For many actors, winning an Oscar is the ultimate dream. The movie industry is a tough business, often requiring actors to take on jobs they don’t want to do so that they can get closer to success. Thus, the Academy Awards have become the ultimate symbol of acclaim, signalling that an actor’s hard work has finally paid off.
However, some actors have been lucky enough to win accolades at the ceremony for more than just their acting. In the history of the Academy Awards, founded in 1929, only six people have won Oscars for roles both in front of and behind the camera. While no actors have taken home the ‘Best Director’ award (although a fair few have been nominated), several stars have picked up golden trophies for screenwriting, production and songwriting.
The first person to achieve this feat was Barbra Streisand, who won ‘Best Actress’ in 1969 for her performance in William Wyler’s Funny Girl. Within a few years, she had also secured an Oscar for ‘Best Original Song’ after contributing ‘Evergreen’ to 1976’s A Star Is Born, in which she also starred.
Interestingly, Michael Douglas became the first male actor to win a non-acting Oscar before eventually securing ‘Best Actor’. His first win came in 1975, earning a ‘Best Picture’ Oscar for co-producing Miloš Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and his second came in 1987, claiming ‘Best Actor’ for Oliver Stone’s Wall Street.
Meanwhile, British actor Emma Thompson is the only person to have won an acting award alongside ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’. She was first recognised by the Academy for her performance in Howard’s End, which earned her ‘Best Actress’ in 1992. Just three years later, she was nominated for ‘Best Actress’ again for Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility but unfortunately lost out to Susan Sarandon, who claimed the prize for her performance in Dead Man Walking, with Thompson instead taking home the ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ award.
Since then, the only actors to win non-acting Oscars have done so for producing. George Clooney won ‘Best Supporting Actor’ in 2005 for Syriana before winning ‘Best Picture’ with Argo. Similarly, Brad Pitt won ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for the Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and ‘Best Picture’ for Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave.
However, Frances McDormand became the first person to ever win acting and non-acting awards for the same movie. In 2021, she scored ‘Best Actress’ and ‘Best Picture’ for Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland, which McDormand co-produced. Moreover, she also won ‘Best Actress’ twice before, winning for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in 2018 and Fargo in 1997.
Discover the full list of unique winners below.
The only people to win Oscars for acting and non-acting:
- Barbra Streisand – ‘Best Actor’ (Funny Girl) and ‘Best Original Song’ (A Star Is Born)
- Michael Douglas – ‘Best Picture’ (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) and ‘Best Actor’ (Wall Street)
- Emma Thompson – ‘Best Actress’ (Howard’s End) and ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ (Sense and Sensibility)
- George Clooney – ‘Best Supporting Actor’ (Syriana) and ‘Best Picture’ (Argo)
- Brad Pitt – ‘Best Supporting Actor’ (Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood) and ‘Best Picture’ (12 Years A Slave)
- Frances McDormand – ‘Best Actress’ (Fargo, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Nomadland) and ‘Best Picture’ (Nomadland)