Who has won a posthumous Oscar in the Academy Award’s history?
The 93rd Academy Awards will see Chadwick Boseman become the sixth posthumous nomination for Best Actor, but only one of the previous five picked up the top award.
The Oscars is the most prestigious night in the awards season calendar and it brings together the great and the good of the silver screen. This year’s ceremony will take place on Sunday 25 April with a live show to mark the 93rd edition of the Academy Awards.
However one of the nominees will not be there after the sad passing of Chadwick Boseman in August of last year. The award-winning actor had won acclaim for his roles in Black Panther and Marshall but had never before been nominated for an Academy Award.
However this year Boseman was nominated in the Best Actor category for his portrayal of Levee Green in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. He is one of a select few to have be shortlisted for a posthumous individual award at the Oscars and is currently the favourite to become just the second to win the illustrious prize after death.
Who else has been nominated for a posthumous Oscar?
The first ever posthumous Oscars nomination went to Jeanne Eagels, who was nominated for Best Actress in 1929. Eagels was nominated for her role in the early sound film The Letter, but died of alcohol and drug abuse at the age of 35, before the awards ceremony. That year’s award was won by Mary Pickford, but Engels goes down in history as the first posthumous nominee.
The next recipient of a posthumous nomination was James Dean, another whose film career was cut tragically short. After dying in a car crash in 1955 he was nominated as Best Actor for roles in East of Eden (1955) and Giant (1956). Dean also failed to win the award but remains the only actor to receive two posthumous nominations.
Another to die shortly before the Oscars ceremony, Spencer Tracy, was nominated for Best Actor in 1967 for his performance in Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. Tracy had already won two Oscars and his posthumous nomination was the ninth of an illustrious career.
The first, and so far only, posthumous winner of the Academy Awards’ Best Actor is Peter Finch, who picked up the award in 1976. Finch played the crazed television commentator Howard Beale in Network, but died of a heart attack at age 60 before the ceremony could take place.
The most recent posthumous nomination for a Best Actor award at the Oscars was Massimo Troisi in 1994. The Italian was afflicted with a weak heart and ignored doctors’ advice to film Il Postino (literally, the Postman). Troisi, 41, died of a heart attack just hours after filming was completed.
Setting aside the leading roles, two actors have received posthumous nominations for Best Supporting Actor. The first was Ralph Richardson in 1983 for his role in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. The second was much more recent, with Heath Ledger picking up Best Supporting Actor for his iconic portrayal of the Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight.