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Which actors have won the most Best Actor Oscars Awards ever?

Ahead of Sunday's 94th Academy Awards ceremony, we look back at some of cinema's most successful award-winning male actors.

Which actors have won the most Best Actor Oscars Awards ever?

The biggest cliffhanger at Sunday's Oscars may not be who wins the top prize - Netflix is widely expected to win the coveted Best Picture award - but how the movie industry's biggest night lays out its stall after a downsized event last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and amid the Golden Globes voting controversy that has seen one of the awards season's largest warm-up occasions shorn of credibility.

Netflix-backed psychological western drama The Power of the Dog leads nominations with 12 nods including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor, and is joined in a Best Picture list that includes science-fiction epic Dune, which scored 10 nominations; Kenneth Branagh's drama Belfast, about a family living through The Troubles in late 1960s Northern Ireland; deaf community film CODA and Don't Look Up, Adam McKay's satirical allegory about climate change.

Other best picture nominees included Japanese drama Drive My Car, King Richard, about the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams; coming-of-age story Licorice Pizza; thriller Nightmare Alley; and Steven Spielberg's remake of West Side Story.

The winners are chosen by the 9,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Historical Best Actor Oscar winners

Daniel Day-Lewis' peers may have breathed a sigh of professional relief when he decided to call time on his acting career after wrapping Phantom Thread. The infamously selective British-Irish actor only made 12 movies after landing his first Best Actor Oscar for My Left Foot in 1990, and he earned another five nominations from those, winning twice more, for There Will Be Blood (2007) and Lincoln (2012). His other three nominations were for In the Name of the Father (1994), Gangs of New York (2003) and Phantom Thread (2018). 

Day-Lewis remains the only actor in history to have earned three Best Actor Academy Awards.

Spencer Tracy: Captain Courageous (1937), Boys Town (1938)

Marlon Brando: On the Waterfront (1954), The Godfather (1972)

Dustin Hoffman: Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), Rain Man (1988)

Tom Hanks: Philadelphia (1993), Forrest Gump (1994)

Anthony Hopkins: The Silence of the Lambs (1991), The Father (2020)

Gary Cooper: Sergeant York (1941), High Noon (1952)

Fredric March: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), The Best Years of our Lives (1946)

Sean Penn: Mystic River (2003), Milk (2008)

Jack Nicholson has earned 12 nominations in total and has three wins, for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and As Good as It Gets (1997), as well as a Best Supporting Actor gong in 1983 for Terms of Endearment (1983). 

Walter Brennan also holds a record for his three wins, all in the Best Supporting Actor category, for Come and Get It (1936), Kentucky (1938), and The Westerner (1940): no other actor or actress in Hollywood history has earned three wins in the supporting category. 

2022 Oscars: Best Actor nominations

Javier Bardem - Being the Ricardos

Benedict Cumberbatch - The Power of the Dog

Andrew Garfield - Tick, Tick... Boom!

Will Smith - King Richard

Denzel Washington - The Tragedy of Macbeth


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