Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book Review: And the Winner Really Is by Ken Grout

Available at Amazon
And the Winner Really Is: The Definitive Ranking of the Greatest Actors and Actresses in Oscar History by Ken Grout. Mixing statistics, motion picture history, and some common sense, Grout has come up with an interesting formula to determine who is the real Oscar champ.

Grout’s book considers all Academy Award winning actors and actresses as well as those nominees who never actually won the award (you see, using Grout’s system, you earn points for each nomination). That’s why Irene Dunne (nominated five times, but never a winner) ranks higher on the list than Clark Gable (nominated 3 times with one win).

To deal with ties, Grout came up with some steps. Here are four that helped crown the champions: Number of Career Wins, Number of Career Nominations, Career Performances in Best Picture Winners, and Career Performances in Best Picture Nominees.

Fan favorites like Cary Grant (two nominations and no wins—honorary Oscars don’t count) and Maureen O’Hara (no nominations, one honorary Oscar) don’t make the list at all. The book also includes the top “Never-Won’s.” According to Grout’s research, “There are twenty-four individuals in Oscar history who have been nominated for at least four competitive acting Oscars,” but haven’t won. Who do you think tops this list? Hint: It’s a man. In fact number two is also a man and a good friend and professional rival of number one.

Sisters Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland have three Best Actress Oscars between them.

Grout charts the dominance of Bette Davis from the late 1940s to the late 1960s. He also adds some fun stats like who are the greatest families in Academy Award history. Spoiler alert: It’s the Fondas: Jane, Henry, and Peter. What Oscar winner is also a champion at the box office?

If you love the Oscars and the movies, you’ll have a ton of fun with And the Winner Really Is. It’s already found a place in my group of movie reference books. I know I’ll be referring to it for years to come.

And the Winner Really Is is available for purchase from Lemonyyellow Books and Amazon.

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