Oscar Scandals: Mickey Rooney–Four-Time Loser, Honorary Oscar

Honorary Oscars fulfill compensatory functions, they are often given to Oscar “losers” (a term no one likes.  These are artists who have been nominated multiples time but have not won a legit competitive award.

Some recipients of Honorary Oscars are sensitive about this fact; others embrace it.

Take Mickey Rooney was nominated four times for the Oscar but had never won.

He received two Best Actor nominations, for “Babes in Arms” in 1939 and for “The Human Comedy” in 1943, and then two Supporting Actor nominations, in 1956 and in 1979.

Rooney was not nominated for “Boys Town,” which some critics consider to be one of his best performances.

Tracy and Rooney

In 1983, Rooney was bestowed the Honorary Oscar, in recognition of his sixty-year career, which began at the age of two.

Standing at the Oscar podium, Rooney recited all the awards he had recently received lest the Academy think it was doing him a favor. “I’d been the world’s biggest box-office star at 19 and, at 40, unable to get work,” Rooney said rather bitterly, reminding his colleagues of the inherent instabilities of his glamorous profession.