Instead, Wright was honored for her turn as the young aristocrat who falls in love with Mrs. Miniver's son, despite the protestations of her crotchety grandmother, Lady Beldon. The actress, now 86, went on to appear in another 25 films. But after her blazing start, she never earned another Academy Award nomination.
Barry Fitzgerald in 1945
In one of the greatest quirks in Academy Award history, Irish character actor Barry Fitzgerald was nominated as both best actor and best supporting actor for the same role -- the crusty old priest in "Going My Way."
Another star of "Going My Way," Bing Crosby, eventually won for best actor. But Fitzgerald's double nomination spurred the academy to change nominating rules, making it impossible for anyone to repeat this feat.
Fitzgerald won as best supporting actor, but even then, the gods of irony smiled upon him. Because World War II was still raging and metal was scarce, Oscar statues that year were made of plaster. Fitzgerald accidentally broke his statue while practicing his golf swing. The Motion Picture Academy charged him $10 for a replacement.
Fitzgerald remained active as an actor, but passed away in 1961 without earning another nomination.
Jessica Lange in 1983
Jessica Lange began her film career as a punch line, starring opposite a 40-foot gorilla in the much-derided 1976 remake of "King Kong." But by 1983, she had redefined herself as an actor's actor, and cemented that reputation with a pair of Oscar nominations.
Interestingly, in both performances, Lange was portraying an actress, though the roles could hardly be more different.
In "Frances," Lange played the troubled Frances Farmer, who came to Hollywood in the late 1930s with expectations of glory, only to be committed to a mental institution after several drunken, violent episodes.
In "Tootsie," Lange took a comic turn as a soap opera star who is unaware that her supporting actress and new best friend is actually a man, and he's falling in love with her.
One could argue that Dustin Hoffman should have competed among the actresses that year. "Tootsie" earned 10 Academy Award nominations, but took home only one prize, with Lange winning as supporting actress. Her victory was hardly certain. She was competing against fellow cast member Teri Garr, who played Hoffman's friend.
In the race for best picture, Lange hardly had a chance to win. She was going up against Meryl Streep, who delivered perhaps her finest performance in "Sophie's Choice."
Lange has since earned four more nominations, winning again 12 years later, this time as best actress for her work in "Blue Sky."
Sigourney Weaver in 1988
Sigourney Weaver has the dubious honor of being the first double nominee to go home with nothing, despite two strong performances. She was up for best actress for her role as Dian Fossey, the writer who lives among the apes in "Gorillas in the Mist." She was competing in the supporting category for playing the power-hungry boss in "Working Girl."
Weaver, indeed, faced tough competition in both races. In the best actress category, she faced fellow "Working Girl" Melanie Griffith in addition to Glenn Close ("Dangerous Liaisons"), Meryl Streep ("A Cry in the Dark") and the eventual winner, Jodie Foster, who played a rape victim in "The Accused."