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Katharine Hepburn

The Rare Actors with Two Oscars

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By Brian Hurwitz

For any actor, winning an Oscar is a lifetime achievement. It is a stunning recognition by one's peers the in, in any given year, they gave an extraordinary and memorable performance that will forever stand the test of time. Fittingly, it is a feat most rarely accomplish. There are, however, a few who have been honored with the award more than once. Those on that list are amongst the finest actors of their generation. While not all are household names, each will forever be remembered in an industry defined by ferocious competition and brief longevity.

Meryl Streep
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To date, no actor, living or deceased, has won more Academy Awards for acting than Katherine Hepburn. She was nominated for the award 12 times, winning four of them for Best Actress. However, the record for most nominations easily goes to Meryl Streep with 21. Thus far, Streep has taken home two for Best Actress and one for Best Supporting Actress. Amongst male actors, Jack Nicholson holds the record for most nominations with 12. He was twice awarded Best Actor and once named Best Supporting Actor.

Daniel Day-Lewis
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There are only a handful of performers who have also been honored with three Oscars. Daniel Day-Lewis has been named Best Actor three times. The iconic Ingrid Bergman also has three, two for Best Actress and one for Supporting Actress. And character actor Walter Brennan won three for Supporting Actor. The legendary Bette Davis was nominated as Best Actress 11 times, winning twice. After Nicholson, the great Spencer Tracy holds the record for the second most nominations amongst his male counterparts with nine. He took how two Oscars for Best Actor.


The immortal Marlon Brando was honored as Best Actor twice by the Academy, his second for playing Vito Corleone in 1972's The Godfather. Two years after, Robert De Niro won his first of two Oscars for playing a young Vito Corleone in The Godfather, Part II. Matinee idols Gary Cooper, Olivia de Havilland, Jason Robards, Shelly Winters, Elizabeth Taylor, Fredric March, Vivien Leigh, Jack Lemmon, Glenda Jackson, Jane Fonda and Maggie Smith have also taken home two Oscar statuettes.

Denzel Washington
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In recent years, some of today's most enduringly popular stars have proven just as popular at the Academy Awards. Perennial acting powerhouse Denzel Washington has been nominated or eights Oscars, winning one for Best Actor and another for Best Supporting Actor. The beloved Tom Hanks has six nominations to his credit, winning Best Actor in back-to-back years. Sean Penn may be combative with the paparazzi, but not with the Awards ceremony. Nominated five times, he's taken home the Oscar for Best Actor on two separate occasions. And with her win last night for Best Actress, Renee Zellweger has become the newest member of the club after previously winning for Best Supporting Actress in 2003.

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