Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Best Male Lead Performances in Cinema

The following is an aggregation of what I've determined to be the film world's greatest male lead performances of the years 1925-2016. This is part of my ongoing Years in Review project. 747 performances are noted here. With each year, they are listed in order of preference. Those in bold, in the first half of this piece, are those that were awarded the Best Actor Academy Award. In the second half of the article, I collect a list of the actors who I've noted for two or more performances, in order to determine the finest film actors of all time; the list further serves as a guide to the notable career highs each actor has contributed. Here we go:

1925: Charles Chaplin, THE GOLD RUSH (2nd: Lon Chaney, The Phantom of the Opera, followed by: Emil Jannings, Variety; Lon Chaney, The Unholy Three; Harold Lloyd, The Freshman) (4)


1926: Buster Keaton, THE GENERAL (2nd: Emil Jannings, Faust, followed by: John Barrymore, Don Juan)) (3)

1927: Albert Dieudonné, NAPOLEON (2nd: Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Metropolis, followed by: Buster Keaton, College; H.B. Warner, King of Kings; Charles Farrell, 7th Heaven) (5)

1928: James Murray, THE CROWD (2nd: Erich Von Stroheim, The Wedding March, followed by: Lon Chaney, Laugh Clown Laugh; Buster Keaton, Steamboat Bill Jr.; Charles Chaplin, The Circus; Emil Jannings, The Last Command) (6)

1929: George Arliss, DISRAELI (2nd: Erich Von Stroheim, The Great Gabbo, followed by: Ronald Colman, Bulldog Drummond; Maurice Chevalier, The Love Parade) (4)

1930: Emil Jannings, THE BLUE ANGEL (2nd: Lew Ayres, All Quiet on the Western Front, followed by: Walter Huston, Abraham Lincoln; Herbert Marshall, Murder; Lon Chaney, The Unholy Three; Gary Cooper, Morocco) (6)

1931: Charles Chaplin, CITY LIGHTS (2nd: Peter Lorre, M, followed by: Boris Karloff, Frankenstein; Colin Clive, Frankenstein; James Cagney, The Public Enemy; Groucho Marx, Monkey Business; Edward G. Robinson, Little Caesar; Frederic March, Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde; Wallace Beery, The Champ; John Barrymore, Svengali) (10)

1932: Paul Muni, I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG (2nd: Herbert Marshall, Trouble in Paradise, followed by: John Barrymore, Grand Hotel; Michel Simon, Boudu Saved From Drowning; Charles Laughton, Island of Lost Souls; Paul Muni, Scarface, or: The Shame of a Nation) (6)

1933: Charles Laughton, THE PRIVATE LIFE OF HENRY VIII (2nd: Groucho Marx, Duck Soup, followed by: Paul Robeson, The Emperor Jones; Werner Baxter, 42nd Street; Fredric March, Design for Living; Al Jolson, Hallelujah, I'm a Bum!; Gary Cooper, Design for Living; Otto Wernicke, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse; Lionel Atwill, The Mystery of the Wax Museum) (9)

1934: John Barrymore, TWENTIETH CENTURY (2nd: W.C. Fields, It's a Gift; followed by: Clark Gable, It Happened One Night; William Powell, The Thin Man; Frederic March, Death Takes a Holiday; Will Rogers, Judge Priest) (6)

1935: Charles Laughton, RUGGLES OF RED GAP (2nd: Ronald Colman, A Tale of Two Cities, followed by: Boris Karloff, The Bride of Frankenstein; Peter Lorre, Mad Love; Victor McLaglen,  The Informer; W.C. Fields, The Man on the Flying Trapeze; Groucho Marx, A Night at the Opera; Clark Gable, Mutiny on the Bounty; Charles Laughton, Mutiny on the Bounty; Paul Muni, The Story of Louis Pasteur; Will Rogers, Steamboat Round the Bend) (11)

1936: Spencer Tracy, FURY (2nd: William Powell, My Man Godfrey, followed by: Charles Chaplin, Modern Times; Walter Huston, Dodsworth; Gary Cooper, Mr Deeds Goes to Town; Rex Ingram, The Green Pastures; Charles Laughton, Rembrandt) (7)

1937: Cary Grant, THE AWFUL TRUTH (2nd: Victor Moore, Make Way for Tomorrow, followed by: Paul Muni, The Life of Emile Zola; Fredric March, Nothing Sacred; Fredric March, A Star is Born; Jean Gabin, Grand Illusion) (6)

1938: Errol Flynn, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (2nd: Nicolai Cherkassov, Alexander Nevsky, followed by: James Cagney, Angels with Dirty Faces; Charles Boyer, Algiers; Leslie Howard, Pygmalion) (5)


1939: James Stewart, MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (2nd: Clark Gable, Gone with the Wind, followed by: Robert Donat, Goodbye Mr. Chips; Charles Laughton, The Hunchback of Notre Dame; Laurence Olivier, Wuthering Heights; Henry Fonda, Young Mr Lincoln; Basil Rathbone, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; Mickey Rooney, Babes in Arms) (8)

1940: Henry Fonda, THE GRAPES OF WRATH (2nd: W.C. Fields, The Bank Dick, followed by: Charles Chaplin, The Great Dictator; Brian Donlevy, The Great McGinty; Cary Grant, His Girl Friday; Laurence Olivier, Rebecca; Herbert Marshall, The Letter; James Stewart, The Shop Around the Corner; Raymond Massey, Abe Lincoln in Illinois) (9)

1941: Orson Welles, CITIZEN KANE (2nd: Joel McCrea, Sullivan's Travels, followed by: Gary Cooper, Sergeant York; Humphrey Bogart, The Maltese Falcon; Henry Fonda, The Lady EveCary Grant, Penny Serenade; Humphrey Bogart, High Sierra; Robert Montgomery, Here Comes Mr. Jordan; Charles Coburn, The Devil and Miss Jones; Gary Cooper, Meet John Doe) (10)

1942: James Cagney, YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (2nd: Jack Benny, To Be or Not To Be, followed by: Gary Cooper, The Pride of the Yankees; Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca; Spencer Tracy, Woman of the Year; Joel McCrea, The Palm Beach Story; Ronald Colman, Random Harvest; Alan Ladd, This Gun for Hire) (8)


1943: Roger Livesey, THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (2nd: Joseph Cotten, Shadow of a Doubt, followed by: Joel McCrea, The More the Merrier; Don Ameche, Heaven Can Wait; Orson Welles, Jane Eyre) (5)

1944: Laurence Olivier, HENRY V (2nd: Eddie Bracken, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, followed by: Edward G. Robinson, The Woman in the Window; Cary Grant, Arsenic and Old Lace; Alexander Knox, Wilson; Fred MacMurray, Double Indemnity; Charles Boyer, Gaslight;  Dana Andrews, Laura; Laird Cregar, The Lodger; Frederic March, The Adventures of Mark Twain) (10)

1945: Boris Karloff, THE BODY SNATCHER (2nd: Nikolai Cherkassov, Ivan the Terrible, Part One: Ivan Grozyni, followed by: Jean-Louis Barrault, Children of Paradise; Edward G. Robinson, Scarlet Street; Trevor Howard, Brief Encounter; Ray Milland, The Lost Weekend; James Mason, The Seventh Veil; Rex Harrison, Blithe Spirit) (7)

1946: James Stewart, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (2nd: John Garfield, The Postman Always Rings Twice, followed by: Fredric March, The Best Years of Our Lives; Henry Fonda, My Darling Clementine; Nikolai Cherkassov, Ivan the Terrible Part Two: The Boyars Plot; Alastair Sim, Green for Danger; Humphrey Bogart, The Big Sleep; David Niven, A Matter of Life and Death) (8)

1947: Charles Chaplin, MONSIEUR VERDOUX (2nd: John Garfield, Body and Soul, followed by: William Powell, Life With Father; Tyrone Power, Nightmare Alley; Robert Mitchum, Out of the Past; Robert Young, They Won't Believe Me) (6)

1948: Humphrey Bogart, THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (2nd: Ralph Richardson, The Fallen Idol, followed by: Alec Guinness, Oliver Twist; John Garfield, Force of Evil; John Wayne, Red River; Lawrence Olivier, Hamlet; Lamberto Maggioranni, Bicycle Thieves; Cary Grant, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House; Richard Basehart, He Walked by Night) (9)

1949: Alec Guinness, KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS (2nd: James Cagney, White Heat, followed by: Broderick Crawford, All the King’s Men; Toshiro Mifune, Stray Dog; Dennis Price, Kind Hearts and Coronets; Robert Ryan, The Set-Up; Kirk Douglas, Champion; Joseph Cotten, The Third Man; John Wayne, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon; Spencer Tracy, Adam’s Rib) (10)

1950: William Holden, SUNSET BLVD. (2nd: Humphrey Bogart, In a Lonely Place, followed by: John Dall, Gun Crazy; James Stewart, Winchester ’73; James Stewart, Harvey; José Ferrer, Cyrano de Bergerac; Sterling Hayden, The Asphalt Jungle; Spencer Tracy, Father of the Bride; Clifton Webb, Cheaper by the Dozen; Ben Johnson, Wagon Master) (10)

1951: Marlon Brando, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (2nd: Robert Walker, Strangers on a Train, followed by: Kirk Douglas, Ace in the Hole; Humphrey Bogart, The African Queen; Chishu Ryu, Early Summer; Alastair Sim, A Christmas Carol; Alec Guinness, The Lavender Hill Mob; Gene Kelly, An American in Paris; Montgomery Clift, A Place in the Sun; Fredric March, Death of a Salesman) (10)



1952: Carlo Battista, UMBERTO D (2nd: Takashi Shimura, Ikiru, followed by: Gary Cooper, High Noon; Gene Kelly, Singin’ in the Rain; Kirk Douglas, The Bad and the Beautiful; John Wayne, The Quiet Man; Charles Chaplin, Limelight; Richard Burton, My Cousin Rachel) (8)

1953: Chishu Ryu, TOKYO STORY (2nd: James Stewart, The Naked Spur, followed by: Alan Ladd, Shane; Marlon Brando, Julius Caesar; William Holden, Stalag 17; Yves Montand, The Wages of Fear; Montgomery Clift, From Here to Eternity; George Sanders, Voyage to Italy; Kazuo Hasegawa, Gate of Hell) (9)

1954: Marlon Brando, ON THE WATERFRONT (2nd: James Stewart, Rear Window, followed by: James Mason, A Star is Born; Humphrey Bogart, The Caine Mutiny; Alastair Sim, An Inspector Calls; Spencer Tracy, Bad Day at Black Rock; Charles Laughton, Hobson’s Choice; Anthony Quinn, La Strada; Toshiro Mifune, The Seven Samurai; Frank Sinatra, Suddenly) (10)


1955: Robert Mitchum, THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (2nd: James Dean, East of Eden, followed by: Alec Guinness, The Ladykillers; Ernest Borgnine, Marty; James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause; Ralph Meeker, Kiss Me Deadly; Jean Gervais, Rififi; Frank Sinatra, The Man With the Golden Arm; Laurence Olivier, Richard III; Frederic March, The Desperate Hours) (10)

1956: James Mason, BIGGER THAN LIFE (2nd: Henry Fonda, The Wrong Man, followed by: John Wayne, The Searchers; Yul Brynner, The King and I; Sterling Hayden, The Killing; Kevin McCarthy, Invasion of the Body Snatchers; Rock Hudson, Giant) (7)

1957: Andy Griffith, A FACE IN THE CROWD (2nd: Victor Sjöstrom, Wild Strawberries, followed by: Burt Lancaster, Sweet Smell of Success; Henry Fonda, 12 Angry Men; Kirk Douglas, Paths of Glory; Tony Curtis, Sweet Smell of Success; Alec Guinness, The Bridge on the River Kwai; Charles Laughton, Witness for the Prosecution; Toshiro Mifune, Throne of Blood; Ben Gazzara, The Strange One) (10)

1958: James Stewart, VERTIGO (2nd: Orson Welles, Touch of Evil. followed by: Zbigniew Cybulski, Ashes and Diamonds; Alec Guinness, The Horse’s Mouth; Frank Sinatra, Some Came Running; Richard Boone, I Bury the Living; Sidney Poitier, The Defiant Ones; David Niven, Separate Tables; Andy Griffith, No Time for Sergeants; Spencer Tracy, The Old Man and the Sea) (10)

1959: Jean-Pierre Léaud, THE 400 BLOWS (2nd: Jack Lemmon, Some Like it Hot, followed by: Cary Grant, North by Northwest; James Stewart, Anatomy of a Murder; Tony Curtis, Some Like it Hot; Robert Ryan, Day of the Outlaw; John Wayne, Rio Bravo; Richard Burton, Look Back in Anger; Paul Muni, The Last Angry Man; Alec Guinness, Our Man in Havana) (10)

1960: Anthony Perkins, PSYCHO (2nd: Spencer Tracy, Inherit the Wind, followed by: Fredric March, Inherit the Wind; Charles Aznavour, Shoot the Piano Player; Laurence Olivier, The Entertainer; Alain Delon, Purple Noon; Burt Lancaster, Elmer Gantry; Jean-Paul Belmondo, Breathless; Marcello Mastroianni, La Dolce Vita; Jack Lemmon, The Apartment) (10)


1961: Sidney Poitier, A RAISIN IN THE SUN (2nd: Paul Newman, The Hustler, followed by: James Cagney, One, Two, Three; Marcello Mastroianni, Divorce Italian Style; Maximilian Schell, Judgment at Nuremberg; Toshiro Mifune, Yojimbo; Spencer Tracy, Judgment at Nuremberg; Dirk Bogarde, Victim; Clark Gable, The Misfits) (9)

1962: Peter O’Toole, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (2nd: Robert Preston, The Music Man, followed by: Gregory Peck, To Kill a Mockingbird; Joel McCrea, Ride the High Country; James Mason, Lolita; Hardy Kruger, Sundays and Cybele; Tom Courteney, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner; Jack Lemmon, Days of Wine and Roses; Robert Mitchum, Cape Fear; Burt Lancaster, Birdman of Alcatraz) (10)

1963: Marcello Mastroianni, 8½ (2nd: Paul Newman, Hud, followed by: Toshiro Mifune, High and Low; Richard Harris, This Sporting Life; Jerry Lewis, The Nutty Professor; Dirk Bogarde, The Servant; Kazuo Hasegawa, An Actor’s Revenge; Ray Milland, X--The Man with the X-Ray Eyes; Gunnar Bjornstrand, Winter Light) (9)

1964: Peter Sellers, DR. STRANGELOVE, OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (2nd: Tony Randall, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, followed by: Ivan Dixon, Nothing But a Man; Richard Burton, Becket; Peter O’Toole, Becket; Anthony Quinn, Zorba the Greek; Rex Harrison, My Fair Lady; Stanley Baker, Zulu; Kirk Douglas, Seven Days in May) (9)

1965: Sean Connery, THE HILL (2nd: Rod Steiger, The Pawnbroker, followed by: Orson Welles, Chimes at Midnight; Laurence Olivier, Othello; James Stewart, The Flight of the Phoenix; Jean-Paul Belmondo, Pierre Le Fou; Richard Burton, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold) (7)

1966: Richard Burton, WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? (2nd: Paul Scofield, A Man for All Seasons, followed by: Per Oscarsson, Hunger; Clint Eastwood, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Rock Hudson, Seconds; Jean-Pierre Leaud, Masculin Feminin; Donald Pleasence, Cul de Sac) (7)

1967: Dustin Hoffman, THE GRADUATE (2nd: Paul Newman, Cool Hand Luke, followed by: Robert Blake, In Cold Blood; Rod Steiger, In the Heat of the Night; Alain Delon, Le Samourai; Albert Finney, Two for the Road; Warren Beatty, Bonnie and Clyde; Lee Marvin, Point Blank; Dudley Moore, Bedazzled; Spencer Tracy, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner) (10)

1968: Boris Karloff, TARGETS (2nd: Henry Fonda, Once Upon a Time in the West, followed by: Steve McQueen, Bullitt; George C. Scott, Petulia; Alan Arkin, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter; Peter O’Toole, The Lion in Winter; Vincent Price, Witchfinder General; Zero Mostel, The Producers; Malcolm McDowell, if…; Ron Moody, Oliver!) (10)

1969: Dustin Hoffman, MIDNIGHT COWBOY (2nd: Jon Voight, Midnight Cowboy, followed by: William Holden, The Wild Bunch; John Wayne, True Grit; Paul Newman, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Robert Redford, Downhill Racer; Tony Lobianco, The Honeymoon Killers) (7)

1970: George C. Scott, PATTON (2nd: Jack Nicholson, Five Easy Pieces, followed by: Jean-Louis Trintignant, The Conformist; Peter Boyle, Joe; James Earl Jones, The Great White Hope; Alan Arkin, Catch-22; Robert Mitchum, Ryan’s Daughter) (7)

1971: Malcolm McDowell, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (2nd: Gene Hackman, The French Connection, followed by: Topol, Fiddler on the Roof; Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; Jack Nicholson, Carnal Knowledge; George C. Scott, The Hospital; Peter Finch, Sunday, Bloody Sunday; Clint Eastwood, The Beguiled; Warren Beatty, McCabe and Mrs Miller; Max Von Sydow, The Emigrants) (10)

1972: Klaus Kinski, AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD (2nd: Marlon Brando, Last Tango in Paris, followed by: Al Pacino, The Godfather; Robert Duvall, Tomorrow; Woody Allen, Play It Again, Sam; Peter O’Toole, The Ruling Class; Charles Grodin, The Heartbreak Kid; Michael Caine, Sleuth; Laurence Olivier, Sleuth; Robert Redford, The Candidate) (10)

1973: Vincent Price, THEATRE OF BLOOD (2nd: Malcolm McDowell, O Lucky Man!, followed by: Robert Blake, Electra Glide in Blue; Al Pacino, Serpico; Rip Torn, Payday; Jack Lemmon, Save the Tiger; Jack Nicholson, The Last Detail; Donald Sutherland, Don't Look Now; Harvey Keitel, Mean Streets) (8)

1974: Gene Hackman, THE CONVERSATION (2nd: Jack Nicholson, Chinatown, followed by: Al Pacino, The Godfather Part II; Art Carney, Harry and Tonto; Peter Falk, A Woman Under the Influence; Bruno S., The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser; Warren Oates, Cockfighter; Dustin Hoffman, Lenny) (8)



1975: (TIE) Al Pacino, DOG DAY AFTERNOON and Jack Nicholson, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (2nd: Giancarlo Giannini, Seven Beauties, followed by: Tim Curry, The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Roy Schieder, Jaws; Gene Hackman, Night Moves; Walter Matthau, The Sunshine Boys) (7)

1976: Robert De Niro, TAXI DRIVER (2nd: Sylvester Stallone, Rocky, followed by: William Holden, Network; Woody Allen, The Front; Ben Gazzara, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie; David Carradine, Bound for Glory; John Wayne, The Shootist; Clint Eastwood, The Outlaw Josey Wales) (8)

1977: John Travolta, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (2nd: Woody Allen, Annie Hall, followed by: Richard Dreyfuss, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (won for The Goodbye Girl); Jack Nance, Eraserhead; Fernando Rey, That Obscure Object of Desire; John Gielgud, Providence; Art Carney, The Late Show; John Denver, Oh, God!) (8)

1978: Dustin Hoffman, STRAIGHT TIME (2nd: Anthony Hopkins, Magic, followed by: Robert De Niro, The Deer Hunter; Brad Davis, Midnight Express; Richard Pryor, Blue Collar; Jon Voight, Coming Home; Gary Busey, The Buddy Holly Story; Elliott Gould, The Silent Partner) (8)

1979: Roy Schieder, ALL THAT JAZZ (2nd: Peter Sellers, Being There, followed by: Dustin Hoffman, Kramer vs. Kramer; Ben Gazzara, Saint Jack; David Bennett, The Tin Drum; Martin Sheen, Apocalypse Now;  George Burns, Going in Style; Burt Reynolds, Starting Over; Jack Lemmon, The China Syndrome; Brad Dourif, Wise Blood) (10)

1980: Robert De Niro, RAGING BULL (2nd: Timothy Hutton, Ordinary People (won as Supporting Actor), followed by: Jack Nicholson, The Shining; Tommy Lee Jones, Coal Miner’s Daughter; Peter O’Toole, The Stunt Man; John Hurt, The Elephant Man; Bob Hoskins, The Long Good Friday; Robert Duvall, The Great Santini; John Savage, Inside Moves) (9)

1981: John Heard, CUTTER'S WAY (2nd: Treat Williams, Prince of the City, followed by: Dudley Moore, Arthur; Albert Brooks, Modern Romance; Warren Beatty, Reds; Henry Fonda, On Golden Pond; Bruno Lawrence, Smash Palace; Nick Mancuso, Ticket to Heaven) (8)

1982: Paul Newman, THE VERDICT (2nd: Ben Kingsley, Gandhi, folowed by: Dustin Hoffman, Tootsie; John Heard, Chilly Scenes of Winter; Jack Lemmon, Missing; Henry Thomas, E.T. The Extraterrestrial; Tommy Lee Jones, The Executioner’s Song; Richard Farnsworth, The Grey Fox; Peter O’Toole, My Favorite Year) (9)

1983: Eric Roberts, STAR 80 (2nd: Robert De Niro, The King of Comedy, followed by: Robert Duvall, Tender Mercies; John Cassavetes, Marvin and Tige; Tom Courteney, The Dresser; Albert Finney, The Dresser; Christopher Walken, The Dead Zone; Al Pacino, Scarface; Peter Riegert, Local Hero) (9)

1984: Woody Allen, BROADWAY DANNY ROSE (2nd: F. Murray Abraham, Amadeus, followed by: Steve Martin, All of Me; Albert Finney, Under the Volcano; Eddie Murphy, Beverly Hills Cop; Tom Hulce, Amadeus; Victor Banerjee, A Passage to India; Philip Baker Hall, Secret Honor; Bill Paterson, Comfort and Joy) (9)

1985: Jack Nicholson, PRIZZI’S HONOR (2nd: Albert Brooks, Lost in America, followed by Tasuya Nakadai, Ran; Harrison Ford, Witness; Griffin Dunne, After Hours; Dustin Hoffman, Death of a Salesman; Sean Penn, The Falcon and the Snowman; William Hurt, Kiss of the Spider Woman) (8)

1986: Dexter Gordon, ROUND MIDNIGHT (2nd: Yves Montand, Jean De Florette/Manon of the Spring, followed by: Jeff Goldblum, The Fly; Bob Hoskins, Mona Lisa; Gary Oldman, Sid and Nancy; Harrison Ford, The Mosquito Coast; James Woods, Salvador; Paul Newman, The Color of Money) (8)

1987: Bruno Ganz, WINGS OF DESIRE (2nd: Christian Bale, Empire of the Sun, followed by: Nicholas Cage, Raising Arizona; Michael Douglas, Wall Street; Jack Nicholson, Ironweed; Spalding Gray, Swimming to Cambodia; Max Von Sydow, Pelle the Conqueror; William Hurt, Broadcast News) (8)

1988: Jeremy Irons, DEAD RINGERS (2nd: Michael Keaton, Clean and Sober, followed by: Forrest Whitaker, Bird; Tom Hanks, Big; Tom Hulce, Dominick and Eugene; Don Ameche, Things Change; Bob Hoskins, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?; Edward James Olmos, Stand and Deliver) (8)

1989: Matt Dillon, DRUGSTORE COWBOY (2nd: Daniel Day-Lewis, My Left Foot, followed by: Kenneth Branagh, Henry V; Morgan Freeman, Driving Miss Daisy; Tom Cruise, Born on the Forth of July; James Spader, Sex, Lies and Videotape; Charles Lane, Sidewalk Stories; Richard Dreyfuss, Let It Ride) (8)

1990: Johnny Depp, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (2nd: Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune, followed by: Gerard Depardieu, Cyrano De Bergerac; Alec Baldwin, Miami Blues; Ray Liotta, GoodFellas; Paul Newman, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge; Robin Williams, Awakenings; Bill Murray, Quick Change) (7)

1991: John Turturro, BARTON FINK (2nd: Albert Brooks, Defending Your Life, followed by: Robert De Niro, Cape Fear; Warren Beatty, Bugsy; Howard Hesseman, Rubin and Ed; Nick Nolte, The Prince of Tides; Dennis Hopper, Paris Trout; River Phoenix, Dogfight) (8)

1992: Denzel Washington, MALCOLM X (2nd: Harvey Keitel, Bad Lieutenant, followed by: Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven; Stephen Rea, The Crying Game; Jack Lemmon, Glengarry Glen Ross; Russell Crowe, Romper Stomper; Harvey Keitel, Reservoir Dogs; John Lithgow, Raising Cain) (8)

1993: Anthony Hopkins, THE REMAINS OF THE DAY (2nd: David Thewlis, Naked, followed by: Jeff Bridges, Fearless; Michael Douglas, Falling Down; Liam Neeson, Schindler’s List; Bill Murray, Groundhog Day; Tom Hanks, Philadelphia; Clint Eastwood, In The Line of Fire; Kevin Costner, A Perfect World) (9)

1994: Johnny Depp, ED WOOD (2nd: Nigel Hawthorne, The Madness of King George, followed by: Woody Harrelson, Natural Born Killers, Morgan Freeman, The Shawshank Redemption; John Travolta, Pulp Fiction; Massimo Troisi, Il Postino; Roman Polanski, A Pure Formality; Gerard Depardieu, A Pure FormalityTom Hanks, Forrest Gump; Paul Newman, Nobody’s Fool) (10)

1995: Nicholas Cage, LEAVING LAS VEGAS (2nd: Ian McKellen, Richard III, followed by: Morgan Freeman, Seven; Robert De Niro, Casino; Stephen Rea, Citizen X; Robert De Niro, Heat; Joe Pesci, Casino; Al Pacino, Heat; Sean Penn, Dead Man Walking) (9)

1996: Billy Bob Thornton, SLING BLADE (2nd: Owen Wilson, Bottle Rocket, followed by: Eddie Murphy, The Nutty Professor; Max Von Sydow, Hamsun; Timothy Spall, Secrets and Lies; Woody Harrelson, The People Vs. Larry Flynt; Stellan Skarsgaard, Breaking The Waves; Kenneth Branugh, Hamlet; Steve Buscemi, Trees Lounge) (9)

1997: Ian Holm, THE SWEET HEREAFTER (2nd: Robert Duvall, The Apostle, followed by: Peter Fonda, Ulee’s Gold; Al Pacino, Donnie Brasco; Matt Damon, Good Will Hunting; Homayon Ershadi, A Taste of Cherry; Jack Nicholson, As Good As It Gets; Samuel L. Jackson, Jackie Brown) (8)

1998: Jeff Bridges, THE BIG LEBOWSKI (2nd: Ulrich Thomsen, The Celebration, followed by: Ian McKellen, Gods and Monsters; Nick Nolte, Affliction; Peter Mullan, My Name is Joe; Bill Paxton, A Simple Plan; Edward Norton, American History X; Tom Hanks, Saving Private Ryan) (8)

1999: Richard Farnsworth, THE STRAIGHT STORY (2nd: Russell Crowe, The Insider, followed by: Matt Damon, The Talented Mr. Ripley; Kevin Spacey, American Beauty; Terrence Stamp, The Limey; Jim Broadbent, Topsy-Turvy; Al Pacino, The Insider; Matthew Broderick, Election; Sean Penn, Sweet and Lowdown; Ray Winstone, The War Zone) (10)

2000: Tom Hanks, CAST AWAY (2nd: Mark Ruffalo, You Can Count on Me, followed by: Ed Harris, Pollock; Mike White, Chuck and Buck; George Clooney, O Brother Where Art Thou?; Tony Leung, In The Mood for Love; Jack Nicholson, The Pledge; Javier Bardem, Before Night Falls; Guy Pearce, Memento) (9)

2001: John Cameron Mitchell, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (2nd: Tom Wilkinson, In The Bedroom, followed by: Gene Hackman, The Royal Tenenbaums; Ryan Gosling, The Believer; Denzel Washington, Training Day; Will Smith, Ali; Ewan McGregor, Moulin Rouge!; Haley Joel Osment, A.I. Artificial Intelligence) (8)

2002: Timothy Spall, ALL OR NOTHING (2nd: Nicholas Cage, Adaptation, followed by: Jack Nicholson, About SchmidtAdrian Brody, The Pianist; Ralph Fiennes, Spider; Daniel Day-Lewis, Gangs of New York; Edward Norton, 25th Hour; Leonardo DiCaprio, Catch Me If You Can) (8)

2003: Bill Murray, LOST IN TRANSLATION (2nd: Billy Bob Thornton, Bad Santa, followed by: Paul Giamatti, American Splendor; Tom Wilkinson, Normal; Choi Min-sik, Oldboy; Al Pacino, Angels in America; Paul Schneider, All The Real Girls) (7)



2004: Jamie Foxx, RAY (2nd: Bruno Ganz, Downfall, followed by: Paul Giamatti, Sideways; Sean Penn, The Assassination of Richard Nixon; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator; Jon Heder, Napoleon Dynamite) (6)

2005: Heath Ledger, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2nd: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Capote; followed by: Daniel Autiel, Cache; Terrence Howard, Hustle and Flow; Pierce Brosnan, The Matador; Jeremie Renier, L'Enfant; David Straithairn, Good Night, and Good Luck) (7)

2006: Ulrich Muhe, THE LIVES OF OTHERS (2nd: Sasha Baron Cohen, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, followed by: Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson; Thomas Turgoose, This is England; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed; Matt Damon, The Departed; Lee Pace, The Fall; Richard Gere, The Hoax) (8)

2007: Daniel Day Lewis, THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2nd: Tommy Lee Jones, No Country For Old Men, followed by: Richard Jenkins, The Visitor; Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Before the Devil Knows You‘re Dead; Michael Douglas, King of California; Brad Pitt, The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford; Chris Cooper, Breach) (7)

2008: Mickey Rourke, THE WRESTLER (2nd: Michael Fassbender, Hunger, followed by: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Synecdoche, New York; Tom Hardy, Bronson; Joaquin Phoenix, Two Lovers; Josh Brolin, W.; Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon) (7)



2009: Patton Oswalt, BIG FAN (2nd: Nicholas Cage, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, followed by: Matt Damon, The Informant!; Colin Firth, A Single Man; Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart; Sam Rockwell, Moon; Morgan Freeman, Invictus) (7)

2010: Colin Firth, THE KING'S SPEECH (2nd: Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network, followed by: Edgar Ramirez, Carlos; Ben Stiller, Greenberg; Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine; Javier Bardem, Biutiful; Steve Coogan, The Trip; Al Pacino, You Don't Know Jack) (8)

2011: Brad Pitt, MONEYBALL (2nd: Jean Dujardin, The Artist, followed by: Anders Danielsen Lie, Oslo August 31st; Peyman Moaadi, A Separation; Peter Mullan, Tyrannosaur; Dominic Cooper, The Devil’s Double; Mel Gibson, The Beaver; Matthew McConaughey, Killer Joe) (8)


2012: Joaquin Phoenix, THE MASTER (2nd: Denis Levant, Holy Motors, followed by: Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln; Jack Black, Bernie; Denzel Washington, Flight; Jean-Louis Tritignant, Amour; Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook; John Hawkes, The Sessions) (8)

2013: Leonardo DiCaprio, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2nd: Robert Redford, All is Lost; followed by: Chewitel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave; Joaquin Phoenix, Her; Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips; Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis; Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club; Bruce Dern, Nebraska) (8)

2014: Michael Keaton, BIRDMAN, OR: THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE (2nd: Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner, followed by: Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice; Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler; Aleksey Serebryakov, Leviathan; David Oyelowo, Selma; Steve Carrell, Foxcatcher; Chadwick Boseman, Get On Up; Bradley Cooper, American Sniper) (9)

2015: Michael B. Jordan, CREED (2nd: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant, followed by: Christopher Abbott, James White; Géza Röhrig, Son of Saul; Tom Courteney, 45 Years; Matt Damon, The Martian; Paul Dano, Love and Mercy; Jesse Eisenberg, The End of the Tour) (8)

2016: Casey Affleck, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (2nd: Dave Johns, I, Daniel Blake, followed by: Adam Driver, Paterson; Tom Hanks, Sully; Peter Simonischek, Toni Erdmann; Logan Lerman, Indignation; Denzel Washingston, Fences; Ryan Gosling, La La Land; Michael Keaton, The Founder) (9)

747 performances are noted in total. 1935 stands as the most impressive year for lead male performance, with 11. One year is tied: 1975, with both Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon. (NOTE: With the Academy Awards, there was one tie with Best Actor in 31/32, with Wallace Beery in The Champ tying with Frederic March in Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde). Frederic March is the actor nominated most without a win (10 times). James Stewart, Charles Chaplin, and Dustin Hoffman share the leads with 3 victories each (Chaplin with The Gold Rush, City Lights, and Monsiuer Verdoux; Stewart with Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, It's a Wonderful Life, and Vertigo; and Hoffman with The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy and Straight Time); Charles Laughton won 2 (The Private Life of Henry VIII and Ruggles of Red Gap), while 2 were won by Marlon Brando (A Streetcar Named Desire and On The Waterfront), Robert De Niro (Taxi Driver and Raging Bull), Boris Karloff (The Body Snatcher and Targets), and Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood), 

The Final Tally (those performances that I have determined to be the best are bolded in the following section):

10 nominations

Frederic March--Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Design for Living, Death Takes a Holiday, Nothing Sacred, A Star is Born, The Adventures of Mark Twain, The Best Years of Our Lives, Death of a Salesman, The Desperate Hours, Inherit the Wind

Jack Nicholson--Five Easy Pieces, Carnal Knowledge, The Last Detail, Chinatown, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Shining, Prizzi's Honor, Ironweed, As Good As It Gets, About Schmidt

James Stewart--Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Shop Around the Corner, It's a Wonderful Life, Winchester ’73, Harvey, The Naked Spur, Rear Window, Vertigo, Anatomy of a Murder, The Flight of the Phoenix

9 nominations

Al Pacino--The Godfather, Serpico, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, Scarface, Donnie Brasco. The Insider, Angels in America, You Don't Know Jack

Spencer Tracy--Fury, Woman of the Year, Adam’s Rib, Father of the Bride, Bad Day at Black Rock, The Old Man and the Sea, Inherit the Wind, Judgment at Nuremberg, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

8 nominations

Humphrey Bogart--The Maltese Falcon, High Sierra, Casablanca, The Big Sleep, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, In a Lonely Place, The African Queen, The Caine Mutiny

Henry Fonda--Young Mr Lincoln, The Grapes of Wrath, The Lady Eve, My Darling Clementine, The Wrong Man, 12 Angry Men, Once Upon a Time in the West, On Golden Pond

Charles Laughton--Island of Lost Souls, The Private Life of Henry VIII, Ruggles of Red Gap, Mutiny on the Bounty, Rembrandt, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Hobson’s Choice, Witness for the Prosecution

Paul Newman--The Hustler, Hud, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Verdict, The Color of Money, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, Nobody’s Fool

Lawrence Olivier--Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, Henry V, Hamlet, Richard III, The Entertainer, Othello, Sleuth

7 nominations

Charles Chaplin--The Gold Rush, The Circus, City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator, Monsiuer Verdoux, Limelight

Gary Cooper--Morocco, Design for Living, Mr Deeds Goes to Town, Sergeant York, Meet John Doe, The Pride of the Yankees, High Noon

Robert De Niro--Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, Cape Fear, Casino, Heat

Alec Guinness--Oliver Twist, Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Lavender Hill Mob, The Ladykillers, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Horse’s Mouth, Our Man in Havana

Tom Hanks--Big, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away, Captain Phillips, Sully

Dustin Hoffman--The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, Lenny, Straight Time, Kramer vs. Kramer, Tootsie, Death of a Salesman

Jack Lemmon--Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Days of Wine and Roses, Save the Tiger, The China Syndrome, Missing, Glengarry Glen Ross

John Wayne--Red River, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Quiet Man, The Searchers, Rio Bravo, True Grit, The Shootist

6 nominations

Cary Grant--The Awful Truth, His Girl Friday, Penny Serenade, Arsenic and Old Lace, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, North by Northwest

Peter O'Toole--Lawrence of Arabia, Becket, The Lion in Winter, The Ruling Class, The Stunt Man, My Favorite Year

5 nominations

Richard Burton--My Cousin Rachel, Look Back in Anger, Becket, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

James Cagney--The Public Enemy, Angels with Dirty Faces, Yankee Doodle Dandy, White Heat, One Two Three

Leonardo DiCaprio--Catch Me If You Can, The Aviator, The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Revenant

Kirk Douglas--Champion, Ace in the Hole, The Bad and the Beautiful, Paths of Glory, Seven Days in May

Clint Eastwood--The Good The Bad and The Ugly, The Beguiled, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Unforgiven, In The Line of Fire

Toshiro Mifune--Stray Dog, The Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, Yojimbo, High and Low

Paul Muni--I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Scarface, or: The Shame of a Nation, The Story of Louis Pasteur, The Life of Emile Zola, The Last Angry Man

4 nominations

Woody Allen--Play It Again Sam, The Front, Annie Hall, Broadway Danny Rose

John Barrymore--Don Juan, Svengali, Grand Hotel, Twentieth Century

Warren Beatty--Bonnie and Clyde, McCabe and Mrs Miller, Reds, Bugsy

Marlon Brando--A Streetcar Named Desire, Julius Caesar, On the Waterfront, Last Tango in Paris

Nicholas Cage--Raising Arizona, Leaving Las Vegas, Adaptation, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Lon Chaney--The Phantom of the Opera, The Unholy Three, Laugh Clown Laugh, The Unholy Three (sound version)

Matt Damon--Good Will Hunting, The Departed, The Informant!, The Martian

Daniel Day-Lewis--My Left Foot, Gangs of New York, There Will Be Blood, Lincoln

Robert Duvall--Tomorrow, The Great Santini, Tender Mercies, The Apostle

Morgan Freeman--Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption, Seven, Invictus

Clark Gable--It Happened One Night, Mutiny on the Bounty, Gone with the Wind, The Misfits

Ryan Gosling--The Believer, Half Nelson, Blue Valentine, La La Land

Gene Hackman--The French Connection, The Conversation, Night Moves, The Royal Tenenbaums

William Holden--Sunset Blvd., Stalag 17, The Wild Bunch, Network

Emil Jannings--Variety, Faust, The Last Command, The Blue Angel

Boris Karloff--Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Body Snatcher, Targets

James Mason--The Seventh Veil, A Star is Born, Bigger Than Life, Lolita

Joel McCrea--Sullivan's Travels, The Palm Beach Story, The More the Merrier, Ride the High Country

Robert Mitchum--Out of the Past, The Night of the Hunter, Cape Fear, Ryan’s Daughter

Sean Penn--The Falcon and the Snowman, Dead Man Walking, Sweet and Lowdown, The Assassination of Richard Nixon

Joaquin Phoenix--Two Lovers, The Master, Her, Inherent Vice

Orson Welles--Citizen Kane, Jane Eyre, Touch of Evil, Chimes at Midnight

3 nominations

Jeff Bridges--Fearless, The Big Lebowski, Crazy Heart

Albert Brooks--Modern Romance, Lost in America, Defending Your Life

Ronald Colman--Bulldog Drummond, A Tale of Two Cities, Random Harvest

Tom Courteney--The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The Dresser, 45 Years

Michael Douglas--Wall Street, Falling Down, King of California

W.C. Fields--It's a Gift, The Man on the Flying Trapeze, The Bank Dick

Albert Finney--Two for the Road, The Dresser, Under the Volcano

John Garfield--The Postman Always Rings Twice, Body and Soul, Force of Evil

Ben Gazzara--The Strange One, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Saint Jack

Phillip Seymour Hoffman--Capote, Before the Devil Knows You‘re Dead, Synecdoche New York

Bob Hoskins--The Long Good Friday, Mona Lisa, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Tommy Lee Jones--Coal Miner’s Daughter, The Executioner’s Song, No Country For Old Men

Buster Keaton--The General, College, Steamboat Bill Jr.

Michael Keaton--Clean and Sober, Birdman, or: The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, The Founder

Harvey Keitel--Mean Streets, Bad Lieutenant, Reservoir Dogs

Burt Lancaster--Sweet Smell of Success, Elmer Gantry, Birdman of Alcatraz

Herbert Marshall--Murder, Trouble in Paradise, The Letter

Groucho Marx--Monkey Business, Duck Soup, A Night at the Opera

Marcello Mastroianni--La Dolce Vita, Divorce Italian Style,

Malcolm McDowell--if..., A Clockwork Orange, O Lucky Man!

Bill Murray--Quick Change, Groundhog Day, Lost in Translation

Alastair Sim--Green for Danger, A Christmas Carol, An Inspector Calls

Frank Sinatra--Suddenly, The Man With the Golden Arm, Some Came Running

Timothy Spall--Secrets and Lies, All or Nothing, Mr. Turner

William Powell--The Thin Man, My Man Godfrey, Life With Father

Edward G. Robinson--Little Caesar, The Woman in the Window, Scarlet Street

George C. Scott--Petulia, Patton, The Hospital

Max Von Sydow--The Emigrants, Pelle the Conqueror, Hamsun

Denzel Washington--Malcolm X, Training Day, Fences

2 nominations

Don Ameche--Heaven Can Wait, Things Change

Alan Arkin--The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Catch-22

Javier Bardem--Before Night Falls, Biutiful

Jean-Paul Belmondo--Breathless, Pierre Le Fou

Robert Blake--In Cold Blood, Electra Glide in Blue

Kenneth Branaugh--Henry V, Hamlet

Dirk Bogarde--Victim, The Servant

Art Carney--Harry and Tonto, The Late Show

Nicolai Cherkassov--Ivan the Terrible, Part One: Ivan Grozyn, Ivan the Terrible Part Two: The Boyars Plot

Montgomery Clift--A Place in the Sun, From Here to Eternity

Bradley Cooper--Silver Linings Playbook, American Sniper

Joseph Cotten--Shadow of a Doubt, The Third Man

Russell Crowe--Romper Stomper, The Insider

Tony Curtis--Sweet Smell of Success, Some Like it Hot

James Dean--East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause

Alain Delon--Purple Noon, Le Samourai

Gerard Depardieu-- Cyrano De Bergerac, A Pure Formality

Johnny Depp--Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood

Richard Dreyfuss--Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Let It Ride

Jesse Eisenberg--The Social Network, The End of the Tour

Richard Farnsworth--The Grey Fox, The Straight Story

Colin Firth--A Single Man, The King's Speech

Harrison Ford--Witness, The Mosquito Coast

Bruno Ganz--Wings of Desire, Downfall

Paul Giamatti--American Splendor, Sideways

Andy Griffith--A Face in the Crowd, No Time for Sergeants

Woody Harrelson--Natural Born Killers, The People Vs. Larry Flynt

Rex Harrison--Blithe Spirit, My Fair Lady

Sterling Hayden--The Asphalt Jungle, The Killing

John Heard--Cutter's Way, Chilly Scenes of Winter

Anthony Hopkins--Magic, The Remains of the Day

Rock Hudson--Giant, Seconds

Tom Hulce--Amadeus, Dominick and Eugene

William Hurt--Kiss of the Spider Woman, Broadcast News

Walter Huston--Abraham Lincoln, Dodsworth

Jeremy Irons--Dead Ringers, Reversal of Fortune

Gene Kelly--An American in Paris, Singin’ in the Rain

Alan Ladd--This Gun for Hire, Shane

Jean-Pierre Léaud--The 400 Blows, Mascilin Feminin

Peter Lorre--M, Mad Love

Matthew McConaughey--Killer Joe, Dallas Buyers Club

Ray Milland--The Lost Weekend, X--The Man with the X-Ray Eyes

Dudley Moore--Bedazzled, Arthur

Yves Montand--The Wages of Fear, Jean De Florette/Manon of the Spring

Eddie Murphy--Beverly Hills Cop, The Nutty Professor

David Niven--A Matter of Life and Death, Separate Tables

Edward Norton--American History X, 25th Hour

Nick Nolte--The Prince of Tides, Affliction

Brad Pitt--The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, Moneyball

Sidney Poitier--The Defiant Ones, A Raisin in the Sun

Vincent Price--Witchfinder General, Theater of Blood

Anthony Quinn--La Strada, Zorba the Greek

Stephen Rea--The Crying Game, Citizen X

Robert Redford--Downhill Racer, The Candidate

Will Rogers--Judge Priest, Steamboat Round the Bend

Robert Ryan--The Set-Up, Day of the Outlaw

Chiuchi Ryu--Early Summer, Tokyo Story

Roy Schieder--Jaws, All That Jazz

Peter Sellers--Dr. Strangelove, Being There

Rod Steiger--The Pawnbroker, In the Heat of the Night

Billy Bob Thornton--Sling Blade, Bad Santa

John Travolta--Saturday Night Fever, Pulp Fiction

Jean-Louis Trintignant--The Conformist, Amour

Jon Voight--Midnight Cowboy, Coming Home

Erich Von Stroheim--The Wedding March, The Great Gabbo

Tom Wilkinson--In The Bedroom, Normal

The best female lead performances are coming next.  Stay tuned!

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