When the nominations for the 93rd annual Academy Awards are announced on March 15, there’s a very good chance that Leslie Odom Jr. will become a double Oscar nominee for his work in One Night in Miami. He could be nominated for best original song for “Speak Now” (which he co-wrote with Sam Ashworth) and best supporting actor for his portrayal of R&B great Sam Cooke.
If Odom is a double nominee, this will be the fourth year in a row that someone has been nominated for both acting and songwriting in the same year.
For Mudbound (2017), Mary J. Blige was nominated for best song for “Mighty River” and best supporting actress for her role as Florence Jackson. For A Star Is Born (2018), Lady Gaga won for best song for “Shallow” and was nominated for best actress for her role as Ally. For Harriet (2019), Cynthia Erivo was nominated for best song for “Stand Up” and best actress for her role as famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
The double nods for Blige, Erivo and now possibly Odom are a sign of the increased opportunities Black performers are being given in film. Moreover, if Odom becomes a double nominee, he’ll become the second actor to do so for a film in which he or she plays a real-life character.
From 1934, when the Oscars introduced their best original song award, through 2016, no one ever received nominations for acting and songwriting in the same year. That’s partly due to the fact that, years ago, singing actors didn’t usually write their own material, but relied on the work of professional songwriters. Judy Garland, Bing Crosby and Doris Day are forever linked with Oscar-winning songs, but they didn’t have a hand in writing them. This started to change in the mid-’70s.
Barbra Streisand has straddled the two eras. Seven songs from films in which she starred have received Oscar nominations for best original song. She didn’t write or co-write the first three, but she has co-written two of the last four.
Here are 15 actors who landed songwriting nods but missed out on acting nods for those films. If any of these actors had also been nominated for acting, they — and not Blige — would have become the first to achieve this remarkable double nomination feat.
Keith Carradine: The actor won the 1975 Oscar for “I’m Easy” from Nashville but missed out on a best supporting actor nod for his role as Tom Frank in the ensemble film.
Barbra Streisand: The star won the 1976 Oscar for composing “Evergreen (Love Theme From A Star Is Born)” for that film but missed out on a best actress nod for her role as Esther Hoffman Howard. Twenty years later, Streisand was nominated for co-writing “I Finally Found Someone” from The Mirror Has Two Faces but again missed out on a best actress nod for her role as Rose Morgan-Larkin.
Paul Jabara: The songwriter and actor won the 1978 Oscar for writing “Last Dance” from Thank God It’s Friday but missed out on a supporting actor nod for his comic role as Carl, a lovelorn and nearsighted discogoer.
Dolly Parton: The country legend received a best song nod for “Nine to Five” from the 1980 film of the same name in which she held her own with acting pros Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin but missed out on a nod for best supporting actress for her engaging performance as Doralee Rhodes.
Willie Nelson: The country legend received a best song nod for “On the Road Again” from the 1980 film Honeysuckle Rose, in which he starred alongside Dyan Cannon, but missed out on a nod for best actor for his role as Buck Bonham.
Janet Jackson: The star received a best original song nod for co-writing “Again” from the 1993 John Singleton film Poetic Justice, in which she starred with 2Pac, but missed out on a nod for best actress for her role as Justice LaRue.
Björk: The musician received a best song nod for “I’ve Seen It All” from Dancer in the Dark (2000) but was passed over for a best actress nod for her starring role as Selma Ježková.
Eminem: The rapper won the 2002 Oscar for co-writing “Lose Yourself” from the semi-autobiographical 8 Mile but missed out on a best actor nod for playing Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith Jr.
Michael McKean: The actor was nominated for co-writing “A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow” for A Mighty Wind (2003) but missed out on an acting nod for his role as Jerry Palter.
Jordan Houston III (Juicy J) and Paul Beauregard (DJ Paul): The Three 6 Mafia rappers shared the 2005 award for co-writing “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from Hustle & Flow, but they each missed out on best supporting actor nods for their roles as Tigga and R.L., respectively.
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova: The then-couple won the 2007 Oscar for “Falling Slowly” from Once but missed out on nods for best actor and best actress for their roles as Guy and Girl, respectively.
Ryan Bingham: The musician won the 2009 Oscar for co-writing “The Weary Kind” from Crazy Heart but missed out on a supporting actor nod for his role as the leader of Tony and the Renegades, backup group at the bowling alley.
Common: The hip-hop star won the 2014 Oscar for co-writing “Glory” from Selma but missed out on a supporting actor nod for his role as civil rights leader James Bevel.