In honor of Women’s History Month, let’s look at records that women have set at awards shows. These aren’t simply instances of the first woman to do this or that; these are cases where a woman holds a record that isn’t gender-specific.
In some cases, women are absolutely crushing it in a particular category. Billie Eilish set a record in 2020 as the youngest person to win the Grammy for album of the year. She was just 18 when she won for When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? The old record was held by Taylor Swift, who was 20 when she won for Fearless. Before that, it was held by Alanis Morissette, who was 21 when she won for Jagged Little Pill. And before that it was held by Barbra Streisand who was 22 when she won for The Barbra Streisand Album. Between them, these four women have held this record continuously since Streisand first set it in May 1964.
The all-time youngest winners in the three other Big Four Grammy categories are also women. Eilish is the youngest winner for record of the year, for “Bad Guy.” Lorde, 17 at the time, was the youngest winner for song of the year, for “Royals.” LeAnn Rimes, just 14 at the time, was the youngest winner for best new artist.
A total of 14 artists have received Grammy nominations in each of the Big Four categories — album, record and song of the year, plus best new artist — in the same calendar year. A whopping ten of those artists have been women, from Bobbie Gentry (1967) to Olivia Rodrigo (2021).
Women also rule at the MTV Video Music Awards. The four artists who have won the most Moon Persons (it still doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as Moonman, does it?) are all women – Beyoncé (27), Madonna (20), Lady Gaga (18) and Swift (14).
In the history of the Academy Awards, just four people have been nominated for Oscars for acting and songwriting in the same year. Three are women: Mary J. Blige, Lady Gaga and Cynthia Erivo.
Here are 20 more awards show records held by women:
Most Grammy wins: Beyoncé (32)
Beyoncé made history last month when she surpassed the late classical conductor Sir Georg Solti for the most Grammy wins by anyone ever. Solti won 31 awards from 1962 to 1997. In addition, Beyoncé is tied with her husband Jay-Z for the most Grammy nominations (88 each).
Only artist to sweep Grammys for album, record and song of the year twice: Adele
The British superstar accomplished that sweep with 21 and its megahit “Rolling in the Deep” (2011) and repeated the feat five years later with her follow-up 25 and its power ballad “Hello” (2016).
Longest winning streak in any Grammy category: Aretha Franklin (eight years)
The Queen of Soul won best R&B vocal performance, female every year from 1967-74. That’s a lot of “Respect.”
Youngest artist to receive Grammy nods in each of the Big Four categories in one year: Billie Eilish
The phenom was just 17 when she was nominated in all four categories in November 2019, which allowed her to surpass the previous record-holder, Mariah Carey (who was 20 when she swept the 1990 noms). Eilish, who had turned 18 by the time of the awards ceremony in January 2020, is also the younger of the two artists who have won each of the Big Four awards in one year.
Artist with the most American Music Awards: Taylor Swift (40)
In addition to her overall lead, Swift is the artist with the most AMAs for artist of the year (seven) and for favorite music video (three).
Artist with the most ACM Awards: Miranda Lambert (38)
In addition to her overall lead, the Texan is the Academy of Country Music’s leader for most awards in these three key categories: female vocalist of the year (nine), album of the year (five) and song of the year (as a songwriter, three).
Artist with the most BET Awards: Beyoncé (33)
Bey is also the artist with the most Soul Train Awards (25).
Youngest artist to win Video Vanguard Award at the VMAs: Janet Jackson
Jackson was just 24 when she won the award in 1990. She also won a competitive award that year, best choreography in a video for “Rhythm Nation,” and performed “Black Cat” on the telecast.
Only artist to receive three VMAs for music video of the year: Taylor Swift
Swift won for “Bad Blood” (collab with Kendrick Lamar, 2015), “You Need to Calm Down” (2019), and “All Too Well: The Short Film” (2022). The later video made Swift the first artist to win music video of the year for an entirely self-directed video. Lamar, Swift and Lil Nas X had previously won for videos they co-directed.
Only songwriter to receive an honorary Oscar: Diane Warren
Warren received the award at a gala in Los Angeles in November 2022. She followed it up by becoming only the fifth person to receive an honorary Oscar and a nod for a competitive Oscar in the same awards year.
Only person to win Oscars for both acting and songwriting: Barbra Streisand
The prodigiously talented multi-hyphenate won best actress for Funny Girl (1968, in a headline-making tie with Katharine Hepburn) and best original song for composing “Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)” (1976).
Most Oscars for acting: Katharine Hepburn (four)
The great star also holds the records for the longest time span between first and last Oscar nominations and between first and last Oscars — 49 years from Morning Glory (1932-33) through On Golden Pond (1981).
Most Oscar nominations for acting: Meryl Streep (21)
Seventeen of those nominations are for best actress, the other four are for best supporting actress. Streep landed her first Oscar nod for The Deer Hunter (1978); her most recent for The Post (2017).
Youngest Oscar recipient: Shirley Temple
The OG America’s Sweetheart, who lifted a nation’s spirits during the Great Depression, was six when she was awarded an honorary Oscar “in grateful recognition of her outstanding contribution to screen entertainment during the year 1934.”
Youngest winner of a competitive acting Oscar: Tatum O’Neal
The second-generation star was 10 when she won best supporting actress for Paper Moon (1973).
Youngest winner of a lead acting Oscar: Marlee Matlin
Matlin was 21 when she won best actress for Children of a Lesser God (1986). Her achievement is all the more impressive owing to her deafness.
First actor/actress to win an Oscar for performing in a language other than English: Sophia Loren
The Italian actress and screen beauty won best actress for Two Women (1961).
Most Tonys won for performances: Audra McDonald (six)
The actress/singer’s Tonys span the years 1994-2014. McDonald is also the only person to win Tonys in all four categories in which a performer is eligible—for playing both lead and featured roles in both plays and musicals.
Most Tony nominations for performances (tie): Julie Harris and Chita Rivera (10 each)
Harris’ nominations span the years 1952-97. Rivera’s nods span the years 1961-2015. In addition, both women have received special Tony Awards for lifetime achievement in the theatre.
Most Emmys won by a performer (tie): Cloris Leachman and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (eight each)
Leachman’s Emmys span the years 1973-2006 and include two awards each for The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Malcolm in the Middle. Louis-Dreyfus’ span the years 1996-2017. Louis-Dreyfus also holds the record for most Emmys won for a playing the same role in the same series. She won six Emmys for playing Selina Meyer on Veep from 2012–17.