At this year's Academy Awards the great Meryl Streep took home her third Oscar for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady." This brings Streep into a very elite group of actors: those who have earned three or more Oscars. Given that she still has at least a few decades worth of roles ahead of her, it's not out of the question for Streep to one day surpass these other performers. But for the time being, she finds herself in very good company.
Nicholson is one of the true staples of Hollywood, and one of only two actors who's received a nomination for acting in each of the previous five decades (the other is Michael Caine). Nicholson's first Oscar was for Best Actor, earned for his powerhouse performance in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" as a rebellious man in a mental institution railing against the abusive authority figures at every turn.
He later won Best Supporting Actor for his role as a former astronaut in "Terms of Endearment." He claimed his third Oscar in the Best Actor category for his curmudgeonly portrayal of a writer with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in "As Good as It Gets."
Bergman is one of the true icons of classic Hollywood, best remembered for her role in "Casablanca." For all the awards that film took, though, she did not win an Oscar, and indeed wasn't even nominated that year.
She would take home her first award for Best Actress playing an opera singer in training in "Gaslight," winning that same award again playing the titular Russian princess in "Anastasia." Sometime later Bergman earned her final Oscar in the Best Supporting Actress category as an aging princess in "Murder on the Orient Express."
Brennan is unique on this list because all three of his Oscars came in the Best Supporting Actor category. He also sports the strongest record of winning when nominated, claiming victory three out of four times he received a nod.
The veteran character actor received his first Oscar for his portrayal of a widower raising his daughter in "Come and Get It." Two years later the role of a crotchety horse breeder in "Kentucky" meant another gold statue for Brennan. After another two years he claimed his final Oscar for playing corrupt judge in "The Westerner."
Hepburn stands above and beyond the rest of this list because she is the only actor of either gender to have more than three Oscar wins, winning a total of four times. Even more amazingly, while all the rest have at least one win as a Supporting Actor/Actress, every single one of Hepburn's wins came in the Best Actress category.
She took home the statue for the first time while still in her 20s for "Morning Glory." Though Hepburn would be frequently nominated, she would not win again for over three decades, attaining a second second Oscar for her matronly role in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." The following year her turn as the royal Eleanor of Aquitaine in "The Lion in Winter" brought her a third Oscar. Hepburn's final award came for her heartbreaking work in "On Golden Pond."
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- Meryl Streep
- Jack Nicholson
- Ingrid Bergman
- Katharine Hepburn