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). 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. 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. 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 9th ceremony held in 1937, the category was officially limited to five nominations per year. 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. 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.



won twice for his roles in ''Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'' (1931) and ''The Best Years of Our Lives'' (1946).|alt=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.]] won for his portrayal of Louis Pasteur in ''The Story of Louis Pasteur'' (1936).|alt=Black and white publicity photo of Paul Muni for the film "The Life of Emile Zola" (1937) in 1936.]]


won for his performance in ''The Philadelphia Story (film)|The Philadelphia Story'' (1940).|alt=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.]] won for his portrayal of George M. Cohan in ''Yankee Doodle Dandy'' (1942).|alt=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.]] won for his performance as the Prince Hamlet|title role in ''Hamlet'' (1948), a film which he directed himself.|alt=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.]]


won for his performance in ''Stalag 17'' (1953).|alt=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.]]


won for his performance as Atticus Finch in ''To Kill a Mockingbird'' (1962).|alt=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.]] won for his performance as Rooster Cogburn (character)|Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn in ''True Grit'' (1969).|alt=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.]]


won twice for ''One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (film)|One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'' (1975) and ''As Good as It Gets'' (1997).|alt=Photo of Jack Nicholson in 1976.]] won for ''Kramer vs. Kramer'' (1979) and ''Rain Man'' (1988).|alt=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.]]


won for ''On Golden Pond (1981 film)|On Golden Pond'' (1981), becoming the oldest actor to win this award.|alt=Photo of Henry Fonda in 1940.]] won for ''Gandhi (film)|Gandhi'' (1982).|alt=Photo of Ben Kingsley at the Sundance UK Film Festival in 2012.]] won for ''My Left Foot'' (1989), ''There Will Be Blood'' (2007), and ''Lincoln'' (2012).|alt=Photo of Daniel Day-Lewis at a Jaguar Mille Miglia event in 2013.]]


won for ''Scent of a Woman (1992 film)|Scent of A Woman'' (1992).]] won for his role in ''Leaving Las Vegas'' (1995).]]


won for ''Mystic River (film)|Mystic River'' (2003) and ''Milk'' (2008).|alt=Photo of Sean Penn at the New York Film Festival in 2013.]]


won for ''The King's Speech'' (2010)]] thumb|120px|File:SXSW_2016_-_Rami_Malek_(25138464364)_(cropped_2).jpg.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Rami Malek">File:SXSW 2016 - Rami Malek (25138464364) (cropped 2).jpg">thumb|120px|Bohemian Rhapsody'' (2018); the first [[Arab to win the award.|alt=Rami Malek at the Paley Center for Media in 2015.


Multiple awards and nominations

The following individuals received two or more Best Actor awards: The following individuals received four or more Best Actor nominations:

Multiple character nominations

Multiple nominations from the same film

* [[Clark Gable]], [[Charles Laughton]], and [[Franchot Tone]] in ''[[Mutiny on the Bounty (1935 film)|Mutiny on the Bounty]]'' (1935) * [[Bing Crosby]] (winner) and [[Barry Fitzgerald]] in ''[[Going My Way]] * Montgomery Clift and Burt Lancaster in ''From Here to Eternity'' (1953) * James Dean and Rock Hudson in ''Giant'' (1956) * Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier in ''The Defiant Ones'' (1958) * Maximilian Schell (winner) and Spencer Tracy in ''Judgement at Nuremberg'' (1961) * Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole in ''Becket'' (1964) * Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight in ''Midnight Cowboy'' (1969) * Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier in ''Sleuth'' (1972) * Peter Finch (winner) and William Holden in ''Network'' (1976) * Tom Courtenay and Albert Finney in ''The Dresser'' (1983) * F. Murray Abraham (winner) and Tom Hulce in ''Amadeus'' (1984)

Nominations for portraying multiple characters in the same film

*Charles Chaplin as Adenoid Hynkel and "The Barber" in ''The Great Dictator'' *Jose Ferrer as Toulouse Lautrec and his father in ''Moulin Rouge'' *Peter Sellers as Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, President Merkin Muffley, and the title character in ''Dr. Strangelove'' *Lee Marvin (winner) as Kid Shelleen and Tim Strawn in ''Cat Ballou'' *Nicolas Cage as Charlie and Donald Kaufman in ''Adaptation''

Age superlatives

See also

* All Academy Award acting nominees * BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role * Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actor * Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama * Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy * Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead * Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role


:A: According to longstanding Hollywood legend, reported by Susan Orlean, Rin Tin Tin actually received the most Best Actor votes, but the Academy (not wishing to give the first award to a dog) refactored the votes to ensure that Jannings won. :B: Rules at the time of the first three ceremonies allowed for a performer to receive a single nomination which could honor their work in more than one film. George Arliss, Maurice Chevalier, and Ronald Colman were all nominated for two different roles in the same category. Current Academy rules forbid this from happening. No official reason was ever given as to why Arliss won the award for only one of the two films he was listed for. :C: Fredric March received one more vote than Wallace Beery. Academy rules at that time considered such a close margin to be a tie, so both March and Beery received the award. Under current Academy rules, however, dual awards are given only for exact ties.



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External links

(official Academy site)
The Academy Awards Database
(official site)
(official ceremony promotional site) {{DEFAULTSORT:Academy Award For Best Actor Category:Academy Awards Category:Film awards for lead actor