Jeanne Eagels, best known for creating the role of Sadie Thompson in Somerset Maugham's Rain, died of a Heroin overdose on October 3, 1929; months before she received a 1928/29 Best Actress nomination for her performance in The Letter.

James Dean has the distinction of receiving two posthumous acting nominations. He fatally crashed his Porsche on September 30, 1955, and was later nominated for Best Actor for 1955 (for East of Eden) and 1956 (for Giant).

Spencer Tracy died on June 10, 1967, two weeks after completing Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. He received his ninth Best Actor nomination for the film, still the record for that category.

Peter Finch died of a heart attack on January 14, 1977 that was thought to brought on by his exhaustive campaign to win the Oscar for Network. He won the award, prompting costar and fellow nominee William Holden (who had previously won the 1953 Oscar for Stalag 17) to say "If the son of a bitch hadn't died, I could have won my second Oscar."

Ralph Richardson died on October 10, 1983, five months before his Oscar nominated turn as Lord Greystoke in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes was released. The legendary Shakespearean actor also has the distinction of being the first thespian to win the New York Film Critics Best Actor Award without also receiving an Oscar nomination (for Breaking The Sound Barrier, 1952).

Massimo Troisi was diagnosed as needing a heart transplant just before he began shooting his screenplay of Il Postino/The Postman, and died on June 4, 1994 (the day after completing it). Sentiment over Troisi's inspiring story was largely responsible for his nominations for Best Actor and Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published.

Heath Ledger died of a drug overdose on January 22, 2008, and was announced as a nominee for Best Supporting Actor for his intense performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight on the first anniversary of his death. He ultimately won the Oscar, which was touchingly accepted by his parents and sister.

Chadwick Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016 and worked through his star-making role in Black Panther as well as award-winning performances in Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom before succumbing to the disease on August 28, 2020. He received his first and only Best Actor nomination for Ma Rainey the following year.

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