Over his remarkable career in film, Orson Welles was the recipient of a trio of Oscar nominations, all for “Citizen Kane” (1941). That marked his feature film debut and is widely considered one of the greatest motion pictures ever produced. He, alongside Herman J. Mankiewicz, triumphed in Best Original Screenplay on the big night and, nearly three decades later, Welles earned an Honorary Oscar for his contributions to cinema.
Though Welles died in 1985, the filmmaker once again finds himself the talk of Oscar season, this time posthumously, with his final picture, “The Other Side of the Wind.”
The film, which made its world premiere at this year’s Venice Film Festival, stars two-time Oscar winner John Huston (who died in 1987) as Jake Hannaford, a washed-up, hard-drinking Hollywood director who vies to revive his career with an experimental film, full of sex and violence. Shot over several years in the 1970s, “The Other Side of the Wind” had an infamously troubled production and, until now, was considered a lost film.
Welles will this year be eligible for several posthumous Oscars, including Best Director, Best Original Screenplay (alongside Oja Kodar) and Best Film Editing (alongside Bob Murawski). Should he earn a nomination for his direction, he will mark the first filmmaker to ever make a posthumous appearance in the category.
Among screenwriters, however, nine scribes have to date earned posthumous Oscar nominations, the first being Gerald Duffy, who at the very first ceremony earned recognition for his work on “The Private Life of Helen of Troy” (1927). While Duffy was not triumphant, the next posthumous nominee in screenwriting, Sidney Howard, was victorious for his film adaptation of Margaret Mitchell‘s “Gone with the Wind” (1939).
Howard remains the lone screenwriter to earn a posthumous Oscar. Following him with nominations but not wins were Tess Slesinger for “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” (1945); Lamar Trotti for “There’s No Business Like Show Business” (1954); Robert Alan Aurthur for “All That Jazz” (1979); Carol Sobieski for “Fried Green Tomatoes” (1991); Massimo Troisi for “Il Postino” (1995); Bridget O’Connor for “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (2011); and, most recently, August Wilson for “Fences” (2016).
Should Welles earn a nomination for his editing on the picture, he will mark the fourth posthumous nominee in Best Film Editing. Recognized for their work following their deaths were Frederic Kundtson for “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (1963); Stuart Gilmore for “The Andromeda Strain” (1971); and Robert L. Wolfe for “On Golden Pond” (1981). None of them would win on Oscar night.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.