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12+ Nominations. An Elite Club Gets a New Member.

How many films have been nominated for 12 or more Oscars in their calendar year? Only 25 across the eighty-three years of Oscar history. The King's Speech is the latest initiate of this very exclusive bunch. The films, along with their number of noms/wins, in chronological order are...

  • Gone With the Wind (1939) -13/8
  • Mrs. Miniver (1942) -12/6  
  • The Song of Bernadette (1943) -12/4
  • Johnny Belinda (1948) -12/1
  • All About Eve (1950) -14/6
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) -12/4
  • From Here To Eternity (1953) -13/8
  • On the Waterfront (1954) - 12/8 
  • Ben Hur (1959) -12/11  
  • My Fair Lady (1964) -12/8 
  • Becket (1964) - 12/1 
  • Mary Poppins (1964) -13/5
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) -13/5
  • Reds (1981) -12/3
  • Dances With Wolves (1990) -12/7 
  • Schindler's List (1993) -12/7 
  • Forrest Gump (1994) -13/6 
  • The English Patient (1996) -12/9 
  • Titanic (1997) -14/11 
  • Shakespeare in Love (1998) -13/7
  • Gladiator (2000) -12/5 
  • The Lord of the Ring: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) -13/4
  • Chicago (2003) -13/6
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) -13/3
  • The King's Speech (2010) -12/???


Biggest Winner Among the Nom' Gobblers
nearly made a clean sweep, winning all its categories but Adapted Screenplay which went to the romantic drama Room at the Top instead. Ben-Hur is tied with Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King with most wins of all time... but curiously enough of the three-top Oscar earners only the fantasy epic made a clean sweep of it winning in every single one of its categories.

Biggest Loser Among the Nom' Gobblers:
Johnny Belinda which took home only one Oscar for best actress (Jane Wyman). Beckett also took home only one prize but it had a huge disadvantage in that 1964 was the most monotonous year ever nomination-wise with three (!) films clearing the obscene 12 nom hurdle. Most years don't even get one film that dominant. My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins in an infamous singing duel to the death devoured 13 Oscars between them. Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious!

But what you really want to know his how many of them won Best Picture, don'tcha? Well, I bolded them above so that's 15 of the 25... with 1 undetermined.

So let's do a pie chart...

God I love pie charts. And pies.
[Tangent: omg. I gotta start thinking about the Oscar party menu]

What does all this mean for The King's Speech?
Well, you'll be the judge of that in the comments, won't you? If you're just eyeballing those pie charts, and not really think about the particulars of this race , the likeliest scenario is that The King's Speech wins Best Picture and four to five other Oscars. But that seems like a lot, doesn't it? With a film as strong as The Social Network hanging around.

Before this rather shocking tally (seriously sound mixing, and cinematography???) most armchair and professional pundits assumed it was heading to only two sure wins: Actor & Screenplay with a lot of competition coming for its expected nominations in Costuming and Art Direction. But given the charts above -- not too mention the 12 nominations -- I'd say we underestimated its pull. Can it steal Best Picture from The Social Network? That would be Grand Theft Oscars.

Related Reading: Best Pictures From the Outside In
and current Oscar Race articles 


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Reader Comments (29)

I'm afraid it might win best picture.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

Nooooooooooooooo i think it's maybe the least of the nominees. I'd rank them like so.

1. social network
2. the kids are all right
3. black swan / the fighter (i like them about hte same but for ENTIRELY different reasons)
5. toy story 3
6. winters bone
7. 127 hours
8. (the three i don't really care about.... i don't understand why anyone considers "best" though all are decent films)
inception / the kings speech / true grit

January 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Yes! I'm not the only one not on board the True Grit train! Thought it was great, but the fact that it's in "best of the year" discussion brings significant pain to my brain.

Anyway, I think The King's Speech will win (sadly, my beloved Black Swan has no shot at winning - thanks, writers branch!) because - someone's gonna want my head for this one - it's Slumdog Millionaire meets The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It has that rooting factor (Slumdog, though I rooted for Jamal Malik more than I ever will for King George VI) and leads the nominations (Benny Button). That's what I think, at least.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulian Stark

Well. if this were the Nineties, I'd be really worried (seriously, check out that tally between Dances with Wolves and Gladiator), but of the three films that got 12 or more noms in the past decade, only one won best picture. A 33% take-up isn't that concerning. As with Benjamin Button, there's a hipper option in the room. And The Social Network has more in common with recent winners than The King's Speech. That said, I'm crossing my fingers and holding my breath. While I'm glad there's some suspense in this year's race, I just wish I wasn't so invested in the result...

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaika

Oh, weird cross-post, citing the same oscar race to opposing conclusions...

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaika

Laika - it's like you're arguing with yoursef?

January 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I want The Kings Speech to win in all acting categories and Best Picture.

But I desperately want that Original Screenplay win to go to TKAAR simply because no gay themed Focus Feature “feature” has lost in any screenwriting category yet – in fact I think it’s TKAAR‘s best chance at taking home a statuette – the sakes against Annette are too damn high for her to pull off an upset but God wouldn’t it be glorious if Jeff Bridges said and the Oscar goes to Annette Bening.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtfu11

I was all for the King's Speech until the PG-13 cut. I like the movie, but it's getting harder and harder to defend with the (coming?) backlash. Team Inception?

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaolo

Not to be daft, but I don't get the hate for The King's Speech I mean, I get if you don't like it, but people who seemed to like it seem to HATE it now that it's up for a crapload of Oscars and whatnot - and Picture aside I don't think it's technical nods are unwarranted (cinematography at least). It's not my favourite (I'm hoping for TKAAR to upset, stupid - I know) but even though it's probably 4th/5th of the ten nominated I wouldn't mind at all if The King's Speech wins a whole lot

. I'd say it deserves Art Direction, Actor, cinematography and music (of the nominees there) and I've been waiting too long for them to fete HBC so if she wins I really would be ecstatic - 3rd best in the category or not.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.

cinematography???? sorry i just don't see it. I wouldn't even have the cinematography in the top 25 this year. I do think it's punchily directed and sometimes the framing is fun (which is probably a direction thing more than the DP's decision) but the lighting? nothing special.

/3rtfull -- it'd be great if THE KIDS wins screenplay but we all know that's going to KINGS SPEECH. i think Benign has a much better shot at gold than the screenplay does (but most likely scenario is a zero win for that film)

January 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

i should say i could live with a 4 win situation (actor, screenplay, art direction, costumes) but after that it's gonna get annoying.

January 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

As much as I immensely enjoyed "The King's Speech" -- much to my surprise, need I say -- I would rather see one of the other films receive the best picture citation, even one that I'm not terribly fond of ("The Kids Are All Right," "The Social Network"). In a year such as 2010 in which so many movies took risks that paid off, in one manner or another, to see something as conventional and unchallenging as "TKS" walk off with the trophy would be so...I dunno...wasteful...LOL.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H

Not sure AMPAS would allow the British take over the ceremony when the american output isn't that weak. I'm guessing 4 wins for Social Network (picture, director, screenplay, editing) and 4 for King's Speech (actor, screenplay, art direction, costumes). Maybe something bizarre will happen with the prize for score or cinematography.

Even though I like Social Network more, I'm not that invested into this year's race. Watching everyone freak out over the TSN vs. TKS debacle has been really fun. I totally misunderstood the BBM vs. Crash race by actually caring.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdam S.

Though it seems to be much loathed to a lot of bloggers and internet Oscar geeks, The King's Speech is a respectable film and fits in that 12+ club. Most people I've run into like the film, and it is a solid, good film, it's just not a film that a lot of people are getting passionate about. It's got supporters, clearly, but not a passionate fanbase... Not that you need it to win Best Picture.

it's not MY best picture of the year, but if it wins Best Picture, and I think it will right now, it's not an embarrassment on par with say Around the World in 80 Days or Crash.

My current predictions have The King's Speech tying for the most wins at 4: Picture, Actor, Original Screenplay and Editing, it could conceivably win more though. Art Direction isn't out of the question, nor is Supporting Actor.

Inception co-leads the wins and it's 4 are: Art Direction, Sound, Sound Editing, Visual Effects. Though 4 seems pretty high for a film large portions of the Academy clearly didn't care for... Then again Memoirs of a Geisha AND King Kong tied for the most wins in '05, all from craft categories.

I have 3 wins for Social Network: Director, Adapted Screenplay and Score. 2 each for The Fighter (Sup Actor and Actress) and Toy Story 3 (Song and Animated Film). And 1 each for Black Swan (Actress), True Grit (Cinematography), Alice in Wonderland (Costumes) and Wolfman (Makeup).

Not what I want to win, but what I think at this point will win.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGraham

Wow Johnny Belinda doesn't ring any bell!
I love that you are a multi-freak. Movie-freak, Oscar-freak, stats-freak, pie-freak etc.

I haven't watched An American in Paris, but is it really better than Streetcar??

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

What happened in the 70s and 80s? Where did all the 12-nominated pictures disappear to for those two decades? Film historians, discuss...

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

They say the 70s is the golden age of the Hollywood filmmaking – I guess that means the Academy had to spread the wealth. The 80s being considered the worst (which I don’t agree with) had no films that dominated so again the wealth was spread.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtfu11

You left LOTR:ROTK off the list, which should number 26.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoel

James T -- er, NO. capitals intended.

SanFran -- that's actually a really good question: why did Oscar spread the wealth so much more then. I wonder if it's because people were taking the "art" of cinema more seriously. To me it's nearly always a sign of laziness when the same movies are nominated for every category. Even the greatest movies of all time aren't the greatest [specific achievement] of all time in each of their many places, you know? i know that people want to vote for movies they love but what i don't get about that is that people in all of the academy's branches have TWO ballots. Everyone gets to nominated for Bset Picture. So vote for what you love in Best PIcture and then think carefully about your own craft and vote accordingly in that very specific category.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel Rogers

I want TKS to win seven (including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress). Yup. I'd never predict that outcome, however.

From Here to Eternity should have won eleven.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I liked the cinematography in The King's Speech, but not more than Black Swan, Inception, The Social Network or True Grit. Not by a long shot! But I think that would be the only category that would disappoint me with a King's Speech victory. Picture I'd be cool with, since The King's Speech made it to my personal Ten. I'm down with Lead and Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay, and Art Direction. I'd like that.

I don't think The King's Speech can win over The Social Network, but I also think The Fighter could pull a surprise. Maybe it's the feeling that enough people will be dogging on the other two to give The Fighter a "Let's show them!" win. Maybe it's my love of The Fighter blinding me. But we won't really get an idea until these guilds decide.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWalter

It's not gonna win original screenplay. If it were adapted, ok, but original screenplay usually has riskier and cult choices. Sometimes original screenplay winners are even auteur choices, like they want to reward the director of a movie too cool to win best director or picture. This situation is a The Aviator / Eternal Sunshine, I think, or even a The Crying Game / Unforgiven. If your movie is too traditional and doesn't have an auteur/cool/cult side, you don't win best original screenplay, even if you win best picture.

You want my opinion? It's between Lisa and Nolan.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Nathaniel -- I'm guessing that the breakdown of the old studio system in the early 60s changed the landscape of how awards were parsed out. There was more independence in filmmaking in the late-60s, for about 25 years, which changed the awards landscape. And then in the 90s, the new studios -- the Indiewood reign, led by Miramax -- brought back the idea of awards campaigning with a new vigor.

I'm always happier when there are more films nominated than fewer. It's pretty rare that any one film is the "best" in that many different areas. As one of the Coen brothers said, "Ten seems like too many [nominations]".

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

Gladiator / Almost Famous... I'm researching and now I'm sure TKS is not gonna win best screenplay.

The last uncool movie to have won best picture and screenplay is Gandhi. Case closed.

And, in this case, I think TKS can't be a second Gladiator. Actor / Art Direction / Costumes (I almost can predict a huge upset here. Is it expected that they will give it to Atwood because Powell won last year and Alice needs an award and her work is very worthy in it?) and that's it.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

One more thing: Shakespeare in Love is not a precedent for TKS to win, since it had an universally acclaimed screenplay, who managed to win prizes from a film festival as big as Berlin. And they really had to give the Oscar to a big name like Tom Stoppard.

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

12/7 - so according to the academy schindler's list and dances with wolves are of equal quality?

@joel - LOTR:ROTK had eleven nominations; thus non-listworthy

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpar3182

"How many films have been nominated for 12 or more Oscars in their calendar year?"

This wording makes me curious: are there films nominated for 12 or more Oscars in aggregate years, like a foreign-language film eligible in BFLF film one year and then eligible for other awards in a subsequent year? Was there some other situation you meant to exclude? Or was it just your OCD that added the "calendar year" comment? :)

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJ.P.

JP... it was just OCD. i think the most in aggregate years is Umbrellas of Cherbourg :) but that was only like 4 or something.

Joel -- what par said . Return of the King went 11 for 11 so i didn't list it here.

January 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

This year's winners are:
Best Picture: The King's Speech
Best Director: David Fincher
Best Actor: Colin Firth
Best Actress: Natalie Portman
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Best Original Screenplay: The King's Speech
Best Editing: The Social Netowrk
Best Cinematography: True Grit
Best Art Direction: Inception
Best Costume Design: Alice In Wonderland
Best Make Up: Barney's Version
Best Sound Mixing: Inception
Best Sound Editing: Toy Story 3
Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
Best Foreign Picture: Incendies
Best Original Song: Tangled
Best Orignal Score: The King's Speech
Best Visual Effects: Inception

January 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShubham Acharya
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