Oscar: Lead or Supporting Nomination–To Be or Not to Be

Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress Category:

The Supporting Acting categories were established in 1936, and until 1943, winners in that league received plaques rather than Oscar statuettes.

My Cousin Rachel (1952):

Fox studio head, Darryl Zanuck decided to enlist newcomer Richard Burton in the Supporting Actor category for “My Cousin Rachel,” to keep his new star discovery from competing with the two lead frontrunners: Gary Cooper in “High Noon” (who would win Best Actor) and Marlon Brando in “Viva Zapata,” who received a lead nomination.


Member of the Wedding (1953):

Columbia head Harry Cohn decided to place Ethel Waters in the Supporting category in “Member of the Wedding,” a strategy that guaranteed that Julie Harris would be nominated for the Best Actress for that film.