The Info List - Laurence Olivier Award For Best Actor

The Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Play is an annual award presented by The Society of London Theatre in recognition of achievements in commercial British theatre. The awards were established as the Society of West End Theatre Awards in 1976, and, renamed in 1984 in honour of English actor Lord Olivier. The award has been known by its current name of Best Actor since 1993, previously it was known as Actor of the Year. From 1976–1984 and again in 1988, there were two Actor of the Year awards, one for Actor of the Year in a New Play and the other for Actor of the Year in a Revival.


1 Winners and nominees

1.1 1980s 1.2 1990s 1.3 2000s 1.4 2010s

2 Multiple awards and nominations for Best Actor

2.1 Awards 2.2 Nominations

3 Multiple awards and nominations for a character

3.1 Awards 3.2 Nominations

4 See also 5 References 6 External links

Winners and nominees[edit] 1980s[edit]

Year Actor Play Character


Antony Sher Richard III and Torch Song Trilogy Richard III of England
Richard III of England
/ Arnold Beckoff

Alun Armstrong The Crucible
The Crucible
and The Winter's Tale John Proctor / Leontes

Kenneth Branagh Henry V Henry V of England

Anthony Hopkins Pravda Lambert Le Roux


Albert Finney Orphans Harold

Derek Jacobi Breaking the Code Alan Turing

Ian McKellen The Cherry Orchard Lopakhin

Martin Sheen The Normal Heart Ned Weeks


Michael Gambon A View from the Bridge Eddie Carbone

Tokusaburo Arashi Medea Medea

Hugh Quarshie The Two Noble Kinsmen, The Great White Hope
The Great White Hope
and The Rover Arcite / Jack Jefferson / Belville

Nicholas Woodeson Sarcophagus and Flight Bessmertny / Mike Levine


Oliver Ford Davies Racing Demon The Rev. Lionel Espy

Nigel Hawthorne Shadowlands Lewis

Ian McKellen Othello
and Bent Iago / Max

Michael Pennington The Wars of the Roses Various Characters


Year Actor Play Character


Ian McKellen Richard III Richard III of England

Richard Harris Henry IV Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor

John Malkovich Burn This Pale

Warren Mitchell The Homecoming Max


Nigel Hawthorne The Madness of George III George III

Marcus D'Amico Angels in America Louis Ironson

Robert Lindsay Becket Henry II of England

Ian McKellen Uncle Vanya Uncle Vanya


Robert Stephens Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 Falstaff

Kenneth Cranham An Inspector Calls Inspector Goole

Paul Eddington No Man's Land Spooner

Paul Scofield Heartbreak House Captain Shotover


Mark Rylance Much Ado About Nothing Benedick

Henry Goodman Hysteria Sigmund Freud

Patrick Stewart A Christmas Carol Various Characters

David Suchet Oleanna John


David Bamber My Night with Reg Guy

James Bolam Glengarry Glen Ross Shelly Levene

Adrian Lester As You Like It Rosalind

Bob Peck Rutherford and Son John Rutherford


Alex Jennings Peer Gynt Peer Gynt

Michael Gambon Skylight Tom Sergeant

Daniel Massey Taking Sides Wilhelm Furtwängler

Donal McCann The Steward of Christendom Thomas Dunne


Antony Sher Stanley Stanley Spencer

Paul Scofield John Gabriel Borkman John Gabriel Borkman

Ken Stott Art Yvan

David Suchet Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? George


Ian Holm King Lear King Lear

Simon Russell Beale Othello Iago

Michael Gambon Tom & Clem Tom Driberg

Rupert Graves Hurlyburly Eddie

John Wood The Invention of Love A. E. Housman


Kevin Spacey The Iceman Cometh Theodore "Hickey" Hickman

Michael Gambon The Unexpected Man Parsky

Iain Glen The Blue Room Various Characters

Jim Norton The Weir Jack

David Suchet Amadeus Salieri


Year Actor Play Character


Henry Goodman The Merchant of Venice Shylock

Roger Allam Summerfolk Bassov

Stephen Dillane The Real Thing Henry

Michael Sheen Look Back in Anger Jimmy Porter

Antony Sher The Winter's Tale Leontes


Conleth Hill Stones in His Pockets Charlie Conlon

Simon Russell Beale Hamlet Prince Hamlet

Sean Campion Stones in His Pockets Jake Quinn

Michael Gambon The Caretaker Davies

Bill Nighy Blue/Orange Professor Smith


Roger Allam Privates on Parade Terri Dennis

Simon Russell Beale Humble Boy Felix Humble

Sean Foley The Play What I Wrote Sean

Hamish McColl The Play What I Wrote Hamish

Alan Rickman Private Lives Elyot


Simon Russell Beale Uncle Vanya Uncle Vanya

Michael Gambon A Number Salter

Mark Rylance Twelfth Night Olivia

David Tennant Lobby Hero Jeff


Matthew Kelly Of Mice and Men Lennie Small

Roger Allam Democracy Willy Brandt

Kenneth Branagh Edmond Edmond Burke

Greg Hicks Coriolanus Coriolanus

Michael Sheen Caligula Caligula


Richard Griffiths The History Boys Douglas Hector

Michael Gambon Endgame Hamm

Jonathan Pryce The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? Martin

Ben Whishaw Hamlet Prince Hamlet


Brian Dennehy Death of a Salesman Willy Loman

Richard Griffiths Heroes Henri

Derek Jacobi Don Carlos Philip II of Spain

Con O'Neill Telstar Joe Meek

David Threlfall Someone Who'll Watch Over Me Michael


Rufus Sewell Rock 'n' Roll Jan

Iain Glen The Crucible John Proctor

David Haig Donkeys' Years Christopher Headingley

Frank Langella Frost/Nixon Richard Nixon

Michael Sheen Frost/Nixon David Frost


Chiwetel Ejiofor Othello Othello

Ian McKellen King Lear King Lear

Mark Rylance Boeing Boeing Robert

John Simm Elling Elling

Patrick Stewart Macbeth Macbeth


Derek Jacobi Twelfth Night Malvolio

David Bradley No Man's Land Spooner

Michael Gambon No Man's Land Hirst

Adam Godley Rain Man Raymond Babitt


Year Actor Play Character


Mark Rylance Jerusalem Johnny

James Earl Jones Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Big Daddy

Jude Law Hamlet Prince Hamlet

James McAvoy Three Days of Rain Walker / Ned

Ken Stott A View from the Bridge Eddie Carbone

Samuel West ENRON Jeffrey Skilling


Roger Allam Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 Falstaff

Derek Jacobi King Lear King Lear

Rory Kinnear Hamlet Prince Hamlet

Mark Rylance La Bête Valere

David Suchet All My Sons Joe Keller


Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch
and Jonny Lee Miller Frankenstein Victor Frankenstein / The Creature

James Corden One Man, Two Guvnors Francis Henshall

David Haig The Madness of George III George III

Douglas Hodge Inadmissible Evidence William Maitland

Jude Law Anna Christie Mat Burke


Luke Treadaway The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Christopher Boone

Rupert Everett The Judas Kiss Oscar Wilde

James McAvoy Macbeth Macbeth

Mark Rylance Twelfth Night Olivia

Rafe Spall Constellations Roland


Rory Kinnear Othello Iago

Henry Goodman The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui Arturo Ui

Tom Hiddleston Coriolanus Coriolanus

Jude Law Henry V Henry V of England


Mark Strong A View from the Bridge Eddie Carbone

Richard Armitage The Crucible John Procter

James McAvoy The Ruling Class Jack Gurney

Tim Pigott-Smith King Charles III King Charles lll


Kenneth Cranham The Father Andre

Kenneth Branagh The Winter's Tale Leontes

Benedict Cumberbatch Hamlet Prince Hamlet

Adrian Lester Red Velvet Ira Aldridge

Mark Rylance Farinelli and the King King Philippe V of Spain


Jamie Parker Harry Potter
Harry Potter
and the Cursed Child Harry Potter

Ed Harris Buried Child Dodge

Tom Hollander Travesties Henry Carr

Ian McKellen No Man's Land Spooner


Bryan Cranston Network Howard Beale

Paddy Considine The Ferryman Quinn Carney

Andrew Garfield Angels in America Prior Walter

Andrew Scott Hamlet Prince Hamlet

Multiple awards and nominations for Best Actor[edit] Note: The below awards and nominations include individuals awarded and nominated under the now-defunct categories Actor of the Year in a New Play and Actor of the Year in a Revival as well as the current combined Best Actor category. Awards[edit]

Four awards

Ian McKellen

Two awards

Roger Allam Brian Cox Alan Howard Derek Jacobi Mark Rylance Antony Sher


Eleven nominations

Michael Gambon

Nine nominations

Ian McKellen

Seven nominations

Derek Jacobi Mark Rylance

Six nominations

David Suchet

Four nominations

Roger Allam Simon Russell Beale Antony Sher

Three nominations

Kenneth Branagh Brian Cox Henry Goodman David Haig Alan Howard Jude Law James McAvoy Alec McCowen Warren Mitchell Bob Peck Jonathan Pryce Paul Scofield Michael Sheen Patrick Stewart

Two nominations

Alun Armstrong Michael Bryant Tom Conti Kenneth Cranham Benedict Cumberbatch Rupert Everett Albert Finney Iain Glen Richard Griffiths Alec Guinness Nigel Hawthorne Emrys James Rory Kinnear Adrian Lester Daniel Massey Peter McEnery Michael Pennington Donald Sinden Ken Stott John Wood

Multiple awards and nominations for a character[edit] Awards[edit]

Two awards

from Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 Richard III of England
Richard III of England
from Richard III Willy Loman
Willy Loman
in Death of a Salesman


Six nominations

Prince Hamlet
from Hamlet

Five nominations

King Lear
King Lear
from King Lear

Three nominations

from Coriolanus Eddie Carbone from A View from the Bridge Falstaff
from Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 Henry V of England
Henry V of England
from Henry V Iago from Othello Leontes
from The Winter's Tale Shylock
from The Merchant of Venice Spooner from No Man's Land Uncle Vanya
Uncle Vanya
from Uncle Vanya

Two nominations

Captain Shotover in Heartbreak House Davies in The Caretaker George III from The Madness of George III John Proctor from The Crucible Macbeth
from Macbeth Max from The Homecoming Olivia from Twelfth Night Richard III of England
Richard III of England
from Richard III Willy Loman
Willy Loman
in Death of a Salesman

See also[edit]

Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play


London Theatre Guide (2008). "The Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Awards: Full List of Winners, 1976-2008" (PDF). 1976-2008. The Society of London Theatre: 20. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 

External links[edit]

Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
Awards official website

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Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier


New Play New Comedy Revival Actor Actress Performance in a Supporting Role (Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role)


New Musical Musical Revival Actor in a Musical Actress in a Musical Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical, Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical) Achievement in Music


Director Theatre Choreographer Set Design Costume Design Lighting Design Sound Design


New Dance Production New Opera Production Achievement in Dance Achievement in Opera


Award Entertainment and Family Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre Audience Award


Actor of the Year in a New Play Actress of the Year in a New Play Actor of the Year in a Revival Actress of the Year in a Revival Comedy Performance Performance in a Musical Supporting Artist of the Year Newcomer in a Play Most Promising Performer Company Performance Director of a Play Director of a Musical Set Designer Most Promising Playwright Achievement in a Musical


1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 (none) 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

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Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor

Antony Sher (1985) Albert Finney
Albert Finney
(1986) Michael Gambon
Michael Gambon
(1987) Oliver Ford Davies
Oliver Ford Davies
(1989/1990) Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen
(1991) Nigel Hawthorne (1992) Robert Stephens
Robert Stephens
(1993) Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance
(1994) David Bamber (1995) Alex Jennings (1996) Antony Sher (1997) Ian Holm
Ian Holm
(1998) Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey
(1999) Henry Goodman
Henry Goodman
(2000) Conleth Hill
Conleth Hill
(2001) Roger Allam
Roger Allam
(2002) Simon Russell Beale
Simon Russell Beale
(2003) Matthew Kelly (2004) Richard Griffiths
Richard Griffiths
(2005) Brian Dennehy
Brian Dennehy
(2006) Rufus Sewell
Rufus Sewell
(2007) Chiwetel Ejiofor
Chiwetel Ejiofor
(2008) Derek Jacobi
Derek Jacobi
(2009) Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance
(2010) Roger Allam
Roger Allam
(2011) Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch
and Jonny Lee Miller
Jonny Lee Miller
(2012) Luke Treadaway (2013) Rory Kinnear
Rory Kinnear
(2014) Mark Strong
Mark Strong
(2015) Kenneth Cranham (2016) Jamie Parker (2017) Bryan Cra