Academy Award For Best Actor - Superlatives


Superlative Best Actor Best Supporting Actor Overall
Actor with most awards Spencer Tracy
Fredric March
Gary Cooper
Marlon Brando
Dustin Hoffman
Tom Hanks
Jack Nicholson
Daniel Day-Lewis
Sean Penn
2 Walter Brennan 3 Walter Brennan
Jack Nicholson
Actor with most nominations Spencer Tracy
Laurence Olivier
9 Jack Nicholson
Claude Rains
Arthur Kennedy
Walter Brennan
4 Jack Nicholson 12
Actor with most nominations
(without ever winning)
Peter O'Toole 8 Claude Rains
Arthur Kennedy
4 Peter O'Toole 8
Film with most nominations Mutiny on the Bounty 3 On the Waterfront
The Godfather
The Godfather Part II
3 On the Waterfront
The Godfather
The Godfather Part II
Oldest winner Henry Fonda 76 Christopher Plummer 82 Christopher Plummer 82
Oldest nominee Richard Farnsworth 79 Hal Holbrook
Max Von Sydow
82 Hal Holbrook
Max Von Sydow
Youngest winner Adrien Brody 29 Timothy Hutton 20 Timothy Hutton 20
Youngest nominee Jackie Cooper 9 Justin Henry 8 Justin Henry 8

Nine men have won the Best Actor award twice. In chronological order, they are: Spencer Tracy (1937, 1938), Fredric March (1932, 1946), Gary Cooper (1941, 1952), Marlon Brando (1954, 1972), Dustin Hoffman (1979, 1988), Tom Hanks (1993, 1994), Jack Nicholson (1975, 1997), Daniel Day-Lewis (1989, 2007), and Sean Penn (2003, 2008). Of these, all were Americans except for Daniel Day-Lewis. Tracy and Hanks were the only actors to win their awards in consecutive years. Furthermore, Tracy and Hanks were the same age at the time they received their Academy Awards: 37 for the first and 38 for the second.

The periods between wins by the two-time winners are: Spencer Tracy and Tom Hanks (1 year), Sean Penn (5 years), Dustin Hoffman (9 years), Gary Cooper (11 years), Fredric March (14 years), Marlon Brando (18 years), Daniel Day-Lewis (18 years), and Jack Nicholson (22 years).

The actors with the most nominations in this category are Spencer Tracy and Laurence Olivier, with nine each. Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, and Peter O'Toole tie for third place with eight nominations each. Nicholson won his awards a record 22 years apart. O'Toole holds the record for the longest time span between his first and last nominations (44 years), and he also holds the record for the greatest number of nominations without ever winning the award (eight).

Six actors have won both the Best Actor and the Best Supporting Actor awards: Jack Lemmon, Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Gene Hackman, Kevin Spacey, and Denzel Washington.

Two actors have won an Academy Award (Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor) for portraying the same character, that of Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, respectively. The actors were Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro.

There has been only one announced tie in the history of this category. In 1932, Fredric March received one more vote than Wallace Beery. Academy rules at that time considered such a close margin to be a tie, so both March and Beery received the award. Under current Academy rules, however, dual awards are given only for exact ties. While that has never happened for the Best Actor award, it did happen for the Best Actress award in 1968 when Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand both won, Hepburn for her role as Eleanor of Aquitane in The Lion in Winter and Streisand for her portrayal of Fanny Brice in Funny Girl. It was the second consecutive Oscar for Hepburn, who had won the award solo in 1967 for her star turn opposite Spencer Tracy in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner.

Peter Finch is the only posthumous winner of the Best Actor award, though he was alive when his nomination was announced (the only other posthumous winner in any acting category was another Australian, Heath Ledger, who won the Best Supporting Actor award in 2009). The only posthumously nominated performers in this category were James Dean, Spencer Tracy, and Massimo Troisi. James Dean is the only actor to be posthumously nominated twice for this category.

Three actors have been nominated for Best Actor more than once for the same character: Bing Crosby as Father O'Malley in Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary's; Peter O'Toole as King Henry II in Becket and The Lion in Winter; and Paul Newman as "Fast Eddie" Felson in The Hustler and The Color of Money. (Al Pacino was nominated in 1975 for a role for which he had previously been nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Michael Corleone, in The Godfather Part II.)

Michael Douglas (1988, Wall Street) and Laurence Olivier (1949, Hamlet) are the only two actors to win the Academy Award for Best Actor and Best Picture (Douglas as a producer of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1976, and Olivier as producer of Hamlet). Olivier is also the only actor to win for acting and producing in the same year. Other Oscar nominees for Best Actor and Best Picture are: Clint Eastwood (acting nominations for Unforgiven, 1993, and Million Dollar Baby, 2005, winner for both in the Best Picture category); Kevin Costner, Best Actor nominee for Dances with Wolves and winning producer for the same film, in 1991; Paul Newman, Best Actor winner for The Color of Money and a Best Picture nominee for Rachel, Rachel in 1969; John Wayne, Best Actor winner for True Grit and a Best Picture nominee for The Alamo in 1961; Robert Redford, Best Actor nominee for The Sting and Best Picture nominee for Quiz Show; and Henry Fonda, Best Actor winner for On Golden Pond and a Best Picture nominee for 12 Angry Men in 1958. Warren Beatty has received Best Actor and Best Picture nominations for Bonnie and Clyde, Heaven Can Wait, Reds, and Bugsy, with no wins in either category (though he did win Best Director for Reds).

Barry Fitzgerald is the only actor to be nominated for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for the same character in the same year (as Father Fitzgibbon for Going My Way). The rules were later changed to prevent a recurrence of this.

Four African-American actors have won the award: Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx and Forest Whitaker.

Several pairs of actors have been nominated for playing the same character or historical figure: Fredric March and James Mason as Norman Maine in 1937's A Star Is Born and the 1954 version, Robert Donat and Peter O'Toole as Chipping in 1939's Goodbye, Mr. Chips and the 1969 version, Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh as Henry V in 1944's Henry V and the 1989 version (both of which were directed by their stars), Charles Laughton and Richard Burton as Henry VIII in The Private Life of Henry VIII and Anne of the Thousand Days, Leslie Howard and Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins in Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, José Ferrer and Gérard Depardieu as Cyrano de Bergerac in 1950's Cyrano de Bergerac and the 1990 version, Robert Montgomery and Warren Beatty as Joe Pendleton in Here Comes Mr. Jordan and Heaven Can Wait, Anthony Hopkins and Frank Langella as Richard Nixon in Nixon and Frost/Nixon, and John Wayne and Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn in the 1969's True Grit and 2010 version. Robert De Niro won Best Supporting Actor for playing Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II, the role for which Marlon Brando had previously won Best Actor.

Laurence Olivier is the only actor to have won an Oscar for a Shakespearean performance: Best Actor for Hamlet (1948). Olivier also received an Academy Honorary Award for Henry V (1944).

Robert Downey, Jr. is the only actor nominated for playing a previous nominee, Charlie Chaplin, in Chaplin. As of 2012, the only other actor to have been nominated for playing a previous nominee is Kenneth Branagh for portraying Laurence Olivier in My Week with Marilyn, though Branagh was nominated in the Supporting Actor category.

Jeff Bridges is one of the oldest actors ever to win an Academy Award; he was also one of the youngest actors ever to be nominated. In 2010, he won his Oscar for Crazy Heart at the age of 60; in 1972, he was nominated for The Last Picture Show at age 22.

Two actors directed their own Oscar-winning performances: Laurence Olivier in Hamlet and Roberto Benigni in Life Is Beautiful. To date, however, no individual has won both Best Actor and Best Director.

Two winners have declined the award: George C. Scott, who won for Patton in 1971 (he had also declined his 1962 nomination for Best Supporting Actor for The Hustler); and Marlon Brando, upon winning his second Oscar for The Godfather in 1973.

A few early winning and nominated performances have subsequently been lost, including Emil Jannings in The Way of All Flesh (1928), Lewis Stone in The Patriot (1928), and Lawrence Tibbett in The Rogue Song (1930), of which only a short fragment and the soundtrack survives.

The earliest nominee in this category who is still alive is Mickey Rooney (1939), followed by Kirk Douglas (1949). The earliest winner in this category who is still alive is Maximilian Schell (1961)— who won over Spencer Tracy. The few remaining living nominees from the 1940s–50s Hollywood era include Kirk Douglas (3 nominations). Sidney Poitier also received his first nomination in 1958. Sidney Poiter is the oldest Best Actor winner still alive. At the time of his death, Ernest Borgnine was the oldest Best Actor winner still alive, as well as the only Best Actor winner to have ever reached the age of 90. He was also one of the oldest actors who still worked in Hollywood.

The earliest Oscars where all 5 Best Actor nominees are still alive is the 56th Academy Awards (1983), while the most recent where all 5 have died is the 38th Academy Awards (1965).

As of 2011 the earliest Oscars where all 4 acting winners are alive is the 34th Academy Awards (1961), while the most recent where all 4 have died is the 54th Academy Awards (1981).

The earliest Oscars where both lead acting winning are alive is the 34th Academy Awards. The most recent where both have died is the 54th Academy Awards.

The earliest Oscars where all 20 acting nominations are alive is the 56th Academy Awards (1983), the most recent all 20 have died is the 20th Academy Awards (1947).

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