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6 Surprising Academy Award Winners

February 29, 2016

Doctor Who has on Oscar. Playwright George Bernard Shaw got one well after he died. Here are a few more unlikely Oscar recipients.

Kira Roessler

In the 1980s, Kira Roessler played bass in the influential punk rock band Black Flag, best known for the song “TV Party” as well as its lead singer, actor Henry Rollins. In the 1990s, she shifted careers and became a dialogue editor for movies. She won an Emmy for her sound work on HBO’s John Adams and last weekend, she was part of the Oscar-winning sound effects editing team for Mad Max: Fury Road.
Kira Roessler of Black Flag

Bobby Houston

Bobby Houston got his start as an actor in 1970s B-movies, including The Hills Have Eyes and The Great American Girl Robbery. Shortly thereafter he became an independent filmmaker. In 2005, he won an Oscar for Best Documentary Short for Mighty Times: The Children’s March.

Saul Bass

There is no Academy Award for Best Title Design (the Academy rejected the idea in 1999), but if there’d always been one, Saul Bass likely would’ve won it. He created the memorable, singular title sequences for movies such as Psycho, Vertigo, and West Side Story. (He also created dozens of movie posters.) In 1968 he won a Best Documentary Short Oscar for his film Why Man Creates. 

Fisher Stevens

Character actor Fisher Stevens is probably best known for his role as robot creator Ben Jabituya in the Short Circuit movies. In 2010 he won the Best Documentary Feature award for The Cove, a film that exposed abuse of dolphins off the coast of Japan.


At the 2003 Academy Awards, the nominees for Best Original Song included legendary songwriters John Kander and Fred Ebb, Paul Simon, and U2. They were all beat by star rapper Eminem. His song “Lose Yourself” was featured in his loosely autobiographical movie 8 Mile. It’s the first time a rap song ever won the Best Song award.
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