If you go by 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure , the answer is fifteen. Producer Irwin Allen, known as “The Master of Disaster,” put five Oscar winners in front of the camera then twice as many behind the scenes. After all, what good is a disaster movie if the disaster — in this case, a ship overturned by a rogue wave — isn’t downright spectacular?
Actors Gene Hackman, Shelley Winters, Jack Albertson, Red Buttons, and Ernest Borgnine all tried to contribute their own special effects, too. Winters, for her part, gained 35 pounds and trained with an Olympic swim coach. Alas (spoiler alert), fame and method acting didn’t guarantee her survival. That said, when talent runs this deep, you can assume that even a few Oscar winners are destined to drown.
At the 1972 Academy Awards, The Poseidon Adventure received a few statuettes of its own: one Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects and another for Best Song (“The Morning After”).
The Poseidon Adventure is showing today, Wednesday February 13 at 8AM | 7C on AMC. Click here for the complete schedule.