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The Oscars-A History of the Academy Awards with Most Oscar Nominees and Oscar Winners

Updated on January 11, 2020

Most Wins Actresses

Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Hepburn
Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep

The American Royal Family

When the proto-Americans got fed up enough with George III to sever their ties with his imperial government, they lost forever all that comes with having a national royal family. It’s not going too far to say that the loss is partly assuaged by the antics and intrigues of America’s substitute royal family: movie stars. They’re rich, they have experiences we’ll never have, and they play by their own rules. Once a year our celebration of them reaches a zenith when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents its Academy Awards of Merit, better known as the Oscars.

If it’s a hunger for royal spectacle that attracts people to watch the Oscars it must be a powerful urge: as many as 43 million American viewers, and worldwide, one billion viewers. Which means that one out of seven of all the men, women and children on the planet tunes in.

Unbelievable, yes, and untrue: despite the frequent banter and many published accounts, nothing like a billion people watch the Oscars. Hundreds of millions though, seems likely. And that’s still a lot. And one in seven Americans actually does watch, which is astounding enough.

Most Wins Actors

Spencer Tracy
Spencer Tracy
Gary Germany
Gary Germany
Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Hoffman
Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks
Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson
Sean Penn
Sean Penn

The History of the Oscars

For those of us who are viscerally fascinated, there’s seemingly no end to what we find interesting. Oscar fever builds as we find out which actors and films have been nominated, wonder who will win, discuss who deserves to win and who’s been snubbed, learn breathlessly who our favorite stars are bringing as dates, and what the women are wearing (and who’s the best dressed and the who the worst). There’s just so much to be interested in.

The Academy was founded in 1927 by larger-than-life legends of the film business. It was the brainstorm of Louis B. Mayer, the head of MGM (not bad for a nice Jewish boy from Minsk) along with such luminaries as Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Harold Lloyd, Mary Pickford, and Cecil B. DeMille. The first Oscars were handed out at a private brunch for 270 in 1929. These days the six thousand or so members of the Academy vote on the nominees, and once the ballots are tabulated, only two partners of PricewaterhouseCoopers know the results until the envelopes are opened on stage. The statuette weighs 8 ½ pounds, and is gold plated Britannia metal, a pewter-like alloy that’s mostly tin with a dash of antimony and copper. Since 1950 the Academy won’t actually give recipients their Oscars until they’ve signed a contract promising never to sell them. Nevertheless, post-1950 Oscars do sometimes get sold on the “grey market.” Michael Jackson purchased the 1939 best picture Oscar for Gone with the Wind for a little over a million-five. The 1943 Casablanca Oscar currently resides in illusionist David Copperfield’s bedroom. Oscar stands naked with his sword on a film reel with five spokes. The five spokes represent the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians.

Oscar Night

It’s a safe bet that it will remain the biggest gathering of the most glittering stars as long as there’s a film industry, that millions of people all over the world will be very strongly drawn to it, and that different people will be attracted for different reasons. Some for the same reasons that royalty fascinates and compels, some because they need to see people living glamorous and exceptional lives, and some because we need to be witness to stories – love stories, dramas, comedies, documentaries, animations and foreign films. The movies tell stories in a way no other medium can, and those that create movie magic receive their most desired recognition on Oscar night. And it’s a safe bet that hundreds of millions of us will keep tuning in.

Here’s some superlatives about the history of Oscar winners:

Most Awards

Most Nominations
Most Wins
Best Picture
14: All About Eve/Titanic
11: Ben Hur/Titanic/Lord of the Rings
Best Director
12 : William Wyler
4: John Ford
Best Actor Leading Role
9: Spencer Tracy/Laurence Olivier
2: Spencer Tracy/Fredric March/Gary Cooper/Marlon Brando/Dustin Hoffman/Tom Hanks/Jack Nicholson/Daniel Day Lewis/Sean Penn
Best Actress Leading Role
14: Meryl Streep
4: Katherine Hepburn
Best Actor Supporting Role
4: Claude rains/Arthur Kennedy/Jack Nicholson
3: Walter Brennen
Best Actress Supporting Role
6: Thelma Ritter
2: Shelley Winters/Dianne West
Best Original Score
45: Alfred Newman
9: Alfred Newmann

Best Picture

Lord of the Rings

Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper
Eddie Redmayne
Eddie Redmayne
JK Simmons
JK Simmons
Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore
Patricia Arquette
Patricia Arquette

Oscar Nominations and Winners 2015


    • American Sniper

      Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan

    • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

      Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole

    • Boyhood

      Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland

    • The Grand Budapest Hotel

      Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson

    • The Imitation Game

      Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman

    • Selma

      Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner

    • The Theory of Everything

      Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten

    • Whiplash

      Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster

      Best Director

      Alejandro G Inarritu, Birdman

      Best Actor

      Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

      Best Actress

      Julianne Moore, Still Alice

      Best Supporting Actor

      JK Simmons, Whiplash

      Best Supporting Actress

      Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

      Best Adaptive Screenplay

      The Imitation Game

Oscar Nominees 2014

Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper
Christian Bale
Christian Bale
Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence
Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock
Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks


Captain Phillips

Oscar Nomination and Winners 2014


12 Years a Slave (winner)

Captain Phillips



The Wolf of Wall Street


American Hustle

Dallas Buyers Club



David O Russell - American Hustle

Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity (winner)

Alexander Payne - Nebraska

Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave

Martin Scorsese - The Wolf of Wall Street


Christian Bale - American Hustle

Bruce Dern - Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio - The Wolf of Wall Street

Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave

Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club (winner)


Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine (winner)

Amy Adams - American Hustle

Sandra Bullock - Gravity

Judi Dench - Philomena

Meryl Streep - August Osage County


Bradley Cooper - American Hustle

Barkhad Abdi - Captain Phillips

Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave

Jonah Hill - The Wolf of Wall Street

Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club (winner)


Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle

Lupita Nyong'o - 12 Years a Slave (winner)

Sally Hawkins - Blue Jasmine

Julia Roberts - August Osage County

June Squibb - Nebraska


Despicable Me 2

Frozen (winner)

The Croods

Ernest & Celestine

The Wind Rises


Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke - Before Midnight

Billy Ray - Captain Phillips

Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope - Philomena

John Ridley - 12 Years a Slave (winner)

Terence Winter - The Wolf of Wall Street


Eric Warren Singer and David O Russell - American Hustle

Woody Allen - Blue Jasmine

Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack - Dallas Buyers Club

Spike Jonze - Her (winner)

Bob Nelson - Nebraska


Let It Go - Frozen (winner)

Ordinary Love - Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Alone Yet Not Alone - Alone Yet Not Alone

Happy - Despicable Me 2

The Moon Song - Her


The Book Thief

Gravity (winner)



Saving Mr Banks


American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club

Gravity (winner)

12 Years a Slave

Best Film?

Which Film Do You Want to Win Best Film Category?

See results

Lord of the Rings

The Iron Lady

2012 Oscar Nominees and Winners

The winners are highlighted.

Best Picture
"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
"Midnight in Paris"
"The Help"
"War Horse"
"The Tree of Life"

Best Actor
Demian Bichir, "A Better Life"
George Clooney, "The Descendants"
Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"
Gary Oldman, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Brad Pitt, "Moneyball"

Best Actress
Glenn Close, "Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis, "The Help"
Rooney Mara, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"
Michelle Williams, "My Week With Marilyn"

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, "My Week With Marilyn"
Jonah Hill, "Moneyball"
Nick Nolte, "Warrior"
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
Max Von Sydow, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain, "The Help"
Melissa McCarthy, "Bridesmaids"
Janet McTeer, "Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer, "The Help"

Best Director
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Terrence Malick, "The Tree of Life"
Alexander Payne, "The Descendants"
Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
JC Chandor, "Margin Call"
Asghar Farhadi, "A Separation"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, "Bridesmaids"

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, "The Descendants"
John Logan, "Hugo"
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, "The Ides of March"
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, "Moneyball"
Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughn, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"

Best Animated Feature
"A Cat In Paris"
"Chico & Rita"
"Kung Fu Panda 2"
"Puss in Boots"

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)

Original Score
"The Adventures of Tintin," John Williams
"The Artist," Ludovic Bource
"Hugo," Howard Shore
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," Alberto Iglesias
"War Horse," John Williams

Best Original Song
"Man or Muppet," The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
"Real in Rio," Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Best Achievement in Art Direction
"The Artist"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"Midnight in Paris"
"War Horse"

Best Achievement in Cinematography
"The Artist"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"The Tree of Life"
"War Horse"

Best Achievement in Costume Design
"The Artist"
"Jane Eyre"

Best Documentary Feature
"Hell and Back Again"
"If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front"
"Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory"

Best Documentary Short Subject
"The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement?"
"God Is the Bigger Elvis"
"Incident in New Baghdad"
"Saving Face"
"The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom"

Best Achievement in Film Editing
"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"

Best Achievement in Makeup
"Albert Nobbs"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"The Iron Lady"

Best Animated Short Film
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

Best Live Action Short Film
"The Shore"
"Time Freak"
"Tuba Atlantic"

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"War Horse"

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
"War Horse"

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"Real Steel"
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"



Oscars 2013 Winners and Nominees

Winners' names appear in bold, followed by the nominees in that category.


  • Argo
  • Amour
  • Beasts Of The Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Miserables
  • Lincoln
  • Life Of Pi
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty


  • Ang Lee - Life of Pi
  • Michael Haneke - Amour
  • David O Russell - Silver Linings Playbook
  • Steven Spielberg - Lincoln
  • Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild


  • Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln
  • Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook
  • Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables
  • Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
  • Denzel Washington - Flight


  • Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook
  • Emmanuelle Riva - Amour
  • Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty
  • Naomi Watts - The Impossible
  • Quvenzhane Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild


  • Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained
  • Alan Arkin in Argo
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
  • Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook
  • Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln


  • Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables
  • Amy Adams - The Master
  • Helen Hunt - The Sessions
  • Jacki Weaver - Silver Linings Playbook
  • Sally Field - Lincoln


  • Amour
  • A Royal Affair
  • Kon-Tiki
  • No
  • War witch


  • Brave
  • Frankenweenie
  • Paranorman
  • Pirates! Band of Misfits (UK title: Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists)
  • Wreck-it Ralph


  • Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino
  • Amour - Michael Haneke
  • Flight - John Gatins
  • Moonrise Kingdom - Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
  • Zero Dark Thirty - Mark Boal


  • Argo - Chris Terrio
  • Beasts Of The Southern Wild - Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
  • Life Of Pi - David Magee
  • Lincoln - Tony Kushner
  • Silver Linings Playbook - David O Russell


  • Life of Pi - Claudio Miranda
  • Anna Karenina - Seamus McGarvey
  • Django Unchained - Robert Richardson
  • Lincoln - Janusz Kaminski
  • Skyfall - Roger Deakins


  • Les Miserables - Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes
  • Argo - John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia
  • Life Of Pi - Ron Bartlett, DM Hemphill and Drew Kunin
  • Lincoln - Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins
  • Skyfall - Scott Millan, Greg P Russell and Stuart Wilson

BEST SOUND EDITING (Joint winners)

  • Skyfall - Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers
  • Zero Dark Thirty - Paul NJ Ottosson
  • Argo - Erik Aadahl and Ethan van der Ryn
  • Django Unchained - Wylie Stateman
  • Life Of Pi - Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton


  • Skyfall (Skyfall) - Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
  • Before My Time (Chasing Ice) - Music and Lyric by J. Ralph
  • Everybody Needs A Best Friend (Ted) - Music by Walter Murphy, Lyric by Seth MacFarlane
  • Pi's lullaby (Life Of Pi) - Music by Mychael Danna, Lyric by Bombay Jayashri
  • Suddenly (Les Miserables) - Music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil


  • Life Of Pi - Mychael Danna
  • Anna Karenina - Dario Marianelli
  • Argo - Alexandre Desplat
  • Lincoln - John Williams
  • Skyfall - Thomas Newman


  • Anna Karenina - Jacqueline Durran
  • Les Miserables - Paco Delgado
  • Lincoln - Joanna Johnston
  • Mirror Mirror - Eiko Ishioka
  • Snow White and the Huntsman - Colleen Atwood


  • Searching For Sugarman
  • 5 Broken Cameras
  • The Gatekeepers
  • How To Survive A Plague
  • The Invisible War


  • Inocente
  • Kings Point
  • Mondays at Racine
  • Open Heart
  • Redemption


  • Argo - William Goldenberg
  • Life of Pi - Tim Squyres
  • Lincoln - Michael Kahn
  • Silver Linings Playbook - Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
  • Zero Dark Thirty - Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg


  • Paperman
  • Adam and the Dog
  • Fresh Guacamole
  • Head Over Heels
  • Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare


  • Curfew
  • Asad
  • Buzkashi Boys
  • Death of a Shadow (Dood Van Een Schaduw)
  • Henry


  • Life Of Pi - Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R Elliott
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R Christopher White
  • Marvel's The Avengers (UK title: Marvel's Avengers Assemble) - Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick
  • Prometheus - Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill
  • Snow White and the Huntsman - Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson


  • Les Miserables - Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell
  • Hitchcock - Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane


  • Lincoln - Rick Carter and Jim Erickson
  • Anna Karenina - Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent and Simon Bright
  • Les Miserables - Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson
  • Life Of Pi - David Gropman and Anna Pinnock

Oscar Nominees - 2015


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