NOMINEE Barbara Stanwyck
UP FOR... Best Actress, ''Double Indemnity'' (1944)
KILLER ROLE Femme fatale Phyllis Dietrichson, a housewife who manipulates Fred MacMurray's insurance man into offing her husband in director Billy Wilder's film-noir classic
THE BACKSTORY As dazzling a performance as it was, Stanwyck (pictured with MacMurray) almost didn't take the part, telling Wilder she was ''a little afraid after all these years of playing heroines, to go into an out-and-out, cold-blooded killer.'' Such was the prevailing state of mind in '40s Hollywood, an era dominated not only by film noir but by the ''woman's picture'' -- epitomized by Stanwyck's fellow nominees Claudette Colbert, as a wartime mom-on-the-homefront in ''Since You Went Away,'' and Ingrid Bergman, as an innocent wife imperiled by her scheming husband in ''Gaslight.''
AND THE OSCAR WENT TO... Bergman, the favorite
Image Credit: Double Indemnity: Photofest
''Monster'''s Charlize Theron isn't the only woman to play a killer and get nominated for an Oscar -- follow the history of Barbara Stanwyck, Jodie Foster, and others