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

Ranker Film
Originally by
Updated February 10, 2020 30.6k votes 6.9k voters 34.7k views 82 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!
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list ordered by
1
Tom Hanks is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Age: 63
Philadelphia (1993), Forrest Gump (1994)
2
Henry Fonda is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Dec. at 77 (1905-1982)
On Golden Road (1981)
3
Marlon Brando is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Dec. at 80 (1924-2004)
On the Waterfront (1954), The Godfather (1972)
4
Robert De Niro is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Age: 76
Raging Bull (1980)
5
Gene Hackman is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Age: 89
The French Connection (1971)
6
Anthony Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
7
James Stewart is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Dec. at 89 (1908-1997)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
8
Dustin Hoffman is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Age: 82
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), Rain Man (1988)
9
Jack Nicholson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Age: 82
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), As Good as It Gets (1997)
10
Colin Firth is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added Age: 59
11
Laurence Olivier is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Dec. at 82 (1907-1989)
Hamlet (1948)
12
Jack Lemmon is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Dec. at 76 (1925-2001)
Save the Tiger (1973)
13
Al Pacino is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Age: 79
Scent of a Woman (1992)
14
Gregory Peck is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Dec. at 87 (1916-2003)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
15
Gary Cooper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Dec. at 60 (1901-1961)
Sergeant York (1941), High Noon (1952)
16
Clark Gable is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Dec. at 59 (1901-1960)
17
Daniel Day-Lewis is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Age: 62
My Left Foot (1989), There Will Be Blood (2007), Lincoln (2012)
18
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Dec. at 47 (1967-2014)
Capote (2005)
19
Charlton Heston is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Dec. at 85 (1923-2008)
Ben-Hur (1959)
20
Robert Duvall is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Age: 88
Tender Mercies (1983)
21
Gary Oldman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Age: 61

The Darkest Hour (2017)

22
James Cagney is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew Baker added Dec. at 87 (1899-1986)
23
Joaquin Phoenix is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Age: 45

Joker (2020)

24
John Wayne is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Dec. at 72 (1907-1979)
True Grit (1969)
25
Spencer Tracy is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Actors to Ever Win Best Actor in a Leading Role
Dec. at 67 (1900-1967)
Captain Courageous (1937), Boys Town (1938)