Oscars Through History: Which Movies And Actors Have Won The Most Awards?


by James White, Ellen Kinsey |
Updated on

This year's Oscars promises to be an interesting affair – delayed due to the ongoing pandemic, it will also be a mixture of filmmakers at different venues (including the BFI in London) and some Zoom acceptances. It's also heavily weighted towards indie films, with the likes of Nomadland, Promising Young Woman and Minari rubbing shoulders with the bigger (yet Netflix-backed) The Trial Of The Chicago 7 and Mank in the Best Picture category.

But what of the Academy Awards in days gone past? Which films have won the most trophies or scored the highest number of nominations? And who among the acting cohort has been the most successful when it comes to the event? We decided to dig into the history and look at the most successful films at the Oscars, the performers who have gone home with the most gongs, and a full list of every Best Picture Winner in history so far. Oscar facts! Get yer Oscar facts here!

Which films have won the most Oscars?

Oscars 2004: The Lord Of the Rings: The Return Of The King (2003)

Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King Oscars

Total Oscar Nominations: 11

Wins: 11

Peter Jackson's epic conclusion to his first Middle-earth trilogy proved that a genre that the Academy has traditionally been somewhat sniffy towards can triumph when it has this sort of impact on craft, commercial success and critical appeal. Equalling the previous likes of Titanic and Ben-Hur, it was both a roaring victory and a chance for the cast and crew to party.

Best Picture

Best Director (Peter Jackson)

Best Adapted Screenplay (Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson)

Best Art Direction/Set Decoration

Best Costume Design

Best Film Editing

Best Makeup

Best Score

Best Song ('Into The West')

Best Sound Mixing

Best Visual Effects

2003 Best Picture Nominees:

The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

Lost In Translation

Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World

Mystic River


Oscars 1998: Titanic (1997)

Titanic academy awards

Total Oscar Nominations: 14

Wins: 11

Infamously troubled during its production, Titanic represents the fact that you should never count James Cameron out. It ended up a box office sensation, and, thanks to this, one of the most award-winning films of all time. Its win is largely remembered for Cameron's proclamation, "I'm the king of the world!" on collecting his Best Director award.

Best Picture

Best Director (James Cameron)

Best Cinematography

Best Art Direction/Set Decoration

Best Costume Design

Best Film Editing

Best Score

Best Song ('My Heart Will Go On')

Best Sound

Best Sound Effects Editing

Best Visual Effects

1997 Best Picture Nominees:

As Good As It Gets

The Full Monty

Good Will Hunting

LA Confidential


Oscars 1960: Ben-Hur (1959)

MGM Sets Up New Ben Hur

Total Oscar Nominations: 12

Wins: 11

The title character suffered betrayal and slavery, ultimately triumphing. The film based about his story also had its challenges, and also won out against its own competitors. Ben-Hur still stands as one of the biggest Oscar champions.

Best Picture

Best Director (William Wyler)

Best Actor (Charlton Heston)

Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith)

Best Cinematography, Colour

Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Colour

Best Costume Design, Colour

Best Film Editing

Best Score

Best Sound

Best Special Effects

1959 Best Picture Nominees:

Anatomy Of A Murder


The Diary Of Anne Frank

The Nun’s Story

Room At The Top

Oscars 1962: West Side Story (1961)

West Side Story

Total Oscar Nominations: 11

Wins: 10

Shakespearian tragedy becomes musical history, particularly for Rita Moreno, who became the first Latina actress to win an Oscar (Katy Jurado scored the first nomination in 1954). Now, all eyes will be on Steven Spielberg's version to see whether it enjoys a similar triumph.

Best Picture

Best Director (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins)

Best Supporting Actor (George Chakiris)

Best Supporting Actress (Rita Moreno)

Best Cinematography, Color

Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color

Best Costume Design, Color

Best Film Editing

Best Score

Best Sound

1961 Best Picture Nominees:


The Guns Of Navarone

The Hustler

Judgment At Nuremberg

West Side Story

Oscar 1997: The English Patient (1996)

Anthony Minghella's The English Patient (1996)

Total Oscar Nominations: 12

Wins: 9

The romantic drama with an identity mystery at its heart didn't quite convert all of its nominations into wins, but it still did well.

Best Picture

Best Director (Anthony Minghella)

Best Supporting Actress (Juliette Binoche)

Best Cinematography

Best Art Direction/Set Decoration

Best Costume Design

Best Film Editing

Best Score

Best Sound

1996 Best Picture Nominees:

The English Patient


Jerry Maguire

Secrets & Lies


Oscars 1988: The Last Emperor (1987)

Last Emperor

Total Oscar Nominations: 9

Wins: 9

This story about the final Emperor of China went undefeated at the Academy Awards, going nine-for-nine.

Best Picture

Best Director (Bernardo Bertolucci)

Best Adapted Screenplay (Bernardo Bertolucci and Mark Peploe)

Best Cinematography

Best Art Direction/Set Decoration

Best Costume Design

Best Film Editing

Best Score

Best Sound

1987 Best Picture Nominees:

Broadcast News

Fatal Attraction

Hope And Glory

The Last Emperor


Oscar 1959: Gigi (1958)


Total Oscar Nominations: 9

Wins: 9

Weary of the conventions of Parisian society, a rich playboy and a youthful courtesan-in-training enjoy a platonic friendship, but it may not stay platonic for long. Another nine-for-nine winner.

Best Picture

Best Director (Vincente Minnelli)

Best Adapted Screenplay (Alan Jay Lerner)

Best Cinematography, Color

Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black and White or Color

Best Costume Design, Black and White or Color

Best Film Editing

Best Score

Best Original Song ('Gigi')

1958 Best Picture Nominees:

Auntie Mame

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

The Defiant Ones


Separate Tables

Oscar 2009: Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Slumdog Millionnaire

Total Oscar Nominations: 10

Wins: 8

A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums becomes a contestant on the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers. Like the hero, Danny Boyle's film was an unlikely Oscar juggernaut, landing zero acting nominations, but still winning big.

Best Picture

Best Director (Danny Boyle)

Best Adapted Screenplay (Simon Beaufoy)

Best Cinematography

Best Film Editing

Best Score

Best Song (‘Jai Ho’)

Best Sound Mixing

2008 Best Picture Nominees:

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button



The Reader

Slumdog Millionaire

Oscars 1985: Amadeus (1984)


Total Oscar Nominations: 11

Wins: 8

The incredible true story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, told by his peer and secret rival, Antonio Salieri, now confined to an insane asylum. Though Amadeus was the one to go down in history, it was Salieri actor F. Murray Abraham who took home the performing plaudits.

Best Picture

Best Director (Milos Forman)

Best Actor (F. Murray Abraham)

Best Adapted Screenplay (Peter Shaffer)

Best Art Direction/Set Decoration

Best Costume Design

Best Sound

Best Makeup

1984 Best Picture Nominees:


The Killing Fields

A Passage To India

Places In The Heart

A Soldier’s Story

Oscars 1983: Gandhi (1982)

Richard Attenborough's Gandhi (1982)

Total Oscar Nominations: 11

Wins: 8

Gandhi’s character is fully explained as a man of nonviolence. Through his patience, he is able to drive the British out of the subcontinent. And the stubborn nature of Jinnah and his commitment towards Pakistan is portrayed. Richard Attenborough had spent 20 years trying to make the film, and was emotionally upon taking the stage to accept his awards. "The person whom you really honored was Mahatma Gandhi himself," he said upon receiving Best Picture, "and his plea to all of us to live in peace."

Best Picture

Best Director (Richard Attenborough)

Best Actor (Ben Kingsley)

Best Original Screenplay (John Briley)

Best Cinematography

Best Art Direction/Set Decoration

Best Costume Design

Best Film Editing

1982 Best Picture Nominees:

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial




The Verdict

Oscars 1973: Cabaret (1972)


Total Oscar Nominations: 10

Wins: 8

A Berlin-era club entertainer romances two different men while the Nazis are rising to power all around them. “Cabaret” holds the distinction of winning the most Oscars without taking home the Best Picture prize.

Best Director (Bob Fosse)

Best Actress (Liza Minnelli)

Best Supporting Actor (Joel Grey)

Best Art Direction/Set Decoration

Best Film Editing

Best Score

Best Sound

1972 Best Picture Nominees:



The Godfather

The Emigrants


Oscars 1965: My Fair Lady (1964)

Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady
©Getty Images

Total Oscar Nominations: 12

Wins: 8

A misogynistic and snobbish phonetics professor agrees to a wager that he can take a flower girl and make her presentable in high society.

Best Picture

Best Director (George Cukor)

Best Actor (Rex Harrison)

Best Cinematography, Color

Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color

Best Costume Design, Color

Best Score

Best Sound

1964 Best Picture Nominees:


Dr. Strangelove or; How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb

Mary Poppins

My Fair Lady

Zorba The Greek

Oscars 1955: On The Waterfront (1954)

On The Waterfront

Total Oscar Nominations: 12

Wins: 8

An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.

Best Picture

Best Director (Elia Kazan)

Best Actor (Marlon Brando)

Best Supporting Actress (Eva Marie Saint)

Best Writing, Story and Screenplay (Budd Schulberg)

Best Cinematography, Black and White

Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black and White

Best Film Editing

1954 Best Picture Nominees:

The Caine Mutiny

The Country Girl

On The Waterfront

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers

Three Coins In A Fountain

Oscars 1954: From Here To Eternity (1953)

Ernest Borgnine in From Here To Eternity

Total Oscar Nominations: 13

Wins: 8

In Hawaii in 1941, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit’s team, while his captain’s wife and second-in-command are falling in love.

Best Picture

Best Director (Fred Zinnemann)

Best Supporting Actor (Frank Sinatra)

Best Supporting Actress (Donna Reed)

Best Writing, Screenplay (Daniel Taradash)

Best Cinematography, Black and White

Best Film Editing

Best Sound

1953 Best Picture Nominees:

From Here To Eternity

Julius Caesar

The Robe

Roman Holiday


Oscars 1940: Gone With The Wind (1939)

Gone With The Wind

Total Oscar Nominations: 13

Wins: 8

A manipulative Southern belle carries on a turbulent affair with a blockade runner during the American Civil War. Hattie McDaniel's Best Supporting Actress win was historic as the first African-American Oscar triumph, and for the fact that she was even permitted to attend the ceremony at all in an era with strict, horrific segregation rules.

Best Picture

Best Director (Victor Fleming)

Best Actress (Vivien Leigh)

Best Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel)

Best Writing, Screenplay (Sidney Howard)

Best Cinematography, Color

Best Art Direction

Best Film Editing

Honorary Oscar: William Cameron Menzies, for outstanding achievement in the use of color for the enhancement of dramatic mood.

Technical Achievement Award: RD Musgrave, for pioneering work in the use of coordinated equipment.

1939 Best Picture Nominees:

Dark Victory

Gone With The Wind

Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Love Affair

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington


Of Mice And Men


The Wizard Of Oz

Wuthering Heights

Which actors have won the most Oscars?

We often talk about those who have the most nominations without winning them all (looking at you, Meryl Streep, you deserve better), but what of those who have walked up to the stage having actually won in their category. Here's the list...

1) Katharine Hepburn — 4 wins, 12 nominations

Katharine Hepburn

Best actress: Morning Glory (1933), Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967), The Lion In Winter (1968), On Golden Pond (1981)

2) Daniel Day-Lewis — 3 wins, 6 nominations

Daniel Day-Lewis

Best actor: My Left Foot (1989), There Will Be Blood (2007), Lincoln (2012)

3) Meryl Streep — 3 wins, 21 nominations

Meryl Streep

Best actress: Sophie's Choice (1982), The Iron Lady (2011)

Best supporting actress: Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979)

4) Jack Nicholson — 3 wins, 12 nominations

Jack Nicholson

Best actor: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975), As Good As It Gets (1997)

Best supporting actor: Terms Of Endearment (1983)

5) Ingrid Bergman — 3 wins, 7 nominations

Ingrid Bergman

Best actress: Gaslight (1944), Anastasia (1956)

Best supporting actress: Murder On The Orient Express (1974)

6) Walter Brennan — 3 wins, 4 nominations

Walter Brennan

Best supporting actor: Come And Get It (1936), Kentucky (1938), The Westerner (1940)

7) Bette Davis — 2 wins, 10 nominations

Bette Davis in What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?

Best actress: Dangerous (1935), Jezebel (1938)

8) Spencer Tracy — 2 wins, 9 nominations

Spencer Tracy

Best actor: Captains Courageous (1937), Boys Town (1938)

9) Marlon Brando — 2 wins, 8 nominations


Best actor: On The Waterfront (1954), The Godfather (1972)

10) Jack Lemmon — 2 wins, 8 nominations

Jack Lemmon

Best actor: Save The Tiger (1973)

Best supporting actor: Mister Roberts (1955)

11) Denzel Washington — 2 wins, 8 nominations

Denzel Washington
©Carlos Alvarez / Getty

Best actor: Training Day (2001)

Best supporting actor: Glory (1989)

Every Best Picture winner from 1927–2020


2020 - Parasite

2019 - Green Book

2018 - The Shape Of Water

2017 - Moonlight

2016 - Spotlight

2015 - Birdman

2014 - 12 Years A Slave

2013 - Argo

2012 - The Artist

2011 - The King's Speech

2010 - The Hurt Locker

2009 - Slumdog Millionaire

2008 - No Country For Old Men

2007 - The Departed

2006 - Crash

2005 - Million Dollar Baby

2004 - The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

2003 - Chicago

2002 - A Beautiful Mind

2001 - Gladiator

2000 - American Beauty

Here's Proof That Shakespeare The Original Hipster

1999 - Shakespeare In Love

1998 - Titanic

1997 - The English Patient

1996 - Braveheart

1995 - Forrest Gump

1994 - Schindler’s List

1993 - Unforgiven

1992 - The Silence Of The Lambs

1991 - Dances With Wolves

1990 - Driving Miss Daisy

Rain Man

1989 - Rain Man

1988 - The Last Emperor

1987 - Platoon

1986 - Out Of Africa

1985 - Amadeus

1984 - Terms Of Endearment

1983 - Gandhi

1982 - Chariots Of Fire

1981 - Ordinary People

1980 - Kramer Vs. Kramer

The Deer Hunter

1979 - The Deer Hunter

1978 - Annie Hall

1977 - Rocky

1976 - One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

1975 - The Godfather Part II

1974 - The Sting

1973 - The Godfather

1972 - The French Connection

1971 - Patton

1970 - Midnight Cowboy

Oliver musical
©© Columbia Pictures

1969 - Oliver!

1968 - In The Heat Of The Night

1967 - A Man For All Seasons

1966 - The Sound Of Music

1965 - My Fair Lady

1964 - Tom Jones

1963 - Lawrence Of Arabia

1962 - West Side Story

1961 - The Apartment

1960 - Ben-Hur

1959 - Gigi

The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)

1958 - The Bridge On The River Kwai

1957 - Around The World In 80 Days

1956 - Marty

1955 - On The Waterfront

1954 - From Here To Eternity

1953 - The Greatest Show On Earth

1952 - An American In Paris

1951 - All About Eve

1950 - All The King's Men

Laurence Olivier's Hamlet (1948)

1949 - Hamlet

1948 - Gentleman's Agreement

1947 - The Best Years Of Our Lives

1946 - The Lost Weekend

1945 - Going My Way

1944 - Casablanca

1943 - Mrs. Miniver

1942 - How Green Was My Valley

1941 - Rebecca

1940 - Gone With The Wind

You can't take it with you

1939 - You Can't Take It With You

1938 - The Life Of Emile Zola

1937 - The Great Ziegfeld

1936 - Mutiny On The Bounty

1935 - It Happened One Night

1933/1934 - Cavalcade

1932/1933 - Grand Hotel

1931/1932 - Cimarron

1930/1931 - All Quiet On The Western Front

1929/1930 - The Broadway Melody

1928/1929 - Wings

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