Age and Achievement in Hollywood: Best Actor Oscar Winners (from Age 29 to 83)

Research in Progress (April 26, 2021)

The first Oscars were given in 1929 for achievements in 1927-1928.

In the history of the Academy Awards, the youngest Best Actor winner has been Adrien Brody, 29 (The Pianist, 2002).

The oldest Best Actor winner is Anthony Hopkins, 83 (The Father, 2020), but it is his second Best Actor; the first was in 1991 for The Silence of the Lambs, when he was 54

The oldest (first time) Best Actor winner is Henry Fonda, 76 (On Golden Pond, 1981).

The range between the youngest and oldest winners is rather wide, as my study demonstrates.

Note:

If you want to know more about the history and politics of the Oscars, please read my book:

Year   Best Actor  Film Age

1928:    Emil Jannings, The Last Command; The Way of All Flesh, 43

1929:    Warner Baxter, In Old Arizona, 38

1930:    George Arliss, Disraeli; Green Goddess, 62

1931:    Lionel Barrymore, A Free Soul, 53

1932:    Fredric March, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 35

Tie       Wallace Beery, The Champ, 47

1933:    Charles Laughton, The Private Life of Henry VIII, 36

1934:    Clark Gable, It Happened One Night, 33

1935 :   Victor McLaglen, The Informer, 49

1936:    Paul Muni, The Story of Louis Pasteur, 49

1937:     Spencer Tracy, Captains Courageous, 37

1938:     Spencer Tracy, Boys Town, 38

1939:     Robert Donat, Goodbye Mr. Chips, 34

1940s

1940:     James Stewart, The Philadelphia Story, 32

1941:     Gary Cooper, Sergeant York, 40

1942:     James Cagney, Yankee Doodle Dandy, 43

1943:     Paul Lukas, Watch on the Rhine, 48

1944:     Bing Crosby, Going My Way, 40

1945:     Ray Milland, The Lost Weekend, 40

1946:     Fredric March, The Best Years of Our Lives, 49

1947:     Ronald Colman, A Double Life, 56

1948      Laurence Olivier, Hamlet, 41

1949      Broderick Crawford, All the King’s Men, 38

1950      Jose Ferrer, Cyrano de Bergerac, 38

1951       Humphrey Bogart, The African Queen, 52

1952      Gary Cooper, High Noon, 51

1953       William Holden, Stalag 17, 35

1954       Marlon Brando, On the Waterfront, 30

1955       Ernest Borgnine, Marty, 38

1956       Yul Brynner, The King and I, 36

1957       Alec Guinness, The Bridge on the River Kwai, 43

1958       David Niven, Separate Tables, 48

1959       Charlton Heston, Ben-Hur, 36

1960       Burt Lancaster, Elmer Gantry, 47

1961        Maximillian Schell, Judgment at Nuremberg, 31

1962       Gregory Peck, To Kill a Mockingbird, 46

1963       Sidney Poitier, Lilies of the Field, 36

1964:     Rex Harrison, My Fair Lady, 56

1965:     Lee Marvin, Cat Ballou, 41

1966:     Paul Scofield, A Man for All Seasons, 44

1967:    Rod Steiger, In the Heat of the Night, 42

1968:   Cliff Robertson, Charly, 45

1969:   John Wayne, True Grit, 62

1970:   George C. Scott, Patton, 43

1971:   Gene Hackman, The French Connection, 41

1972    Marlon Brando. The Godfather. 48

1973    Jack Lemmon, Save the Tiger, 48

1974     Art Carney, Harry and Tonto, 56

1975     Jack Nicholson, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 38

1976     Peter Finch, Network, 60

1977     Richard Dreyfuss, The Goodbye Girl, 30

1978     Jon Voight, Coming Home, 40

1979     Dustin Hoffman, Kramer Vs. Kramer, 42

1980     Robert De Niro, Raging Bull, 37

1981    Henry Fonda, On Golden Pond, 76 (Oldest Best Actor, won at his second nomination)

1982      Ben Kingsley, Gandhi, 39

1983:    Robert Duvall, Tender Mercies, 52

1984     F. Murray Abraham, Amadeus, 44

1985      William Hurt, Kiss of the Spider Woman, 35

1986      Paul Newman, The Color of Money, 61

1987      Michael Douglas, Wall Street, 43

1988      Dustin Hoffman, Tootsie, 45

1989      Daniel Day-Lewis, My Left Foot, 32

1990      Jeremy Irons, Reversal of Fortune, 42

1991      Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs, 54

1992      Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman, 53

1993      Tom Hanks, Philadelphia, 37

1994      Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump, 38

1995      Nicolas Cage, Leaving Las Vegas, 31

1996      Geoffrey Rush, Shine, 45

1997      Jack Nicholson, As Good As It Gets, 60

1998      Roberto Benigni, Life Is Beautiful, 46

1999      Kevin Spacey, American Beauty, 40

2000     Russell Crowe, A Beautiful Mind, 36

2001      Denzel Washington, Training Day, 47

2002    Adrien Brody, The Pianist, 29 (Youngest Winner)

2003      Sean Penn, Mystic River, 43

2004      Jamie Foxx, Ray, 37

2005      Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote, 38

2006      Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland, 45

2007     Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood, 50 (his second Oscar)

2008     Sean Penn, Milk, 48

2009    Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart, 60

2010:   Colin Firth, The King’s Speech, 50

2011:   Jean Dujardin, The Artist, 39

2012:   Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln, 57 (his third Oscar)

2013:   Matthew McConaughey, The Dallas Buyers Club, 44

2014:   Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything, 33

2015:  Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant, 41

2016:  Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea, 41

2017:  Gary Oldman, The Darkest Hour, 59

2018: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody, 38

2019: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker, 45

2020: Anthony Hopkins, The Father, 83 (Oldest Winner, but it’s his second Oscar)

Note:

If you want to know more about the history and politics of the Oscars, please read my book: