10 Actors Who Have Appeared in Best Picture Winners

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It’s one thing to have a place in one Best Picture winner, let alone several. This is the most prestigious award presented by the Oscars at the annual Academy Awards ceremony and is perhaps the most prestigious award of all the awards. Having a role – whether it’s leading or supporting – in a film that wins Best Picture can be a huge career boost and one you’ll probably be very proud of contributing to the Oscars favorite movie of the year.


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These actors have appeared in three or more Best Picture winners during their careers. Not all of them have necessarily been the main actors, with some of the actors often appearing in minor roles, sometimes even just as extras. Regardless of the size of the role, the following actors have made their mark in film history.

10 Jack Nicholson

Contributors - Jack Nicholson Summary - One flew past the cuckoo's nest

3 Best Picture Views

One of the most celebrated actors of his generation, Jack Nicholson, is no stranger to best picture winning films. His first was in the 1975s One of them flew over the cuckoo’s nestfollowed by 1983s Final Termsand then he had his third and final one in 2006 The Departed.

Nicholson has apparently been retired since about 2010, so it’s unlikely he’ll appear in another Best Picture winner. But three appearances is nothing to sneeze at, and it is important to highlight how his roles in all three have appeared or appeared in prominent supporting roles, as an important part of the success of each film.

9 Diane Keaton

Annie Hall - Diane Keaton

3 Best Picture Views

Diane Keatonthe three Best Picture winners are all clustered very close together. Her first appearance was in 1972’s Best Picture winner The Father, and then in 1974, she had a bigger role in her hit series. 1977s Annie HallIt was her third Best Picture winner, and she also won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for it.

This makes her one of the most successful actors in the 1970s when she judged success based on Oscar winners, at least. Her career has continued strong since that decade, excelling in comedic and dramatic roles and appearing in other films nominated for Best Picture, including 1981’s. Red and The Father Part III (1990).

8 Morgan Freeman

Unforgiven - packing

3 Best Picture Views

Gaining worldwide fame in the late 1980s, Morgan FreemanPeople’s interest in him as an actor continued to grow into the 1990s and beyond. The first Best Picture winner was his appearance in 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy. His next two Best Picture appearances were in films directed by Clint Eastwood: 1992s No forgiveness and 2004 Million dollar baby.

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Given the popularity of the 1994s The Shawshank Redemption, it’s easy to imagine another universe where that film won Best Picture, bringing Freeman’s Best Picture haul to four. However, being a prominent part of three Best Picture films is quite an achievement, as he receives an Oscar nomination for his role in Driving Miss Daisy and won an Oscar for his role in Million dollar baby.

7 Ralph Fiennes

Ralph Fiennes Amon Goth in Schindler's List

3 Best Picture Views

Rise to prominence with his terrifying performance in the acclaimed 1993 black-and-white war drama Schindler’s Table Free, Ralph Fiennes he has had a prolific and consistent career. That performance marked the first time he appeared in a Best Picture winner, and he did so again in 1996 with The English patientand then the third time in 2008 with The Hurt Locker.

His role in the latter of these was minor, although he still made a good impression with his limited screen time. Given how consistently he works and finds himself in quality films, the idea of ​​Fiennes appearing in a fourth Best Picture winner one day is plausible.

6 Colin Firth

King George VI steps up to a microphone in front of an audience to deliver his famous speech
Photo via Momentum Pictures

3 Best Picture Views

1996s The English patient and 1998’s Shakespeare in love both gave Colin Firth two supporting performances in almost back-to-back Best Picture wins. However, his most notable performance in a Best Picture winner wouldn’t come until 2010, when he gave the lead performance in the unrated R at The King’s Speechpainting King George VI in a film that dramatized his struggles to overcome a speech impediment.

Firth also won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for that film, and has continued to succeed in both big and smaller films since then. He is undoubtedly an actor who brings a certain level of prestige and class to any film he appears in… maybe the distinct British accent helps.

5 John Cazale

John Cazale - Father

3 Best Picture Views

John Cazalehis acting career was cut short when he died in 1978 at just 42 years of age. His short-lived career is one of the most impressive of all time, however, as he starred in five major motion pictures, three of which were Best Picture winners (The godfather Part I and II and The Deer Hunter), and the other two were nominated for Best Picture (The Conversation and Dog Day Evening).

He also appeared in The Father Part III (1990) in a retrospective based on archival footage, and if that counts as the sixth film, that means it was another of Cazale’s Best Picture nominations. Better. He still insists that Cazale’s film career only lasted a few years, but it was undoubtedly full of classic films.

4 Shirley MacLaine

Bud and Fran talking while sitting on a couch in the Apartment.
Photo via United Artists.

3 Best Picture Views

Shirley MacLaineandher career began in the 1950s, and she’s been pretty busy ever since, succeeding in almost every genre under the sun, even starring in a Western at one point. All three of her performances are Best Picture winners Around the world in 80 days (1956), The Apartment (1960), and Final Terms (1983).

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She has also beaten her younger brother, Warren Beatty, when it comes to Best Picture appearances, as it has only been involved with Best Picture nominees rather than films that won the big prize. It’s not necessarily a competition, but it’s easy to imagine that there has been some level of sibling rivalry between the two during their prolific careers in Hollywood.

3 Robert Karnes

Robert Karnes

4 Best Picture Views

There are plenty of famous actors who have appeared in three Best Picture winners, but once you start looking at people who have been in more than three, the names grow more obscure. This is the case for Robert Karnesfeatured in four Best Picture winners: The best years of our lives (1946), Gentle agreement (1947), All the King’s men (1949), and From now to eternity (1953).

Sure, many of these are older, lesser-known winners, and Karnes didn’t have major roles in any way, by any means, but four Best Picture winners are still four winners for Best Picture. Some of these are uncredited parts as well, but the fact remains that he was in four (with over 200 film and TV credits he probably helped appear in so many, according to the law of averages) only).

2 Bess flowers

Bess flowers

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Bess Flowers’nicknamed the “Queen of Hollywood Extras,” she had small roles in approximately 350 films during her long career. 23 of the films she appeared in were nominated for Best Picture, and five won for Best Picture.

In chronological order, these Best Picture winners were It Happened One Night (1934), You can’t take it with you (1938), All About Eve (1950), The greatest show on earth (1952), and Around the world in 80 days (1956). Due to the number of high-profile films in which she appeared, she has become legendary for being one of the most famous extras of the Golden Age of Hollywood and achieved success as a proper background actress enough with keeping out of sight.

1 Franklin Farnum

Franklin Farnum

7 Best Picture Views

Since he was born in 1878 and died in 1961, there is not much information about him online Franklin Farnum. However, he has been credited as appearing as an extra in over 1000 features and shorts, and this impressive achievement includes seven Best Picture wins.

All of these are early Best Picture Oscar winners, and Farnum was in Biography of Emile Zola (1937), Going on my way (1944), The Lost Weekend (1945), Gentle agreement (1947), All About Eve (1950), The greatest show on earth (1952), and Around the world in 80 days (1956). This record is unlikely to ever be beaten, cementing Farnum’s legacy as one of the most prolific and successful extras in film history.

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