The Academy Awards are just around the corner, and past winners are being discussed in full. We all know Meryl Streep and Daniel Day-Lewis have three wins each, and Katherine Hepburn has them both beat with four.
However, wouldn’t it be more interesting to look at which people have won multiple Academy Awards? Let me rephrase that: wouldn’t it be fascinating to see who has won multiple Academy Awards in multiple categories?
Let’s keep this interesting, too. No best director/producer/writer combinations, and no acting/supporting acting wins. Let’s see who has won for dissimilar categories, and even the winners of two drastically different aspects of filmmaking. Here are ten people who have won Academy Awards in different categories.
10. Cecil Beaton (art direction/costume design)
Sir Cecil Beaton has so many talents: painting, photography, interior designer, costume designer. The guy is an all-around expert on visual aesthetics. Naturally, he has won two Academy Awards for costume design (for the two similar films Gigi and My Fair Lady); both works display his expertise with period piece extravagancy. However, My Fair Lady also boasts a second win for Beaton in the art direction category (now recognized as “best production design”), perhaps for the elaborate and colourful sets that turned the film into a cinematic Broadway spectacle.
Beaton only ranks so low, because these two categories are still somewhat similar (more so than the other combinations that are higher on the list), and he is not the only person to have pulled off two wins in these two specific categories (Roger K. Furse, Catherine Martin, and Marcel Vertès have won in these groups too), but Beaton’s work might be the best of the bunch.
9. George Clooney (supporting actor/producer)
Technically, the Cloonster has won Best Picture when the Ben Affleck-helmed political thriller Argo earned the top prize at the 2013 Academy Awards. This is only somewhat bizarre, because Clooney is more well known for his acting and directing work specifically. Helping his buddy out to make a picture helped him win an Academy Award finally! Well, his second one anyways.
A number of years earlier, Clooney won for his standout performance in the social miasma Syriana, where he was given the Best Supporting Actor award for his harrowing performance. It’s interesting that Clooney won Best Picture for a film he had little involvement in (outside of production), whereas he has worked his fingers to the bone on various other works to no avail.
8. Walter Murch (editing/sound)
For extreme cinephiles, Murch’s mention here should come as no surprise; the guy has been knighted one of the top figures in both editing and sound designing in film. He has worked with Francis Ford Coppola on a number of occasions (specifically on his classics like The Godfather I and II, and The Conversation); his first win was for Apocalypse Now for his sound design (and he was extensively involved in the reworking of the Redux version of the film).
His second win has nothing to do with Coppola, oddly enough. Murch won two Academy Awards in one year for –believe it or not – The English Patient, where he has set an unprecedented record for being the only person to win an Academy Award for both sound mixing and film editing (not even in the same year. Ever. No one has ever pulled this off, even since). You can argue that not many people know the mainstream cinematic language quite like Murch does.
7. Barbara Streisand (actress/original song)
Well, of course Barbara Streisand has two Academy Award wins that have to do with performing and music. It may seem obvious, because Streisand has a legacy to her name decades after she first started. Try to forget who she is for a second, and you might see how absurd these two wins might be. She didn’t win for performing an original song; otherwise, Jennifer Hudson, Julie Andrews and other singing actors might have multiple wins under their belts, too. No. Streisand flat out co-wrote, co-produced and composed “Evergreen” for her reincarnation of A Star is Born.
She also didn’t win Best Actress for this film either; she won for Funny Girl years earlier. With some perspective shed on these wins, it truly is fascinating, even when attributed to one of the biggest cinematic-musical performers of all time.
6. Edward Selzer (animated short/documentary short subject)
By the end of this list, the combination of animated and documentary shorts might be old hat. Right now, at spot six, it might still be intriguing. And it should be. Edward Selzer wasn’t just any random shmuck either; he ran Warner Bros. Cartoons for fourteen years. Naturally, he won four Academy Awards for his animated shorts (including the very first Academy Award win for a Warner Bros. cartoon for Tweetie Pie).
There’s also his fifth win for the documentary short subject film So Much For So Little (this won the same year as Selzer’s animated short For Scent-imental Reasons). Despite his initial public feuding with Friz Freleng, Selzer clearly had a vision for Warner Bros.’ animation department; he also did not want to be credited in these works, and wished for the directors of these shorts to win over him.