Academy Award for Best Actor

Academy Award for Best Actor
Photo of Joaquin Phoenix at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2018
The 2020 recipient: Joaquin Phoenix
Awarded for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Country United States
Presented by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)
First awarded 1929 (for performance in films released during the 1927/1928 film season)
Most recent winner Joaquin Phoenix
Joker (2019)

The Academy Award for Best Actor is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). It is given in honor of an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leading role while working within the film industry. 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).[1] 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.[2]

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.[3] However, during the 3rd ceremony held 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.[4] 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.[3] Starting with the 9th ceremony held in 1937, the category was officially limited to five nominations per year.[3]

Since its inception, the award has been given to 83 actors. Daniel Day-Lewis has received the most awards in this category, with three wins. Spencer Tracy and Laurence Olivier were nominated on nine occasions, more than any other actor. Peter O'Toole is the most nominated actor in this category without a single win. James Dean remains the only actor to have been posthumously nominated in this category on more than one occasion. Peter Finch is the only actor to have received the award posthumously for Network (1976). Italian actor Roberto Benigni was the first non-English performance winner for Life Is Beautiful (1997). At age 29, Adrien Brody became the youngest actor to win this award for The Pianist (2002), while Henry Fonda, at age 76, became the oldest winner for On Golden Pond (1981). As of the 92nd Academy Awards, Joaquin Phoenix is the most recent winner in this category for his portrayal of Arthur Fleck/Joker in Joker (2019).

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.[5] For the first five ceremonies, the eligibility period spanned twelve months, from August 1 to July 31.[6] For the 6th ceremony held in 1934, the eligibility period lasted from August 1, 1932, to December 31, 1933.[6] Since the 7th ceremony held in 1935, the period of eligibility became the full previous calendar year from January 1 to December 31.[6]

Table key
Award winner Indicates the winner
§ Indicates winner who refused the award
^ Indicates posthumous winner
* Indicates posthumous nominee


Black and white portrait of Emil Jannings—a corpulent white man of middle-age with short hair brushed to one side, wearing a sophisticated suit—in 1926.
Emil Jannings was the first winner of this category for his roles in The Last Command (1928) and The Way of All Flesh (1927).


Black and white publicity photo of Fredric March—a middle-aged white man with straight hair, a furrowed brow, and a broad forehead, wearing a suit—in 1940.
Fredric March won twice for his roles in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946).
Black and white publicity photo of Clark Gable—a middle-aged white man with a mustache and straight gray hair combed to the side, wearing a suit and smiling—in 1940.
Clark Gable won for his performance in It Happened One Night (1934).
Black and white publicity photo of Paul Muni for the film "The Life of Emile Zola" (1937) in 1936.
Paul Muni won for his portrayal of Louis Pasteur in The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936).
Black and white publicity photo of Spencer Tracy—a middle-aged white man with short curly hairstyle combed to the side and a square face, wearing a suit—in 1935.
Spencer Tracy was the first actor to win this award over two consecutive years for his roles in Captains Courageous (1937) and Boys Town (1938) (and received seven other nominations).
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
George Arliss Award winner[B] Benjamin Disraeli Disraeli [9]
George Arliss[B] The Raja The Green Goddess
Wallace Beery Butch "Machine Gun" Schmidt The Big House
Maurice Chevalier [B] Pierre Mirande
Count Alfred Renard
The Big Pond
The Love Parade
Ronald Colman [B] Capt. Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond
Bulldog Drummond
Lawrence Tibbett Yegor The Rogue Song
Lionel Barrymore Award winner Stephen Ashe A Free Soul [10]
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) [C] Andy "Champ" Purcell The Champ [11]
Fredric March Award winner (TIE) [C] Dr. Henry Jekyll / Mr. Edward Hyde Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Alfred Lunt The Actor The Guardsman
Charles Laughton Award winner King Henry VIII of England The Private Life of Henry VIII [12]
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 [13]
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 [14]
Clark Gable Lieutenant Fletcher Christian Mutiny on the Bounty
Charles Laughton Captain William Bligh
Paul Muni [D] Joe Radek Black Fury
Franchot Tone Midshipman Roger Byam Mutiny on the Bounty
Paul Muni Award winner Louis Pasteur The Story of Louis Pasteur [15]
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 [16]
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 Flanagan Boys Town [17]
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 [18]
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


Black and white publicity photo of James Stewart—an elegant white man with arched eyebrows and short, smooth hair combed to the side, around 40 years of age—in 1948.
James Stewart won for his performance in The Philadelphia Story (1940).
Black and white publicity photo of Gary Cooper—a handsome white man, light-eyed with hair combed back, wearing a light-colored suit and around 35 years of age—in 1936.
Gary Cooper won twice for his roles in Sergeant York (1941) and High Noon (1952).
Black and white publicity photo of James Cagney—a white man with serious features and an arched eyebrow, dark eyes and hair combed back, wearing a suit and around 30 years of age—in the early 1930s.
James Cagney won for his portrayal of George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942).
Black and white publicity photo of Bing Crosby—a white man with light eyes wearing a light hat and a smoking pipe in his mouth—in 1942.
Bing Crosby won for his performance in Going My Way (1944).
Black and white portrait of Laurence Olivier—a handsome white man with a square face with dark eyes and dark hair, with a split chin and white smile, wearing a suit, around 30 years of age—in the 1940s.[19]
Laurence Olivier won for his performance as the title role in Hamlet (1948), a film which he directed himself.
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
James Stewart Award winner Macaulay "Mike" Connor The Philadelphia Story [20]
Charlie 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 [21]
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 [22]
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 [23]
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 [24]
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 [25]
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 [26]
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 [27]
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 [28]
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 [29]
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


Black and white publicity photo of Humphrey Bogart—a charming white man with dark eyes and a square face, wearing a dark hat and a light-colored overcoat, around 41 years of age—in 1940.
Humphrey Bogart won for his performance in The African Queen (1951).
Black and white portrait of William Holden—a white man with light hair and small eyes, with a faint smile, wearing a suit, around 36 years of age—in 1954.
William Holden won for his performance in Stalag 17 (1953).
Yul Brynner won for The King and I in 1956
David Niven won for Separate Tables in 1958
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
José Ferrer Award winner Cyrano de Bergerac Cyrano de Bergerac [30]
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 [31]
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 [32]
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 Holland The Lavender Hill Mob
William Holden Award winner Sgt. J.J. Sefton Stalag 17 [33]
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 [34]
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 [35]
James Cagney Martin Snyder Love Me or Leave Me
James Dean *[36] 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 [37]
James Dean *[36] Jett Rink Giant
Kirk Douglas Vincent van Gogh Lust for Life
Rock Hudson Jordan "Bick" Benedict Jr. Giant
Laurence Olivier King Richard III of England Richard III
Alec Guinness Award winner Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson The Bridge on the River Kwai [38]
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 [39]
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 [40]
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


Black and white publicity photo of Burt Lancaster—a handsome white man with light eyes and wavy light-colored hair, oval face, wearing a light-colored shirt, around 34 years of age—in 1947.
Burt Lancaster won for his performance in Elmer Gantry (1960).
Black and white publicity photo of Gregory Peck—a white man with dark eyes and straight hair, smiling and wearing a suit, around 32 years of age—in 1948.
Gregory Peck won for his performance as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).
Black and white publicity photo of Sidney Poitier—a black man wearing a suit around 38 years of age—in 1968.[41]
Sidney Poitier won for his performance in Lilies of the Field (1963), becoming the first black actor to win this category.
Black and white portrait of John Wayne—a white man with a broad forehead, dark straight hair and dark eyes, wearing an elegant suit, around 58 years of age—in 1965.
John Wayne won for his performance as Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn in True Grit (1969).
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
Burt Lancaster Award winner Elmer Gantry Elmer Gantry [42]
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 [43]
Charles Boyer Cesar Fanny
Paul Newman 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 [44]
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 T. E. Lawrence Lawrence of Arabia
Sidney Poitier Award winner Homer Smith Lilies of the Field [45]
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 [46]
Richard Burton Thomas Becket Becket
Peter O'Toole King Henry II of England
Anthony Quinn Alexis Zorba Zorba the Greek
Peter Sellers Group Captain Lionel Mandrake
President Merkin Muffley
Dr. Strangelove
Dr. Strangelove
Lee Marvin Award winner Kid Shelleen
Tim Strawn
Cat Ballou [47]
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 [48]
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 Police Chief Bill Gillespie In the Heat of the Night [49]
Warren Beatty Clyde Barrow Bonnie and Clyde
Dustin Hoffman Benjamin Braddock The Graduate
Paul Newman Lucas "Cool Hand Luke" Jackson Cool Hand Luke
Spencer Tracy *[36] Matt Drayton Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Cliff Robertson Award winner Charly Gordon Charly [50]
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 of England The Lion in Winter
John Wayne Award winner Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn True Grit [51]
Richard Burton King Henry VIII of England Anne of the Thousand Days
Dustin Hoffman Enrico Salvatore "Ratso" "Rico" Rizzo Midnight Cowboy
Peter O'Toole Arthur Chipping Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Jon Voight Joe Buck Midnight Cowboy


George C. Scott won for Patton (1970)
Black and white portrait of Jack Lemmon—a white man with a broad forehead and round face, short dark hair parted on his left, with dark eyes, smiling slightly, and wearing a dark suit, around 43 years of age—in 1968.
Jack Lemmon won for Save the Tiger (1973).
Black and white publicity photo of Dustin Hoffman—a young white man with dark hair, small eyes and a big nose, wearing a suit—in 1968.
Dustin Hoffman won for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Rain Man (1988).
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
George C. Scott §[52] General George S. Patton Jr. Patton [53]
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 Detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle The French Connection [54]
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 §[52] Vito Corleone The Godfather [55]
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 [56]
Marlon Brando Paul Last Tango in Paris
Jack Nicholson Signalman First Class Billy L. "Badass" 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 [57]
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 "Mac" McMurphy One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest [58]
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 ^[36] Howard Beale Network [59]
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 [60]
Woody Allen Alvy Singer Annie Hall
Richard Burton Martin Dysart Equus
Marcello Mastroianni Gabriele A Special Day
John Travolta Anthony "Tony" Manero Saturday Night Fever
Jon Voight Award winner Luke Martin Coming Home [61]
Warren Beatty Joe Pendleton 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 [62]
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, aka Chauncey Gardiner Being There


Photo of Robert De Niro—a middle-aged white man, wearing a suit—at the Deauville American Film Festival in 1988.
Robert De Niro won once from five nominations for his portrayal of Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull (1980).
Photo of Ben Kingsley at the Sundance UK Film Festival in 2012.
Ben Kingsley won for his portrayal of the title role in Gandhi (1982).
F. Murray Abraham won for his portrayal of Antonio Salieri in Amadeus (1984).
Photo of Daniel Day-Lewis at a Jaguar Mille Miglia event in 2013.
Daniel Day-Lewis holds the record with three wins 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 [63]
Robert Duvall Lieutenant Colonel 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 [64]
Warren Beatty John Silas "Jack" Reed Reds
Burt Lancaster Lou Pascal Atlantic City
Dudley Moore Arthur Bach Arthur
Paul Newman Michael Colin Gallagher Absence of Malice
Ben Kingsley Award winner Mahatma Gandhi Gandhi [65]
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 [66]
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 [67]
Jeff Bridges 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 [68]
Harrison Ford Detective Captain 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 [69]
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 [70]
William Hurt Tom Grunick Broadcast News
Marcello Mastroianni Romano Dark Eyes
Jack Nicholson Francis Phelan Ironweed
Robin Williams Adrian Cronauer Good Morning, Vietnam
Dustin Hoffman Award winner Raymond Babbitt Rain Man [71]
Gene Hackman Agent Rupert Anderson Mississippi Burning
Tom Hanks Josh Baskin Big
Edward James Olmos Jaime Escalante Stand and Deliver
Max von Sydow Lassefar Pelle the Conqueror
Daniel Day-Lewis Award winner Christy Brown My Left Foot [72]
Kenneth Branagh King Henry V of England Henry V
Tom Cruise Ron Kovic Born on the Fourth of July
Morgan Freeman Hoke Colburn Driving Miss Daisy
Robin Williams John Charles "Keats" Keating Dead Poets Society


Photo of Anthony Hopkins at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010.
Anthony Hopkins won for his performance as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
Photo of Tom Hanks at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. in 2014.
Tom Hanks won consecutively for Philadelphia (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994)
Photo of Geoffrey Rush at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011.
Geoffrey Rush won for his portrayal of David Helfgott in Shine (1996).
Roberto Benigni won for Life is Beautiful (1998), the first for a male foreign language performance. [73]
Kevin Spacey won for his performance in American Beauty (1999).
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
Jeremy Irons Award winner Claus von Bülow Reversal of Fortune [74]
Kevin Costner Lieutenant 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 [75]
Warren Beatty Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel Bugsy
Robert De Niro Maximilian "Max" Cady Cape Fear
Nick Nolte Tom Wingo The Prince of Tides
Robin Williams Henry "Parry" Sagan The Fisher King
Al Pacino Award winner Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade Scent of a Woman [76]
Robert Downey Jr. Charlie Chaplin Chaplin
Clint Eastwood William "Will" Munny Unforgiven
Stephen Rea Fergus The Crying Game
Denzel Washington Malcolm X Malcolm X
Tom Hanks Award winner Andrew "Andy" Beckett Philadelphia [77]
Daniel Day-Lewis 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 [78]
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 [79]
Richard Dreyfuss Glenn Holland Mr. Holland's Opus
Anthony Hopkins Richard Nixon Nixon
Sean Penn Matthew Poncelet Dead Man Walking
Massimo Troisi *[36] Mario Ruoppolo Il Postino: The Postman
Geoffrey Rush Award winner David Helfgott Shine [80]
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 [81]
Matt Damon Will Hunting Good Will Hunting
Robert Duvall Euliss "Sonny" Dewey 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 [82]
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 [83]
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


Photo of Adrien Brody at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014.
At age 29, Adrien Brody became the youngest actor to win this award for The Pianist (2002).
Photo of Sean Penn at the New York Film Festival in 2013.
Sean Penn won for Mystic River (2003) and Milk (2008).
Philip Seymour Hoffman won for his portrayal of Truman Capote in Capote (2005).
Photo of Forest Whitaker at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2014.
Forest Whitaker won for his portrayal of Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland (2006).
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
Russell Crowe Award winner Maximus Decimus Meridius Gladiator [84]
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 Detective Sergeant Alonzo Harris Training Day [85]
Russell Crowe John Forbes Nash Jr. A Beautiful Mind
Sean Penn Sam Dawson I Am Sam
Will Smith Muhammad Ali Ali
Tom Wilkinson Dr. Matt Fowler In the Bedroom
Adrien Brody Award winner Władysław Szpilman The Pianist [86]
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 [87]
Johnny Depp Captain Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Ben Kingsley Colonel 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 [88]
Don Cheadle Paul Rusesabagina Hotel Rwanda
Johnny Depp J. M. Barrie Finding Neverland
Leonardo DiCaprio Howard Hughes The Aviator
Clint Eastwood Frankie Dunn Million Dollar Baby
Philip Seymour Hoffman Award winner Truman Capote Capote [89]
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 [90]
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 [91]
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 [92]
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 [93]
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


Colin Firth won for his portrayal of King George VI in The King's Speech (2010).
Photo of Jean Dujardin at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011.[94]
Jean Dujardin became the first French actor to win for The Artist (2011).
Photo of Leonardo DiCaprio at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019.
Leonardo DiCaprio won for his portrayal of Hugh Glass in The Revenant (2015).
Photo of Gary Oldman at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017.
Gary Oldman won for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour (2017).
Rami Malek at the Paley Center for Media in 2015.
Rami Malek won for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018); the first Arab to win the award.
Year Actor Role(s) Film Ref.
Colin Firth Award winner King George VI The King's Speech [95]
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 [96]
Demián Bichir Carlos Galindo A Better Life
George Clooney Matthew King The Descendants
Gary Oldman George Smiley Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt Billy Beane Moneyball
Daniel Day-Lewis Award winner Abraham Lincoln Lincoln [97]
Bradley Cooper Patrizio "Pat" Solitano, Jr. Silver Linings Playbook
Hugh Jackman Jean Valjean Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix Freddie Quell The Master
Denzel Washington William "Whip" Whitaker, Sr. Flight
Matthew McConaughey Award winner Ron Woodroof Dallas Buyers Club [98]
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 [99]
Steve Carell John du Pont Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper Chris Kyle American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch Alan Turing The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton Riggan Thomson Birdman
Leonardo DiCaprio Award winner Hugh Glass The Revenant [100]
Bryan Cranston Dalton Trumbo Trumbo
Matt Damon Mark Watney The Martian
Michael Fassbender Steve Jobs Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne Lili Elbe The Danish Girl
Casey Affleck Award winner Lee Chandler Manchester by the Sea [101]
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 [102]
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 [103]
Christian Bale Dick Cheney Vice
Bradley Cooper Jackson Maine A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe Vincent van Gogh At Eternity's Gate
Viggo Mortensen Tony "Lip" Vallelonga Green Book
Joaquin Phoenix Award winner Arthur Fleck / Joker Joker [104]
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

Multiple awards and nominations

Multiple character nominations

Nominations Character
3 Fredric March, James Mason, Bradley Cooper, Norman/Jackson Maine in A Star Is Born (1937), A Star Is Born (1954) & A Star is Born (2018)
2 José Ferrer (winner) and Gérard Depardieu as Cyrano de Bergerac in Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) & Cyrano de Bergerac (1990)
Kirk Douglas and Willem Dafoe as Vincent van Gogh in Lust for Life (1956) & At Eternity's Gate (2018)
Anthony Hopkins and Frank Langella as Richard Nixon in Nixon (1995) & Frost/Nixon (2008)
Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh as Henry V in Henry V (1944) & Henry V (1989)
Raymond Massey and Daniel Day-Lewis (winner) as Abraham Lincoln in Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) & Lincoln (2012)
Paul Newman as Eddie Felson in The Hustler (1961) & The Color of Money (1986) (winner)
Charles Laughton (winner) and Richard Burton as Henry VIII in The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933) & Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)
Peter O'Toole as Henry II in Becket (1964) and The Lion in Winter (1968)
Bing Crosby as Chuck O'Malley in Going My Way (1944) (winner) & The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)
Leslie Howard and Rex Harrison (winner) as Henry Higgins in Pygmalion (1938) & My Fair Lady (1964)
John Wayne (winner) and Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn in True Grit (1969) & True Grit (2010)
Robert Montgomery and Warren Beatty as Joe Pendleton in Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) & Heaven Can Wait (1978)

Robert Donat (winner) and Peter O'Toole as Arthur Chipping in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) & Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969)

Multiple nominations from the same film

Nominations for portraying multiple characters in the same film

Age superlatives

Record Actor Film Age (in years) Ref.
Oldest winner Henry Fonda On Golden Pond 76 [105]
Oldest nominee Richard Farnsworth The Straight Story 79 [105]
Youngest winner Adrien Brody The Pianist 29 [105]
Youngest nominee Jackie Cooper Skippy 9 [105]

See also