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How many Oscars can a film get at the maximum?

Article by Series Junkie | Last update on 2022-04-02 | Created on 2015-01-06

The films Ben Hur, Titanic and Lord of the Rings III (The Return of the King) each got 11 Oscars at the Academy Awards and thus are the movies that got the most Oscars ever. But how many Oscars can a movie really receive at an absolute maximum?

There are a total of 23 different categories at the Oscars. But is it really possible that a movie gets an Oscar in all of this classes?

Unfortunately not, because some of the categories are mutually exclusive. For example, no film can simultaneously win or be nominated in the categories "Best Documentary Feature" and "Best Documentary Short Subject" or "Best Animated Feature" and "Best Animated Short Film".

Taking out all contradictory categories, the result is a maximum of 17 possible Oscars for a single movie:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Original Song
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Sound
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best International Feature Film
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling

But even this is very unlikely, since an international foreign language film has little chance of getting so many Oscars. Realistically, therefore it would be more likely to take 15-16 Oscars as maximal possible boundary. But that has never happened in nearly 100 years of Oscar history...

Even the top movies with the most Oscar nominations made only 14 nominations at most so far. And at the time of these awards there were even more categories than there are today. Most recently, for example, in 2019 the category "Best Sound Editing", with which 18 Oscars were possible, was dropped.

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