And congratulations to our winner …… for the correct answer that Peter Finch, won the posthumous oscar for his performance as Howard Beale in “Network” (1976). His performance as Howard Beale in "Network" (1976) is ranked #52 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Finch’s Network co-star William Holden had been a slight favorite to win his own second Oscar before Finch passed away during the early going in the Oscar campaign season. The reigning Oscar winner, Jack Nicholson had been a vocal champion of Finch winning Best Actor honors in 1977 and led the applause at screenings of Network (1976) intended to boost Finch’s chances of winning the award. He did, and went down in Academy Award history as the first posthumous winner of an acting Oscar.
Only one day before his death of a heart attack, he appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962) on U.S. network television NBC, entertaining the host and the audience with tales of his youth and his "psychic" grandmother. Carson closed his program the next evening with some words about Finch’s passing.