Oscar: Finch, Peter–Posthumous Oscar

The Academy is reluctant to bestow the Oscar Award posthumously. Some suggest that the Academy’s reluctance stems from its belief that the awards should affect the careers of practicing artists. In some categories, such as the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for distinguished producers, and the Honorary Oscars, the rules state explicitly that the awards “shall not be voted posthumously.”

Peter Finch is still the only player to have actually won the Best Actor Oscar, for “Network” (1976), after his death. On January 14, 1977, Finch met his director, Sidney Lumet, at the Beverly Hills Hotel to discuss the film on the show “Good Morning, America.” Just hours before, he collapsed and died of a heart attack in the hotel’s lobby.

This was Finch’s second Best Actor nomination. “I’m not sure that winning is that important, but the nominations let people know you are there,” Finch said upon his first Best Actor nomination, for “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”
Peter Finch Oscar Record

1971: Best Actor, Sunday, Bloody Sunday
1976: Best Actor, Network

In 1971, the Best Actor Oscar went to Gene Hackman for “The French Connection.

In 1976, Finch competed for the Oscar with William Holden, also nominated for “Network,” Robert De Niro in “Taxi Driver,” Italian Giancarlo Giannini in “Seven Beauties,” and Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky,” which won Best Picture and Director.