Yesterday's Oscar nominees brought with them an interesting anomaly - one of them has been dead for the last 12 years.

August Wilson received a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for adapting his 1983 play, Fences, which was directed by and starred Denzel Washington.

However, Wilson died in 2005 aged 60, more than a decade before the adaptation even went into production.

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Wilson wrote the screenplay prior to his death, as he was keen for it to be made into a movie - with one provision though.

"I usually have had to repeat my request, 'I want a black director', as though it were a complex statement in a foreign tongue," Wilson wrote in the New York Times in 1990.

"I have often heard the same response: 'We don't want to hire anyone just because they are black'. What is being implied is that the only qualification any black has is the colour of his skin."

Fences won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for the play in 1987.

BOSTON - AUGUST 25: Playwright August Wilson, photographed Aug. 25, 1995. (Photo by Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - AUGUST 25: Playwright August Wilson, photographed Aug. 25, 1995. (Photo by Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

It is not unheard of for someone to be nominated posthumously. Heath Ledger won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 2009 for his role as The Joker in The Dark Knight, which he filmed prior to his accidental overdose in 2008.

Fences earned three other Oscar nominations yesterday, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Washington and Best Supporting Actress for Viola Davis, who has already earned a Golden Globe for her performance.

Both stars have previously won Tony Awards for the same roles, when they starred in the 2010 Broadway revival of Fences.

The 89th Annual Academy Awards will screen on Sky on February 27 from 2.30pm.