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The Movies with the Most Oscar Wins and Nominations

by Scott Kacsmar
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The Oscars

We could see history made at the 96th Academy Awards as Oppenheimer comes in as the favorite with 13 nominations. A clean sweep would make history for the most Oscar wins, and it can actually afford to lose a category and still set the record.

With that in mind, and before you place your bets at the top betting sites, what are the movies with the most Oscar wins and nominations? We have the lists below with some facts about select films, and a projection for how Oppenheimer might fare when the Oscar winners are announced on March 10, 2024.

The Most Oscar Nominations Ever

The record for Oscar nominations for a movie is 14, shared by 3 films. There are 11 other films that have snagged 13 nominations. We included how many Oscars they won in parenthesis below:

  • 14 – All About Eve (6)
  • 14 – Titanic (11)
  • 14 – La La Land (6)
  • 13 – Gone with the Wind (8)
  • 13 – From Here to Eternity (8)
  • 13 – Mary Poppins (5)
  • 13 – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (5)
  • 13 – Forrest Gump (6)
  • 13 – Shakespeare in Love (7)
  • 13 – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (4)
  • 13 – Chicago (6)
  • 13 – The Curious Case of Benjamin Buton (3)
  • 13 – The Shape of Water (4)
  • 13 – Oppenheimer (TBD)

These films all won at least 3 Oscars each. Ten of them won at least 5 Oscars with Oppenheimer still pending.

How often does a film with this many nominations take home the top prize for Best Picture? We know La La Land did not win for 2016 after the wrong card was read (Moonlight won). Mary Poppins (1964), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) also did not win Best Picture. Tough break for anything with a long title.

That means if Oppenheimer wins, it will be 9-of-14 Best Picture winners for the most nominated films. Not a bad rate.

The Most Oscar Wins Ever

The record for Oscar wins for a movie is 11, which is also shared by 3 films. A total of 15 films won at least 8 Oscars, and we have them listed below with their number of nominations in parenthesis:

  • 11 – Ben-Hur (12)
  • 11 – Titanic (14)
  • 11 – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (11)
  • 10 – West Side Story (1961 version; 11)
  • 9 – Gigi (9)
  • 9 – The Last Emperor (9)
  • 9 – The English Patient (12)
  • 8 – Gone with the Wind (13)
  • 8 – From Here to Eternity (13)
  • 8 – On the Waterfront (12)
  • 8 – My Fair Lady (12)
  • 8 – Cabaret (10)
  • 8 – Gandhi (11)
  • 8 – Amadeus (11)
  • 8 – Slumdog Millionaire (10)

Titanic (1997) is the only film to be tied for the records for most nominations and most wins. In fact, you could say All About Eve and La La Land underperformed a bit as they only won 6-of-14 Oscars.

Only 3 films have ever done a 100% sweep with at least 8 wins.

The musical RomCom Gigi (1958) pulled it off (9-for-9) in admittedly one of the weakest Oscar years ever. It was not up for any of the acting awards, so it cleaned up with the music, sound, and art direction awards before also winning Best Director (Vincente Minnelli) and Best Picture.

A better film to go 9-for-9 was Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor (1987) about the final emperor of China. It seems like the key to go 100% is to stay away from the acting categories as much as possible since those can be very competitive and one stellar performance can carry an otherwise bland film. The Last Emperor won Best Adapted Screenplay, Score, Sound, Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing and finished big with Best Director for Bertolucci and of course Best Picture.

The most impressive performance in the history of the Oscars should go to the final chapter in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Return of the King went 11-for-11 in 2003, the biggest sweep ever. They won in all of these categories:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Makeup
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Original Song
  • Best Sound Mixing
  • Best Visual Effects

This final installment in the trilogy won more Oscars than The Fellowship of the Ring (4) and The Two Towers (2) combined. Was it really that much better than those films? I think it’s easy to fluctuate between all 3 films as being the “best” of the trilogy, which feels more like one very long film than a normal trilogy. Maybe that’s how voters approached it too, choosing to wait until the end to honor the overall product.

Where Did Titanic Run into Trouble on Oscars Night?

While the sweep for The Return of the King was incredible, 11 Oscars was the most it could have won that year, only tying Ben-Hur and Titanic for the most wins. But both of those films had a shot at winning at least 12 Oscars.

Ben-Hur’s only loss was a big one as it did not come home with Best Adapted Screenplay, losing to Room at the Top.

As for Titanic’s performance of going 11-for-14, these were the 3 awards it did not win to make history:

  • Best Leading Actress – Kate Winslet (Rose) lost to Helen Hunt (As Good as It Gets)
  • Best Supporting Actress – Gloria Stuart (the old version of Rose) lost to Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential)
  • Best Makeup – Titanic lost to Men in Black

Tough loss on the makeup as only 3 films were nominated in total that year for the category, but Men in Black was a sci-fi film that used a lot of great makeup. In hindsight, imagine if the Titanic makeup team made Kate Winslet look like old Rose with incredible makeup. That might have been enough to swing them the award, ditch the need for Gloria Stuart’s casting, and they could have finished a record-setting 12-of-13 at the Oscars.

Oh well. But one thing we have definitely learned here is that avoiding as many acting categories as possible is the way to maximize dominance at the Oscars. A film that is so technically sound can pull off a sweep, but acting is where things really become a popularity contest and a singular great performance can outweigh an otherwise mediocre film.

How Will Oppenheimer Fare?

With 13 nominations, what chances does Oppenheimer have of winning 11 to tie the record or 12 or better to break it? These are the categories it is nominated in at the Oscars, and it has already won for many of these at other award shows this season:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director (Christopher Nolan)
  • Best Actor (Cillian Murphy)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Robert Downey Jr.)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Emily Blunt)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay (Christopher Nolan)
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Sound

It would seem like Best Picture, Best Director (Christopher Nolan), Best Actor (Cillian Murphy) and Best Supporting Actor (Robert Downey Jr.) are close to locks. There is also a good shot of it winning technical awards like Sound, Original Score, Editing and Cinematography.

That could get it to 8 Oscars, something no film has done since Slumdog Millionaire in 2008. But where the sweep is all but guaranteed to fall apart is Best Supporting Actress. Da’Vine Joy Randolph has been winning everywhere she goes for The Holdovers, and frankly, she totally deserves it over Emily Blunt.

The awards for Production Design, Costume Design and Makeup and Hairstyling feel more up Barbie’s alley, so that side of the coin of Barbenheimer might cost Oppenheimer some history. Adapted screenplay is also far from a lock for Nolan.

But it should be about as fun of a night can be where the top film is about the father of the atomic bomb. On the other hand, the other films to win the most Oscars feature the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and a sunken ship disaster that killed thousands of people.

Maybe fantasy fans who love their Orcs and wizards are onto something when it comes to pure joy and escapism through art.

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Scott Kacsmar
NFL football picks are Scott Kacsmar's expertise, serving as his main focus. He has contributed to various sports websites and blogs, such as NBC Sports, ESPN Insider, FiveThirtyEight, and, JoeWager. Originating from Pittsburgh, Scott maintains a love-hate connection with the Pirates.

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