In the history of Academy Award nominations, movie fans may wonder which male has won the most Oscars. The distinction of most Oscar wins for a man is actually a tie between Walter Brennan and Jack Nicholson. Brennan won 3 awards out of 4 nominations and took home the gold statuettes in 1936, 1938 and 1940. Jack Nicholson also earned 3 wins out of 12 nominations. Nicholson's Oscar honors came in 1975, 1983 and 1997.
Walter Brennan (1894-1974)
As one of the best-known character actors of his time, Walter Brennan starred in more than 200 films and TV shows. Brennan started his career in Hollywood as an extra, stunt man and small part actor in the early 1920s. The parts grew along with his ambition; by the 1930s, Brennan was well known for being the sidekick to the lead actor.
Brennan won the first ever Academy Award for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his 1936 role as Swan Bostrom in Come and Get It. Brennan won the supporting actor Oscar again in Kentucky, where he played horse owner Peter Goodwin. His final best supporting actor win came in 1940 with the role of Judge Roy Bean in The Westerner. In the early years of the Academy, actors could receive votes from extras unions and Brennan was extremely popular with the Union of Film Extras. His popularity garnered a lot of votes whenever he was nominated.
Jack Nicholson has racketed up 12 nominations over the course of his career, a total that makes him the most nominated male actor in history. His first Oscar win, for Best Actor, came in 1975 for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, where he played a sarcastic criminal. The second win came in 1983 for his supporting actor role in Terms of Endearment. The film won five Academy Awards that year, including Best Picture.
Nicholson had the opportunity to show of his comedic chops with his third Oscar win for the 1997 comedy, As Good As It Gets. Nicholson's portrayal of Melvin, the germophobic misanthrope, earned him rave reviews and a Golden Globe award as well. Co-star Helen Hunt picked up an Academy Award for best actress.
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