Award Shows The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role  

Ranker Film
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16.8k votes 2.7k voters 27.3k views 81 items

Every year the Academy evaluates a year's worth of brilliant performances and picks what they believe to be the best of the best, nominating these for the most prestigious acting awards in cinema: the Oscars. This in itself is an honor - just to be nominated for an Academy Award. But only one person can win each year, and the men listed here have all taken home Oscar gold for Best Actor in a Leading Role - so which Best Actor Oscar winners are the best?

Of the leading men who have won Best Actor, who is the best Best Actor?! Do you think it's a classic choice like Marlon Brando? Clark Gable? Humphrey Bogart? Is it a more recent recipient like Philip Seymour Hoffman? Sean Penn? Jack Nicholson?

With so many options choosing the best is hard, but that's where you come in. Vote up the very best actors of all the Best Actor Academy Award winners below!

1
1,589 147
Tom Hanks is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Tom Hanks age 62 - Philadelphia (1993), Forrest Gump (1994)

2
319 143
Henry Fonda is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Henry Fonda Died at 77 (1905-1982) - On Golden Road (1981)

3
368 242
Jack Nicholson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Jack Nicholson age 81 - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), As Good as It Gets (1997)

4
253 102
James Stewart is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
James Stewart Died at 89 (1908-1997) - The Philadelphia Story (1940)

5
281 121
Gene Hackman is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Gene Hackman age 88 - The French Connection (1971)

6
340 204
Anthony Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Anthony Hopkins age 81 - The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

7
254 109
Marlon Brando is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Marlon Brando Died at 80 (1924-2004) - On the Waterfront (1954),  The Godfather (1972)

8
363 231
Robert De Niro is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Robert De Niro age 75 - Raging Bull (1980)

9
269 140
Al Pacino is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Al Pacino age 78 - Scent of a Woman (1992)

10
204 98
Paul Newman is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Paul Newman Died at 83 (1925-2008) - The Color of Money (1986)

11
195 76
Robert Duvall is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Robert Duvall age 87 - Tender Mercies (1983)

12
188 73
Gregory Peck is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Gregory Peck Died at 87 (1916-2003) - To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

13
219 103
Dustin Hoffman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Dustin Hoffman age 81 - Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), Rain Man (1988)

14
144 68
Sidney Poitier is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Sidney Poitier age 91 - Lilies in the Field (1963)

15
150 79
Jeff Bridges is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Jeff Bridges age 69 - Crazy Heart (2009)

16
182 83
Philip Seymour Hoffman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Philip Seymour Hoffman Died at 47 (1967-2014) - Capote (2005)

17
125 76
Humphrey Bogart is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Humphrey Bogart Died at 58 (1899-1957) - The African Queen (1951)

18
143 77
Laurence Olivier is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Laurence Olivier Died at 82 (1907-1989) - Hamlet (1948)

19
138 84
Spencer Tracy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Spencer Tracy Died at 67 (1900-1967) - Captain Courageous (1937), Boys Town (1938)

20
145 78
Jack Lemmon is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Jack Lemmon Died at 76 (1925-2001) - Save the Tiger (1973)

21
93 42
Alec Guinness is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added Alec Guinness Died at 86 (1914-2000)

22
114 73
Ben Kingsley is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Ben Kingsley age 75 - Gandhi (1982)

23
122 106
Michael Douglas is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Michael Douglas age 74 - Wall Street (1987)

24
79 48
Richard Dreyfuss is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added Richard Dreyfuss age 71

25
112 73
Clark Gable is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Clark Gable Died at 59 (1901-1960) - It Happened One Night (1934)

26
207 169
Daniel Day-Lewis is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Daniel Day-Lewis age 61 - My Left Foot (1989),  There Will Be Blood (2007), Lincoln (2012)

27
94 61
Colin Firth is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added Colin Firth age 58

28
69 47
Jeremy Irons is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added Jeremy Irons age 70 - Reversal of Fortune (1990)

29
156 156
Russell Crowe is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Russell Crowe age 54 - Gladiator (2000)

30
86 38
Forest Whitaker is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added Forest Whitaker age 57

31
85 36
Robert Redford is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Margaret Anne Chalmers Hunt added Robert Redford age 82

32
166 140
Kevin Spacey is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Kevin Spacey age 59 - American Beauty (1999)

33
612 438
Gary Oldman is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Gary Oldman age 60 - The Darkest Hour (2017)

34
99 66
Gary Cooper is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Gary Cooper Died at 60 (1901-1961) - Sergeant York (1941), High Noon (1952)

35
207 212
Leonardo DiCaprio is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added Leonardo DiCaprio age 44

36
68 48
Geoffrey Rush is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added Geoffrey Rush age 67 - Shine (1996)

37
67 46
George C. Scott is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added George C. Scott Died at 72 (1927-1999)

38
136 128
Matthew McConaughey is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added Matthew McConaughey age 49 - Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

39
106 77
Charlton Heston is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Charlton Heston Died at 85 (1923-2008) - Ben-Hur (1959)

40
60 51
Burt Lancaster is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added Burt Lancaster Died at 81 (1913-1994)

41
219 212
Denzel Washington is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Denzel Washington age 64 - Training Day (2001)

42
123 99
John Wayne is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
John Wayne Died at 72 (1907-1979) - True Grit (1969)

43
67 50
Lee Marvin is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added Lee Marvin Died at 63 (1924-1987)

44
66 47
Eddie Redmayne is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added Eddie Redmayne age 36

45
64 47
Yul Brynner is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added Yul Brynner Died at 65 (1920-1985)

46
55 46
James Cagney is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added James Cagney Died at 87 (1899-1986)

47
47 41
William Holden is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added William Holden Died at 63 (1918-1981)

48
71 56
William Hurt is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
William Hurt age 68 - Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

49
64 61
Ernest Borgnine is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Ernest Borgnine Died at 95 (1917-2012) - Marty (1955)

50
44 41
David Niven is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added David Niven Died at 73 (1910-1983)