The Top 25 Best Actor Winners To Date


Welcome back folks! This time around I’ll be tackling one of the biggest of the big eight categories in an effort not to save them all for very last, much like with last week with Director. This one is arguably the second biggest of them all…the Best Actor field. This is as prestigious a category as there is ladies and gentlemen. I could go on and on in preparation right now, but at this point I know how the game works here. You all mostly just want to see the lists that I do anyhow, so I have no problem obliging you good people there in that particular regard once again. All you have to do is just be patient over the next paragraph or so and you’ll get the goods front and center…

For this particular installment, I’m once again going with the ever popular overview route for the discussion as you might have guessed. Also, it really just comes down to taste again here (surprise surprise), with your opinion influencing what sort of winner you’re particularly partial to. It’s pretty much a matter of taste once again for us all, which is commonplace at this point and even more so with acting. I know a couple of of my selections are going to seem a bit on the odder side of the equation, especially again when you see how high I ranked certain gentlemen, but that’s just the way it is. You can’t please everyone with this sort of a thing, so I won’t lie to myself in order to try.

As usual, I’ll basically just discuss my top ten a bit here now. To me, the best winner of this category so far to date has been Tom Hanks and his stunning performance in Philadelphia. Frankly, I wish I could basically have a tie throughout my entire top five, which also includes Marlon Brando for On The Waterfront (as opposed to his more widely praised turn in The Godfather) Nicolas Cage for Leaving Las Vegas (easily the most underrated winner in history to me), Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln (controversially ahead of There Will Be Blood), and Robert De Niro for Raging Bull (to some the best ever). They’re almost all tied, they’re so phenomenal. I give the slight edge to Hanks though, just because of how long that turn has stayed with me. Rounding out the top ten we have the other beloved performances of Day-Lewis and Hanks in There Will Be Blood and Forrest Gump, respectively, along with Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea, Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs, and Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. All out perfect bits of acting, and that basically extends throughout my top 25. You could easily come up with 30 or 40 winners here and not have a weak one in the bunch…the category is just that strong In fact, someone could probably make a very respectable list only using actors that I snubbed, it’s such a deep group of winners.

Here now is how I’d rank the 25 top winners of the Best Actor Oscar:

25. Jack Nicholson – As Good As It Gets
24. Forest Whitaker – The Last King of Scotland
23. Dustin Hoffman – Rain Man
22. Ben Kingsley – Gandhi
21. Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
20. Kevin Spacey – American Beauty
19. Ernest Borgnine – Marty
18. Gene Hackman – The French Connection
17. Laurence Olivier – Hamlet
16. Philip Seymour Hoffman – Capote
15. George C. Scott – Patton
14. Gregory Peck – To Kill a Mockingbird
13. Marlon Brando – The Godfather
12. Sean Penn – Milk
11. Peter Finch – Network
10. Tom Hanks – Forrest Gump
9. Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood
8. Anthony Hopkins – The Silence of the Lambs
7. Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
6. Jack Nicholson – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
5. Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
4. Marlon Brando – On the Waterfront
3. Robert De Niro – Raging Bull
2. Nicolas Cage – Leaving Las Vegas
1. Tom Hanks – Philadelphia

Honorable Mention: Colin Firth – The King’s Speech, Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club, and Cliff Robertson – Charly

Stay tuned for another one of these Top 25 installments next week as we begin to wrap up the series!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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