by Christine Gibbs

We Americans are a competitive breed. We go for the gold and shoot for the stars. Perhaps that’s why more than 50 million of us drop everything to tune into the Oscars, Emmys, Tonys & Golden Globes…and countless millions more follow the pre- and post-show activities on our TVs, iPads, laptops and smart phones. It certainly explains why New Jerseyans are particularly proud when “one of our own” takes the stage to grab a piece of that coveted hardware. Here’s a look at some Garden Staters who have taken Acting Out to award-winning extremes…

The Envelope Please…

Michael Douglas (b. 1944, New Brunswick) • Received his first Oscar in 1975 as Best Picture producer (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). • Accepted the 1987 Best Actor Oscar as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street. • Won 3 Golden Globes (including one as producer of Romancing the Stone).

Linda Hunt (b. 1945 Morristown) • Won the 1983 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for playing Billy Kwan in The Year of Living Dangerously, becoming the first person to win for portraying someone of the opposite sex.

Jack Nicholson (b. 1937 Neptune) • One of only three actors to win three Oscars (two for Best Actor in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and As Good as It Gets and one for Best Supporting Actor in 1983 for Terms of Endearment). • Record holder for most nominations (8 for Best Actor and 4 for Best Supporting Actor).

Joe Pesci (b. 1943 Newark) • Won 1991 Best Supporting Oscar for Good Fellas. • Nominated 10 years earlier for Raging Bull.

Eva Marie Saint (b. 1924 Newark) • Won Best Supporting Oscar for On the Waterfront. • Received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in A Hatful of Rain. • Won an Emmy for the mini-series People Like Us in 1990.

Frank Sinatra (b. 1915 Hoboken) • Won the 1954 Best Supporting Oscar as Maggio in From Here to Eternity and was nominated for Best Actor two years later as The Man with the Golden Arm. • A trio of Oscars for Best Original Song, and Golden Globe Best Actor wins for Pal Joey and Come Blow Your Horn. • Hosted the Academy Awards broadcast in 1963. • Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Reagan in 1985.

Kevin Spacey (b. 1959 South Orange) • Won his first Oscar as Best Supporting Actor in 1996 for The Usual Suspects, and his second as Best Actor in American Beauty in 1999. • Artistic director of London’s Old Vic theatre since 2003.

Meryl Streep (b. 1949 Summit) • Nominated an astonishing 16 times (more than any other actor), winning it twice (for Kramer vs Kramer and Sophie’s Choice). • Received the most Golden Globe nominations (25 total, winning 7). • Earned a pair of Emmys and a Tony nomination, as well as the 2004 American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

John Travolta (b. 1954 Englewood) • Won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in Get Shorty. • Nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction.

No Time Like Primetime…

Danny DeVito (b. 1944 Neptune) • Won both the 1980 Golden Globe and 1981 Emmy as Louie De Palma on Taxi. • Earned an Oscar nomination as co-producer of Erin Brockovich in 2001.

Peter Dinklage (b. 1969 Morristown) • Won 2011 Best Supporting Emmy for HBO’s Game of Thrones.

John Forsythe (b. 1918 Penns Grove) • Nominated for Golden Globe six times, winning twice. • Emmy-nominated 4 times.

James Gandolfini (b. 1961 Westwood) • Won three Emmys as Tony in The Sopranos.

Ernie Kovacs (b. 1919 Trenton) • Received his only Emmy posthumously. • Emmy-nominated three times for The Ernie Kovacs Show.

Loretta Swit (b. 1937 Passaic) • Won a pair of Emmys as Hot Lips on M*A*S*H.

Jack Warden (b. 1920 Newark) • Won an Emmy for playing George Halas in Brian’s Song. • Oscar-nominated for Shampoo (1976) and Heaven Can Wait (1979).

Curtain Call

Jason Alexander (b. 1959 Newark) • Won a Tony pre-Seinfeld for his appearance in Jerome Robbins Broadway in 1989. • Earned Emmy nominations each year from 1992 to 1998.

Nikki James (b. 1951 Summit) • Won a 2011 Tony as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for The Book of Mormon.

Jane Krakowski (b. 1968 Parsippany) • Nominated for a 1990 Tony for Grand Hotel and won in 2003 for her performance in Nine. • Nominated for Emmys 2009–2011 for 30 Rock.

Phyllis Newman (b. 1933 Jersey City) • Edged out Barbra Streisand for the 1961 Tony for her role in Subways are for Sleeping.

Some Very Honorable Mentions These New Jerseyans made huge contributions on stage, screen and television but were overlooked when it came time to pass out the serious hardware…

Bud Abbott (b. Asbury Park 1895)

Lou Costello (b 1906 Paterson)

Jerry Lewis (b. 1926 Newark)

Judith Light (b. 1949 Trenton)

Ozzie Nelson (b. 1906 Jersey City)

Unmentionable • The cast of MTV’s Jersey Shore. • Anyone who watches it.