Believe it or not, Wayne had never received an Academy Award prior to his appearance in True Grit. Even more surprising is the fact that Wayne had only been nominated for one Best Actor award before, and that was in 1949.
20 years later, Wayne was nominated for a Best Actor award for True Grit and was up against some strong competition. Two of the other actors nominated for the award included Richard Burton for his role as Henry VIII in Anne of the Thousand Days and Peter O’Toole for his role as Arthur Chipping in Goodbye Mr. Chips. But Wayne emerged the victor, earning the first and only Academy Award of his career.