OSCAR HISTORY: Best Actor in a Leading Role

The lead actors ... the award given to the lead performance by a male actor who demonstrated the best qualities of film acting that year. The actor who embodied a film and created a memorable character, remembered long after the film was over.


2019: Joaquin Phoenix in JOKER     (View Acceptance Speech)
2018: Rami Malek in BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY     (View Acceptance Speech)
2017: Gary Oldman in DARKEST HOUR     (View Acceptance Speech)
2016: Casey Affleck in MANCHESTER BY THE SEA     (View Acceptance Speech)
2015: Leonardo DiCaprio in THE REVENANT     (View Acceptance Speech)
2014: Eddie Redmayne in THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING     (View Acceptance Speech)
2013: Matthew McConaughey in DALLAS BUYERS CLUB     (View Acceptance Speech)
2012: Daniel Day-Lewis in LINCOLN     (View Acceptance Speech)
2011: Jean Dujardin in THE ARTIST     (View Acceptance Speech)
2010: Colin Firth in THE KING'S SPEECH     (View Acceptance Speech)
2009: Jeff Bridges in CRAZY HEART     (View Acceptance Speech)
2008: Sean Penn in MILK     (View Acceptance Speech)
2007: Daniel Day-Lewis in THERE WILL BE BLOOD     (View Acceptance Speech)
2006: Forest Whitaker in THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND     (View Acceptance Speech)
2005: Philip Seymour Hoffman in CAPOTE     (View Acceptance Speech)
2004: Jamie Foxx in RAY     (View Acceptance Speech)
2003: Sean Penn in MYSTIC RIVER     (View Acceptance Speech)
2002: Adrien Brody in THE PIANIST     (View Film Trailer)
2001: Denzel Washington in TRAINING DAY     (View Acceptance Speech)
2000: Russell Crowe in GLADIATOR     (View Acceptance Speech)
1999: Kevin Spacey in AMERICAN BEAUTY     (View Acceptance Speech)
1998: Roberto Benigni in LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL     (View Acceptance Speech)
1997: Jack Nicholson in AS GOOD AS IT GETS     (View Acceptance Speech)
1996: Geoffrey Rush in SHINE     (View Acceptance Speech)
1995: Nicolas Cage in LEAVING LAS VEGAS     (View Acceptance Speech)
1994: Tom Hanks in FORREST GUMP     (View Acceptance Speech)
1993: Tom Hanks in PHILADELPHIA     (View Acceptance Speech)
1992: Al Pacino in SCENT OF A WOMAN     (View Acceptance Speech)
1991: Anthony Hopkins in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS     (View Acceptance Speech)
1990: Jeremy Irons in REVERSAL OF FORTUNE     (View Acceptance Speech)
1989: Daniel Day-Lewis in MY LEFT FOOT     (View Acceptance Speech)
1988: Dustin Hoffman in RAIN MAN     (View Acceptance Speech)
1987: Michael Douglas in WALL STREET     (View Acceptance Speech)
1986: Paul Newman in THE COLOR OF MONEY     (View Clip)
1985: William Hurt in KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN     (View Acceptance Speech)
1984: F. Murray Abraham in AMADEUS     (View Acceptance Speech)
1983: Robert Duvall in TENDER MERCIES     (View Acceptance Speech)
1982: Ben Kingsley in GANDHI     (View Acceptance Speech)
1981: Henry Fonda in ON GOLDEN POND     (View Clip)
1980: Robert De Niro in RAGING BULL     (View Acceptance Speech)
1979: Dustin Hoffman in KRAMER VS KRAMER     (View Acceptance Speech)
1978: Jon Voight in COMING HOME     (View Acceptance Speech)
1977: Richard Dreyfuss in THE GOODBYE GIRL     (View Acceptance Speech)
1976: Peter Finch in NETWORK     (View Clip)
1975: Jack Nicholson in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST     (View Acceptance Speech)
1974: Art Carney in HARRY AND TONTO     (View Acceptance Speech)
1973: Jack Lemmon in SAVE THE TIGER     (View Acceptance Speech)
1972: Marlon Brando in THE GODFATHER     (View Oscar Moment)
1971: Gene Hackman in THE FRENCH CONNECTION     (View Acceptance Speech)
1970: George C. Scott in PATTON     (View Clip)
1969: John Wayne in TRUE GIFT     (View Acceptance Speech)
1968: Cliff Robertson in CHARLY     (View Acceptance Speech)
1967: Rod Steiger in IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT     (View Acceptance Speech)
1966: Paul Scofield in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS     (View Clip)
1965: Lee Marvin in CAT BALLOU     (View Acceptance Speech)
1964: Rex Harrison in MY FAIR LADY     (View Acceptance Speech)
1963: Sidney Poitier in LILIES OF THE FIELD     (View Acceptance Speech)
1962: Gregory Peck in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD     (View Acceptance Speech)
1961: Maxmilian Schell in JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG     (View Acceptance Speech)
1960: Burt Lancaster in ELMER GANTRY     (View Acceptance Speech)
1959: Charlton Heston in BEN-HUR     (View Acceptance Speech)
1958: David Niven in SEPARATE TABLES     (View Acceptance Speech)
1957: Alec Guinness in THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI     (View Acceptance Speech)
1956: Yul Brynner in THE KING AND I     (View Acceptance Speech)
1955: Ernest Borgnine in MARTY     (View Acceptance Speech)
1954: Marlon Brando in ON THE WATERFRONT     (View Acceptance Speech)
1953: William Holden in STALAG 17     (View Acceptance Speech)
1952: Gary Cooper in HIGH NOON     (View Clip)
1951: Humphrey Bogart in THE AFRICAN QUEEN     (View Acceptance Speech)
1950: Jose Ferrer in CYRANO DE BERGERAC     (View Clip)
1949: Broderick Crawford in ALL THE KING'S MEN     (View Acceptance Speech)
1948: Laurence Olivier in HAMLET     (View Clip)
1947: Ronald Colman in A DOUBLE LIFE     (View Clip)
1946: Fredric March in THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES     (View Clip)
1945: Ray Milland in THE LOST WEEKEND     (View Newsreel)
1944: Bing Crosby in GOING MY WAY     (View Acceptance Speech)
1943: Paul Lukas in WATCH ON THE RHINE     (View Film Trailer)
1942: James Cagney in YANKEE DOODLE DANDY     (View Film Clips)
1941: Gary Cooper in SERGEANT YORK     (View Film Trailer)
1940: James Stewart in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY     (View Acceptance Speech)
1939: Robert Donat in GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS     (View Film Clip)
1938: Spencer Tracy in BOYS TOWN     (View Film Clip)
1937: Spencer Tracy in CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS     (View Film Trailer)
1936: Paul Muni in THE STORY OF LOUIS PASTEUR     (View Film Trailer)
1935: Victor McLaglen in THE INFORMER     (View Film Trailer)
1934: Clark Gable in IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT     (View Film Clip)
1932 / 33: Charles Laughton in THE PRIVATE LIFE OF HENRY VIII     (View Film Clip)
1931 / 32: (tie) Wallace Beery in THE CHAMP and Fredric March in DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE    
1930 / 31: Lionel Barrymore in A FREE SOUL     (View Film Clip)
1929 / 30: George Arliss in DISRAELI    
1928 / 29: Warner Baxter in IN OLD ARIZONA    
1927 / 28: Emil Jannings in THE LAST COMMAND and THE WAY OF ALL FLESH