It’s pretty amazing how few actresses in the Supporting Actress Oscar category have won the award starring in roles with nude scenes, especially when more than a dozen have won the Best Actress award for doing so. Perhaps supporting actresses don’t do nude scenes as much to avoid overshadowing the lead actresses, or maybe doing nude scenes when you have less screen time just doesn’t carry as much clout. Either way, here are the few women who managed to pull of the feat of winning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for a role with nude scenes:
Rachel Weisz in ‘The Constant Gardener’ (2005) – Rachel Weisz is probably the only Oscar winner to film a nude scene with a fake pregnant belly. In this film, the stunning actress plays a spunky outspoken activist who is half of a tragic love story. Weisz is definitely one of Hollywood’s most unique beauties, and her screen presence can take your breath away, nude or not.
Kim Basinger in ‘L.A. Confidential’ (1997) – You don’t see much of Kim Basinger in ‘L.A. Confidential’, at least as far as nude scenes are concerned. But if you’re a coin slot kind of a guy, you’ll enjoy the bit of her you get to see in this film. This is still, by far, Basinger’s best role. She just fits the mold of an old Hollywood glamour girl perfectly, and there is no one more suited to portray a Veronica Lake look-a-like. If you like film noir, this movie is a good modern example of the genre.
Juliette Binoche in ‘The English Patient’ (1996) – I’ve always loved Juliette Binoche’s soft, playful look, and she’s just one of those actresses that just seems too cute to do nude scenes. She just flashes one breast in this long film that will probably bore male viewers half to death (nudity probably won’t save them from falling asleep during this one); however, the lovely Juliette has done some very extensive nude scenes in other films throughout her career.
Mary Steenburgen in ‘Melvin and Howard’ (1980) – This is an interesting film based on the chance encounter of a service station owner with none other than reclusive millionaire Howard Hughes. But of course you don’t care about that! Mary Steenburgen’s nude scene is a little more extensive than others on this list, as she takes off her waitress uniform and angrily struts across an entire bar naked.
Maggie Smith in ‘California Suite’ (1979) – This is yet another Best Supporting Actress winner with a very brief skin flash (I’m starting to notice a pattern here). In the film, she plays an actress staying at a California hotel with a leading man as they wait for Oscar night, and she briefly flashes one breast as she puts on her nightgown. Don’t know who Maggie is? Well, just watch any of the Harry Potter films; the distinguished dame plays Professor Minerva McGonagall.
Lee Grant in ‘Shampoo’ (1975) – Actor Warren Beatty had it made in this film, because he got to see more than one lovely lady naked. However, Lee Grant is the woman who wins the award here, although she just briefly shows a bit of a boob.
This year, it looks like Marissa Tomei has her work cut out for her, because her role in ‘The Wrestler’ is the only one nominated with nude scenes (since Kate Winslet was so unfairly cut out from pulling a double Oscar winning nude scene whammy). And since she does more than the acceptable brief flash, it’s going to be a very hard win, but I’d like to see her pull off the upset.
For more Oscar winning nude scenes, check out this list of Best Actress winners who have appeared naked and this list of Best Picture winners with nude scenes.