Chaplin & the Oscars

Charlie won three Academy Awards–two honorary and one competitive.

At the first Academy Awards presentations ceremony in 1929, he was given a special award was for “Versatility and genius in writing, acting, directing and producing” his 1928 film, The Circus.

Charlie’s Academy Award for The Circus.

Sydney Chaplin jokingly claimed that his father used the Oscar as a doorstop for years, but the pictures below tell a different story.

Chaplin’s office at his studio, unknown date. His special Oscar for The Circus is on display on the mantle (in the center). (Photo from Silent Traces by John Bengston)

Charlie at his Beverly Hills home, c. 1945.
 His Oscar is on the bookshelf behind him on the far left.

Chaplin was presented with an Honorary Oscar in 1972 & returned to America after a 20 year absence to accept it in person. He received the longest standing ovation in Oscar history.
His 1952 film Limelight won for Best Original Score in 1973, twenty years after its initial release because the film had not been shown in Los Angeles until that time.


Charlie in Los Angeles holding his Honorary Oscar.

Chaplin was nominated for Academy Awards for The Great Dictator (1940) and Monsieur Verdoux (1947) but he was against awards in general. When the New York Film Critics voted him Best Actor for The Great Dictator, he declined the award stating that he did not believe actors should compete against one another and questioned the “process of electioneering” that is “far afield from sound critical appraisal.” He was also allegedly hurt that only his work as an actor had been deemed memorable. According to his son Sydney, he sent back one award he had won with a note that said, “I don’t think you are qualified to judge my work.”

Michael Jackson visits Oona Chaplin at the Manoir de Ban, June 1988. Michael is holding Charlie’s honorary Oscar and his award for Best Original Score. Oona is holding his award for The Circus. Family friend Rolf Knie is holding Chaplin’s BAFTA Fellowship Award which he received in 1976.

1 Comment

  1. Is there a reason why the montage sequence does not include any Essanay or Mutual clips? Short memory by editors or copyright issues?

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