel more confident about their Oscar chances? Cooper or Gaga? Let’s take a look back at 20 of the most famous movie musicals, detailing how many actors and actresses garnered nominations for their performances in the films. The winners are in bold italics.
As you can see, female musical stars have fared slightly better than their male counterparts – particularly in recent years. Four of the eight female winners were since the turn of the century. Meanwhile, three of the four male musical winners were from more than half a century ago. Since “Chicago” in 2002, there have only been five male nominees in musicals. Compare that to the eight female nominees and four winners in the same period and the modern trend is clear.
In all, just over one-third of the female nominees (eight in 21) have turned their nominations into wins. The men have a much poorer ratio with just under a fifth (four in 17) of the nominees making it to the podium. Here’s a full break down of each acting category: