Currently held by
United States of America
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
1929 (for performance in films released during the 1927/1928 film season)
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
People also search for
Academy Award for Best Picture
Winners & Nominees
Casey AffleckManchester by the Sea, Casey Affleck, Winner, Andrew GarfieldHacksaw Ridge, Andrew Garfield, Nominee, Ryan GoslingLa La Land, Ryan Gosling, Nominee, Denzel WashingtonFences, Denzel Washington, Nominee, Viggo MortensenCaptain Fantastic, Viggo Mortensen, Nominee, Leonardo DiCaprioThe Revenant, Leonardo DiCaprio, Winner, Eddie RedmayneThe Danish Girl, Eddie Redmayne, Nominee, Michael FassbenderSteve Jobs, Michael Fassbender, Nominee, Bryan CranstonTrumbo, Bryan Cranston, Nominee, Matt DamonThe Martian, Matt Damon, Nominee, Eddie RedmayneThe Theory of Everything, Eddie Redmayne, Winner, Michael KeatonBirdman, Michael Keaton, Nominee, Benedict CumberbatchThe Imitation Game, Benedict Cumberbatch, Nominee, Bradley CooperAmerican Sniper, Bradley Cooper, Nominee, Steve CarellFoxcatcher, Steve Carell, Nominee, Matthew McConaugheyDallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey, Winner, Bruce DernNebraska, Bruce Dern, Nominee, Leonardo DiCaprioThe Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nominee, Chiwetel Ejiofor12 Years a Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nominee, Christian BaleAmerican Hustle, Christian Bale, Nominee, Daniel Day-LewisLincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis, Winner, Hugh JackmanLes Misérables, Hugh Jackman, Nominee, Bradley CooperSilver Linings Playbook, Bradley Cooper, Nominee, Joaquin PhoenixThe Master, Joaquin Phoenix, Nominee, Denzel WashingtonFlight, Denzel Washington, Nominee
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 1st Academy Awards ceremony was held in 1929 with Emil Jannings receiving the award for his roles in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh. 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 unwieldy and confusing 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 79 actors. Daniel Day-Lewis has received the most awards in this category with three Oscars. Spencer Tracy and Laurence Olivier were nominated on nine occasions, more than any other actor. As of the 2017 ceremony, Casey Affleck is the most recent winner in this category for his role as Lee Chandler in Manchester by the Sea.
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.