Laurence Olivier won both the 1948 Best Actor and Best Picture Oscars for Hamlet. He was also nominated for Best Director, losing to John Huston for Treasure of the Sierra Made.

Olivier had previously been awarded a Special Oscar at the 1946 ceremony "for his outstanding achievement as actor, producer and director in bringing Henry V to the screen." Olivier was said to be bitter about this award (which he accepted on the set of Hamlet, pictured) because he thought it was primarily awarded to him in order to take the British-made Henry V out of competition with Hollywood-made product. When Hamlet (along with several other British films) received nominations at the 1948 awards, Hollywood film studios withdrew their financial support of the ceremony in protest. The rivalry was short lived and Olivier received another Special Award at the 1978 ceremony for lifetime achievement.

Michael Douglas won the Oscar for producing One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (along with coproducer Saul Zaentz) in 1975 and for Best Actor for Wall Street in 1987. When Cuckoo's Nest won Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Screenplay prior to taking home Best Picture, the euphoric Douglas exclaimed "This was the first picture to do it since It Happened One Night in 1937" although it actually made its sweep at the 1934 ceremony. It is a feat that has only been accomplished one time since, by Silence of the Lambs in 1991.

Frances McDormand had already won two Best Actress Oscars when she took home her third and fourth for her performance in Nomadland (2020) and as one of its producers in its Best Picture win. The success of Nomadland at the Oscars proved to be a clear statement of how far women had advanced in Hollywood since three of its producers were female (the most ever for a Best Picture winner) including Chloé Zhao, who also won Best Director and was nominated for Best Film Editing.

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