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Breaking Down Glenn Close's 7 Oscar-Nominated Roles From 1982 to 2018

Glenn Close has never won an Oscar. That could change this year.

Artwork by Rafael Hidalgo for Zimbio

One of the major categories to watch at the Oscars has always been the Best Actress race. This year is no different. 2018 offered an astonishing number of dynamic performances from actresses across genres, and mainstream and independent films. With the Oscar nominations recently announced, the race for Best Actress is now official. Of the actresses to watch, Glenn Close reigns above her fellow nominees. This awards season, the accomplished stage and screen actress has collected quite the hardware so far. Close won the SAG, Golden Globe, and Critics' Choice Awards, tying with Lady Gaga for the latter. With momentum building on Close's side, the awards will likely keep coming thanks to her intense role in 2018's The Wife. Despite her illustrious career, Close has never won the coveted Academy Award. That fact is quite shocking, but again, this is the Oscars we're talking about. So, let's break down Close's history with the Academy, her nominated performances, who she inevitably lost to, and why everything could change this year.

First Oscar Nom: The World According to Garp (1982)

Glenn Close received her first Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Jenny Fields in the film adaptation of The World According to Garp. Nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Close wholly embodied Jenny onscreen, with a distinct verve and presence. Janet Maslin of the New York Times said of Close's performance, "As for Miss Close, she performs miracles with the toughest of the story's many difficult roles. Garp's mother, an entertaining but largely unbelievable caricature in the novel, becomes a full-blooded woman here without losing one bit of her crazy conviction."

Who she lost to: Jessica Lange received the Oscar for her performance as Julie Nichols in Tootsie.

Second Oscar Nom: The Big Chill (1983)

1983's The Big Chill showed off a different side of Close's impeccable talent. A group of baby boomers who went to college together reunite 15 years later after their friend Alex commits suicide. While the film received fairly tepid reviews, it was Close's performance as Sarah Cooper that earned her another Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. 

Who she lost to: Linda Hunt won the Oscar for her role as Billy Kwan in The Year of Living Dangerously.

Third Oscar Nom: The Natural (1984)

The '80s really were a great decade for Close's career. With 1984's The Natural, Close earned her third Oscar nomination again in the category of Best Supporting Actress. Alongside Robert Redford's Roy, Close appears as his childhood sweetheart Iris, a saving grace. While Roger Ebert had a lukewarm reception to the film, he noted of Close's performance: "In the few moments she's allowed alone with Roy, she strikes us as complicated, tender, and forgiving."

Who she lost to: In 1984, actress Peggy Aschcroft won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Mrs. Moore in A Passage to India.

Fourth Oscar Nom: Fatal Attraction (1987)

Likely one of Close's best-known roles to date, Fatal Attraction saw the actress relishing in the vengeance and rage of Alex Forrest. The Oscar nomination marked Close's first in the race for Best Actress. In a review from the Washington Post, critic Desson How described her performance: "Close gives Alex dimension. This woman, who appreciates opera as much as occasional wrist-slashing, can be as demure as a librarian. She can also be suddenly sexy (which is how Dan, played convincingly by Douglas, got into this mess in the first place). Her justifications for her actions (a need for a rewarding human relationship without kitchen utensils) make her quite a tragic figure — until she becomes the female equivalent of the vengeance-crazed Robert Mitchum in Cape Fear or the robotic Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator."

Who she lost to: It was Cher's performance in Moonstruck that earned the Oscar that year.

Fifth Oscar Nom: Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

In keeping with decadent, scheming roles, Close followed-up Fatal Attraction with 1988's romantic drama
Dangerous Liaisons. As the Marquise de Merteuil, Close portrays a vengeful conductor to an orchestra of characters. Pulling figures this way and that, the Marquise wears a mask. In a review from the New York Times, critic Vincent Canby praised Close's Best Actress Oscar-nominated performance saying, "Nothing Miss Close has done on the screen before approaches the richness and comic delicacy of her work as the Marquise."

Who she lost to: Jodie Foster ended up taking home the golden statuette for her leading performance as Sarah Tobias in The Accused

Sixth Oscar Nom: Albert Nobbs (2011)

Dangerous Liaisons rounded out Close's tumultuous decade of '80s success. It wasn't until 2011 that she rejoined the race for Best Actress. In Albert Nobbs, Close portrays a woman who poses as a man struggling to survive as a butler in 19th-century Dublin, Ireland. The film received mixed reviews, but Close, along with co-star Janet McTeer – who earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination – received general acclaim. In a review for the New York Times, critic A.O. Scott wrote, "Ms. McTeer's sly, exuberant performance is a pure delight, and the counterpoint between her physical expressiveness and Ms. Close's tightly coiled reserve is a marvel to behold."

Who she lost to: At the 84th Oscars, Meryl Streep took home her third Academy Award for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.

Seventh Oscar Nom: The Wife (2018)

We've finally come to Close's recent Oscar nomination (for Best Actress), and this time around, Close could end up winning her very first statuette. Much has been said about Close's performance as the wife of a recent Nobel Prize winner. However, Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers summed up her performance the best. "Close plays this ignored, pushed-aside woman like a gathering storm, drawing us into the mind and heart of a heroine who's not going to take it anymore. The actress has received six acting nominations without ever winning an Oscar. The Wife, a funny and fierce showcase for her prodigious talents, might just end the drought. You can't take your eyes off her."

This year's competition: Close is nominated alongside Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), and Olivia Colman (The Favourite).

Close has a lot going for her in this Oscar race. As a veteran actress, the "it's her time" narrative could be a contributing factor when Academy members vote. Regardless, her seven nominations serve as snapshots of her commanding range. Close has made it clear this awards season that, much like Alex in Fatal Attraction, she is not going to be ignored.

The 92nd Academy Awards will air live on February 24th on ABC.

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