I think there's something to the "downer movies hurt outstanding peformances, when it comes to awards" theory. I first formulated something like that back in the 60s, when I was in college, and my friends and I went to see the newest flick in town, The Pawnbroker. We were all knocked out, left speechless, by Rod Steiger's performance. And though we weren't avid Oscar-followers (we lived in the dorm and didn't own TVs) we figured he would win any award going. But he didn't; it went to Lee Marvin for Cat Ballou, in which he got to (a) be unexpectedly funny, and (b) play two roles.
So Steiger got his "make-up" award 2 years later, for In the Heat of the Night. And so it goes.