Oscar 2006: Best Actress Race

The five women nominated for the 2006 Best Actress Oscar are, in alphabetical order:

Penelope Cruz, Volver
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Helen Mirren, The Queen
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
Kate Winslet, Little Children

Of the five women, only one, Spanish Penelope Cruz, is a new face, who now joins a small number of thespians nominated for a performance in a foreign-language film, Pedro Almodovar's “Volver,” which failed to make the list of five foreign-language nominees.

The other four women are all familiar, multiple-nominated actresses, whose age ranges from 31 (Kate Winslet) to 72 (Judi Dench). Jointly, these four actresses have received 28 nominations, of which Meryl Streep alone accounts for half, or 14 nods!

Two of the five women have won Oscars: Meryl Streep, twice (supporting in “Kramer Vs. Kramer” in 1979 and lead in “Sophie's Choice” in 1982) and Judi Dench (supporting in “Shakespeare in Love” in 1998).

Most foreign actors have received acting nominations for work in American or British (in other words, English-speaking) films. In the entire Academy's history, only two thespians, both Italian, have won the Oscar for a part in a foreign-language film: Sophia Loren for “Two Women” in 1961 and Roberto Benigni for “Life Is Beautiful” in 1998.