The Only Oscar to Ever Win an Oscar (For a $286 Million Movie, No Less)

The Only Oscar to Ever Win an Oscar (For a $286 Million Movie, No Less)
Image credit: Legion-Media

Think you've never heard of him? Think again.


  • Think you've never heard of him? Think again.
  • This Oscar is one of the most famous songwriters of all time.
  • His most famous movie score won an Oscar after his death.

If we were asked to name an Oscar who won an Oscar, most of us would stare blankly into space for a moment and scratch our heads. Eventually, we'd decide it was a trick question and name Oskar Schindler who was posthumously given an award following the success of the biopic Schindler's List.

And we'd be wrong. Technically, Schindler is credited with an Oscar. But despite his accomplishments, he wasn't actually involved in the making of the film, so in reality, there's only one Oscar who won an Oscar. And you know who he is.

Oscar Hammerstein II was one half of the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein. Now does it make sense?

An Oscar for The Sound of Music

Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote several well-known musicals, including Oklahoma!, Carousel, and South Pacific. But arguably their most famous collaboration was The Sound of Music.

The Only Oscar to Ever Win an Oscar (For a $286 Million Movie, No Less) - image 1

Written as a stage musical in 1959, it was adapted for the big screen in 1965, famously starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The film musical has grossed over $286 million and was nominated for 10 Oscars. It won 8, including Best Musical Score and Best Sound.

Sadly, Oscar Hammerstein II died in 1960, just months after The Sound of Music hit the stage and years before the screenplay was produced. These successes are another example of an Oscar being recognized posthumously at the Oscars.

But Hammerstein also experienced Oscars success during his lifetime.

His first Oscar came in 1941

Before working with Rodgers, Hammerstein collaborated with other notable composers, including Jerome Kern. The two wrote Showboat, which featured the hit musical song Ol' Man River, which has stood the test of time and has been featured in film versions of the musical. But that song didn't win them an Academy Award.

That honor came after the pair wrote The Last Time I Saw Paris, which was featured in Lady Be Good in 1941.

A year earlier, Hammerstein had been nominated for the same award for a song he wrote with Ben Oakland. A Mist Over the Moon was featured in the film The Lady Objects, but was beaten for the award by the timeless classic Thanks for the Memory, written by Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin for The Big Broadcast.

The success of Rodgers and Hammerstein

Rodgers and Hammerstein dominated the Tony Awards for years, with wins for Carousel, South Pacific and The King and I, among others.

Hammerstein's last Tony came in 1960 for, you guessed it, The Sound of Music. He also won a Grammy in 1961 and a posthumous Oscar. Unfortunately, the musical didn't win an Emmy, which would have made Oscar Hammerstein II an EGOT winner.

However, Hammerstein did win another Oscar during his lifetime. In 1945, Rodgers and Hammerstein won an Oscar for the song "It Might as Well Be Spring" from the film State Fair. The movie was later made into a stage musical in 1996.

Hammerstein received two more nominations, in 1946 and 1951, for other collaborations. One was with Jerome Kern and the other with Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby.

While these were ultimately unsuccessful, Hammerstein remains (to this day) the only Oscar to win an Oscar.