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Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor

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Awarded for
Best Actor in a Play

Official website

United Kingdom

Category of
Laurence Olivier Award

Currently held by
Kenneth Cranham for The Father (2016)

Presented by
The Society of London Theatre

People also search for
Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical

Winners & Nominees
Ian McKellenNo Man's Land, Ian McKellen, Nominee, Tom HollanderTravesties, Tom Hollander, Nominee, Jamie ParkerHarry Potter and the Cursed Child, Jamie Parker, Nominee, Ed HarrisBuried Child, Ed Harris, Nominee, Kenneth CranhamThe Father, Kenneth Cranham, Winner, Benedict CumberbatchHamlet, Benedict Cumberbatch, Nominee, Kenneth BranaghThe Winter's Tale, Kenneth Branagh, Nominee, Adrian LesterRed Velvet, Adrian Lester, Nominee, Mark RylanceFarinelli and the King, Mark Rylance, Nominee, Mark StrongA View From the Bridge, Mark Strong, Winner, James McAvoyThe Ruling Class, James McAvoy, Nominee, Richard ArmitageThe Crucible, Richard Armitage, Nominee, Tim Pigott-SmithKing Charles III, Tim Pigott-Smith, Nominee, Rory KinnearOthello, Rory Kinnear, Winner, Henry GoodmanThe Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Henry Goodman, Nominee, Tom HiddlestonCoriolanus, Tom Hiddleston, Nominee, Jude LawHenry V, Jude Law, Nominee, Luke TreadawayThe Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, Luke Treadaway, Winner, James McAvoyMacbeth, James McAvoy, Nominee, Rupert EverettThe Judas Kiss, Rupert Everett, Nominee, Rafe SpallConstellations, Rafe Spall, Nominee, Mark RylanceTwelfth Night, Mark Rylance, Nominee

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.

Multiple awards and nominations for Best Actor

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.


Four awards
  • Ian McKellen
  • Two awards
  • Roger Allam
  • Brian Cox
  • Alan Howard
  • Derek Jacobi
  • Mark Rylance
  • Antony Sher
  • Nominations

    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
  • Awards

    Two awards
  • Falstaff from Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2
  • Richard III of England from Richard III
  • Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman
  • Nominations

    Five nominations
  • King Lear from King Lear
  • Prince Hamlet from Hamlet
  • Three nominations
  • Coriolanus from Coriolanus
  • Eddie Carbone from A View from the Bridge
  • Falstaff from Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2
  • 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 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 from Richard III
  • Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman
  • References

    Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor Wikipedia

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