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For a brief period in the 1990s, scattily self-deprecating British actress Emma Thompson was an unlikely Oscar queen. Winning Best Actress at her first nomination, after a season-long sweep, for her brilliantly modulated turn in Merchant-Ivory's "Howards End" (1992) -- an atypically subtle choice for the award -- she scored a double-whammy of acting nods the very next year for a pair of Best Picture nominees. After a year apart, voters swooned again for her in another costume drama, and this one she'd scripted herself. As Ang Lee's lyrical interpretation of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" fell behind in the Best Picture race, and Thompson contended with meatier turns for Best Actress, her concise, witty adaptation emerged as the clearest place to reward the film -- allowing Thompson to make history in the process as still the only person to win Oscars for acting and writing. (Fun fact: both were presented by Thompson's former co-star, Anthony Hopkins.) Funnily enough, Thompson's never been nominated in any category since, but five nominations in four years, including two wins in two disciplines, remains a hard run to match.
"Howards End" (1992) - Best Actress
"Sense and Sensibility" (1995) - Best Adapted Screenplay