Glenn Close Just Made Oscar History, But She Won't Be Happy About It

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy

As I'm writing this, the 2021 Academy Awards has done a lot to spread the love around, giving trophies to a wide variety of different movies – but one individual who didn't feel said love is Glenn Close. This evening she was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category, but unfortunately she lost out to Minari's Yuh-jung Youn. Under normal circumstances this wouldn't be anything to write an article about, as there were three other performers up for the prize as well, but what makes tonight significant is that Close has now tied the record for the most Oscar nominations ever without winning a prize.

In the last 38 years, Glenn Close has been nominated for an Academy Award a stunning eight times, but every time the envelope has been opened on stage the paper inside has revealed a different name. It ties her in movie history with Peter O'Toole, who passed away before ever winning an Oscar (though he was the recipient of an Honorary Award in 2003).

Of the times that Glenn Close has been up for Hollywood's highest honor, there is an even split between opportunities to win Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. Her turn in Ron Howard's Hillbilly Elegy is the fourth time that she has been nominated in the latter category, with the other titles on the list being George Roy Hill's The World According To Garp (which was the first time she was up for an Oscar), Lawrence Kasdan's The Big Chill, and Barry Levinson's The Natural. And while she delivered acclaimed lead work in Adrian Lyne's Fatal Attraction, Stephen Frears' Dangerous Liaisons, Rodrigo Garcia's Albert Nobbs, and Bjorn Runge's The Wife, she has always walked away from the Academy Awards empty handed.

To paraphrase Yuh-jung Youn's acceptance speech tonight, some of it is definitely bad luck, as Glenn Close is undoubtedly one of the best actors of her generation, but she just so happens to be constantly competing with other remarkable performances. This year is no exception, as while she delivers a great, transformative turn in Hillbilly Elegy, she faced off against a stacked lineup in this year's Best Supporting Actress category.

To look on the bright side, Glenn Close's career is extremely active, and she may have many more opportunities in the coming years to finally win the esteemed trophy. Oscar fans will remember that cinematographer Roger Deakins was nominated 13 times without a win, but that terrible streak was broken in 2018 when he won for Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049, and since then he won a second Oscar for Sam Mendes' 1917.

Glenn Close has already completed production on her next film, which is a science-fiction drama from director Benjamin Cleary called Swan Song, and it puts her in an ensemble cast along with Awkwafina, Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, and Adam Beach. We'll just have to wait and see if it's Academy Award-caliber work that breaks Close's bad streak.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.