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10 Women With the Most Oscar Wins

February 25, 2024
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10 Women With the Most Oscar Wins


For 94 years, the Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, have celebrated and honored some of the greatest artists in film of our time. Even though the future looks bright for women and minorities, it is no secret that film endures as a male-dominated industry and that there is a lack of recognition of many female actors and artists’ talents. Despite these circumstances, exceptionally talented women such as Edith Head, Katharine Hepburn, and Meryl Streep have never failed to put their abilities to practice and were deservedly critically acclaimed for it in return.


Although there has been a positive shift in how the Academy recognizes and honors female artists, a bigger, more poignant change is yet to come. Especially considering that the world is filled with bold, fierce, and talented women waiting for an opportunity to showcase their skills and abilities. But who is the actress with the most Oscars? From Cate Blanchett to Ingrid Bergman, these are the talented women who have won the most Academy Awards so far.

10 Cate Blanchett

2 Oscars

Movie

Year of Release

Category

‘The Aviator’

2004

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

‘Blue Jasmine’

2013

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Cate Blanchett is an Australian actor who has made a name for herself because of her roles in many award-winning films, including The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Don’t Look Up, and more. Though she received her first Oscar nomination for her role as Queen Elizabeth I in 1998’s Elizabeth, she did not win an Oscar until 2005 for her supporting role in The Aviator. Blanchett won her second Oscar for Best Actress in the Woody Allen comedy-drama film Blue Jasmine in 2014.

Blanchett has also received Oscar nominations for Notes on a Scandal, I’m Not There, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and Carol. Her most recent role in the film Tár has also highlighted Blanchett’s astounding talents and garnered her much acclaim. No doubt, with Cate Blanchett’s iconic filmography, the Australian star is at the top of her game.

9 Jane Fonda

2 Oscars

Movie

Year of Release

Category

‘Klute’

1971

Best Actress in a Leading Role

‘Coming Home’

1978

Best Actress in a Leading Role

For over six decades, actor and humanitarian Jane Fonda has starred in many prominent movies and television shows, such as Barefoot in the Park, 9 to 5, Barbarella, and Grace and Frankie. Fonda has undoubtedly established herself as one of the most acclaimed actors of her generation. Throughout her career, she has received an impressive seven Oscar nominations for the films They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (it earned the most Oscar noms without one for Best Picture), Klute, Julia, Coming Home, The China Syndrome, On Golden Pond, and The Morning After. Out of the seven nominations, Fonda has won two Oscars for Klute and Coming Home in the Best Actress category.

Before acting, Jane Fonda was also a fashion model and even made two appearances on the cover of Vogue. Furthermore, she is an outspoken activist for the Black Lives Matter movement, the environmental crisis, and, most famously, for opposing and wanting to end the Vietnam War, which stirred controversy in the United States.

8 Maggie Smith

2 Oscars

Movie

Year of Release

Category

‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’

1969

Best Actress in a Leading Role

‘California Suite’

1978

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Having appeared in over sixty films, seventy plays, and winning two Academy Awards, a Tony Award, and four Primetime Emmy Awards, Dame Maggie Smith has achieved the “Triple Crown of Acting” title. She is hailed as one of Britain’s most prolific actors and was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990 for her contribution to the arts. Dame Smith’s first Oscar win came in 1969 for her breakout role as an eccentric teacher in an all-girls school in Edinburgh for the film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

Although she would go on to star in many more notable films after the film, it took another nine years before the star’s second Oscar win for California Suite in 1978, where she, ironically, played the role of a British actor, Diane Barrie, who was a first-time nominee for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

7 Elizabeth Taylor

2 Oscars

Movie

Year of Release

Category

‘BUtterfield 8’

1960

Best Actress in a Leading Role

‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’

1966

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Since Elizabeth Taylor’s acting career began in the 1940s, she quickly rose to fame as one of the most prominent faces of Hollywood by the 1950s and became the world’s highest-paid movie star by the 1960s. It turned out that the 60s would become the greatest decade of her career as Taylor went on to win two Oscars for her roles in Butterfield 8 in 1961 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1967.

Besides acting, Taylor was also an advocate for humanitarian causes, with a particular focus on HIV/AIDS. In 1993, she was also awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award of AMPAS (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences), an award given to an individual’s “outstanding contributions to humanitarian causes” for her commitment to fighting against HIV/AIDS. To this day, Elizabeth Taylor remains a beloved name in the film industry, and understandably so.

6 Thelma Schoonmaker

3 Oscars

Movie

Year of Release

Category

‘Taxi Driver’

1980

Best Film Editing

‘The Aviator’

2004

Best Achievement in Film Editing

‘The Departed’

2006

Best Achievement in Film Editing

Although actors and directors get the most credit and recognition for their work, a film would not succeed without the involvement of other departments, such as costume design, lighting, cinematography, production assistants, editors, and more. And as such, they should be celebrated and recognized for the work they have achieved.

The male-dominated film industry means that women have to fight harder to earn a position against other men. On this occasion, female film editor Thelma Schoonmaker did. The gifted Schoonmaker has won three out of eight Best Film Editing Oscar nominations for Raging Bull, The Aviator, and The Departed, the most nods for the category in the Academy’s history. Not only that, only a handful of female editors have been nominated for the “Best Film Editing” category, let alone win an Oscar.

5 Meryl Streep

3 Oscars

Movie

Year of Release

Category

‘Kramer vs. Kramer’

1979

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

‘Sophie’s Choice’

1982

Best Actress in a Leading Role

‘The Iron Lady’

2011

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Meryl Streep might not hold the title for the most wins in Oscar history, but she does maintain the record for the most Oscar-nominated performer in the acting categories, with a total of 21 nominations. Since her feature film debut in 1977, Meryl Streep has graced the big screen with many iconic roles in films such as The Deer Hunter, Out of Africa, The Devil Wears Prada, Mamma Mia!, Julie & Julia, and more.

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Three years after making her feature film debut in 1977, Meryl Streep won her first Oscar for Kramer vs. Kramer in 1980. In 1983, she starred in another iconic film and won another Oscar for her role as a Polish immigrant in Sophie’s Choice, which is arguably her most well-known and heartbreaking role in a film. Finally, her latest Oscar win came nearly three decades later with her portrayal of the UK’s longest-serving Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, in The Iron Lady. Despite many of her most iconic roles being Oscar-nominated, Streep’s performances that did not receive nods from the Academy — like the iconic Donna Sheridan, who we all know and love — deserve some love, too.

4 Ingrid Bergman

3 Oscars

Movie

Year of Release

Category

‘Gaslight’

1944

Best Actress in a Leading Role

‘Anastasia’

1956

Best Actress in a Leading Role

‘Murder on the Orient Express’

1974

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

With a career spanning over five decades, Swedish actor Ingrid Bergman is considered one of the most influential actors and screen figures in American and European cinema history. Although Bergman was most well known for her role as Ilsa Lund in Casablanca, the star did not receive an Oscar nomination for her role in the movie.

Instead, Bergman received her first Oscar nomination for her role in the 1943 epic war film, For Whom the Bell Tolls, though she did not win it. It was a year later, in 1944, when she received her first Oscar win in the “Best Actress” category for the psychological thriller, Gaslight. In 1956, she won another Oscar in the same category for the film Anastasia, and finally, her last Oscar win came in 1974 for Murder on the Orient Express. Bergman’s three Oscar nods cemented her as one of the most talented actors of her generation with a plethora of compelling projects under her belt.

3 Frances McDormand

3 Oscars

Movie

Year of Release

Category

‘Fargo’

1996

Best Actress in a Leading Role

‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’

2017

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

‘Nomadland’

2020

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

After making her feature film debut in 1984’s Blood Simple, Frances McDormand has since starred in many notable movies, such as Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, Lone Star, Hail, Caesar!, and many more; all of which she didn’t get Oscar nominations for but were nonetheless impressive films. McDormand did, however, win three out of her seven Oscar nominations for Fargo (her husband was Oscar-nominated in the same year), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and Nomadland.

McDormand recently starred in the 2023 drama Women Talking, which has been chosen as one of the nominees for Best Picture at the upcoming Oscars. Not only has McDormand excelled in film and earned many Academy Awards, but she has also won a Tony Award and two Emmy Awards, making her one of the few performers to achieve the “Triple Crown of Acting.”

2 Katharine Hepburn

4 Oscars

Movie

Year of Release

Category

‘Morning Glory’

1933

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’

1967

Best Actress in a Leading Role

‘The Lion in Winter’

1968

Best Actress in a Leading Role

‘On Golden Pond’

1981

Best Actress in a Leading Role

If you’ve ever wondered who has won the most Oscars for Best Actress, you’ve come to the right place: Katherine Hepburn was a tour de force actor who deserved all the praise she got, and her four nominations were all for the leading role. For many years, Hepburn was the leading lady of Hollywood. Despite winning an impressive first Oscar for her role in Morning Glory early in her acting career, the following films she starred in, such as Bringing Up Baby, tarnished her reputation and career. However, in an attempt to fix this, Hepburn bought out her contract with RKO Radio Pictures and secured the film rights to The Philadelphia Story, which she then sold on the condition that she would be the star of the film. Her role in the film landed her an Oscar nomination.

Since then, she has won an additional three Oscars for her roles in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Lion in Winter, and On Golden Pond, making it a total of four Oscar wins. As of today, the iconic Katharine Hepburn still holds the record for the most wins for an actor in Oscar history.

1 Edith Head

8 Oscars

Movie

Year of Release

Category

‘The Heiress’

1949

Best Costume Design, Black-and-White

‘Samson and Delilah’

1949

Best Costume Design, Color

‘Eva’

1951

Best Costume Design, Black-and-White

‘A Place in the Sun’

1951

Best Costume Design, Black-and-White

‘Roman Holiday’

1953

Best Costume Design, Black-and-White

‘Sabrina’

1954

Best Costume Design, Black-and-White

‘The Facts of Life’

1960

Best Costume Design, Black-and-White

‘The Sting’

1973

Best Costume Design

It may be a surprise that the woman who holds the record title for the most wins in Oscar history is not an actor but a costume designer, Edith Head. Her first win was for the 1949 film adaptation of The Heiress. The 19th Century-set film involved many grand, voluminous Victorian costumes, all of which were individually designed by her.

Her second Oscar win was for Samson and Delilah, a film set during the biblical period. Edith Head has also won the best costume design awards for six other films: All About Eve, A Place in the Sun, Roman Holiday, Sabrina, The Facts of Life, and The Sting. No matter the location and period of the film, Edith Head has shown her agility as a costume designer of any style and of any era.

NEXT:Female Roles Originally Written For Male Characters



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