Friday, November 11, 2011

Thirty seconds of second-guessing

As you all probably know if you've read this blog long enough, I'm a fan of good game shows. Not that there are many of them left on American TV, but I quite enjoy watching Jeopardy! when I get the chance. The annual Tournament of Champions is currently in progress, and last night's Final Jeopardy! clue is one that shouldn't be too difficult for fans of older films. The category was "Hollywood History", and the clue was something like:

The first two sisters to be nominated for Oscars in the same acting category in the same year


Now, I came up with a response right away, and wasn't terribly surprised to see that I was right. But I spent the rest of the 30 seconds trying to come up with the two movies for which the sisters were nominated, which is rather a more difficult question. Can you figure out the two films?

Answer: (Highlight the text block to see the answer) On the show, the clue was what's called a "Triple Stumper"; that is, none of the three contestants got the right response. The first woman had no clue and so named her two nieces. The second player gave the plausibly wrong answer of Lynn and Vanessa Redgrave, while the leader guessed Eva and Zsa Zsa Gabor. The right response, of course, was "Who are Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland?" I knew that, but couldn't remember which movies Fontaine and de Havilland were nominated for in the same year. I knew Fontaine was nominated for Rebecca and Suspicion in 1940 and 1941 respectively, and that de Havilland had been nominated several times ni the late 1940s for To Each His Own, The Snake Pit, and The Heiress. But I couldn't think of what movies would have gotten Olivia a nomination in the early 1940s, or what would have gotten Joan nominations in the late 1940s. The answer to that, it turns out, is that Olivia was nominated for Hold Back the Dawn in 1941 up against Fontaine's Oscar-winning performance in Suspicion.

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