What Movies Have Earned the Most Oscar Nominations?

Oscar Trivia - The Three Most Nominated Movies

20th Century Fox

Three movies are tied for the record of most Oscar nominations. What are those movies and how many Oscars were they nominated for? Here's your hint: despite popular belief, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King isn't one of them. Though The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King set a record for winning all 11 Oscars it was nominated for (breaking the previous "sweep" record of nine out of nine set by 1987's The Last Emperor and 1958's Gigi), there are several films which have been nominated for more than 11 Academy Awards (the most awards ever won by a film is eleven, which was done by Ben-Hur, Titanic, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King).

In 1951, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's All About Eve was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won 6 Oscars. All About Eve won Oscars for Sound, Best Director, Actor in a Supporting Role, Costume Design, Best Picture, and Writing. It was also nominated for Music, Cinematography, Art Direction, and Film Editing. Bette Davis and Anne Baxter each earned Best Actress in a Leading Role nominations for their work in All About Eve, but the Oscar was awarded to Judy Holliday for Born Yesterday. Similarly, both Celeste Holm and Thelma Ritter were nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for All About Eve, but the Oscar was awarded to Josephine Hull for Harvey. It's likely that having two actresses from the same movie in both categories split the vote, but the multiple nominations still added to the total number of nominations for the movie. 

James Cameron's Titanic (1997) also received 14 nominations and later won 11 Oscars.

Titanic took home Academy Awards for Effects (Sound Effects Editing), Film Editing, Best Director, Best Picture, Cinematography, Music (Original Song), Original Dramatic Score, Art Direction, Effects (Visual Effects), Sound, and Costume Design. Titanic was nominated in the Makeup, Actress in a Supporting Role, and Actress in a Leading Role categories but did not win.

Still, Titanic tied Ben-Hur for most Oscar wins (11), a record that was again tied by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Damien Chazelle's La La Land (2016) is the third film to be nominated for 14 Academy Awards, including two nominations for Best Original Song for "City of Stars" and "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)." Because two of the nominations were in the same category, it was impossible for La La Land to have a clean sweep and win 14 Oscars. Like All About Eve, La La Land won 6 Oscars: Production Design, Original Song ("City of Stars"), Original Score, Cinematography, Best Director (Damien Chazelle), and Best Actress (Emma Stone).

Films that came close to the record with 13 Oscar nominations are Gone With the Wind (8 wins), From Here to Eternity (8 wins), Shakespeare in Love (7 wins), Forrest Gump (6 wins), Chicago (6 wins), Mary Poppins (5 wins), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (5 wins), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (4 wins), and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (3 wins).

Films that were nominated for 12 Oscar nominations are Ben-Hur (11 wins), The English Patient (9 wins), On the Waterfront (8 wins), My Fair Lady (8 wins), Dances with Wolves (7 wins), Schindler's List (7 wins), Mrs. Miniver (6 wins), Gladiator (5 wins), A Streetcar Named Desire (4 wins), The Song of Bernadette (4 wins), Reds (3 wins), Johnny Belinda (1 win), Becket (1 win), The King's Speech (4 wins), and Lincoln (2 wins).

While nearly two dozen films were nominated for 11 Oscars (including The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), two films in particular stand out for dubious reasons: The Turning Point (1977) and The Color Purple (1985) hold the record of most Oscar nominations (11) without a single win. Both Gangs of New York and American Hustle nearly shared that "honor" with 10 nominations and zero wins each.

Edited by Christopher McKittrick