The highest point of any filmmaker or actor is receiving an Oscar. Read on to see who has taken home the most of these coveted trophies.
There are many film accolades that can be conferred upon entertainers, but none are as prestigious as the Academy Award, or the Oscar. It is one of the most popular and reputed award ceremonies, and is also the oldest. An actor’s popularity is not an indication of his quality, and if one notices the trends in awards, popular actors have very few Oscars, if any. To win even one Academy Award is a lifetime dream for most; multiple winners are definitely among the most talented and reputed practitioners of their own discipline.
Who Has Won the Most Oscars Ever?
The individual who has won the most Oscars in history is Walt Disney. The co-founder of Walt Disney Productions and the creator of Mickey Mouse has won a total of 26 Oscars, of which 4 are honorary. For ‘Snow White’, he was given 1 full-size trophy, and seven miniature statuettes. He also has the most number of nominations―59! He has also won the most Oscars in one year―4 in 1954.
The maximum number of Oscars won by a single film is 11, and only 3 films have touched this record.
Directed by William Wyler, this epic won 11 out of its 12 nominations, and only missed out on the best and supporting actress award. Ben Hur, played by Charlton Heston, is betrayed by his childhood friend and made a galley slave. The story depicts his struggle with slavery, the loss of his family, and finally gaining his freedom. This film was lauded for its religious backdrop, rich settings, and impressive storyline.
The tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic, right from the passengers boarding, to the final moments of the survivors being rescued, is the main plot of this James Cameron classic. The tale of the mismatched romance between Jack, a charming drifter, and Rose, an upper-class young lady, made the film eternally famous in the romance aspect. The detailed special effects, the rich historical dramatization, and the poignant love story made this movie one of the highest grossing films of all time. It won 11 out of its fourteen nominations.
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
The trilogy of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies came to a close with this astonishing film. It had 11 nominations, and won every single one of them. It is also the first fantasy film to win the Best Film award. Based on the famous J. R. R. Tolkien novel, it portrays the last stand of Middle Earth against the march of Sauron. It also depicts the ending to the long journey of Frodo to Mount Doom to destroy the One ring. Each scene in this movie is memorable, from Aragorn calling upon the army of the dead, to the battle between the Nazguls and Gondor.
The highest number of nominations is 14, and only two films, All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997), have received this number.
Actors and Actresses
Out of 12 Oscar nominations in her glittering career, Katharine Hepburn won 4, all for Best Actress. She is ranked as the greatest female star by the American Film Institute. The movies for which she won are:
- Morning Glory (1933)
- Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
- The Lion in Winter (1968)
- On Golden Pond (1981)
Famous for playing crazy and psychotic characters, this actor has won 2 Best Actor awards (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – 1975, As Good As it Gets – 1997), and 1 Best Supporting Actor award (Terms of Endearment – 1983). He has had a total of 12 nominations.
This incredibly versatile and selective actor has won three well-deserved Academy Awards for Best Actor: ‘My Left Foot’ (1989), ‘There Will Be Blood’ (2007), and ‘Lincoln’ (2012). He is the only male actor to have won three awards in the lead actor category.
This relatively unknown character actor had a film career spanning five decades, and has appeared in more than 230 film and television roles. Out of 4 nominations in his career, he won 3 Best Supporting Actor Oscars for his roles in:
- Come and Get It (1936)
- Kentucky (1938)
- The Westerner (1940)
The most Oscar wins for Best Supporting Actress are Shelley Winters (The Diary of Anne Frank – 1959, A Patch of Blue – 1965) and Dianne Wiest (Bullets over Broadway – 1994, Hannah and Her Sisters – 1986), with two each.
Famous for directing Westerns, John Ford holds the record for most Oscars ever won for directing. He has directed more than 140 films, in both the silent and talking movie eras. He won 4 Oscars for directing the following movies:
- The Informer (1935)
- The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
- How Green Was My Valley (1941)
- The Quiet Man (1952)
- Joseph Ruttenberg and Leon Shamroy have won 4 Oscars each for cinematography
- Cedric Gibbons has won 11 Oscars for Art direction
- The woman who has won the most Oscars is costume designer Edith Head, with 8 Oscars
- The actress with the most Oscar nominations is Meryl Streep, with 16
- The actor with the most Oscar nominations is Jack Nicholson, with 12
- William Wyler has the most nominations for directing―12
- Denzel Washington holds the record for the most Oscar wins for African-American actors, with 2 awards
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy has 17 wins out of 30 awards, making it the most awarded and nominated film series
- Peter O’Toole has been nominated for 8 Oscars, without a single win
- The actor with the most posthumous nominations is James Dean, with 2
The big five Academy Awards are Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Writing. Only 3 films have won all 5 accolades. They are:
- It Happened One Night (1934)
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
- The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The Oscars remain prestigious for even films made outside America, and winning the Best Foreign Language Picture is a moment of pride for the winner.