Oscar Nominations After Death

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Films

The Annals of Internal Medicine once said actors who win Oscars live 3.9 years longer on average than those not nominated. Good news for 2012 nominees Max von Sydow and Christopher Plummer, both 82. But 15 people have died first, then won an Oscar, and 58 have gotten posthumous noms including these famous four.

James Dean, East of Eden (1955)

A man with bad eyesight and a yen for speed, he died in a car crash in 1955 at 24, then got an Oscar nomination as the young hero in Elia Kazan's screen version of John Steinbeck's novel. He got a second posthumous nom for 1956's Giant.

Peter Finch, Network (1976)

While he was promoting the film whose famous catchphrase is "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" Finch had a fatal heart attack at 60, then became the first actor to win a posthumous Oscar.

Massimo Troisi, Il Postino (1995)

He was dying of heart disease while shooting his role as a love-struck postman, which might have given the film the poignancy that earned him Oscar noms for acting in and co-writing the film he finished just before his death at 41.

Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight (2008)

His macabre role as The Joker, Batman's nemesis, became even more macabre when the actor died of prescription drug misuse at 28. His posthumous Oscar was in part a de facto achievement award for a great career cut short.