Top 10 Oscar Winning Films that Premiered in August

In collaboration with On This Day In Film, we take a look at a selection of the greatest Oscar-winning films that premiered in America in the month of August…

August isn’t renowned for its great film releases, the summer nowadays lends itself to big Hollywood blockbusters or children’s movies, trying to entice the young from the beach and the sun. However, over the years there have been some films premiered in August that have been highly awarded at the Academy Awards. Although the Oscars don’t give us a clear idea of the best films ever made, it is interesting to look at the popularity of films, as often an Oscar winning film is down to social and cultural trends of that time, as opposed to the credit of the film itself. Anyway, here is the top 10 Oscar winning films of August…

10. Argo (2012) – 3 Wins & 4 further nominations

Argo, Ben Affleck, Top films of 2012,The film directed by and starred Ben Affleck won three Oscars at the 85th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Achievement in Film Editing. Argo was against some stiff opposition, with the likes of Django Unchained, Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook also in the running for Best Picture. But the 85th awards seemed to share the big awards amongst the competing films and Argo ended up with three, a pretty good performance.

9. Roman Holiday (1953) – 3 wins and 7 further nominations

roman-holiday_top10filmsRoman Holiday won three Oscars at the 26th Academy Awards and also had a further seven nominations. The three that it won were Best Leading Actress for Audrey Hepburn, Best Writing, Best Costume Design (Black-and-White). It was nominated for Best Picture but was beaten by another on this list, From Here to Eternity. This was Audrey Hepburn’s first nomination and only win at the Oscars, she went on to get four more nominations.

8. The Life of Emile Zola (1937) – 3 wins and 7 further nominations

the-life-of-emile-zola_top10filmsLike Roman Holiday, The Life of Emile Zola had three wins and seven further nominations, but as it won Best Picture I bumped it up to 8th (a debatable method, I know). As well as Best Picture, the film won a Best Supporting Actor award for the performance of Joseph Schildkraut and the award for Best Screenplay at the 10th Academy Awards and is our oldest film in the list.

7. Sunset Boulevard (1950) – 3 wins and a further 8 nominations

sunset-boulevard_top10filmsJust beating the former two with that extra nomination, Sunset Boulevard was awarded Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction and Best Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture. With eleven nominations and one for each of the big awards, maybe Sunset Boulevard underachieved at the 23rd awards. But it was in good company, with All About Eve taking the most with six awards, including Best Picture.

6. Unforgiven (1992) – 4 wins and 5 further nominations

gene-hackman_top10films_unforgivenWith four wins, Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven did well at the 65th Academy Awards and walked off with the statuettes for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Gene Hackman, Best Director for Eastwood and Best Film Editing. This was Gene Hackman’s second and last Oscar win and Clint Eastwood went on to receive two more for Million Dollar Baby (2004).

5. Mary Poppins (1964) – 5 wins and a further 8 nominations

Mary-Poppins_Disney_top10filmsThe crowd favourite did not disappoint at the 37th Academy Awards by winning 5 Oscars which were: Best Leading Actress for Julie Andrews, Best Film Editing, Best Special Effects, Best Original Song for “Chim Chim Cher-ee” and Best Original Score. The was Julie Andrews only win at the Oscars although she was nominated twice more including the following year for The Sound of Music (1965). Although the film was nominated for Best Picture, it was outdone by My Fair Lady which won a total of eight Oscars that year.

4. A Place in the Sun (1951) – 6 wins and a further 3 nominations

a_place_in_the_sun_top10filmsAlthough, A Place in the Sun missed out on the Best Picture and Best Acting awards, it still managed to bag six awards at the 24th awards, including Best Director for George Stevens and Best Screenplay. This was one of four nominations for Montgomery Clift and yet he didn’t win any. George Stevens went on to win another directing award for his film Giant (1956) and it took another six years for Elizabeth Taylor to get her first nomination and had to wait until 1961 to get her first win.

3. Gravity (2013) 7 wins and a further 3 nominations

Gravity_film_sandra-bullock2Although missing out on the Best Picture and Best Acting awards, Gravity still won the most awards at last years Oscars, the 86th awards, including Best Directing for Alfonso Cuarón and Best Cinematography. Sandra Bullock missed out on her second win from her second nomination. The film was also a huge financial success making over $700 million at the box office.

2. Slumdog Millionaire (2008) – 8 wins and a further 2 nominations

slumdog-millionnaire_top10filmsWinner of eight Academy Awards, Slumdog Millionaire swept everyone away at the 81st awards including wins for Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Adapted Screenplay. This is Danny Boyle’s only Oscar win to date although he was nominated for his work on 127 Hours in 2011.

1. From Here to Eternity (1953) – 8 wins and 5 further nominations

from-here-to-eternity_top10filmsAnd the winner is… From Here to Eternity. With wins for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Frank Sinatra, Best Supporting Actress for Donna Reed and Best Director for Fred Zinnemann, this film is a worthy winner of any Oscar related poll. The wins for Sinatra and Reed were their only wins at the Oscars, but Fred Zinnemann three more including Best Picture and best Director for A Man For All Seasons in 1967. So we have a deserved winner in From Here to Eternity and a list of great films, who said August wasn’t a great month for films?

Written and compiled by Russell Farnham.

Over to you: Do you agree with our list? What do you think of the films mentioned?

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About the Author
Russell Farnham is the founder and editor of On This Day In Film and says "I am a writer and a lover of all things film." He enjoys exploring and researching film history and writing about cinema. As well as writing for About Time Magazine and Moviepilot he is also a novelist and is currently working on a children's book.

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  1. Avatar
    Dan Grant Reply

    Interesting in that it shows how much the academy ignores films before “oscar season”.

    Just an observation…Slumdog came out in November and Frozen in October.

  2. Avatar
    On This Day In Film Reply

    It is interesting, and production companies obviously use the summer to ‘test the water’ as these films were all premiered in August, and often released much later to coincide with ‘Oscar release’ time.

  3. Avatar
    Dan Grant Reply

    Not according to imdb and boxofficemojo. The two films I mentioned were not released, even in limited, in August.

    • Avatar
      Dan Reply

      Just to clarify: the film’s were premiered in America during the month of August, not put out on general release. For instance, Slumdog made it’s debut at the Telluride Film Festival in August 2008.

  4. Avatar
    Rodney Reply

    Mary Poppins should have been higher. But I’m a sucker for Julie Andrews. Slumdog wasn’t bad – but I really didn’t see what all the fuss was about.

  5. Avatar
    Dan Grant Reply

    This is the last thing I’ll say about the release date, but being in a festival is not an official release. Films strive to get into festivals. And festivals are places for films to find distribution. Not that Slumdog and Gravity didn’t have distribution but when it’s at a festival, that is not an official release date. Festivals are not generally available to a large portion of the public. An official release date is when it debuts in a theater.

    Again, I’m not trying to nitpick, but playing at a festival is not a “release”.

  6. Avatar
    On This Day In Film Reply

    I understand that a screening at a festival is not a ‘release’ date, hence why the list title states premiered in August. I always thought that the first showing of a film in a theatre was a premiere, is this incorrect?

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    ruth Reply

    I LOVE Roman Holiday, wish I had seen that on the big screen!

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