The 96th Academy Awards are happening on Sunday, March 10th. I call it "the best Sunday of the year." I don't get wrapped up in any other awards shows, but my love for movies, the prestige of the Oscars, and the dozens of excellent movies that enter the zeitgeist always gets me excited.

With the best Sunday of the year almost upon us, I thought it would be fun to look at Oscar winners from two of our three states, Illinois and Wisconsin. The website made it easy, combing through the data and looking at how many Best Actor and Best Actress winners came from specific states. It turns out, there are quite a few more Illinois and Wisconsin winners than I, and maybe you, assumed.

Oscar Winners from Illinois:

One of the most recent and most notable winners from Illinois is Patricia Arquette, for her performance in the 2014 drama Boyhood. She was born in Chicago and raised in Virginia.

Illinois native Charlton Heston won an Oscar for his performance in the movie Ben-Hur all the way back in 1960, while Marlee Matlin not only added another name to the list of Illinoisans who have won Oscars, but was the first deaf performer to win an Oscar for her riveting performance in Children of a Lesser God. notes that two men from Illinois have won awards for Best Actor while four women from the Land of Lincoln have won Best Actress awards. Chicago native Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting) makes the second male from Illinois to win.

And who could forget Jennifer Hudson's incredible performance in Dreamgirls, which won the Chicago singer/actress her statue?

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Oscar Winners from Wisconsin:

The most accomplished and decorated winner from the state of Wisconsin has to be Spencer Tracy. The Milwaukee native won Best Actor Oscars for his performances in Captains Courageous and Boys Town in back-to-back years (1937 and 1938, respectively). From there, he was nominated seven more times, all for the same category, in films like Father of the Bride (1950) and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967).

But we can't forget one of the greatest directors in cinema history in Orson Welles. The Kenosha-born filmmaker saw his first movie, Citizen Kane, widely considered to be the greatest movie of all-time, get nominations for Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Director.

Other names to note: documentarian Errol Morris, for his film The Fog of War. The late, great actor and Milwaukee native Gene Wilder saw nominations for his performances in The Producers and Young Frankenstein, while Appleton native Willem Dafoe saw Oscar noms for his performances in Platoon and Shadow of the Vampire.

Some Notes from's Study:

With the Oscars being in Hollywood, it's not really a huge surprise that the majority of actor/actress winners come from the state of California, notes

[....]California is at the top of the winner rankings. With 11 Best Actress In A Leading Role awards and 14 for Actors, the Golden State’s total of 25 is the highest across the country. California also boasts five individuals that have won either award twice: Sally Field, Jodie Foster, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks and Sean Penn. - per

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I'll have my Oscar ballot ready to go for Sunday night!

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