Oscar recollections: 10 favorite Best Actor winners

Yesterday I shared my 10 favorite Best Actress winners, in celebration of this year’s nominations being announced. The following is a chronological list of my 10 favorite Best Actor in a Leading Role winners!

1. Lionel Barrymore – A Free Soul (4th winner)
Other nominations: Madame X (Best Director)

Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable for It Happened One Night (via Doctor Macro)
Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable for It Happened One Night (via Doctor Macro)

2. Clark Gable – It Happened One Night (7th winner)
Other nominations: Mutiny on the Bounty, Gone with the Wind

3. Spencer Tracy – Boys Town (11th winner)
Other nominations: San Francisco, Captains Courageous (Won), 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

4. Jimmy Stewart – The Philadelphia Story (13th winner)
Other nominations: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, It’s a Wonderful Life, Harvey, Anatomy of a Murder
Received an honorary award in 1985

5. Paul Lukas – Watch on the Rhine (16th winner)
Other nominations: N/A

6. Humphrey Bogart – The African Queen (24th winner)
Other nominations: Casablanca, The Caine Mutiny

7. Ernest Borgnine – Marty (28th winner)
Other nominations: N/A

Gregory Peck for To Kill a Mockingbird (via Front Room Cinema)
Gregory Peck for To Kill a Mockingbird (via Front Room Cinema)

8. Gregory Peck – To Kill a Mockingbird (35th winner)
Other nominations: The Keys of the Kingdom, The Yearling, Gentleman’s Agreement, Twelve O’Clock High
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award received 1968

9. Jack Nicholson – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (48th winner)
Other nominations: Easy Rider (supporting role), Five Easy Pieces, The Last Detail, Chinatown, Reds (supporting role), Terms of Endearment (Won, supporting role), Prizzi’s Honor, Ironweed, A Few Good Men (supporting role), As Good as It Gets (Won), About Schmidt

10. Jean Dujardin – The Artist (84th winner)
Other nominations: N/A

This post is a part of the 31 Days of Oscar blogathon! Visit any of the three host blogs for more information!

16 thoughts on “Oscar recollections: 10 favorite Best Actor winners

  1. Yes, some good ones here! Clark Gable was so much fun in ‘It Happened One Night’, and I loved ‘Marty’, but I think my favorite of the ten would have to be Gregory Peck for ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Such a great movie…I think I’ll have to watch that one again soon.


    1. To Kill a Mockingbird has always been one of my favorite books, and the film adaptation is just spectacular. Gregory Peck’s performance in that film is one of many things that made me fall in love with classic film and showed me how great it could be. I try to re-watch it a few times a year but I only watched it once or twice last year, so I think I’m due for another viewing soon too!


      1. Well then, I guess we’ll both be posting positive reviews at the same time here in the near future! This influenced my love of classic films, too: I remember the first time I saw it, and how much of an impact the opening credits made (as did the rest of the film, of course).

        I saw that you commented on Tyson’s site Head In A Vice, and you mentioned not having seen many Westerns. If you like Gregory Peck, I highly recommend ‘The Gunfighter’…one of my all-time favorite Westerns. Peck is just outstanding, as is the direction and story.


    1. His performance was so wonderful. He has the same type of charm that the classic stars had. I don’t think they could have found anyone else who would have done as great a job in that film as he did!


  2. Thrilled to see Jean Dujardin on this list, and also Spencer Tracy for BOYS’ TOWN. He’s a favorite of mine, but that isn’t one that usually gets mentioned. Thank you Lindsey :)


  3. Hmmmm. Very interesting list that spans all eras – love that. Again, impressive to even try this, much less choose just ten. Got me thinking now as to which I’d choose.



  4. Splendid post!!! I still haven’t seen It Happened One Night yet but yay on Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird!! Beautiful actor, beautiful performances. I have seen all his Oscar nominated films The Keys of the Kingdom, The Yearling, Gentleman’s Agreement, & Twelve O’Clock High. He deserved the kudos in all, and he’s so dreamy in Gentleman’s Agreement ;)


  5. I was so pleased as well when Jean Dujardin won best actor last year. He did a great job in The Artist!
    I have to admit, it’s a darned shame Spencer Tracey didn’t win for “Inherit the Wind” or “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” great work in both.


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