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What Is the John C. Reilly Award, and How Did Michael Stuhlbarg Just Become the First Person to Win It in 15 Years?

It's an incredibly rare feat that only 11 others have ever achieved.

John C. Reilly

Joanne Davidson/SilverHub/REX/Shutterstock

John C. Reilly did something exceedingly rare back in 2002: appeared in three different Best Picture nominees. His roles in “Gangs of New York,” “Chicago,” and “The Hours” — all of which premiered within a week of each other — are now the basis for what FiveThirtyEight has appropriately dubbed the John C. Reilly Award, which is “figuratively bestowed on the actor who appears in the most best picture nominees in a single year, with a minimum of three required for consideration.”

This year’s winner — and, in fact, the first one since Reilly himself — is none other than Michael Stuhlbarg.

The oft-snubbed actor had supporting roles in “The Post,” “The Shape of Water,” and “Call Me by Your Name”; he was considered a potential Best Supporting Actor nominee for his lovely performance in Luca Guadagnino’s romantic drama, but those dreams, unfortunately, went the way of first love.

Prior to Reilly, no one had done this since the 1940s. Curiously, it wasn’t an especially rare feat back then — 11 people did it between 1935 and 1943. Only two of them were women.

John C. Reilly Award

The John C. Reilly Award


FiveThirtyEight also compiled data on the actors to appear in the most Best Picture nominees throughout their career, with Jack Nicholson taking first place (10) and Tom Hanks close behind him (9). Peruse the full data set here.

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