He was honored twice off-Broadway with Distinguished Performance OBIE Award, first in 1960 for "Machinal" and again in 1969 for "Passing Through From Exotic Places." In 1972 he won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a play for "Prisoner on 2nd Avenue." In 1979 he was nominated for Best Actor in a musical for "Ballroom." Gardenia was twice nominated with an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, first in 1974 "Bang the Drum Slowly" and again in 1988 for "Moonstruck." He won an Emmy Award in 1990 for Best Supporting Actor in a movie made for television, "Age Old Friends." In 1988 he was honored to be named the Grand Marshal of the Columbus Day Parade in New York City.