Oscar: Multiple Winners–Two or More Oscars

For most actors, winning an Oscar is once-in-a-lifetime achievement.

Yet considering the intensity of competition, the percentage of players who have received multiple awards is quite impressive: about 20 percent of all winners.

As expected, the lead players–Best Actors–have better chances than the supporting ones to win a second Oscar.

Quite consistently, the Best Actresses enjoy the best prospects of winning a second Oscar: 30 percent, compared with 13 percent of the Best Actors.

The following players won two Oscars within the same category:

Best Actor:

Each of these thess had won two Best Actor Oscars:

Frederic March, Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Tom Hanks

Daniel Day Lewis is the only thespian to have won three Best Actor Oscars.

Best Actress

Bette Davis, Luise Rainer, Vivien Leigh, Ingrid Bergman, Olivia de Havilland, Elizabeth Taylor, Glenda Jackson, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Jodie Foster.

Hilary Swank

Swank is the latest actress to join this elite with a first Oscar in 1999 for Boys Don’t Cry and a second one in 2004 for Million Dollar Baby. On both occasions, her rival was Annette Bening: in 1999 for American Beauty and in 2004 for Being Julia.

Supporting Actor:

Anthony Quinn, Peter Ustinov, Melvyn Douglas, Jason Robards, and Michael Caine

Supporting Actress:

Shelley Winters, Diane Wiest

Katharine Hepburn Vs. Meryl Streep

Two players stand out in their Oscar achievements. For decades, Katharine Hepburn, Hollywood’s most respected screen actress, held the record of the getting the largest number of nominations twelve.

Nonetheless, the record-holder at present is Meryl Streep, with 20 Academy nominations (in both lead and supporting categories), though Hepburn still holds the record for winning the largest number of Best Actress Oscars, four.

Hepburn’s Oscars have been won over period of half a century, from Morning Glory in 1932, to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner in 1967, to The Lion in Winter in 1968, to On Golden Pond in 1981.

Thus far, Streep has won two Best Actress and one Supporting Actress.

One of the American screen’s most versatile and prolific character actors, Walter Brennan holds another kind of a record, having won three supporting Oscars within a short period of time (five years): Come and Get It in 1936, Kentucky in 1938, and The Westerner in 1940. Brennan, who played older men even when he was younger, won another nomination in 1941, for Sergeant York, and continued to turn in reliable work in many other films, including the cult Westerns Rio Bravo.

Winning Oscars in Lead and Supporting Categories:

Ten players have won Oscars in both the leading and supporting categories: five actors (Jack Lemmon, Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Gene Hackman, and Kevin Spacey) and five actresses (Helen Hayes, Ingrid Bergman, Maggie Smith, Meryl Streep, and Jessica Lange). With the exception of Nicholson and Hackman, the men first won a supporting, then a lead Oscar.

The first two-time male winner was Jack Lemmon, who was cited for a featured role in Mister Roberts in 1955, then twentyeight years later won Best Actor for the lead in Save the Tiger.

Three of the women first won Best Actress, then Supporting Actress. Helen Hayes was the first multiple winner, receiving Best Actress for The Sin of Madelon Claudet in 1932, and a second, supporting Oscar for Airport in 1970. Never mind that she didn’t deserve the award. Pauline Kael dismissed her work as “Helen Hayes does her lovable-old-trouper pixie,” and even kinder critics, such as the New York Times’ Vincent Canby, wrote that Hayes’s performance was “a teensy-weensy bit terrible.”

This different career pattern stems in part from the more rigid specifications for the women’s roles, demanding that leading ladies be young and attractive. Nonetheless, the careers of Meryl Streep and Jessica Lange, two actresses who first won a supporting (Kramer vs. Kramer and Tootsie, respectively) then a lead Oscar (Sophie’s Choice and Blue Sky), is seen as an encouraging development for women’s opportunities in Hollywood.


Multiple wins have been more prevalent among filmmakers, reflecting the different ratio of supply and demand of directing talent. The concentration of awards and nominations within a small group of talented filmmakers has been a consistent trend in Hollywood.

Of the Oscar-winning directors, one fourth have won multiple awards.

John Ford

The all-time record is still held by John Ford, who won four Oscars, followed by Frank Capra and William Wyler, each with three Oscars.

Directors have been nominated five or more times, including Frank Capra, Billy Wilder, Elia Kazan, John Huston, Fred Zinnemann, Spielberg, and Scorsese

Only one third of the Oscar winning directors have received one nomination.