Oscar Actors: Best Actor Winners and Nominees–Origins, Social Backgrounds, Occupational Inheritance, Mobility

Dec 23, 2020 (most up to date): Research in Progress

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 the professions of engineering, medicine, military, and education.

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

Over the past 92 years of the Academy Awards (first given in 1929), 83 men have won the Best Actor Oscar (some more than once), and 148 men have been nominated.

Total number: 83 winners + 148 nominees= 231


Winners’ names are bolded

A (5)

Abrahams, F. Murray

Allen, Woody

Arkin, Alan (winner of Supp. Actor)

Arliss, George

Ayres, Lew



B (21)

Bale, Christian (winner of Supp. Actor)

Bancroft, George

Banderas, Antonio

Bardem, Javier

Barrymore, Lionel

Barthelmess, Richard

Bates, Alan                     

Baxter, Warner

Beatty, Warren

Beery, Wallace

Begnini, Roberto

Bogart, Humphrey

Borgnine, Ernest

Boyer, Charles

Branagh, Kenneth

Brando, Marlon

Bridges, Jeff

Brody, Adrien

Brynner, Yul

Burton, Richard

Busey, Gary


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

Clooney, George (winner of Supp. Actor)

Colman, Ronald

Conti, Tom

Cooper, Bradley

Cooper, Gary

Cooper, Jackie

Costner, Kevin

Courtnay, Tom

Cranston, Bryan

Crawford, Broderick

Crosby, Bing

Crowe, Russell

Cruise, Tom

Cumberbatch, Benedict

Curtis, Tony


D (21)

Dafoe, Willem

Dailey, Dan

Damon, Matt

Day-Lewis, Daniel

Dean, James

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

Depardieu, Gerard

Depp, Johnny

Dern, Bruce

Dexter, Gordon

DiCaprio, Leonard

Dix, Richard

Donat, Robert

Douglas, Kirk

Douglas, Melvyn (winner of 2 Supp. Actor)

Douglas, Michael

Downey, Robert Jr.

Dreyfuss, Richard

Driver, Adam

DuJardin, Jean

Duvall, Robert


E (2)

Eastwood, Clint

Ejiofor, Chiwetel


F (15)

Farnsworth, Richard

Fassbender, Michael

Ferrer, Jose

Fiennes, Ralph

Finch, Peter

Finney, Albert

Firth, Colin

Fishburne, Laurence

Fitzgerald, Barry (winner of Supp. Actor)

Fonda, Henry

Fonda, Peter

Ford, Harrison

Foxx, Jamie

Franciosa, Anthony

Freeman, Morgan (winner of Supp. Actor)


G (8)

Gable, Clark

Garfield, Andrew

Garfield, John, working class; father clothes presser and part-time cantor

Garner, James

Giannini, Giancarlo

Gosling, Ryan

Grant, Cary

Guinness, Alec



H (22)

Hackman, Gene (also winner of Supp. Actor)

Hanks, Tom

Harrelson, Woody

Harris, Ed

Harris, Richard

Harrison, Rex

Harvey, Laurence

Hawthorne, Nigel

Heston, Charles

Hoffman, Dustin

Hoffman, Philip Seymour

Holden, William

Hopkins, Anthony

Hoskins, Bob

Howard, Leslie

Howard, Terrence

Howard, Trevor

Hudson, Rock

Hulce, Tom

Hurt, John

Hurt, William

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

Keaton, Michael

Kelly, Gene

Kennedy, Arthur

Kingsley, Ben

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 (20)

McConaughey, Matthew

McKellen, Ian

McLaglen, Victor

McQueen, Steve

March, Fredric

Marvin, Lee

Mason, James

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

Murray, Bill


N (6)

Neeson, Liam

Newman, Paul

Nicholson, Jack (also winner of Supp Actor)

Niven, David

Nolte, Nick

Norton, Edward


O (5)

O’Herlihy, Dan

Olivier, Laurence

Olmos, Edward James

O’Neal, Ryan

O’Toole, Peter


P (10)

Pacino, Al

Parks, Larry

Peck, Gregory

Penn, Sean

Phoenix, Joaquin

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

Robertson, Cliff

Rooney, Mickey

Rourke, Mickey

Rush, Geoffrey


S (13)

Scheider, Roy

Schell, Maximilian

Scofield, Paul

Scott, George C.

Sellers, Peter

Sinatra, Frank

Smith, Will

Spacey, Kevin (winner of Supp. Actor)

Stallone, Sylvester

Steiger, Rod

Stewart, James

Stone, Lewis

Strathairn, David


T (8)

Thornton, Billy Bob

Tibbett, Lawrence

Todd, Richard

Tone, Franchot


Tracy, Spencer

Travolta, John

Troisi, Massimo


V (2)


Voight, Jon

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