John Wayne: How Many Academy Awards Did The Duke Win?

by Emily Morgan
john-wayne-how-many-academy-awards-did-the-duke-win

John Wayne starred in countless movies during his career. However, The Duke only received recognition for a handful of roles. Wayne, known for his rugged American spirit, often played no-nonsense cowboys in timeless westerns. 

At the beginning of his acting career, Wayne used the moniker “Duke Morrison,” using his childhood nickname for his first name. However, it wouldn’t be until later that he transitioned to John Wayne. When he starred in the 1930 film, The Big Trail, he started using his actual name. 

Despite making a name for himself (literally) in the movie business, it would take him nearly 20 years before he would receive critical recognition as an Academy Award nominee. 

Wayne picked up his first Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Marine Sergeant John Stryker in Sands of Iwo Jima in 1949. 

The film tells the story of a group of marines who fought in the historic battle at Iwo Jima. The flick earned praise for its action scenes and Wayne’s acting.

Despite its success, Wayne had stiff competition in the “Best Actor” category at that year’s Academy Awards. He faced off against fellow actors Kirk Douglas and Gregory Peck. However, Broderick Crawford took home the award for his performance in All the King’s Men

Later in 1970, Wayne would receive his second Academy Award nomination for his blockbuster western, True Grit. In the film, Wayne played a different type of character. He starred as Rooster Cogburn, a seasoned Deputy U.S. Marshal with a penchant for the bottle than laying down the law. 

John Wayne wins his first and only Academy Award

As viewers see, his character becomes a hero when he agrees to help a young girl find her father’s killer. The unlikely pair turns into a trio when a Texas Ranger named La Boeuf joins them on their tracking.

In addition, the movie also signified the reunion of Wayne and director Henry Hathaway. The duo had worked together on several films throughout the years. Later, the movie would earn Wayne his second Academy Award nomination for “Best Actor.”

At the 1970 Academy Awards, Wayne waited anxiously to see if he would be named that year’s winner. Once again, he faced off against regarded actors of the time, such as Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole, Dustin Hoffman, and Jon Voight. 

Singer and actress Barbra Streisand delivered the happy news to Wayne, telling him, the audience, and those watching at home that he had earned an Academy Award for his work in True Grit

During his acceptance speech, Wayne joked, “Wow, if I had known that, I would have put that patch on 35 years earlier.” He seemed genuinely honored to win, appearing teary-eyed while on stage. “I feel very grateful, very humble, and all thanks to many, many people,” he added. 

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