Matt threw down the gauntlet in his post bragging about UT Austin alum, Matthew McConaughey, winning Best Actor laurels last night: “So Jay and Greg, how long has it been since your eastern seaboard finishing schools for global technocrats graduates won a Best Actor Oscar?”
Well, I went to Tufts and the answer is 1985, when Tufts grad, William Hurt, won the Best Actor Oscar for Kiss of the Spider Woman. Yes, that was a little while ago. But given that UT Austin has 38,463 undergraduates relative to only 5,255 at Tufts, I’d say that each having one alum among the 76 people who have ever won the Best Oscar for Actors is a little more impressive for the much smaller Tufts.
Tufts also has more than its share of well-known actors who haven’t won the Best Actor award, including:
- Hank Azaria, actor and voice actor most famous for his work on The Simpsons and various films
- Jessica Biel (did not finish), prominent film actress
- David Costabile, actor, known for his recurring roles on The Wire, Flight of the Conchords, and Breaking Bad
- Dom DeLuise, actor, most famous for his work in Blazing Saddles and Space Balls and as host of the television show Candid Camera
- Nicole Fiscella, Gossip Girl actress and model
- Peter Gallagher, prominent Golden Globe- and SAG Award-winning actor,best known for his roles in The O.C., American Beauty, and Mr. Deeds
- Dan Hedaya, film actor, best known for Clueless and Blood Simple
- Oliver Platt, Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG-nominated actor (Huff, Frost/Nixon, 2012)
- Rainn Wilson (did not finish), actor and co-star of The Office
And two Oscar-winning producers:
Rainn Wilson and I went to high school together before both going to Tufts. In fact, we double-dated to prom, as you can see in the photo above. Yes, that’s him with the gloves.
And Greg’s doctoral alma mater, Yale, has dominated the Oscars. Just last night, Yale alum, Lupita Nyong’o, won the Best Supporting Actress Award. Three-time Best Actress, Meryl Streep, is also a Yale alum. Other Oscar winners and nominees who attended Yale include: Paul Newman, Sigourney Weaver, Frances McDormand, Paul Giamatti, Elia Kazan, Sam Waterston, Oliver Stone, Jodie Foster, and Edward Norton.
Of course, UT Austin does have Wes Anderson, who is one of my favorite film-makers. But in general Matt has picked the wrong fight. There are many things not to like about what Matt calls “eastern seaboard finishing schools for global technocrats,” but failure to produce acclaimed actors is not one of them.