Did Brad Pitt just set a record?
With this year's nominations Pitt has now starred in four Best Picture nominees in a row- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Inglorious Basterds, Tree of Life and Moneyball. After poking around in Academy history for a while I can find no prior examples of a leading man accomplishing this before. (And before you write me I'm not counting his voice over performance in Megamind so you can put an asterisk on this if you like)
Other men have come very close. Between '83 and '89 William Hurt starred in six Best Picture nominees starting with The Big Chill and ending with The Accidental Tourist but in between he mixed in more forgettable titles like A Time of Destiny. Russell Crowe's run at the start of the last decade beginning with The Insider would have matched this if he hadn't thrown in Proof of Life between A Beautiful Mind and Gladiator. Brando received four consecutive Best Actor nominations in the early fifties beginning with Streetcar but only three were Best Picture contenders.
|Bergman in Gaslight|
And that's all I can come up. I don't want to declare the record Pitt's with certainty since when ever I do that the collective hive-mind of the Internet quickly clowns my feeble research, so I'll throw it open to the floor. Has any other leading man equaled Pitt's streak? I don't see anybody else, but if someone can find a name I'll update the post.
It is worth further noting that those actors I named - Hurt, Crowe, Bergman, Brando - all won Oscars during those streaks. Just saying.
*Update: It was pointed out to me by Andreas that the I missed the super obvious answer of John Cazale. Like Boyd, none of them were leading roles but they were all significant parts and he did appear not merely in five nominees in a row, but five bona fide classics.