At the end of WWII, Katina Paxinou receives the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in front of an audience of soldiers and nurses. She was the first non-American to receive such an award, and it was for her role in "For whom the bell tolls" based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway. In 1947 she received the Cocteau Prize for her role in Eugene O'Neil's "Mourning becomes Electra." In 1920 she performed her first notable role as Beatrice in Dimitris Mitropoulos' opera by the same name. Mitropoulos and Paxinou maintained a warm friendship and lengthy correspondence over the years.
Her first theater role was in 1929, at the Kotopouli theater in the play "La femme nue" by Henry Bataille. It is there she meets and later marries Alexis Minotis. In 1950 she held the leading role in Lorca's "The House of Bernarda Alba" at the American National Theater. In 1957 she becomes a permanent member of the National Theater. She was decorated with the Order of George I and the Order of West Germany, and was honored with the French Prize "Isabella d' Este."