Hollywood BFFs, Oscar Rivals

George Clooney vs. Brad Pitt! Jack Nicholson vs. Marlon Brando! See how the Academy has a long history of pitting pals against each other

01 of 10

GEORGE VS. BRAD

GEORGE VS. BRAD
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Best Actor, 2012
The merry pranksters have been in and out of each other’s lives – and movies – for years, so it only seemed a matter of time before swooning fans of the A-listers would have to choose between charming man-about-town (up for The Descendants) and the handsomest man in the world, pal (up for Moneyball). Whoever wins, you can be sure there’ll be a practical joke coming out of it somehow.

02 of 10

JENNIFER VS. INGRID

JENNIFER VS. INGRID
Everett

Best Actress, 1944
Talk about a graceful loser! Good friends Ingrid Bergman and Jennifer Jones were both nominated for Best Actress in 1944. When Jones won for The Song of Bernadette, she felt she had to apologize to her friend (nominated for playing Spanish war prisoner Maria in For Whom the Bell Tolls) who was sitting in the audience. The ever-classy Bergman responded: “No, Jennifer, your Bernadette was better than my Maria.” Jones repaid the compliment the next year, when she presented the Best Actress Oscar to Bergman for the latter’s winning performance in Gaslight.

03 of 10

JACK VS. MARLON

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Best Actor, 1973
Notorious carousers Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando lived next to each other in Beverly Hills for 33 years, earning their strip of Mulholland Drive the nickname “Bad Boy Drive.” After Brando died in 2004, Nicholson shelled out $6 million for Brando’s derelict bungalow, demolished it, and planted it with Brando’s beloved frangipani flowers. So back in 1973, when both Nicholson and Brando were up for Best Actor for The Last Detail and Last Tango in Paris, respectively, it’s a fair guess that there was no lingering bad blood. After all, they both lost to Jack Lemmon.

04 of 10

JIMMY VS. HENRY

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SNAP/Rex USA

Best Actor, 1940
Hollywood’s archetypal stand-up guys Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda were roommates in New York and L.A. when both were just starting out. They remained close friends their entire lives despite their differing politics (Stewart was a staunch Republican, Fonda a liberal Democrat). As young bachelors, they chased girls and threw record-listening parties for fellow celebrities; as family men, they spent their off-hours building model airplanes together. When a very surprised Stewart won the Oscar in 1940 for The Philadelphia Story, he made it clear his buddy should’ve gotten the award for The Grapes of Wrath instead.

05 of 10

JAMES VS. KATHRYN

JAMES VS. KATHRYN
Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty (2)

Best Director, 2009
They say it’s the children who suffer most in a divorce, but did they ever consider the consequences for Academy voters who were forced to choose between ex-spouses Kathryn Bigelow and James Cameron when it came to selecting a Best Director in 2009? Bigelow ultimately won for The Hurt Locker, becoming the first woman to do so in Academy history. Not that Cameron (up for Avatar and already a Best Director winner 12 years earlier for Titanic), minded: He still seemed on “top of the world” as he effusively congratulated his ex after her big win.

06 of 10

LYNN VS. VANESSA

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AP

Best Actress, 1966
Given that so many of the storied Redgrave clan have made it in show business – Vanessa, Lynn, Natasha and Joely Richardson to name a few – is it any surprise that two of them ended up nominated for an Oscar at the same time? In 1966, Vanessa got an Oscar nod for Morgan!, while little sis Lynn was up for Georgy Girl. There was no ensuing family feud, however, because the Academy bestowed its golden boy to neither. Instead, the Best Actress Oscar went to – who else? – Elizabeth Taylor for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

07 of 10

OCTAVIA VS. MELISSA

OCTAVIA VS. MELISSA
Jeff Vespa/Getty

Best Supporting Actress, 2012
When Octavia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy both got Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress this year, no one was cheering louder than the other. The two have been good friends for some 15 years, back when both were coming up through L.A. comedy troupe The Groundlings. “I think she’s gifted and we’ve been there for each other,” Spencer (nominated for The Help) said of McCarthy. McCarthy (up for Bridesmaids) seems to feel the same way, saying of her fellow Groundlings: “These are my really close, dear friends. … We are all having this otherworldly year together.”

08 of 10

PETER VS. RICHARD

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Keith Hamshere/Getty

Best Actor, 1964 and 1969
Maybe there’s something to the British Isles’ rugby obsession after all. Esteemed thespians Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton didn’t seem to have a problem going up against each other for Best Actor not once but twice – in 1964 (both for their roles in Becket and then again in 1969 (Burton for Anne of the Thousand Days and O’Toole for Goodbye, Mr. Chips). Want proof? Their regular rugby-watching dates went on as usual throughout the years – little golden men be damned! Of course, it probably helped that neither won either time anyway.

09 of 10

JOAN VS. ROSALIND

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Best Actress, 1947
Joan Crawford costarred with friend Rosalind Russell in two films (Forsaking All Others) and (The Women), and even shared her final public appearance ever with Russell in 1974 at Manhattan’s Rainbow Room, where she hosted a party in her ailing friend’s honor. In 1947, the two Hollywood icons were neck and neck for the Best Actress award – Crawford for Possessed and Russell for Mourning Becomes Electra. Good thing they were pals, because they could console each other when Loretta Young took the prize for The Farmer’s Daughter.

10 of 10

GEORGE VS. STEVEN

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UPPA/IPOL/Globe

Best Director, 1977
Put down the bullwhip! No need to decide who gets custody of Indy – old USC film-school buddies Steven Spielberg and George Lucas famously continued their Hollywood friendship after both were nominated for Best Director in 1977. Both were given Oscar nods for movies about little green men – Spielberg for Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Lucas for a little film called Star Wars. Both lost to Woody Allen, who nabbed the top prize for Annie Hall.

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