Oscar: Posthumous–Ralph Richardson

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has been reluctant to bestow the Oscar Award or even nomination posthumously.

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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.”

The acclaimed British actor Ralph Richardson received posthumous Best Supporting Actor nomination for his bravura performance in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan (1984), in which he played the eccentric Lord Greystoke.

Richardson, a noted British stage actor, died  on October 10, 1983, five months before the release of Greystoke.

Undeterred by his death, the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) cited Richardson for his work in the supporting league. The Academy’s Acting Branch, too, confirmed Richardson’s genius and the fact that it was his last film with a nomination; the winner, however, was Haing S. Ngor for The Killing Fields.

It was Richardson’s second nomination in the supporting category, following his first nod for The Heiress, in 1949.