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Kentuckiana Curiosity | Is Kentucky or Indiana home to more movie stars, Oscar winners?

Is Kentucky or Indiana the birthplace of more Oscar-winning actors?

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It’s easy to lose yourself in a truly great movie—a magic mix of good writing, stellar acting, and beautiful cinematography can transport you into another world.

A few things that can pull you back to reality are perhaps a popcorn refill; maybe a much needed bathroom break; or, just maybe, the feeling of pride knowing that your hometown is being represented on the big screen for millions to see.

For this installment of Kentuckiana Curiosity, we ventured to answer the question: is Kentucky or Indiana the birthplace of more Oscar-winning actors?  A lot of research and math went into finding the answer, and lucky for us someone had already done it for us. Staffo Dobrev and his teammates at the Wanderu search program did all of the data crunching, biography searching, and map building. 

“I have been interested in motions pictures since I was very little,” Dobrev said. “I love the glitz and glamour and entertainment that they bring.  And with the Oscars, you know, I’ve never missed a ceremony.”

Dobrev and his team found the birthplaces of every winning Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress in the history of the Academy Awards, which go all the way back to 1929.  While New York and California, unsurprisingly, top the list by a healthy margin—there was a clear winner in our neighborhood, too. 

“As it turns out, between Kentucky is clear winner with three Oscars born there, as opposed to Indiana’s one,” Dobrev said.

Kentucky’s first winner was Patricia Neal, who won Best Actress for her performance in the "Hud."

Credit: AP
Bob Hope welcomes actress Patricia Neal to the stage at the 39th Academy Awards April 10, 1967 as she prepares to act as presenter of the Oscar for the best foreign language film of the year. The audience stood as she arrived on the stage. She won an Oscar two years ago, but since sustained a nearly fatal stroke. (AP Photo)

The next win for Kentucky went to George Clooney, who won Best Supporting Actor for "Syriana" (though he has a second Oscar for his role as a producer in the movie Argo).  

George Clooney poses with the Oscar he won for best supporting actor for his work in "Syriana" at the 78th Academy Awards Sunday, March 5, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Louisville’s own Jennifer Lawrence rounds out Kentucky’s three wins with her Oscar for Best Actress in "Silver Linings Playbook." 

Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
FILE - This Feb. 24, 2013 photo shows Jennifer Lawrence accepting the award for best actress in a leading role for "Silver Linings Playbook" during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

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The one Oscar-winning actress from Indiana is Anne Baxter, who won  Best Supporting Actress in 1946 for her performance in The Razor’s Edge. 

If you ask Dobrev, winning an Academy Award isn’t just a moment of great pride for the star on stage.  It can leave their entire community back home beaming, too.

“It just brings you closer to this feeling of glam and stardom that you see on the screen but feel so disconnected from,” Dobrev said. “When someone from your hometown or your home state makes it up there, it just really brings you all closer together and there is feeling of mutual pride.”

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