Most Awarded Oscars

By Greg Treadway / Posted on February 18, 2015

This Sunday the Academy Awards will celebrate its 87th annual gala. Hollywood royalty will be in attendance. With a couple of upsets this year we could see some records broken.

Some Oscar Fun Facts

Walt Disney still holds the records for personal Oscar wins. Walt won or received a total of 26 Academy Awards making him the man with the most Oscars in history. He had 59 nominations and 22 competitive wins. Mr. Disney also holds the record for the most nominations and most wins in a single year; in 1954 he won four out of the six awards he was nominated for, capturing both records.


The woman with the most Academy Awards decorating her mantel is costume designer Edith Head (1897-1981) who won eight Best Costumes Oscars. She won Oscars for “The Heiress” (1950), “Samson and Delilah” (1951), “All About Eve” (1951), “A Place in the Sun” (1952), “Roman Holiday” (1954), “Sabrina” (1955), “The Facts of Life” (1961), “The Sting” (1974).


There are three movies that have won the most awards with a total of 11 Oscars each. “Ben Hur” (1959), “Titanic” (1997), and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003).


At the 1960 Oscars, “Ben-Hur” won 11 of the 12 categories it was nominated for. The film won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Color Cinematography, Best Color Art Direction/Set Direction, Best Sound, Best Score, Best Film Editing, Best Color Costume Design and Best Special Effects. It was also nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, but lost out to “Room At the Top” by Neil Patterson.

At the 1998 Academy Awards “Titanic” sailed away with 11 of the 14 categories it was nominated in. “Titanic” won for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction/Set Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Effect/Sound Effects Editing, Best Effects/Visual Effects, Best Music/Original Song, and Best Music/Original Score. It did not win in Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Makeup.

At the 2004 Oscars, the final film in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy swept every category the film was nominated in.  “The Return of the King” won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing/Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction/Set Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best Music/Original Score, Best Music/Original Song, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects.

Films That Have Won The “Top 5”

A top 5 winner is a film that wins the top five categories in the same year. Those categories are Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay (Original or Adapted). This has only happened three times in 86 years. “It Happened One Night” (1934), “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975), “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991).


Most Academy Awards For Acting

Meryl Streep has the record for the most nominations with a total of 16. If she wins this year for her performance in “Into the Woods” she will join other actors who have won four Oscars. So far the only member of that club is Katharine Hepburn who won four Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Hepburn won for “Morning Glory” (1932/33), “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” (1967), “The Lion in Winter” (1968), “On Golden Pond” (1981).

A number of actors and actress have three awards each. Meryl Streep falls into this category as does Walter Brennan, Jack Nicholson, and Ingrid Bergman.

Oscars For The 1st Time Out

Sometimes a debut performance wins the Oscar. A number of actors and actresses have won Academy Awards for their first films.

In the Best Actress category, Shirley Booth won for ‘Come Back, Little Sheba” (1952), Julie Andrews for “Mary Poppins” (1964), Barbra Streisand in “Funny Girl” (1968), and Marlee Matlin in “Children of a Lesser God” (1986).

Shirley Booth

In the Best Supporting Actor category three actors won in their debut performances: Harold Russell “The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946), Timothy Hutton “Ordinary People” (1980), and Haing S. Ngor “The Killing Fields” (1984).

Harold Russell

In the Best Supporting Actress Category nine actress have taken home Oscar for their debut performance; Gale Sondergaard for “Anthony Adverse” (1936), Katina Paxinou for “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1943), Mercedes McCambridge for “All the King’s Men” (1949), Eva Marie Saint for “On the Waterfront” (1954), Jo Van Fleet for “East of Eden” (1955), Tatum O’Neal for “Paper Moon” (1973), Anna Paquin for “The Piano” (1993) and Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave” (2013).

Debut Directing

Five directors have won their the academy’s ultimate prize on their first time out of the gate for directing. They are Delbert Man for “Marty” (1955), Jerome Robbins for “West Side Story” (1961), Robert Redford for “Ordinary People” (1980), James L. Brooks for “Terms of Endearment” (1983), Kevin Costner for “Dances With Wolves” (1990) and Sam Mendes for “American Beauty” (1999).


Winning At Any Age

The youngest person to win an acting award is Tatum O’Neal. She was 10 when she won Best Supporting Actress for “Paper Moon” (1973). The youngest winner of a lead acting award is Marlee Matlin who was 21 when she won Best Actress for “Children of a Lesser God” (1986).


The overall youngest winner of an Oscar was six-year old Shirley Temple. She won the since discontinued inaugural Academy Juvenile Award in 1934. The oldest winner of an acting award is Christopher Plummer. He was 82-years old when he won the 2011 Best Supporting Actor award for “Beginners”.

The oldest woman to win the Best Actress award is Jessica Tandy. She was 80 when she won for “Driving Miss Daisy” in 1989. The oldest man to win the Best Actor Award is Henry Fonda. He was 76 when he won for “On Golden Pond” in 1981. The oldest winner of the Best Director Award is Clint Eastwood. He was 74 when he won for “Million Dollar Baby” in 2004.

Most Nominations But NO Win

They say the honor is in just being nominated. But you might want to ask the people involved in 1977’s “The Turning Point” and 1985’s “The Color Purple” how they feel about that statement. Both films have the dubious distinction of having the most nominations without ANY wins. Both films received 11 Oscar nominations.

the color purple

Most Nominations

“All About Eve” (1950) and “Titanic” (1997) are tied for the most nominations for a single film with 14.


87th Academy Awards

The 87th Academy Awards will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on February 22, 2015.


Two films are tied for the most nominations with nine apiece. They are “Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”  Closely behind is “The Imitation Game” with eight nominations, and “American Sniper” and “Boyhood” with six each.