0 Oscar Actors: Males–Best Actor Winners and Nominees–Backgrounds, Occupational Inheritance, Mobility

May 14 2023: Research in Progress

It includes the nominees of 2020, 2021, and 2022

Occupational Inheritance in the Acting Profession

Occupational inheritance refers to the phenomenon where sons and daughters follow in the career paths of their parents. This trend has been documented in engineering, medicine, military, and education, but not in the acting profession.

Our essay examines the extent of occupational inheritance in the acting profession by focusing on Oscar winning actors.

Over the past 93 years of the Academy Awards (first given in 1929), 83 men have won the Best Actor Oscar (some more than once), and 155 men have been nominated.

In 2020, the five nominees were: Riz Ahmed, Chadwick Boseman (black, posthumous), Anthony Hopkins (winner, second Oscar), Gary Oldman (previous winner) Steven Yeun (Asian).

In 2021, the nominees were: Xavier Bardem, Cumberbatch, Andrew Garfield, Will Smith, Denzel Washington

In 2022, the nominees were all first-timers: Austin Butler, Colin Farrell, Brendan Fraser, Paul Mescal, Bill Nighy

Winners: 84 (males); 96 (performances)

Nominees: 160

Total: 244



A (7)

Abrahams, F. Murray, 1984

Affleck, Cassey, 2016

Ahmed, Riz

Allen, Woody

Arkin, Alan (winner of Supp. Actor)

Arliss, George, 1930

Ayres, Lew


Abrahams, F. Murray, 1984, No

Abraham was born October 24, 1939, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, son of Fahrid “Fred” Abraham, an automotive mechanic. He described himself as  Syrian-American and Italian-American. His father emigrated with family from Muqlus, Ottoman Syria, a small village, age 5 due to famine of Mount Lebanon; his paternal grandfather was priest in the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch. His mother, one of 14 children, was Italian American, daughter of Italian immigrant who worked in the coal mines of Western Pennsylvania. He had 2 younger brothers, Robert and Jack, killed in separate car accidents.

Affleck, Cassey, 2016, No

Caleb Casey McGuire Affleck-Boldt was born August 12, 1975, in Falmouth, Massachusetts, to Christopher Anne “Chris” Boldt and Timothy Byers Affleck. The surname “Affleck” is of Scottish origin. He also has Irish, German English, and Swiss ancestry. His mother was Radcliffe College-and Harvard-educated elementary school teacher. His father worked sporadically as auto mechanic, carpenter, bookie, electrician, bartender, and janitor at Harvard University. In the mid-1960s, a stage manager, director, writer and actor with the Theater Company of Boston. During childhood, his father was “a disaster of a drinker”. Affleck first started acting by “reenacting what was happening at home” during role play exercises at Alateen meetings. After his parents divorced when he was 9, Affleck older brother Ben lived their mother and visited father weekly.

Ahmed, Riz, No

Ahmed born on December 1 1982 in Wembley, suburb in London Borough of Brent, to a British-Pakistani family of Muhajir background. His parents moved to England from Karachi, Pakistan, during the 1970s. Ahmed’s father is shipping broker, and he is a descendant of Shah Muhammad Sulaiman, the first Muslim Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court during British rule in India.

Ahmed attended Merchant Taylors’ School, Northwood, throug scholarship program. He graduated from Christ Church, Oxford University, with degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). He experienced a culture shock at Oxford, nearly dropping out due to isolating atmosphere. Instead, Ahmed organized parties to celebrate cultures which did not conform to the dominant “elitist, white” and “black-tie” culture of Oxford. He later studied acting at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Allen, Woody, No

Allen was born in New York City November 30, 1935. Though his family lived in Brooklyn, the birth took place at Mount Eden Hospital in the Bronx. He is Jewish. Allen’s parents were Nettie (née Cherry; 1906–2002), a bookkeeper at family’s delicatessen, and Martin Konigsberg (1900–2001), jewelry engraver and waiter.

His grandparents were immigrants to the U.S. from Austria and the Lithuanian city of Panevėžys. They spoke German, Hebrew and Yiddish. He and his younger sister, film producer Letty, were raised in Brooklyn’s Midwood neighborhood.[21] Both their parents were born and raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Allen’s parents did not get along, and he had estranged relationship with  authoritarian, ill-tempered mother. He was sent to interfaith summer camps when he was young. While attending Hebrew school for 8 years, he went to Public School 99 (now the Isaac Asimov School for Science and Literature) and Midwood High School, graduating in 1953. More interested in baseball than school and his strong arm ensured selection to teams. He impressed students with talent for cards and magic tricks.

Arkin, Alan (winner of Supp. Actor), No

Arkin was born in Brooklyn New York, on March 26, 1934, the son of David I. Arkin, a painter and writer, and his wife, Beatrice (née Wortis), a teacher.

He was raised in a Jewish family with “no emphasis on religion”. His grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Ukraine, Russia, and Germany.

His parents moved to Los Angeles when Alan was 11, but an 8-month Hollywood strike cost his father his job as set designer. During the 1950s Red Scare, Arkin’s parents were accused of Communists, and his father was fired when he refused to answer questions about his political ideology. David Arkin challenged the dismissal, but he was vindicated only after his death.

Arkin had been taking acting lessons since age 10, became scholarship student at drama academies, Stanislavsky student Benjamin Zemach, who taught Arkin psychological approach to acting. Arkin attended Los Angeles State College from 1951 to 1953, and also Bennington College.


Arliss, George, 1930, N0

Arliss was born in London. He started work in the publishing office of his father, but left at age 18 to go on the stage.

Ayres, Lew, No

Ayres was born in Minneapolis to Irma Bevernick and Louis Ayres, who divorced when he was 4. Louis, an amateur musician and court reporter, remarried soon afterwards.

As a teen, he and his mother moved with his step-father, William Gilmore, and half brother and sister to San Diego, California

Leaving high school before graduating, he started a small band which traveled to Mexico. He returned later to pursue acting career, but continued working full-time as a musician. He played banjo and guitar for big bands, including Henry Halstead Orchestra. He recorded earliy Vitaphone movie shorts called “Carnival Night in Paris” (Warner, 1927).

Ayres wrote, “I was a member of Henry Halstead’s orchestra in 1927 at the Mission Beach Ballroom in San Diego, CA for the summer. My instruments were tenor banjo, long-neck banjo and guitar. After hiatus, I rejoined Mr. Halstead with a new group, including Phil Harris, on New Year’s Eve the same year for the opening night of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, a memorable occasion.” He left national tour to pursue full time acting career.



B (24)

Bale, Christian (winner of Supp. Actor)

Christian Charles Philip Bale was born January 30, 1974 in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, to English parents—Jenny James, a circus performer, and David Bale, an entrepreneur and activist.

Bale has remarked, “I was born in Wales but I’m not Welsh—I’m English.” He has two elder sisters, Sharon and Louise, and a half-sister from his father’s first marriage, Erin. One of his grandfathers was comedian while the other was a stand-in for John Wayne.

Bale and his family left Wales when he was 2 years old, and after living in Portugal and Oxfordshire, England, they settled in Bournemouth. As well as saying that the family had lived in 15 towns by the time he was 15, Bale described the frequent relocation as being driven by “necessity rather than choice” and acknowledged that it had a major influence on his career selection.

He attended Bournemouth School, later saying he left school at age 16. Bale’s parents divorced in 1991, and at age 17, he moved with his sister Louise and their father to Los Angeles.

Bale trained in ballet as a child. His first acting role came at eight years old in a commercial for the fabric softener Lenor. He also appeared in a Pac-Man cereal commercial. After his sister was cast in a West End musical, Bale considered taking up acting professionally. He said later he did not find acting appealing but pursued it at the request of those around him because he had no reason not to do so. After participating in school plays, Bale performed opposite Rowan Atkinson in the play “The Nerd” in the West End in 1984. He did not undergo any formal acting training.

Bancroft, George

Bancroft was born on October 3, 1800, in Worcester, Massachusetts.

His family had been in Massachusetts Bay since 1632. George’s father, Aaron Bancroft, was distinguished as a revolutionary soldier, a leading Unitarian clergyman, and author of a popular biography of George Washington.

Bancroft began his education at Phillips Exeter Academy. He entered Harvard College at thirteen years of age and graduated with the Class of 1817.

After Harvard, Bancroft’s father sent him abroad to study in Germany, at the universities of Göttingen, and Berlin. At Göttingen, he studied Plato with Arnold Hermann Ludwig Heeren, history with Heeren and Gottlieb Jakob Planck, and languages and scripture interpretation with Albert Eichhorn, natural science with Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, German literature with Georg Friedrich Benecke, French and Italian literature with Artaud and Bunsen, and classics with Georg Ludolf Dissen. In 1820, he received his doctorate from the University of Göttingen.

Banderas, Antonio

José Antonio Domínguez Bandera was born on August 10, 1960 in Málaga to Civil Guard gendarme officer José Domínguez Prieto (1920–2008) and schoolteacher Ana Bandera Gallego (1933–2017). He has younger brother named Francisco. As a little boy, Banderas wanted to become a professional football player until broken foot sidelined his dreams at the age of 15. He showed a strong interest in the performing arts and formed part of the ARA Theatre-School run by Ángeles Rubio-Argüelles y Alessandri (wife of diplomat and filmmaker Edgar Neville) and the College of Dramatic Art, both in Málaga. His work in the theater and his performances on the streets landed him a spot with the Spanish National Theatre.

Banderas began acting studies at the School of Dramatic Art in Málaga, and made his acting debut at a small theater in Málaga. He was arrested by the Spanish police for performing in a Bertolt Brecht play, due to political censorship under Franco. He had three or four such arrests while he was working with theater troupe that toured all over Spain and was giving performances in small town theaters and on the street. Banderas began working in small shops during Spain’s post-dictatorial cultural movement known as the La Movida Madrileña.


Bardem, Javier (winner of supp. actor)

Bardem was born on March 1, 1969 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands, Spain. His mother, Pilar Bardem (1939–2021), was an actress, and his father, José Carlos Encinas Doussinague (1931–1995), was the son of a cattle rancher.  He changed jobs more than 10 times, leading to evictions and the children hungry. The two separated shortly after Javier’s birth. His mother raised him and his elder siblings, Carlos and Mónica, alone (another sibling died after birth), both of whom have also pursued an acting career. His father died of leukemia in 1995.

Bardem comes from a long line of filmmakers and actors dating back to the earliest days of Spanish cinema. He is a grandson of actors Rafael Bardem and Matilde Muñoz Sampedro (sister of actresses Mercedes and Guadalupe), and a nephew of screenwriter and director Juan Antonio Bardem. On the latter’s side, he is a cousin of filmmaker Miguel Bardem.He comes from a political background, as his uncle Juan Antonio was imprisoned by Franco for his anti-fascist films.

Bardem was brought up in the Roman Catholic faith by his grandmother.

As a child, he spent time at theatres and on film sets. At age 6, he made his first film, in Fernando Fernán Gómez’s El Pícaro (The Scoundrel). He also played rugby for the junior Spanish National Team. Though he grew up in  family full of actors, Bardem did not see himself going into the family business, and painting was his preferred medium.  He went on to study painting for four years at Madrid’s Escuela de Artes y oficios. He took acting jobs to support his painting but felt he was a bad painter and eventually abandoned it as a career.


Barrymore, Lionel


Barthelmess, Richard

Mother actress; father died when he was 1.  Alla Nazimova influential figure.

Bates, Alan                   

 Bates was born at the Queen Mary Nursing Home, Darley Abbey, Derby, England, on 17 February 1934, the eldest of three boys born of Florence Mary (née Wheatcroft), a housewife and a pianist, and Harold Arthur Bates, an insurance broker and a cellist.[1] They lived in Allestree, Derby, at the time of Bates’ birth, but briefly moved to Mickleover before returning to Allestree.

Both parents were amateur musicians who encouraged Bates to pursue music. However, by the age of 11, having decided to become an actor, he studied drama instead.[2] He further developed his vocation by attending productions at Derby’s Little Theatre.

Bates was educated at the Herbert Strutt Grammar School, Derby Road, Belper, Derbyshire (now “Strutts”, a volunteer led business and community centre) and later gained a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, where he studied with Albert Finney and Peter O’Toole, before leaving to join the RAF for National Service at RAF Newton.

Early stage appearances
Bates’s stage debut was in 1955, in You and Your Wife, in Coventry.[3]


Baxter, Warner

Baxter was born on March 29, 1889. in Columbus, Ohio, to Edwin F. Baxter, born October 1, 1867, Marysville, Union County, Ohio, and Jennie (Jane) B. Barrett, born December 30, 1869, Columbus. Jennie Barrett was the daughter of Leroy Barrett and Hattie Snider.

Edwin Baxter owned a cigar stand in Columbus. Edwin F. Baxter, son of William E. Baxter and Mary C. Miller Baxter, died on September 16, 1889, in Columbus. Baxter was not quite five months old when his father died. Baxter’s mother survived her son by ten years. Jane/Jennie Barrett Baxter died on March 29, 1962, at her home in Beverly Hills, California.

Baxter and his mother lived with her brother in Columbus. They later moved to New York City, where he became active in dramatics, participating in school productions and attending plays. In 1898, the two moved to San Francisco, where he graduated from Polytechnic High School. When the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck, Baxter and mother lived in Golden Gate Park for eight days and then went to live with friends in Alameda for three months. In 1908, they returned to Columbus. After selling farm implements for a living, Baxter worked for 4 months as the partner of Dorothy Shoemaker in an act on the Keith Vaudeville Circuit.


Beatty, Warren


Beery, Wallace

Beery was born the youngest of 3 boys in 1885 in Clay County, Missouri, near Smithville. The Beery family left the farm in the 1890s and moved to nearby Kansas City, Missouri, where the father was a police officer.

Beery attended the Chase School in Kansas City and took piano lessons, as well, but showed little love for academic matters. He ran away from home twice, the first time returning after a short time, quitting school and working in the Kansas City train yards as an engine wiper. Beery ran away from home second time at age 16, and joined the Ringling Brothers Circus as an assistant elephant trainer. He left 2 years later, after being clawed by leopard.

Wallace Beery joined his older brother Noah in NYC in 1904, finding work in comic opera as baritone, and began to appear on Broadway and in summer stock theatre. He appeared in “The Belle of the West” in 1905. His most notable role came in 1907 when he starred in “The Yankee Tourist” to good reviews

Benigni, Roberto


Bogart, Humphrey

Humphrey DeForest Bogart was born on Xmas Day 1899 in NYC, eldest child of Belmont DeForest Bogart and Maud Humphrey. The name “Bogart” from the Dutch surname, “Bogaert”. Belmont and Maud married in June 1898. He was a Presbyterian, of English and Dutch descent, and descendant of Sarah Rapelje (first female European Christian child born in New Netherland). Maud was Episcopalian of English heritage, and descendant of Mayflower passenger John Howland.

Humphrey was raised Episcopalian, but was non-practicing for most of his adult life.

Bogart’s father was a cardiopulmonary surgeon. Maud was commercial illustrator who received her art training in NY and France. She later became art director of fashion magazine The Delineator and militant suffragette. Maud used drawing of baby Humphrey in ad campaign for Mellins Baby Food. She earned over $50,000 a year–large sum, and considerably more than her husband’s $20,000.

The Bogarts lived in Upper West Side apartment, and had a cottage on a 55-acre estate on Canandaigua Lake in upstate NY. When he was young, Bogart’s friends at the lake would put on plays.

He had two younger sisters. Bogart’s parents were busy in their careers, and frequently fought. Very formal, they showed little emotion towards their children. Maud told her offspring to call her “Maud” instead of “Mother”, and showed little, if any, physical affection for them. When she was pleased, she “[c]lapped you on the shoulder, almost the way a man does”, Bogart recalled. “I was brought up very unsentimentally but very straightforwardly. A kiss, in our family, was an event. Our mother and father didn’t glug over my two sisters and me.”

Bogart was teased as a boy for his curls, tidiness, the “cute” pictures his mother had him pose for, the Little Lord Fauntleroy clothes he was dressed, and for his first name.

 He inherited from his father tendency to needle, fondness for fishing, lifelong love of boating, and attraction to strong-willed women.

Bogart attended the private Delancey School until the fifth grade and then attended the prestigious Trinity School. He was indifferent, sullen student who showed no interest in after-school activities. Bogart later attended Phillips Academy, a boarding school to which he was admitted based on family connections. Although his parents hoped that he would go on to Yale University, Bogart left Phillips in 1918 after one semester (although the Phillips Academy website claims he was in the graduating class of 1920). He failed 4 out of 6 classes. Versions: he was expelled for throwing the headmaster (or groundskeeper) into Rabbit Pond on campus. Another cited smoking, drinking, poor academic performance, inappropriate comments made to the staff. Others: Bogart withdrawn by father for failing to improve grades. His parents were disappointed.

Borgnine, Ernest

Boseman, Chadwick (2020, black)

Boyer, Charles (French)

Branagh, Kenneth (nominee, supp. actor)


Brando, Marlon (nominee, supp. actor)


Bridges, Jeff (nominee, supp. actor)


Brody, Adrien


Brynner, Yul


Burton, Richard


Busey, Gary


Butler, Austin



C (26)

Cage, Nicholas

Cagney, James

Caine, Michael (winner of 3 Supp. Actor)

Calhern, Lewis

Carney, Art

Carell, Steve

Chalamet, Timothee

Chaplin, Charlie

Cheadle, Don

Chevalier, Maurice

Clift, Montgomery (nominee, supp. actor)

Clooney, George (winner of Supp. Actor)

Colman, Ronald

Conti, Tom

Cooper, Bradley (nominee, supp. actor)

Cooper, Gary

Cooper, Jackie

Costner, Kevin

Courtnay, Tom

Cranston, Bryan

Crawford, Broderick

Crosby, Bing

Crowe, Russell

Cruise, Tom (nominee, supp. actor)

Cumberbatch, Benedict

Curtis, Tony


D (21)

Dafoe, Willem (nominee, supp)

Dailey, Dan

Damon, Matt (nominee, supp)

Day-Lewis, Daniel

Dean, James

De Niro, Robert (also winner of Supp. Actor)

Depardieu, Gerard

Depp, Johnny

Dern, Bruce (nominee, supp.)

Dexter, Gordon

DiCaprio, Leonard (nominee, supp)

Dix, Richard

Donat, Robert

Douglas, Kirk

Douglas, Melvyn (winner of 2 Supp. Actor)

Douglas, Michael

Downey, Robert Jr.

Dreyfuss, Richard

Driver, Adam

DuJardin, Jean

21. Duvall, Robert (nominee, supp)


E (2)

Eastwood, Clint

Ejiofor, Chiwetel


F (18)

Farnsworth, Richard (nominee, supp)

Farrell, Colin

Fassbender, Michael

Ferrer, Jose (nominee, supp)

Fiennes, Ralph (nominee, supp)

Finch, Peter

Finney, Albert (nominee, supp)

Firth, Colin

Fishburne, Laurence

Fitzgerald, Barry (winner of Supp. Actor)

Fonda, Henry

Fonda, Peter

Ford, Harrison

Foxx, Jamie (nominee, supp)

Franciosa, Anthony

Fraser, Brendan

Freeman, Morgan (winner of Supp. Actor)


G (8)

Gable, Clark

Garfield, Andrew

Garfield, John, working class; father clothes presser and part-time cantor (nominee, supp)

Garner, James

Giannini, Giancarlo

Gosling, Ryan

Grant, Cary

Guinness, Alec (nominee, supp)


H (22)

Hackman, Gene (also winner of Supp. Actor)

Hanks, Tom (also nom, supp)

Harrelson, Woody (nom, supp)

Harris, Ed (nom, supp)

Harris, Richard

Harrison, Rex

Harvey, Laurence

Hawthorne, Nigel

Heston, Charles

Hoffman, Dustin

Hoffman, Philip Seymour (also nominee, supp)

Holden, William

Hopkins, Anthony (2 Oscars, 1991 and 2020l also supp)

Hoskins, Bob

Howard, Leslie

Howard, Terrence

Howard, Trevor

Hudson, Rock

Hulce, Tom

Hurt, John (nominee, supp)

Hurt, William (nominee, supp)

22. Huston, Walter (winner of Supp. Actor)


 I (1)

Irons, Jeremy 


J (4)

Jannings, Emil

Jenkins, Richard

Jones, James Earl

Jones, Tommy Lee (winner of Supp. Actor)


K (6)

Kaluuya, Daniel (winner, supp)

Keaton, Michael (nominee, supp)

Kelly, Gene

Kennedy, Arthur (nominee, supp)

Kingsley, Ben (nominee, supp)

Knox, Alexander


L (7)

Lancaster, Burt

Langella, Frank

Laughton, Charles

Ledger, Heath (winner of Supp. Actor)

Lemmon, Jack (winner of Supp. Actor)

Lukas, Paul

Lunt, Alfred


M (22)

McConaughey, Matthew

McKellen, Ian (nominee, supp)

McLaglen, Victor (nominee, supp)

McQueen, Steve

March, Fredric

Marvin, Lee

Mascal, Paul

Mason, James (nominee, supp)

Massey, Raymond

Mastroianni, Marcello

Matthau, Walter (winner of Supp. Actor)

Menjou, Adolph

Milland, Ray

Montgomery, Robert

Moody, Ron

Moore, Dudley

Morgan, Frank

Morris, Chester

Mortensen, Vigo

Muni, Paul

22. Murray, Bill


N (7)

Neeson, Liam

Newman, Paul (nominee, supp)

Nicholson, Jack (also winner of Supp Actor)

Nighy, Bill

Niven, David

Nolte, Nick (nom, supp)

Norton, Edward (nom, supp)


O (5)

O’Herlihy, Dan

Olivier, Laurence (nom, supp)

Olmos, Edward James

O’Neal, Ryan

O’Toole, Peter


P (10)

Pacino, Al (nom, supp)

Parks, Larry

Peck, Gregory

Penn, Sean

Phoenix, Joaquin (nom, supp)

Pidgeon, Walter

Pitt, Brad (winner of Supp. Actor)

Poitier, Sidney

Powell, William

Pryce, Jonathan


Q (1)

Quinn, Anthony (winner of 2 Supp. Actor)


R (9)

Rea, Stephen

Redford, Robert

Redmayne, Eddie

Redgrave, Michael

Renner, Jeremy (nom, supp)

Robertson, Cliff

Rooney, Mickey (nom, supp)

Rourke, Mickey

Rush, Geoffrey (nom, supp)


S (13)

Scheider, Roy (nom, supp)

Schell, Maximilian

Scofield, Paul (nom, supp)

Scott, George C. (nom, supp)

Sellers, Peter

Sinatra, Frank (winner, supp)

Smith, Will, 2021

Spacey, Kevin (winner of Supp. Actor)

Stallone, Sylvester

Steiger, Rod (nom, supp)

Stewart, James

Stone, Lewis

Strathairn, David


T (8)

Thornton, Billy Bob (nom, supp)

Tibbett, Lawrence

Todd, Richard

Tone, Franchot


Tracy, Spencer

Travolta, John

Troisi, Massimo




V (2)

 Voight, Jon (nom, supp)

Von Sydow, Max


W (15)

Washington, Denzel (winner of Supp. Actor)

Waterston, Sam

Wayne, John

Webb, Clifton

Welles, Orson

Werner, Oskar

Whitaker, Forest

Whitman, Stuart

Whitmore, James

Wilde, Cornell

Wilkinson, Tom

Williams, Robin (winner of Supp. Actor)

Winfield, Paul

Wood, James

Woolley, Monty

Y: 1

Yeun, Steven (2020)

A: 7

B: 24

C: 26

D: 22

E: 2

F: 18

G: 8

H: 22

I: 1

J: 4

K: 6

L: 8

M: 22

N: 7

O: 6

P: 10

Q: 1

R: 9

S: 13

T: 8

U: /

V: 2

W: 15

X: /

Y: 1 (Yeun)

Z: /

Winners’ names are bolded