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This is a list of posthumous Academy Award winners and nominees. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences annually presents Academy Awards in both competitive and honorary categories. This list includes posthumous winners and nominees of the Academy's competitive awards, as well as posthumous winners of its honorary awards.

The list does not include people who were retrospectively honoured with an Academy Award and were dead at the time the Academy made the decision to make the retrospective award. For example: in 1993, seventeen years after his death, Dalton Trumbo was retrospectively awarded the 1953 Oscar for Best Writing - Motion Picture Story for Roman Holiday. It had been previously awarded to Ian McLellan Hunter. However, Hunter was merely a front for Trumbo, because Trumbo was blacklisted at the time and it was not possible for his name to appear in either the film's credits or the Academy Award nomination (hence, it was not generally known that he was the real screenwriter). Trumbo did not die until 1976, and under normal circumstances he would have received this award in person in 1953; hence the Academy does not consider this a posthumous award but a correction of the record.

Similarly, the Oscar for Best Screenplay (Adaptation) for The Bridge on the River Kwaimarker was originally awarded to Pierre Boulle, but only in 1984 corrected to honor the actual screenwriters, Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson, who were on the Hollywood blacklist at the time and could only work on the film in secret. By the time this correction was made, both Foreman and Wilson had died, but the award does not qualify for an entry in the following list.

This list is current as of the 81st Academy Awards ceremony held on February 22, 2009.

Competitive awards

Name Date of Death Ceremony Year Academy Award Film Winner Notes
Allen, Marit 80th 2007 Best Costume Design La Vie en Rose
Ashman, Howard 64th 1991 Best Music Beauty and the Beast Winner Note 1
Ashman, Howard 65th 1992 Best Music Aladdin
August, Joseph H. 21st 1948 Best Cinematography Portrait of Jennie
Aurthur, Robert Alan 52nd 1979 Best Picture All That Jazz
Aurthur, Robert Alan 52nd 1979 Best Writing All That Jazz
Cecchi Gori, Mario 68th 1995 Best Picture Il Postino
Churchill, Frank 15th 1942 Best Music Bambi
Churchill, Frank 15th 1942 Best Music Bambi
Davey, Allen 18th 1945 Best Cinematography Song to Remember, A
Dean, James 28th 1955 Best Actor East of Eden
Dean, James 29th 1956 Best Actor Giant
Disney, Walt 41st 1968 Best Short Film Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day Winner
Duffy, Gerald 01st 1927 / 1928 Best Writing Private Life of Helen of Troy, The
Eagels, Jeanne 02nd 1928 / 1929 Best Actress Letter, The
Ferrari, William 36th 1963 Best Art Direction How the West Was Won
Finch, Peter 49th 1976 Best Actor Network Winner Note 2
Gershwin, George 10th 1937 Best Music Shall We Dance
Gilmore, Stuart 44th 1971 Best Film Editing Andromeda Strain, The
Goodwin, Thomas C. 65th 1992 Best Documentary Educating Peter Winner
Hall, Conrad L. 75th 2002 Best Cinematography Road to Perdition Winner Note 3
Hall, David 38th 1965 Best Art Direction Greatest Story Ever Told, The
Hennesy, Dale 55th 1982 Best Art Direction Annie
Herrmann, Bernard 49th 1976 Best Music Obsession
Herrmann, Bernard 49th 1976 Best Music Taxi Driver
Hollingshead, Gordon 25th 1952 Best Short Film Desert Killer
Hollingshead, Gordon 25th 1952 Best Short Film Thar She Blows!
Horning, William A. 31st 1958 Best Art Direction Gigi Winner
Horning, William A. 32nd 1959 Best Art Direction Ben-Hur Winner
Horning, William A. 32nd 1959 Best Art Direction North by Northwest
Howard, Sidney 12th 1939 Best Writing Gone with the Wind Winner
Hubley, John 50th 1977 Best Short Film A Doonesbury Special
Kalmar, Bert 24th 1951 Best Music Strip, The
Kern, Jerome 18th 1945 Best Music Can't Help Singing
Kern, Jerome 18th 1945 Best Music Can't Help Singing
Kern, Jerome 19th 1946 Best Music Centennial Summer
Kiernan, William 46th 1973 Best Art Direction Way We Were, The
Lamorisse, Albert 51st 1978 Best Documentary Lovers' Wind, The
Ledger, Heath 81st 2008 Best Supporting Actor Dark Knight, The Winner Note 4
Leven, Boris 59th 1986 Best Art Direction Color of Money, The
Mellor, William C. 38th 1965 Best Cinematography Greatest Story Ever Told, The
Minghella, Anthony 81st 2008 Best Picture Reader, The
Monaco, James V. 19th 1946 Best Music Dolly Sisters, The
Newman, Alfred 43rd 1970 Best Music Airport
O'Brien, Joseph 18th 1945 Best Short Film Your National Gallery
Orbom, Eric 33rd 1960 Best Art Direction Spartacus Winner
Perl, Arnold 45th 1972 Best Documentary Malcolm X
Pollack, Sydney 81st 2008 Best Picture Reader, The
Rasch, Raymond 45th 1972 Best Music Limelight Winner Note 5
Rau, Gretchen 79th 2006 Best Art Direction Good Shepherd, The
Richardson, Ralph 57th 1984 Best Supporting Actor Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes
Riedel, Richard H. 32nd 1959 Best Art Direction Pillow Talk
Russell, Larry 45th 1972 Best Music Limelight Winner Note 5
Slesinger, Tess 18th 1945 Best Writing Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A
Sobieski, Carol 64th 1991 Best Writing Fried Green Tomatoes
Steele, Gile 24th 1951 Best Costume Design Kind Lady
Steele, Gile 24th 1951 Best Costume Design Great Caruso, The
Steele, Gile 25th 1952 Best Costume Design Merry Widow, The
Stradling, Harry 42nd 1969 Best Cinematography Hello, Dolly!
Tetrick, Harry W. 49th 1976 Best Sound King Kong
Tetrick, Harry W. 49th 1976 Best Sound Rocky
Tracy, Spencer 40th 1967 Best Actor Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Troisi, Massimo 68th 1995 Best Actor Il Postino
Troisi, Massimo 68th 1995 Best Writing Il Postino
Trotti, Lamar 27th 1954 Best Writing There's No Business Like Show Business
Unsworth, Geoffrey 53rd 1980 Best Cinematography Tess Winner Note 6
Wolfe, Robert L. 54th 1981 Best Film Editing On Golden Pond
Young, Victor 29th 1956 Best Music Around the World in Eighty Days Winner
Young, Victor 29th 1956 Best Music Written on the Wind
Zimbalist, Sam 32nd 1959 Best Picture Ben-Hur Winner Note 7


Notes

  1. Howard Ashman's partner Bill Lauch accepted the award on his behalf.
  2. Peter Finch became the first posthumous winner in an acting category. His widow Eletha Finch and screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky accepted the award on his behalf.
  3. Conrad L. Hall's son Conrad W. Hall accepted the award on his behalf.
  4. Heath Ledger died after completing his scenes in The Dark Knight but before the film had been completed, and a year before the nominations were announced. His family accepted the award on his behalf.
  5. Limelight, a 1952 film, won its award in 1972 because the blacklisting of Charlie Chaplin prevented it from being shown in Los Angeles until then. (The Academy subsequently changed its rules to prevent films more than two years old from receiving awards.)
  6. Geoffrey Unsworth died during the shooting of Tess, and the cinematography was completed by Ghislain Cloquet. Unsworth and Cloquet were jointly nominated, successfully, for Best Cinematography.
  7. Sam Zimbalist died during the filming of Ben-Hur. His widow Mary Zimbalist accepted the award on his behalf.


Honorary awards

Name Date of Death Ceremony Year Academy Award Notes
Benjamin, Robert 52nd 1979 Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
Bowie, Les 51st 1978 Special Achievement Award for Superman
Fairbanks, Douglas 12th 1939 Commemorative Award
Hepburn, Audrey 65th 1992 Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award Note 1
Kraemer, George 65th 1992 Scientific and Technical Award
Miller, Charles 13th 1940 Scientific or Technical Award
Robinson, Edward G. 45th 1972 Honorary Award Note 2
Stankiewicz, Louis 54th 1981 Scientific or Technical Award
Williamson, Geoffrey H. 65th 1992 Scientific and Technical Award


Notes

  1. Audrey Hepburn died eight days after the Academy voted to confer this award, but two months before the 65th Academy Awards ceremony. Her son Sean Hepburn Ferrer accepted the award on her behalf.
  2. Edward G. Robinson died after the Academy voted to confer this award, but two months before the 45th Academy Awards ceremony. His widow Jane Robinson accepted the award on his behalf.


Superlatives

Among the posthumous winners and nominees of Academy Awards in standard competitive categories, the following superlatives emerge.



Statistics

For the purposes of the following statistics relating to posthumous winners and nominees of Academy Awards in standard competitive categories:
  • Where a nomination is in more than one name, it counts as a posthumous nomination if at least one of the people was dead at the time of nomination.
  • Where such a nomination is successful, it counts as a posthumous award.
  • Where a living (joint or single) nominee dies before the awards ceremony, and the nomination is successful, it counts as a posthumous award but not a posthumous nomination.
  • Where a person wins more than one (joint or single) award posthumously, each award is counted separately but the person is counted only once as a winner.


  • Individuals - To date, 56 individuals received a total of 73 posthumous nominations:
    • 1 individual received 4 posthumous nominations (Howard Ashman);
    • 3 individuals received 3 posthumous nominations;
    • 8 individuals received 2 posthumous nominations; and
    • 44 individuals received 1 posthumous nomination.


  • Ceremonies - To date, 41 ceremonies produced a total of 73 posthumous nominations:
    • 2 ceremonies produced 5 posthumous nominations (18th Academy Awards and 49th Academy Awards);
    • 2 ceremonies produced 4 posthumous nominations (32nd Academy Awards and 64th Academy Awards);
    • 6 ceremonies produced 3 posthumous nominations;
    • 6 ceremonies produced 2 posthumous nominations;
    • 25 ceremonies produced 1 posthumous nomination; and
    • 40 ceremonies produced no posthumous nominations.


  • Films - To date, 62 films received a total of 70 posthumous nominations:
    • 2 films received 3 posthumous nominations (Beauty and the Beast and Il Postino);
    • 7 films received 2 posthumous nominations; and
    • 53 films received 1 posthumous nomination.


  • Number of posthumous nominations: 73
  • Number of posthumous nominees: 56
  • Number of posthumous awards: 13
  • Number of posthumous winners: 13
  • Number of individuals with consecutive posthumous nominations: 5
  • Number of individuals with consecutive posthumous awards: 1 (William A. Horning)
  • Number of individuals with multiple posthumous nominations: 12
  • Number of individuals with multiple posthumous awards: 1 (William A. Horning)
  • Number of ceremonies with multiple posthumous nominations: 16
  • Number of ceremonies with multiple posthumous awards: 2 (one ceremony includes a shared award)
  • Number of films with multiple posthumous nominations: 9
  • Number of films with multiple posthumous awards: 2 (one film includes a shared award)


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