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Academy Award for Best Actor facts for kids

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Academy Award for Best Actor
The 2023 recipient: Brendan Fraser
Presented by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)
Country United States
First awarded 1929 (for performance in films released during the 1927/1928 film season)
Currently held by Brendan Fraser
The Whale (2022)

The Academy Award for Best Actor is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given to an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leading role in a film released that year. The award is traditionally presented by the previous year's Best Actress winner.

The 1st Academy Awards were held in 1929 with Emil Jannings receiving the award for his roles in The Last Command (1928) and The Way of All Flesh (1927). Currently, nominees are determined by single transferable vote within the actors branch of AMPAS; winners are selected by a plurality vote from the entire eligible voting members of the Academy.

In the first three years of the awards, actors were nominated as the best in their categories. At that time, all of their work during the qualifying period (as many as three films, in some cases) was listed after the award. During the third ceremony in 1930, only one of those films was cited in each winner's final award, even though each of the acting winners had two films following their names on the ballots. The following year, this system was replaced by the current system in which an actor is nominated for a specific performance in a single film. Starting with the ninth ceremony in 1937, the category was limited to five nominations per year.

Since its inception, the award has been given to 85 actors. Daniel Day-Lewis has won the award a record three times. Spencer Tracy and Laurence Olivier were nominated a record nine times. Peter O'Toole is the most nominated actor in this category without a single win. James Dean is the only actor posthumously nominated more than once. Peter Finch is the only posthumous winner, for Network (1976). Italian actor Roberto Benigni gave the first winning non-English performance in Life Is Beautiful (1997). In 1950, José Ferrer was the first Hispanic to win in this category for Cyrano de Bergerac. In 1964, Sidney Poitier was the first black actor to win Lead Actor for Lilies of the Field. At 29, Adrien Brody of The Pianist (2002) is the youngest winner, and Anthony Hopkins, 83, is the oldest, for playing Anthony in The Father (2020). As of the 95th Academy Awards, Brendan Fraser is the most recent winner for his portrayal of Charlie in The Whale, in which he became the first Canadian actor to win.

Winners and nominees

In the following table, the years are listed as per Academy convention, and generally correspond to the year of film release in Los Angeles County; the ceremonies are always held the following year. For the first five ceremonies, the eligibility period spanned twelve months, from August 1 to July 31. For the 6th ceremony held in 1934, the eligibility period lasted from August 1, 1932, to December 31, 1933. Since the 7th ceremony held in 1935, the period of eligibility became the full previous calendar year from January 1 to December 31.

Table key
Indicates the winner
§ Indicates winner who refused the award
Indicates a posthumous winner
Indicates a posthumous nominee


Emil Jannings - no watermark
Emil Jannings was the first winner, for The Last Command (1928) and The Way of All Flesh (1927).
Portrait of Lionel Barrymore
Lionel Barrymore won for A Free Soul (1931).
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
Emil Jannings Award winner Grand Duke Sergius Alexander The Last Command
August Schilling The Way of All Flesh
Richard Barthelmess Nickie Elkins The Noose
Patent Leather Kid The Patent Leather Kid
Charles Chaplin The Tramp The Circus
Warner Baxter Award winner The Cisco Kid In Old Arizona
George Bancroft Thunderbolt Jim Lang Thunderbolt
Chester Morris Chick Williams Alibi
Paul Muni James Dyke The Valiant
Lewis Stone Count Pahlen The Patriot


Charles Laughton-publicity2
Charles Laughton won for The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933).
Gable, Clark 01
Clark Gable won for his performance in It Happened One Night (1934).
Paul Muni - Zola - 1936
Paul Muni won for his portrayal of Louis Pasteur in The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936).
Spencer Tracy
Spencer Tracy was the first of two lead actors to win twice consecutively, for Captains Courageous (1937) and Boys Town (1938).
Fredric March-1
Fredric March won twice, for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946).
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
George Arliss Award winner Benjamin Disraeli Disraeli
George Arliss The Raja The Green Goddess
Wallace Beery Butch "Machine Gun" Schmidt The Big House
Maurice Chevalier Pierre Mirande The Big Pond
Count Alfred Renard The Love Parade
Ronald Colman Capt. Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond Bulldog Drummond
Michel Condemned
Lawrence Tibbett Yegor The Rogue Song
Lionel Barrymore Award winner Stephen Ashe A Free Soul
Jackie Cooper Skippy Skinner Skippy
Richard Dix Yancey Cravat Cimarron
Fredric March Tony Cavendish The Royal Family of Broadway
Adolphe Menjou Walter Burns The Front Page
Wallace Beery Award winner (Tie) Andy "Champ" Purcell The Champ
Fredric March Award winner (Tie) Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Alfred Lunt The Actor The Guardsman
Charles Laughton Award winner King Henry VIII The Private Life of Henry VIII
Leslie Howard Peter Standish Berkeley Square
Paul Muni James Allen I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
Clark Gable Award winner Peter Warne It Happened One Night
Frank Morgan Alessandro, Duke of Florence The Affairs of Cellini
William Powell Nick Charles The Thin Man
Victor McLaglen Award winner Gypo Nolan The Informer
Clark Gable Lt. Fletcher Christian Mutiny on the Bounty
Charles Laughton Captain William Bligh
Franchot Tone Midshipman Roger Byam
Paul Muni (Write-in) Joe Radek Black Fury
Paul Muni Award winner Louis Pasteur The Story of Louis Pasteur
Gary Cooper Longfellow Deeds Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Walter Huston Sam Dodsworth Dodsworth
William Powell Godfrey Park My Man Godfrey
Spencer Tracy Father Tim Mullin San Francisco
Spencer Tracy Award winner Manuel Fidello Captains Courageous
Charles Boyer Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte Conquest
Fredric March Norman Maine A Star Is Born
Robert Montgomery Danny Night Must Fall
Paul Muni Émile Zola The Life of Emile Zola
Spencer Tracy Award winner Father Edward Flanagan Boys Town
Charles Boyer Pepe le Moko Algiers
James Cagney Rocky Sullivan Angels with Dirty Faces
Robert Donat Dr. Andrew Manson The Citadel
Leslie Howard Professor Henry Higgins Pygmalion
Robert Donat Award winner Charles Edward Chipping Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Clark Gable Rhett Butler Gone with the Wind
Laurence Olivier Heathcliff Wuthering Heights
Mickey Rooney Mickey Moran Babes in Arms
James Stewart Jefferson Smith Mr. Smith Goes to Washington


Annex - Stewart, James (Call Northside 777) 01
James Stewart won for his performance in The Philadelphia Story (1940).
Gary Cooper 1936
Gary Cooper won twice for his roles in Sergeant York (1941) and High Noon (1952).
James cagney promo photo
James Cagney won for his portrayal of George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942).
Ronald Colman - publicity
Ronald Colman won for his performance in A Double Life (1947).
Laurence Olivier - Rebecca
Laurence Olivier won for his performance as the title role in Hamlet (1948), a film which he directed himself.
Broderick Crawford won for All the King's Men (1949).
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
James Stewart Award winner Macaulay "Mike" Connor The Philadelphia Story
Charles Chaplin Adenoid Hynkel & The Barber The Great Dictator
Henry Fonda Tom Joad The Grapes of Wrath
Raymond Massey Abraham Lincoln Abe Lincoln in Illinois
Laurence Olivier Maximilian "Maxim" de Winter Rebecca
Gary Cooper Award winner Sgt. Alvin York Sergeant York
Cary Grant Roger Adams Penny Serenade
Walter Huston Mr. Scratch The Devil and Daniel Webster
Robert Montgomery Joe Pendleton Here Comes Mr. Jordan
Orson Welles Charles Foster Kane Citizen Kane
James Cagney Award winner George M. Cohan Yankee Doodle Dandy
Ronald Colman Charles Rainier Random Harvest
Gary Cooper Lou Gehrig The Pride of the Yankees
Walter Pidgeon Clem Miniver Mrs. Miniver
Monty Woolley Howard The Pied Piper
Paul Lukas Award winner Kurt Muller Watch on the Rhine
Humphrey Bogart Rick Blaine Casablanca
Gary Cooper Robert Jordan For Whom the Bell Tolls
Walter Pidgeon Pierre Curie Madame Curie
Mickey Rooney Homer Macauley The Human Comedy
Bing Crosby Award winner Father Chuck O'Malley Going My Way
Charles Boyer Gregory Anton Gaslight
Barry Fitzgerald Father Fitzgibbon Going My Way
Cary Grant Ernie Mott None but the Lonely Heart
Alexander Knox Woodrow Wilson Wilson
Ray Milland Award winner Don Birnam The Lost Weekend
Bing Crosby Father Chuck O'Malley The Bells of St. Mary's
Gene Kelly Joseph Brady Anchors Aweigh
Gregory Peck Father Francis The Keys of the Kingdom
Cornel Wilde Frédéric Chopin A Song to Remember
Fredric March Award winner Platoon Sergeant Al Stephenson The Best Years of Our Lives
Laurence Olivier King Henry V of England Henry V
Larry Parks Al Jolson The Jolson Story
Gregory Peck Ezra "Penny" Baxter The Yearling
James Stewart George Bailey It's a Wonderful Life
Ronald Colman Award winner Anthony John A Double Life
John Garfield Charlie Davis Body and Soul
Gregory Peck Philip Schuyler Green Gentleman's Agreement
William Powell Clarence Day, Sr. Life with Father
Michael Redgrave Orin Mannon Mourning Becomes Electra
Laurence Olivier Award winner Hamlet, Prince of Denmark Hamlet
Lew Ayres Dr. Robert Richardson Johnny Belinda
Montgomery Clift Ralph "Steve" Stevenson The Search
Dan Dailey "Skid" Johnson When My Baby Smiles at Me
Clifton Webb Lynn Aloysius Belvedere Sitting Pretty
Broderick Crawford Award winner Willie Stark All the King's Men
Kirk Douglas Michael "Midge" Kelly Champion
Gregory Peck Brig. General Frank Savage Twelve O'Clock High
Richard Todd Cpl. Lachlan "Lachie" MacLachlan The Hasty Heart
John Wayne Sergeant John M. Stryker Sands of Iwo Jima


Jose Ferrer - 1952
José Ferrer became the first Hispanic actor to win an Oscar, in addition to being the first that bookended his (first) Tony win for the same role.
Humphrey Bogart 1940
Humphrey Bogart won for his performance in The African Queen (1951).
Marlon Brando in The Men
Marlon Brando won twice, for On the Waterfront (1954) and The Godfather (1972), although he declined the latter award.
Ernest Borgnine McHale McHale's Navy 1962
Ernest Borgnine won for Marty in 1955.
Yul Brynner Anna and the King television 1972
Yul Brynner won for The King and I in 1956.
Charlton Heston - 1953
Charlton Heston won for his performance in Ben-Hur (1959).
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
José Ferrer Award winner Cyrano de Bergerac Cyrano de Bergerac
Louis Calhern Oliver Wendell Holmes The Magnificent Yankee
William Holden Joe Gillis Sunset Boulevard
James Stewart Elwood P. Dowd Harvey
Spencer Tracy Stanley T. Banks Father of the Bride
Humphrey Bogart Award winner Charlie Allnut The African Queen
Marlon Brando Stanley Kowalski A Streetcar Named Desire
Montgomery Clift George Eastman A Place in the Sun
Arthur Kennedy Larry Nevins Bright Victory
Fredric March Willy Loman Death of a Salesman
Gary Cooper Award winner Marshal Will Kane High Noon
Marlon Brando Emiliano Zapata Viva Zapata!
Kirk Douglas Jonathan Shields The Bad and the Beautiful
José Ferrer Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec & Comte Alphonse de Toulouse-Lautrec Moulin Rouge
Alec Guinness Henry Holland The Lavender Hill Mob
William Holden Award winner Sgt. J.J. Sefton Stalag 17
Marlon Brando Mark Antony Julius Caesar
Richard Burton Marcellus Gallio The Robe
Montgomery Clift Pvt. Robert E. Lee "Prew" Prewitt From Here to Eternity
Burt Lancaster 1st Sgt. Milton Warden
Marlon Brando Award winner Terry Malloy On the Waterfront
Humphrey Bogart Lt. Cmdr. Philip Francis Queeg The Caine Mutiny
Bing Crosby Frank Elgin The Country Girl
James Mason Norman Maine A Star Is Born
Dan O'Herlihy Robinson Crusoe Robinson Crusoe
Ernest Borgnine Award winner Marty Piletti Marty
James Cagney Martin Snyder Love Me or Leave Me
James Dean Cal Trask East of Eden
Frank Sinatra Frankie Machine The Man with the Golden Arm
Spencer Tracy John J. Macreedy Bad Day at Black Rock
Yul Brynner Award winner King Mongkut of Siam The King and I
James Dean Jett Rink Giant
Kirk Douglas Vincent van Gogh Lust for Life
Rock Hudson Jordan "Bick" Benedict Jr. Giant
Laurence Olivier King Richard III Richard III
Alec Guinness Award winner Colonel Nicholson The Bridge on the River Kwai
Marlon Brando Major Lloyd "Ace" Gruver, USAF Sayonara
Anthony Franciosa Polo Pope A Hatful of Rain
Charles Laughton Sir Wilfrid Robarts Witness for the Prosecution
Anthony Quinn Gino Wild Is the Wind
David Niven Award winner Major Angus Pollock Separate Tables
Tony Curtis John "Joker" Jackson The Defiant Ones
Paul Newman Brick Pollitt Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Sidney Poitier Noah Cullen The Defiant Ones
Spencer Tracy The Old Man The Old Man and the Sea
Charlton Heston Award winner Judah Ben-Hur Ben-Hur
Laurence Harvey Joe Lampton Room at the Top
Jack Lemmon Jerry / Daphne Some Like It Hot
Paul Muni Dr. Sam Abelman The Last Angry Man
James Stewart Paul Biegler Anatomy of a Murder


Burt Lancaster - publicity 1947
Burt Lancaster won for his performance in Elmer Gantry (1960).
Maximilian Schell - 1970-1
Maximilian Schell won for his performance in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961).
Gregory Peck 1948
Gregory Peck won for his performance as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).
Sidney Poitier 1968
Sidney Poitier won for his performance in Lilies of the Field (1963), becoming the first black actor to win this category.
Rod Steiger Al Capone 3
Rod Steiger won for his performance as Chief Gillespie in In the Heat of the Night (1967).
John Wayne - 1961
John Wayne won for his role as curmudgeonly Rooster Cogburn in True Grit (1969).
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
Burt Lancaster Award winner Elmer Gantry Elmer Gantry
Trevor Howard Walter Morel Sons and Lovers
Jack Lemmon C. C. "Bud" Baxter The Apartment
Laurence Olivier Archie Rice The Entertainer
Spencer Tracy Henry Drummond Inherit the Wind
Maximilian Schell Award winner Hans Rolfe Judgment at Nuremberg
Charles Boyer Cesar Fanny
Paul Newman "Fast" Eddie Felson The Hustler
Spencer Tracy Chief Judge Dan Haywood Judgment at Nuremberg
Stuart Whitman Jim Fuller The Mark
Gregory Peck Award winner Atticus Finch To Kill a Mockingbird
Burt Lancaster Robert Stroud Birdman of Alcatraz
Jack Lemmon Joe Clay Days of Wine and Roses
Marcello Mastroianni Ferdinando Cefalù Divorce Italian Style
Peter O'Toole Thomas Edward Lawrence Lawrence of Arabia
Sidney Poitier Award winner Homer Smith Lilies of the Field
Albert Finney Tom Jones Tom Jones
Richard Harris Frank Machin This Sporting Life
Rex Harrison Julius Caesar Cleopatra
Paul Newman Hud Bannon Hud
Rex Harrison Award winner Professor Henry Higgins My Fair Lady
Richard Burton Thomas Becket Becket
Peter O'Toole King Henry II
Anthony Quinn Alexis Zorba Zorba the Greek
Peter Sellers Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, President Merkin Muffley, and Dr. Strangelove Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Lee Marvin Award winner Kid Shelleen & Tim Strawn Cat Ballou
Richard Burton Alec Leamas The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
Laurence Olivier Othello Othello
Rod Steiger Sol Nazerman The Pawnbroker
Oskar Werner Willie Schumann Ship of Fools
Paul Scofield Award winner Sir Thomas More A Man for All Seasons
Alan Arkin Lt. Rozanov The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming
Richard Burton George Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Michael Caine Alfie Elkins Alfie
Steve McQueen Jake Holman The Sand Pebbles
Rod Steiger Award winner Bill Gillespie In the Heat of the Night
Warren Beatty Clyde Barrow Bonnie and Clyde
Dustin Hoffman Benjamin Braddock The Graduate
Paul Newman Lucas "Luke" Jackson Cool Hand Luke
Spencer Tracy Matt Drayton Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Cliff Robertson Award winner Charly Gordon Charly
Alan Arkin John Singer The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
Alan Bates Yakov Bok The Fixer
Ron Moody Fagin Oliver!
Peter O'Toole King Henry II The Lion in Winter
John Wayne Award winner Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn True Grit
Richard Burton King Henry VIII Anne of the Thousand Days
Dustin Hoffman Enrico Salvatore "Ratso" Rizzo Midnight Cowboy
Peter O'Toole Arthur Chipping Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Jon Voight Joe Buck Midnight Cowboy


Gene Hackman - 1972
Gene Hackman won for The French Connection (1971).
Jack Nicholson - 1976 (new)
Jack Nicholson won twice, for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and As Good as It Gets (1997).
Peter Finch 2
Peter Finch won for his portrayal of Howard Beale in Network (1976), becoming the first actor to win this leading category award posthumously.
Dustin Hoffman - 1968
Dustin Hoffman won for twice, Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Rain Man (1988).
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
George C. Scott § General George S. Patton Jr. Patton
Melvyn Douglas Tom Garrison I Never Sang for My Father
James Earl Jones Jack Jefferson The Great White Hope
Jack Nicholson Robert Eroica Dupea Five Easy Pieces
Ryan O'Neal Oliver Barrett IV Love Story
Gene Hackman Award winner Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle The French Connection
Peter Finch Dr. Daniel Hirsh Sunday Bloody Sunday
Walter Matthau Joseph P. Kotcher Kotch
George C. Scott Dr. Herbert Bock The Hospital
Topol Tevye Fiddler on the Roof
Marlon Brando § Vito Corleone The Godfather
Michael Caine Milo Tindle Sleuth
Laurence Olivier Andrew Wyke
Peter O'Toole Jack Gurney, 14th Earl of Gurney The Ruling Class
Paul Winfield Nathan Lee Morgan Sounder
Jack Lemmon Award winner Harry Stoner Save the Tiger
Marlon Brando Paul Last Tango in Paris
Jack Nicholson Signalman 1st Class Billy L. "..." Buddusky The Last Detail
Al Pacino Frank Serpico Serpico
Robert Redford Johnny "Kelly" Hooker The Sting
Art Carney Award winner Harry Coombes Harry and Tonto
Albert Finney Hercule Poirot Murder on the Orient Express
Dustin Hoffman Lenny Bruce Lenny
Jack Nicholson J. J. "Jake" Gittes Chinatown
Al Pacino Michael Corleone The Godfather Part II
Jack Nicholson Award winner Randle Patrick McMurphy One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Walter Matthau Willy Clark The Sunshine Boys
Al Pacino Sonny Wortzik Dog Day Afternoon
Maximilian Schell Arthur Goldman The Man in the Glass Booth
James Whitmore Harry S. Truman Give 'em Hell, Harry!
Peter Finch Howard Beale Network
Robert De Niro Travis Bickle Taxi Driver
Giancarlo Giannini Pasqualino Frafuso Seven Beauties
William Holden Max Schumacher Network
Sylvester Stallone Rocky Balboa Rocky
Richard Dreyfuss Award winner Elliot Garfield The Goodbye Girl
Woody Allen Alvy Singer Annie Hall
Richard Burton Martin Dysart Equus
Marcello Mastroianni Gabriele A Special Day
John Travolta Tony Manero Saturday Night Fever
Jon Voight Award winner Luke Martin Coming Home
Warren Beatty Joe Pendleton / Leo Farnsworth / Tom Jarrett Heaven Can Wait
Gary Busey Buddy Holly The Buddy Holly Story
Robert De Niro Michael Vronsky The Deer Hunter
Laurence Olivier Ezra Lieberman The Boys from Brazil
Dustin Hoffman Award winner Ted Kramer Kramer vs. Kramer
Jack Lemmon Jack Godell The China Syndrome
Al Pacino Arthur Kirkland ...And Justice for All.
Roy Scheider Joe Gideon All That Jazz
Peter Sellers Chance the gardener / Chauncey Gardiner Being There


RobertdeNiro26 (cropped)
Robert De Niro won for his portrayal of Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull (1980).
Ben Kingsley by Gage Skidmore
Ben Kingsley won for his portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhi (1982).
F Murray.Abraham cropped
F. Murray Abraham won for his portrayal of Antonio Salieri in Amadeus (1984); the first Arab to win the award.
History of Violence 002 (7271227040)
William Hurt won for his performance in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985).
Paul Newman 1954
Paul Newman won for The Color of Money (1986).
Daniel Day-Lewis2 Berlinale 2008 (2)
Daniel Day-Lewis won thrice, for My Left Foot (1989), There Will Be Blood (2007), and Lincoln (2012).
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
Robert De Niro Award winner Jake LaMotta Raging Bull
Robert Duvall Lt. Col. Wilbur "Bull" Meechum The Great Santini
John Hurt John Merrick The Elephant Man
Jack Lemmon Scottie Templeton Tribute
Peter O'Toole Eli Cross The Stunt Man
Henry Fonda Award winner Norman Thayer Jr. On Golden Pond
Warren Beatty John "Jack" Reed Reds
Burt Lancaster Lou Pascal Atlantic City
Dudley Moore Arthur Bach Arthur
Paul Newman Michael Gallagher Absence of Malice
Ben Kingsley Award winner Mahatma Gandhi Gandhi
Dustin Hoffman Michael Dorsey / Dorothy Michaels Tootsie
Jack Lemmon Edmund Horman Missing
Paul Newman Frank Galvin The Verdict
Peter O'Toole Alan Swann My Favorite Year
Robert Duvall Award winner Mac Sledge Tender Mercies
Michael Caine Dr. Frank Bryant Educating Rita
Tom Conti Gowan McGland Reuben, Reuben
Tom Courtenay Norman The Dresser
Albert Finney Sir
F. Murray Abraham Award winner Antonio Salieri Amadeus
Jeff Bridges Scott Hayden / Starman Starman
Albert Finney Geoffrey Firmin Under the Volcano
Tom Hulce Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Amadeus
Sam Waterston Sydney Schanberg The Killing Fields
William Hurt Award winner Luis Molina Kiss of the Spider Woman
Harrison Ford John Book Witness
James Garner Murphy Jones Murphy's Romance
Jack Nicholson Charley Partanna Prizzi's Honor
Jon Voight Oscar "Manny" Manheim Runaway Train
Paul Newman Award winner "Fast" Eddie Felson The Color of Money
Dexter Gordon Dale Turner Round Midnight
Bob Hoskins George Mona Lisa
William Hurt James Leeds Children of a Lesser God
James Woods Richard Boyle Salvador
Michael Douglas Award winner Gordon Gekko Wall Street
William Hurt Tom Grunick Broadcast News
Marcello Mastroianni Romano Patroni Dark Eyes
Jack Nicholson Francis Phelan Ironweed
Robin Williams Adrian Cronauer Good Morning, Vietnam
Dustin Hoffman Award winner Raymond Babbitt Rain Man
Gene Hackman Rupert Anderson Mississippi Burning
Tom Hanks Josh Baskin Big
Edward James Olmos Jaime Escalante Stand and Deliver
Max von Sydow Lassefar "Lasse" Karlsson Pelle the Conqueror
Daniel Day-Lewis Award winner Christy Brown My Left Foot
Kenneth Branagh King Henry V Henry V
Tom Cruise Ron Kovic Born on the Fourth of July
Morgan Freeman Hoke Colburn Driving Miss Daisy
Robin Williams John Keating Dead Poets Society


Anthony Hopkins cropped 2009
Anthony Hopkins won twice for The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and The Father (2020), the latter rendering him the oldest Best Actor winner at age 83.
Al Pacino 2016 (30401544240)
Al Pacino won for Scent of A Woman (1992).
Tom Hanks 2014
Tom Hanks was the second lead actor to win twice consecutively, for Philadelphia (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994).
Nicolas Cage Comic-Con 2011
Nicolas Cage won for Leaving Las Vegas (1995).
Roberto Benigni-5274
Roberto Benigni won for Life is Beautiful (1997), the first lead male win for a foreign language role (Italian).
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
Jeremy Irons Award winner Claus von Bülow Reversal of Fortune
Kevin Costner Lt. John J. Dunbar Dances with Wolves
Robert De Niro Leonard Lowe Awakenings
Gérard Depardieu Cyrano de Bergerac Cyrano de Bergerac
Richard Harris "Bull" McCabe The Field
Anthony Hopkins Award winner Dr. Hannibal Lecter The Silence of the Lambs
Warren Beatty Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel Bugsy
Robert De Niro Max Cady Cape Fear
Nick Nolte Tom Wingo The Prince of Tides
Robin Williams Henry "Parry" Sagan The Fisher King
Al Pacino Award winner Lt. Col. Frank Slade Scent of a Woman
Robert Downey Jr. Charlie Chaplin Chaplin
Clint Eastwood Will Munny Unforgiven
Stephen Rea Fergus The Crying Game
Denzel Washington Malcolm Little / Malcolm X Malcolm X
Tom Hanks Award winner Andrew Beckett Philadelphia
Daniel Day-Lewis Gerard "Gerry" Conlon In the Name of the Father
Laurence Fishburne Ike Turner What's Love Got to Do with It
Anthony Hopkins James Stevens The Remains of the Day
Liam Neeson Oskar Schindler Schindler's List
Tom Hanks Award winner Forrest Gump Forrest Gump
Morgan Freeman Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding The Shawshank Redemption
Nigel Hawthorne King George III The Madness of King George
Paul Newman Donald "Sully" Sullivan Nobody's Fool
John Travolta Vincent Vega Pulp Fiction
Nicolas Cage Award winner Ben Sanderson Leaving Las Vegas
Richard Dreyfuss Glenn Holland Mr. Holland's Opus
Anthony Hopkins Richard Nixon Nixon
Sean Penn Matthew Poncelet Dead Man Walking
Massimo Troisi Mario Ruoppolo Il Postino: The Postman
Geoffrey Rush Award winner David Helfgott Shine
Tom Cruise Jerry Maguire Jerry Maguire
Ralph Fiennes Count László de Almásy The English Patient
Woody Harrelson Larry Flynt The People vs. Larry Flynt
Billy Bob Thornton Karl Childers Sling Blade
Jack Nicholson Award winner Melvin Udall As Good as It Gets
Matt Damon Will Hunting Good Will Hunting
Robert Duvall Euliss "Sonny" Dewey / The Apostle E. F. The Apostle
Peter Fonda Ulysses "Ulee" Jackson Ulee's Gold
Dustin Hoffman Stanley Motss Wag the Dog
Roberto Benigni Award winner Guido Orefice Life Is Beautiful
Tom Hanks Captain John H. Miller Saving Private Ryan
Ian McKellen James Whale Gods and Monsters
Nick Nolte Wade Whitehouse Affliction
Edward Norton Derek Vinyard American History X
Kevin Spacey Award winner Lester Burnham American Beauty
Russell Crowe Jeffrey Wigand The Insider
Richard Farnsworth Alvin Straight The Straight Story
Sean Penn Emmet Ray Sweet and Lowdown
Denzel Washington Rubin "The Hurricane" Carter The Hurricane


Adrien Brody 2011 Shankbone (2)
Adrien Brody won for The Pianist (2002) at age 29, becoming the youngest Best Actor winner.
Sean Penn by Sachyn Mital (cropped)
Sean Penn won twice for Mystic River (2003) and Milk (2008).
Philip Seymour Hoffman 2011
Philip Seymour Hoffman won for Capote (2005).
Forest Whitaker 2014
Forest Whitaker won for The Last King of Scotland (2006).
Jeff Bridges by Gage Skidmore 3
Jeff Bridges won for Crazy Heart (2009).
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
Russell Crowe Award winner Maximus Decimus Meridius Gladiator
Javier Bardem Reinaldo Arenas Before Night Falls
Tom Hanks Chuck Noland Cast Away
Ed Harris Jackson Pollock Pollock
Geoffrey Rush Marquis de Sade Quills
Denzel Washington Award winner Alonzo Harris Training Day
Russell Crowe John Forbes Nash A Beautiful Mind
Sean Penn Sam Dawson I Am Sam
Will Smith Cassius Clay / Muhammad Ali Ali
Tom Wilkinson Dr. Matt Fowler In the Bedroom
Adrien Brody Award winner Władysław Szpilman The Pianist
Nicolas Cage Charlie Kaufman & Donald Kaufman Adaptation.
Michael Caine Thomas Fowler The Quiet American
Daniel Day-Lewis William "Bill the Butcher" Cutting Gangs of New York
Jack Nicholson Warren R. Schmidt About Schmidt
Sean Penn Award winner Jimmy Markum Mystic River
Johnny Depp Captain Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Ben Kingsley Col. Massoud Amir Behrani House of Sand and Fog
Jude Law W. P. Inman Cold Mountain
Bill Murray Bob Harris Lost in Translation
Jamie Foxx Award winner Ray Charles Ray
Don Cheadle Paul Rusesabagina Hotel Rwanda
Johnny Depp Sir James Matthew Barrie Finding Neverland
Leonardo DiCaprio Howard Hughes The Aviator
Clint Eastwood Frankie Dunn Million Dollar Baby
Philip Seymour Hoffman Award winner Truman Capote Capote
Terrence Howard DJay Hustle & Flow
Heath Ledger Ennis Del Mar Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix Johnny Cash Walk the Line
David Strathairn Edward R. Murrow Good Night, and Good Luck.
Forest Whitaker Award winner Idi Amin The Last King of Scotland
Leonardo DiCaprio Danny Archer Blood Diamond
Ryan Gosling Dan Dunne Half Nelson
Peter O'Toole Maurice Russell Venus
Will Smith Chris Gardner The Pursuit of Happyness
Daniel Day-Lewis Award winner Daniel Plainview There Will Be Blood
George Clooney Michael Clayton Michael Clayton
Johnny Depp Sweeney Todd / Benjamin Barker Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Tommy Lee Jones Hank Deerfield In the Valley of Elah
Viggo Mortensen Nikolai Luzhin Eastern Promises
Sean Penn Award winner Harvey Milk Milk
Richard Jenkins Walter Vale The Visitor
Frank Langella Richard Nixon Frost/Nixon
Brad Pitt Benjamin Button The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke Randy "The Ram" Robinson The Wrestler
Jeff Bridges Award winner Otis "Bad" Blake Crazy Heart
George Clooney Ryan Bingham Up in the Air
Colin Firth George Falconer A Single Man
Morgan Freeman Nelson Mandela Invictus
Jeremy Renner SFC William James The Hurt Locker


Jean Dujardin Cannes 2011
Jean Dujardin won for The Artist (2011); the first French actor to win the award.
Matthew McConaughey - Goldene Kamera 2014 - Berlin
Matthew McConaughey won for Dallas Buyers Club (2013).
Leonardo DiCaprio visited Goddard Saturday to discuss Earth science with Piers Sellers (26105091624) cropped
Leonardo DiCaprio won for The Revenant (2015).
Gary Oldman in 2017 (36334517524)
Gary Oldman won for Darkest Hour (2017).
Rami Malek in 2015 (portrait crop)
Rami Malek won for Bohemian Rhapsody (2018); the first actor of Egyptian descent to win the award.
Joaquin Phoenix-2196 (cropped)
Joaquin Phoenix won for Joker (2019).
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
Colin Firth Award winner King George VI The King's Speech
Javier Bardem Uxbal Biutiful
Jeff Bridges Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg Mark Zuckerberg The Social Network
James Franco Aron Ralston 127 Hours
Jean Dujardin Award winner George Valentin The Artist
Demián Bichir Carlos Galindo A Better Life
George Clooney Matt King The Descendants
Gary Oldman George Smiley Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt Billy Beane Moneyball
Daniel Day-Lewis Award winner Abraham Lincoln Lincoln
Bradley Cooper Pat Solitano Silver Linings Playbook
Hugh Jackman Jean Valjean Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix Freddie Quell The Master
Denzel Washington William "Whip" Whitaker Flight
Matthew McConaughey Award winner Ron Woodroof Dallas Buyers Club
Christian Bale Irving Rosenfeld American Hustle
Bruce Dern Woodrow "Woody" Grant Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio Jordan Belfort The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor Solomon Northup 12 Years a Slave
Eddie Redmayne Award winner Stephen Hawking The Theory of Everything
Steve Carell John du Pont Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper Chris Kyle American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch Alan Turing The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton Riggan Thomson Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Leonardo DiCaprio Award winner Hugh Glass The Revenant
Bryan Cranston Dalton Trumbo Trumbo
Matt Damon Mark Watney The Martian
Michael Fassbender Steve Jobs Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne Einar Wegener / Lili Elbe The Danish Girl
Casey Affleck Award winner Lee Chandler Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield Desmond Doss Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling Sebastian Wilder La La Land
Viggo Mortensen Ben Cash Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington Troy Maxson Fences
Gary Oldman Award winner Winston Churchill Darkest Hour
Timothée Chalamet Elio Perlman Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis Reynolds Woodcock Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya Chris Washington Get Out
Denzel Washington Roman J. Israel Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Rami Malek Award winner Freddie Mercury Bohemian Rhapsody
Christian Bale Dick Cheney Vice
Bradley Cooper Jackson Maine A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe Vincent van Gogh At Eternity's Gate
Viggo Mortensen Anthony "Tony Lip" Vallelonga Green Book
Joaquin Phoenix Award winner Arthur Fleck / Joker Joker
Antonio Banderas Salvador Mallo Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio Rick Dalton Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Adam Driver Charlie Barber Marriage Story
Jonathan Pryce Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio The Two Popes


Will Smith by Gage Skidmore
Will Smith won for King Richard (2020).
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.

Anthony Hopkins Award winner Anthony The Father
Riz Ahmed Ruben Stone Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman Levee Green Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Gary Oldman Herman J. Mankiewicz Mank
Steven Yeun Jacob Yi Minari
Will Smith Award winner Richard Williams King Richard
Javier Bardem Desi Arnaz Being the Ricardos
Benedict Cumberbatch Phil Burbank The Power of the Dog
Andrew Garfield Jonathan Larson Tick, Tick... Boom!
Denzel Washington Lord Macbeth The Tragedy of Macbeth
Brendan Fraser Award winner Charlie The Whale
Austin Butler Elvis Presley Elvis
Colin Farrell Pádraic Súilleabháin The Banshees of Inisherin
Paul Mescal Calum Paterson Aftersun
Bill Nighy Mr. Rodney Williams Living

Multiple awards and nominations

Age superlatives

Record Actor Film Year Age Ref.
Oldest Winner Anthony Hopkins The Father 2020 83
Oldest Nominee
Youngest Winner Adrien Brody The Pianist 2002 29
Youngest Nominee Jackie Cooper Skippy 1931 9

Films with multiple Leading Actor nominations

Winners are in bold.

Multiple character nominations

Winners are in bold.

Related pages

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Anexo:Óscar al mejor actor para niños

kids search engine
Academy Award for Best Actor Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.